1.28.2009

JN 2003 - SPI settles suit

Sierra Pacific Industries has agreed to a $1.2 million settlement that requires it to clean up contaminated soils and groundwater at its Arcata Mill, located near Manila.

The agreement also requires the company to study the levels of pollution in sediment and aquatic life in the Mad River Slough, a popular fishing and crabbing spot immediately adjacent to the plant.

If those studies show that pollution from the mill poses a risk to human health, wildlife and the environment, then the company must undertake a more extensive cleanup -- one that could mean digging up and hauling away tons of contaminated sediment in the slough and even out in Humboldt Bay.

"Hopefully, this will ultimately help put people at ease about eating fish and shellfish from Humboldt Bay," said Jim Lamport of the Ecological Rights Foundation, a Garberville group.

David Dun, a Eureka lawyer representing SPI, said that even before the settlement agreement it was "a foregone conclusion" that some level of cleanup would need to be conducted at the mill site.

The settlement is the result of a lawsuit filed three years ago by the Ecological Rights group. The suit spurred the North Coast Regional Water Quality Control Board to more vigorously regulate the mill, site of a groundwater plume contaminated with high levels of a now banned wood treatment chemical called pentachlorophenol.

Penta, as its called, is usually associated with dioxin, one of the deadliest of all man-made chemicals.

Last spring the Ecological Rights group found low but still potentially hazardous levels of dioxin in shellfish near the plant. Later tests conducted by an SPI consultant found dioxin in commercial oysters out in the bay, but there is disagreement about whether those levels pose a health hazard.

In October federal magistrate Judge Maria Elena James of San Francisco ruled that the Arcata Mill had been in chronic violation of the Clean Water Act for several years.

Almost half of the settlement -- $500,000 -- will go toward the California Fish and Game Department for wetlands restoration and acquisition in Humboldt Bay. The remainder will go to the Ecological Rights group.

Fred Evenson, a lawyer for the group, said the money would be used in part to conduct "confirmation sampling" to ensure the accuracy of SPI's environmental and health study.

-- reported by Keith Easthouse

JN 2003 - Scare tactics

Scare tactics

by KEITH EASTHOUSE

At least three times now, the Pacific Lumber Co. has threatened to sue Humboldt County for legal fees and damages if District Attorney Paul Gallegos goes ahead with a lawsuit charging the timber concern with fraud.

The first time was at the March 11 Board of Supervisors meeting, when Ukiah-based PL lawyer Jared Carter talked ominously of the consequences of a "malicious prosecution." In a letter last week, Edgar Washburn, a San Francisco-based attorney who does work for PL, bluntly warned Gallegos the company would sue if the suit isn't withdrawn. Finally, in this week's Arcata Eye, PL communications director Jim Branham was quoted as saying, "We will consider all our legal options, and they could well include recovering our costs."

The warnings have all been accompanied by claims that Gallegos' suit has no legal merit and that it contains significant factual errors. And they have had an impact.

After Carter spoke at the March 11 meeting, more than one supervisor voiced concern that the DA's suit was exposing the county to a potentially dangerous liability. Concern about liability, along with doubts about the merits of the suit, were two major reasons the board rejected Gallegos' request to bring in a San Francisco Bay Area law firm with expertise in corporate fraud to help him litigate the case.

Additionally, the liability issue has been brandished as proof that Gallegos' suit is reckless by leaders of a fledgling movement to recall Gallegos. The movement is being headed up by Robin Arkley, father of businessman Rob Arkley and the former owner of Blue Lake Forest Products.

As worrisome as it may sound to some, it turns out that all this sword-rattling probably doesn't signify much.

According to David LaBahn, interim executive director of the California District Attorneys Association, it is common for a defendant to file a motion for dismissal on the grounds that the case against it has no merit. It is also common for a defendant to claim that it is the victim of a malicious prosecution.

