4.26.2008

TS - Police chief's wife feared he'd hurt her

Police chief's wife feared he'd hurt her

John Driscoll and Thadeus Greenson The Times-Standard
Article Launched: 04/25/2008 01:24:19 AM PDT

EUREKA -- Blue Lake Police Chief David Gundersen's wife testified at Gundersen's preliminary hearing Thursday that he threatened to “take her fishing” if she went to law enforcement with her allegations of rape.

”Did you think he was going to take you to catch some fish?” District Attorney Paul Gallegos asked Jane Doe 1.

”No,” she responded.

”What do you think he meant?” Gallegos asked.

”That he was going to take me fishing to hurt me,” Jane Doe 1 testified.

Gallegos continued Thursday to make his case to Humboldt County Superior Court Judge John Feeney that there is sufficient evidence for Gundersen to stand trial on 19 charges, including 12 counts of spousal rape, kidnapping a second victim with the intent to rape, violating a court order, dissuading a victim from reporting a crime, possessing a controlled substance without a prescription, and possessing a machine gun and a pistol with a silencer attached.

Gundersen pleaded not guilty to all counts and is being held on $1.25 million bail. The Blue Lake City Council recently voted to terminate his employment as chief of police effective May 5.

On Thursday, the fourth day of the preliminary hearing, Gallegos and Gundersen's attorney, Russell Clanton, continued questioning Jane Doe 1 and three investigators involved in the case.

Under cross examination, Jane Doe 1 testified that she never claimed to sheriff's department investigators that she didn't consent to sex with her husband on Feb. 7 -- the day before Gundersen's arrest. That's why she refused a sexual assault test the next day, she said.

Clanton thoroughly questioned Jane Doe 1 on whether she feared prosecution by the District Attorney's Office and if she had been promised any leniency in exchange for testifying. Investigators told her they believed she had committed multiple felonies, she said, but offered her no leniency in exchange for testifying in this case.

She maintained her testimony from the day before, that Gundersen had sex with her without her consent once a month in 2006 and 2007 while she was incapacitated by sleeping aids and/or other drugs. Clarifying her answer from Wednesday, Jane Doe 1 testified that while she had previously told Gundersen it was OK to have sex with her while she slept, she later told him to stop the practice.

She also testified that she “fears” her husband.

Gallegos also questioned Jane Doe 1 about a telephone conversation she had Wednesday night with Gundersen's brother, Gary Gundersen. He asked if she had assured Gary Gundersen that she was doing her best to help her husband, but she denied that was true. Clanton objected to the line of questioning, and it was stricken from the court record.

Jane Doe 1 also testified that she'd been called into a meeting with Gallegos and his investigator, Wayne Cox, on Wednesday afternoon. Clanton asked if they had “coached” her on responses to his questions, and Jane Doe 1 said she wouldn't use that term.

”They just said that I need to be more forthcoming -- not just simple yes or no. That I could elaborate on my answers,” she testified.

Gallegos and Cox hadn't made her any promises or threats with regard to her testimony in this case, she testified. They asked her to testify honestly and to be forthcoming, she said.

On the stand, Cox testified that he was part of the team that served a search warrant on Gundersen's McKinleyville home, which turned up 16 pill bottles prescribed to people other than residents of the home.

Other pill bottles at Gundersen's home were found in paper bags with Blue Lake Police Department evidence numbers on them, Cox testified.

Under cross examination, Cox testified the pill bottles were found in the master bathroom of Gundersen's home, which appeared to be used by both him and Jane Doe 1, who is a sergeant in the Blue Lake Police Department. Some were also found in a black bag in the bathroom, Cox testified, which also contained small baggies with pills and a bottle prescribed for Jane Doe 1. He also said Jane Doe 1 had informed investigators she was constructing a “drug kit” for educational and training purposes.

Gallegos showed Cox pictures of a submachine gun and a pistol with a silencer attached, and Cox confirmed the firearms had been seized from a gun safe in Gundersen's garage.

To buttress the charge that Gundersen had violated a court order, Gallegos called Humboldt County Sheriff's Office Detective Troy Garey to the stand. Garey testified that he served Gundersen with an emergency protective order while he was in custody that required him to refrain from any contact with Jane Doe 1.

Garey then testified that he monitored phone conversations made by Gundersen from jail, in which he told Jane Doe 1 to contact the District Attorney's Office to say she didn't want to testify and to ask that the charges against her husband be dropped.

The preliminary hearing is scheduled to continue Wednesday, when District Attorney's Office Chief Investigator Mike Hislop is expected to retake the stand.

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