What is not common -- indeed, what is almost unheard of -- is for a defendant to successfully countersue a district attorney for malicious prosecution and obtain monetary damages.

"It's often threatened but very rarely if ever" is a malicious prosecution motion granted, LaBahn said in a telephone interview last week from his Sacramento office.

The reason, he explained, is that district attorneys are shielded from damages liability; if they weren't, it would seriously weaken their ability to prosecute cases on behalf of the public.

"As long as we are acting within the course and scope of our duties we have absolute immunity," La Bahn said. Absent clear proof that a district attorney is intent on, as LaBahn put it, "screwing up someone's life," a DA does not need to worry about getting financially penalized for doing his or her job.

Which explains why Gallegos seems completely unfazed by PL's threats. "We're solid on what we have. Our decisions are driven by evidence and law," Gallegos said this week.

In an interview with the Journal 10 days ago, Gallegos suggested he might launch a counter-attack of his own. He said that PL may have made a mistake in making public a March 10 letter from Washburn to Carter, the PL lawyer.

The letter, a "preliminary assessment" of Gallegos' case, was made available to the supervisors apparently to persuade them to reject Gallegos' bid to bring in an outside law firm. But Gallegos said that in making the letter public, Pacific Lumber's lawyers may have inadvertently waived attorney-client privilege.

If a judge were to see it that way, it could be a boon to Gallegos' case. "There might be all sorts of interesting materials that we normally wouldn't have access to," Gallegos said.

"It would be kind of a shame for them," Gallegos went on, "but our job if they've opened the door is to walk in."

1.27.2009

☛TS Case of missing McKinleyville woman continues

The husband of a McKinleyville woman who has been missing since September 2008 allegedly had his girlfriend impersonate his wife in an effort to retrieve her car from a local tow yard months after his wife's disappearance, according to an affidavit for a search warrant filed with the Humboldt County Superior Court on Monday.

Monica Bradshaw, 53, was reportedly last seen in September, but was never reported missing. The Humboldt County Sheriff's Office began investigating the case after being notified by a local insurance claims adjuster that Bradshaw's husband -- Robin Bradshaw, 56 -- had allegedly acted suspiciously while trying to submit a claim on his wife's car.

Robin Bradshaw has not been arrested, charged with a crime nor labeled a suspect in the case. Humboldt County Sheriff's Office spokeswoman Brenda Godsey said Monday that Robin Bradshaw remains a “person of interest.”

Messages left for an attorney believed to have been retained by Robin Bradshaw were not returned by the Times-Standard's deadline Monday. An attempt to reach Robin Bradshaw at his place of employment was also unsuccessful. A woman who answered the phone there said he was not in the office, had no voice mail nor any other numbers where he could be reached.

According to the affidavit filed Monday, Monica Bradshaw's case came to the attention of the Sheriff's Office earlier this month after an insurance adjuster for Capital Insurance Group in Ferndale notified the office of a call she'd received from Robin Bradshaw seeking to submit a claim on his wife's car, which had been stolen and recovered. The adjuster informed Robin Bradshaw that his wife would have to sign and authorize the claim for her vehicle.

”Robin Bradshaw then advised that he would have Monica Bradshaw contact (the adjuster),” the affidavit states. “(The adjuster) then received a telephone call from a person claiming to be Monica Bradshaw. The voice sounded like Robin Bradshaw attempting to disguise his voice.”

According to the affidavit, Robin Bradshaw reportedly went down to the tow yard with a woman, later identified as his 31-year-old girlfriend, who reportedly claimed to be Monica Bradshaw and allegedly signed the vehicle release form with her name.
When the insurance adjuster reportedly called the Bradshaws' residence to follow up, a female voice answered, telling the adjuster that Monica Bradshaw “had died,” according to the affidavit.

A Sheriff's Office investigator was later dispatched to the Bradshaws' home on Dow's Prairie Road in McKinleyville and spoke with Robin Bradshaw, who allegedly told the investigator that he and his wife had been married for 30 years before she “up and vanished,” according to the affidavit.

Robin Bradshaw, according to the affidavit, then allegedly changed his story to say that his wife was down south with some friends, before changing it again to say that she went to visit her brother in Utah.

”As (the investigator) was speaking with Robin, he noticed that he was sweating and shaking throughout the interview,” the affidavit states, adding that Robin Bradshaw also could not stand still as if he were “tense and very nervous.”

The investigator later called Monica Bradshaw's brother in Utah and was told by the brother he had not talked with his sister in about eight years, according to the affidavit. The affidavit also states that Robin Bradshaw reportedly told the investigator that he had been seeing a girlfriend for about three months.

Last week, neighbors of the Bradshaw's property said they last saw Monica Bradshaw in August or September, when she and her husband set off to bury a neighbor's horse on a nearby property with a backhoe. They said the backhoe remained on the couple's property for some time, and they witnessed the husband doing some excavating work in the yard.

Some neighbors said they grew suspicious after Robin Bradshaw offered differing accounts as to his wife's location. Several neighbors said Bradshaw's husband first told them that his wife died of cancer, then later said she died years ago. He told them the woman they had come to know for the six or so years that he had lived in the neighborhood was actually Monica Bradshaw's sister. Then, neighbors said, Robin Bradshaw told them that his wife suffers from depression and had left the area.

Sheriff's Office Detective Karen Quinnel also interviewed Robin Bradshaw on his property, according to the affidavit, and reportedly learned that he had poured a concrete patio in the summer of 2008, soon after his wife's disappearance.

”Again, throughout the contact, Robin Bradshaw appeared nervous and tense,” the affidavit states.

A search warrant was served on Bradshaws' property the weekend of Jan. 17, and more than two dozen items were seized, including financial records, a computer, an address book, medications, receipts and a number of handwritten notes, according to a search warrant inventory list. A can of Campbell's soup was also seized, according to the inventory.

Godsey said she couldn't comment specifically on the seized items, but said the California Department of Justice is involved in the case.

”The Department of Justice was on scene while the search warrant was being served, so they were assisting with that and that includes taking possible evidence and things of interest to their laboratory (for forensic testing),” Godsey said.

Thadeus Greenson can be reached at 441-0509 or tgreenson@times-standard.com

Thadeus Greenson/The Times-Standard
Posted: 01/27/2009 01:30:55 AM PST
***
PREVIOUSLY:
DA's office (Paul Gallegos) still undecided in Bradshaw case; Gallegos to talk to pathologist next week May 28, 2010
Bradshaw sentencing postponed, Gallegos "weighing" decision May 5, 2010
...Humboldt County District Attorney Paul Gallegos received Super's report last week, but has yet to decide how to proceed with the case. At Tuesday's hearing, Bradshaw's attorney, Peter Martin, said Gallegos had contacted him asking that the sentencing hearing be postponed.

”He wants more time, I believe, to review the medical report and to request supporting materials from the medical examiner,” Martin said....

”It's going to be something Paul's going to have to think about.” April 27, 2010
-- Bradshaw autopsy report with Humboldt County DA; indicates blunt force trauma as cause of death
Autopsy report coming in Bradshaw case; plea agreement hinges on results for McKinleyville man accused of wife's murder APRIL 24, 2010
Bradshaw positively identified; full autopsy report pending more test results FEBRUARY 01, 2010
Autopsy set for Sunday in Bradshaw case JANUARY 23, 2010
ANOTHER PLEA DEAL - Bradshaw agreed to give location of body in plea deal JANUARY 09, 2010
Robin Stuart Bradshaw entered into a plea agreement with prosecutors last month, agreeing to disclose the location of his wife's body and plead guilty to voluntary manslaughter, court records show.
Authorities believe they have found the body of missing McKinleyville woman JANUARY 08, 2010
The person further told investigators, according to the affidavit, that Robin Bradshaw confessed to first burying his wife in a shallow grave in the backyard of his home, only to later dig her body up and bury it on an undeveloped Danco subdivision off of Fieldbrook Road in McKinleyville.
Hearing for McKinleyville murder case continued NOVEMBER 05, 2009
Bradshaw Prelim continued to Nov. 5 SEPTEMBER 30, 2009
Prelim for Robin Stuart Bradshaw JULY 07, 2009
Bradshaw pleads not guilty to murdering wife June 16, 2009
Robin Stuart Bradshaw, arrested JUNE 16, 2009
Second search warrant issued in missing woman case - and a request to seal documents January 29, 2009
Monica Bradshaw: MISSING January 27, 2009

1.13.2009

TS - Convicted sex offender faces 6 years, deportation

Convicted sex offender faces 6 years, deportation

A Mexican national, who will face deportation for a second time after serving an expected six-year sentence, pleaded no contest Monday to allegations he sexually abused his 8-year-old daughter.

Isaias Felix-Romero, 33, pleaded no contest to the sexual abuse of his daughter-- referred to as Jane Doe-- according to Deputy District Attorney Arnold Klein.

Eight years ago Felix-Romero was convicted of unlawful intercourse with a 13-year-old minor, the mother of Jane Doe. Felix-Romero later married Jane Doe's mother.

The alleged sexual abuse occurred between July and August 2008 and were reported by the victim's grandmother.

In early September, Felix-Romero was arrested as part of a U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement raid on Sun Valley Floral Farms.

ICE reported Felix-Romero has already been deported from the United States once, and he will be detained and ultimately deported by ICE after his sentence is completed.

”We definitely have flagged this case for follow-up, and a detainer will be lodged against the individual,” said ICE Communications Director Virginia Kice.

Felix-Romero's previous deportation may be reinstated, which would result in expedited removal. Because of Felix-Romero's criminal history and felony reentry, his case is subject to review by the Department of Justice and the U.S. Attorney's Office.

Klein said he was pleased the case did not go to trial and that Jane Doe was not required to testify.


Erin Tracy can be reached at 441-0596 or etracy@times-standard.com, and Donna Tam can be reached at 441-0532 or dtam@times-standard.com.

Erin Tracy and Donna Tam/The Times-Standard
Posted: 01/13/2009 01:19:46 AM PST

***
This report says he pled "no contest to allegations..." but does not say what the CHARGES (Penal Code Sections), and resultant minimum and maximum penalties were.
***
Reminiscent of the Martinez-Hernandez case except this time, it looks like the guy really is going to get deported.

But in 6 years he'll get to rape another 13 year old (actually younger, probably, and next time, he may not want to leave any witnesses behind.)

1.07.2009

Blue Lake man pleads no contest to attempted murder

Blue Lake man pleads no contest to attempted murder

Sean Garmire/The Times-Standard
Posted: 11/21/2008 01:24:14 AM PST

A 45-year-old Blue Lake man pleaded no contest to charges that he attempted to murder his girlfriend after striking her multiple times in the face with a pipe last January.

On Thursday, Thomas Wallace appeared before a Humboldt County Superior Court judge and pleaded no contest to one count of attempted murder. The plea was part of an agreement with the Humboldt County District Attorney's Office that dismissed two lesser charges of assault with a deadly weapon and domestic abuse.

The agreement will give a judge the discretion to decide a number of possible sentences for Wallace. At maximum, he faces nine years in prison -- at minimum, nine years probation.

According to testimony in court, on Jan. 20, 2008, deputies with the Humboldt County Sheriff's Office responded to a Blue Lake residence and found a victim lying on the ground, bleeding from the head and suffering from a fractured forehead and eye socket.

The woman was listed in critical condition, but survived the incident.

The deputies also found a large metal pipe with blood on it at the location.

Wallace was spotted at a Blue Lake gas station by ambulance personnel as they responded to the victim, and he was later arrested.

Sean Garmire can be reached at 441-0514 or sgarmire@times-standard.com.

1.05.2009

Rio Dell Times on Gundersen

STATE OF CALIFORNIA v. DAVID RAY GUNDERSEN CR0811035
http://www.riodelltimes.com/Court/
Charges-24 counts of spousal rape, 1 count unlawful possession of a machine gun and 1 count unlawful possession of a handgun with silencer. The misdemeanor charge of possession of a controlled substance without a prescription was dropped (multiple prescription bottles).

Updated! More highlights listed below...

12.10.08 Gundersen appeared before Judge Bruce Watson today to continue to finalize the terms of the probation sentence stemming from his felony and misdemeanor convictions. Gundersen would ordinarily be ineligable for probation; however, "unusual circumstances" exist and he has been granted four years of probation and four hundred hours of community service. The "unusual circumstances" include his clean record, his cooperation with authorities, the fact that his imprisonment would be detrimental to others and that his being on probation poses no danger to the public.

Gundersen was also present to address a felony charge that has been filed regarding his work at the Trinidad Police Department. Russell Clanton was present as Gundersen's defense. A plea of Not Guilty was entered and a time waiver was filed. An intervention hearing will be held on January 7 at 3pm. A preliminary hearing will be held on January 16 at 8:30am. More to come! -Marylynn

GUNDERSEN GETS PROBATION

David Gundersen was sentenced to 4 years of probation today by Judge Watson this afternoon for two felony gun charges stemming from the February 2008 sexual assault investigation. The jury had found Gundersen, the former police chief of both Blue Lake and Trinidad, guilty of 11 counts of battery against his wife, Darcie Seal, as well as guilty on the gun charges and the violation of a court order. The 11 counts of battery were set aside today, as they were based on evidence that had gone beyond the statute of limitation time limit of a year. Due to a clean record and Gundersen's age of 54 years, the Judge declared that "unusual circumstances" allowed Gundersen to be sentenced to probation as opposed to time in prison. On Wednesday, November 26th, Gundersen will return to the courtroom to discuss new charges filed by the District Attorney's Office regarding the theft of public property from the Trinidad Police Department. More to come. -Marylynn

11.21.08 Former Blue Lake Police Chief Gundersen arraignment today!

11.15.08 Recommended Gundersen charges stem back to old investigations Times Standard

11.13.08 Gundersen files motion to toss convictions -Times Standard

11.12.08 Trinidad PD recommends charges against Dave Gundersen - Times Standard article

Recommended charges include; theft, embezzlement and evidence tampering stemming from Gundersen's time as Police Chief in Trinidad. Weapons charges are very similar to those he was recently convicted of from his Blue Lake tenure.

10.28.08 Dave Gundersen under investigation for firearms violations while the Police Chief of Trinidad. Is anyone noticing a pattern here? Firearms violations have already been proven in the earlier trial, federal agents are allegedly still investigating more violations, now Trinidad. It remains to be seen where the course of the investigations may take law enforcement. Rio Dell was in possession of two assault rifles loaned by Gundersen (the loaning of these particular weapons is illegal). Humboldt County is a small community and it is very unlikely that Gundersen's activities haven't been well known for years, fully supported and consistently defended by certain friends. There may be a few people getting nervous about now. The story can be read at the Times Standard.

10.24.08 Former Blue Lake Police Chief, Dave Gundersen, returns to jail after blowing off the sentencing hearing on Wednesday. Judge Bruce Watson was visably angry at the "arrogance" shown by Gundersen who had decided to go down south, to Newport Beach, rather than appear at his hearing. Judge Watson; "I see no reason why you wouldn't come back Tuesday for a court appearance, regardless of a sick mother." Defense attorney Russell Clanton tried to deflect some of the blame by saying that he had been confident that Watson would grant his request for a continuance at the Wednesday hearing. Watson didn't accept that rationale as he pointed out that "it's the court who sets the sentencing" not the attorney's deciding for themselves. Clanton; "he (Gundersen) respects the court, it is not his arrogance, it was a misunderstanding of the circumstances that were going that day...my discussion with Mr. Gundersen was that I didn't believe sentencing was going to go forward." Watson reprimanded the attorney for ignoring the courts authority in setting the schedule and the course of events. Since the Wed. hearing date was set long ago, there was no valid reason for Gundersen to fail to appear.

Judge Watson, "I wonder if it is in fact arrogance and what applies to others doesn't apply to him." The trial of Gundersen made it perfectly clear that the former police chief felt that the laws he had sworn to uphold did not apply to himself. The contempt for the courts authority has come up before, including Gundersen's dismissal of the protective order issued against him. Judge Watson made it clear that there would be no more special treatment for Gundersen. Watson; "I will remand Gundersen at this time" at which the former police chief was led by the arm out of the courtroom by the bailiff. The judge set the bail at $200,000 and reset sentencing for November 21st at 2:00.

Gundersen posted bail within hours of being booked.

10.22.08 Former Blue Lake Police Chief Dave Gundersen fails to show up at hearing

Defense asks for continuance while Gundersen is in Newport Beach. District Attorney Paul Gallegos requested a warrent for Gundersens arrest.

Bench warrant to be issued if Gundersen fails to show up Friday at 2pm for sentencing. The bail on the warrant will be $200,000. The Honorable Judge Bruce Wattson seemed quite annoyed.

Defense attorney Russell Clanton polling jurors in an attempt to claim a mistrial

Newport Beach California - Sunny and 72 degrees today

9.29.08 With bail dropped to $50,000 Gunderson to post bail today!

Former Blue Lake Police Chief David Gunderson found guilty of felony weapons charges, guilty of battery and guilty of violating a court order. Gunderson was found not guilty of spousal rape with an intoxicant. Sentencing will be Oct. 22nd at 2:00.


The two felony weapons charges stem from the unlawful possession of the machine gun and the silencer that Gunderson kept in his home. The machine gun was very similar to the guns that Gunderson had “loaned” to the Rio Dell Police Department previously, which was also quite illegal (Rio Dell returned the guns after the charges against Gunderson became public). There are still two more rape charges that could be filed against Gunderson involving a non-related victim. There is also an ongoing federal investigation into Gunderson and the Blue Lake Police Department with their exceedingly well stocked arsenal.


Jurors interviewed stated that the problem they had with the rape allegations was the spousal relationship and the uncertainty of the victim, Darcie Seal, over whether she consented or not. That provided a reasonable doubt in the minds of the jurors for those allegations. The 11 battery charges resulted from the naked pictures of Seal taken while she was unconscious. Seal was very clear that she never provided consent for these pictures and she felt extremely violated by them. The pictures themselves however are not illegal. It was the “malicious touching” of Seal in order to undress her that rose to the legal level of battery. The jury did a very good job evaluating a lot of evidence and legal definitions in order to arrive at their decision. The majority of the time that they were in deliberations revolved around the sex charges. The jurors I spoke with stated that the gun charges were pretty straight forward. They had no real disagreement over Gunderson’s guilt for the gun charges. The violation of the court order stemmed from his contacting Seal from jail after he was clearly advised of the temporary restraining order and its provisions. As a police chief, he certainly knew that calling Seal was a violation of that order but showed no regard for the courts order.


The jury members stated that the defense’s contention of a “conspiracy” against Gunderson by his ex-wife in order to win custody was not believable. They did not give any real weight to this theory. There were credibility issues with Darcie Seal that had to be taken into consideration as well. The transcripts of the preliminary hearing were excluded from the evidence that the jury could consider as well (there is a significant difference between what evidence the jury is allowed to consider in order to reach a verdict versus the evidence that the general public hears over the course of a trial).


Overall, it was to some degree a testament to the county that the charges were even brought against such an entrenched good ol’ boy of the Humboldt crony network. As one juror stated, “let this be a warning” to others who abuse their positions of power. We are hopeful that the federal investigation will shed further light on the alleged abuses of power that have gone on, not only in Blue Lake but throughout the good ol’ boy network. I hope there are at least a few people getting very very nervous at this point. We encourage the investigators to follow where ever the trail may lead them as corruption is not isolated to any one particular area.

-Sharon

9.23.08 Jury Deliberations Continue in the People v. Gunderson. Today the court reporter was brought back in to read back the testimony of Troy Gary who is a veteran investigator for the Humboldt County Sheriff's Department. Gary specializes in crimes that involve rape and has worked with law enforcement for a couple of decades. Deliberations continue tomorrow.

There will be a new security company providing the service at the courthouse but the advanced scanning machines are not yet installed. Until then, the guards will be stationed at the usual tables but they do not carry weapons. We are unsure how that will be providing heightened security. Risk Management has made the decision to prevent after hours or weekend access to the offices in the court house. The deputy district attorney's frequently work on weekends and after hours, they are not happy with the change. Once the scanning machines are installed, the only doors that will be used are the front and back main doors. The side entrances will be closed. Allow extra time to get into the courthouse. The building is still in the process of having category 5 network wire installed on the main floor. There is a lot of work left to do in order to finish the remodeling.

The People v. Gunderson jury is still out. On Thursday, they requested to review the February 8th, 2008 Interview with Humbold County Sheriff investigators. The crystal ball says we may get a decision by Wednesday but we shall see. They have been deliberating half days last week and plan to stay full days starting Monday. There is a lot of information for them to review and they appear to be giving the serious charges the appropriate consideration.

9.17.08

It was all part of a Plan

Defense Closing Arguments centered around Margarett Gundersons and the alleged conspiracy against Gunderson in order to get custody of her children...

9.16.08

"This is a case about abuse.
Its abuse of power, its abuse of privilege
Its also the abuse of the People of Humboldt County."


Humboldt County District Attorney Paul Gallegos, closing statement
Today began with jury instructions and the closing statement by the prosecution. The defense will present their closing argument tomorrow and then the whole matter is handed off to the jury.


Gallegos began his closing arguments by reviewing the protective order prohibiting Gunderson from contacting Seal. There were multiple violations of this order as demonstrated by several e-mails, phone calls and witnesses. An example of Gunderson’s correspondence to Seal included “I just talked to my attorney. God Darcy I wish you had trusted me.” In a second correspondence to Seal, Gunderson wrote “Gary told me you were going to do something to help my case” (That is a presumed reference to Humboldt County Sheriff Gary Philp).


"If we can't follow the law, we can't have the moral authority to make others do so."
Gallegos next spoke about direct evidence versus circumstantial evidence. Circumstantial evidence is to be given the same weight as direct evidence. Direct evidence included facts presented such as Seal having no access to the weapons kept in the safe at the Gunderson home. The weapons were not registered with the Department of Justice. All other weapons were accounted for on an inventory and correctly registered but not these two. The contract presented for the acquisition of the guns states clearly that Gunderson may not sell or transfer them. But that is exactly what City Manager Wiley Buck stated they were purchased for.
Regarding the guns, "If they are so needed, why the cloak and dagger with these weapons?...What if he quit? Is anyone going to know those weapons are gone? Is anybody going to know these weapons are missing?" "If its not on paper, it doesn't exist." (This particular quote has been a theme thru-out the trial. If there is no paper trail for the guns they don’t exist).


Regarding the belief by some that Gunderson is being held to a higher standard, Gallegos submits that he is not being held to a higher standard but that "He is held to the same standard as you and I. Do you and I get to possess this kind of weaponry? The answer is No."
The defense has argued that Seal is the aggressor and dominant partner in this relationship. Concerning the pornographic photos of Seal, "If she is so dominant, why does he have to wait until she is passed out to take them?"
Regarding the interview provided by Seal, "Sgt. Wayne Hanson has a recorder on the table. If she's joking why does she ask to go off the record for awhile? If it was a joke, what part of the joke was making her cry?"
Gallegos points out the earlier testimony that when Gunderson was confronted by Seal with the rape allegation, the first thing he said was "are you wearing a wire?" No denial was ever offered until the trial.

More...

9.10.08 Defense calls Benedict Tiso to the stand. Mr. Tiso is a 24 year veteran with the FBI and an expert in weapons and tactics. Defense Attorney Russell Clanton asked him if he was familiar with DRMO, a program by the Dept. of Defense to surplus materials, weapons and property to law enforcement? Tiso stated he was familiar with the program. Tiso testified that the weapons cited on the property list for Blue Lake Police were commonly used in law enforcement agencies around the country. The silencer was also commonly used by those that don't want to upset bystanders or disturb other officers with the sounds of gunshot.

DA Paul Gallegos cross examined Tiso about the amount of compensation he was receiving for testifying today for the defense ($150hr, $200hr for court). Gallegos then asked about standard training for the use of the weapons in question. Tiso stated that the department provided training ranging from 3, 4 or 5 days for machine guns. Training would typically involve the discharge of approximately 200 rounds of ammunition. Trainings are also well documented. The issue of documentation regarding the weapons was discussed next.

Gallegos: "Would you expect a weapon to be on a police departments inventory?"

Objection by Clanton which is overruled

Tiso: "Yes"

Tiso went on to state that he didn't believe the guns were required to be registered. Gallegos asked him if he would defer to the opinion of the DOJ witness who had earlier testified they would need to be registered. Tiso said that he would defer to the DOJ expert on what the law is.

Wayne Shaw was called to the stand next. He is an owner of a local electronics business in Fortuna. He had been requested by Blue Lake PD to install gun mounts (electronic mounts) for 2 shotguns and one MP-5 in a Suburban in July of 2004.

Shaw: "That particular one was in the Chiefs Suburban...I installed a console for the radio and stuff. It was set up like a police car."

Nancy Huntzinger was called next (her relationship to the case was unclear).

Clanton: "What did she (Darcy) tell you?"

Huntzinger: "That it wasn't true."

Clanton: "What wasn't true?"

Huntzinger: "What she told law enforcement."

With that, the defense rested its case.

Trial to resume Monday at 9am with closing arguments and jury instructions..

9.10.08 Defense calls Benedict Tiso to the stand. Mr. Tiso is a 24 year veteran with the FBI and an expert in weapons and tactics. Defense Attorney Russell Clanton asked him if he was familiar with DRMO, a program by the Dept. of Defense to surplus materials, weapons and property to law enforcement? Tiso stated he was familiar with the program. Tiso testified that the weapons cited on the property list for Blue Lake Police were commonly used in law enforcement agencies around the country. The silencer was also commonly used by those that don't want to upset bystanders or disturb other officers with the sounds of gunshot.

DA Paul Gallegos cross examined Tiso about the amount of compensation he was receiving for testifying today for the defense ($150hr, $200hr for court). Gallegos then asked about standard training for the use of the weapons in question. Tiso stated that the department provided training ranging from 3, 4 or 5 days for machine guns. Training would typically involve the discharge of approximately 200 rounds of ammunition. Trainings are also well documented. The issue of documentation regarding the weapons was discussed next.

Gallegos: "Would you expect a weapon to be on a police departments inventory?"

Objection by Clanton which is overruled

Tiso: "Yes"

Tiso went on to state that he didn't believe the guns were required to be registered. Gallegos asked him if he would defer to the opinion of the DOJ witness who had earlier testified they would need to be registered. Tiso said that he would defer to the DOJ expert on what the law is.

Wayne Shaw was called to the stand next. He is an owner of a local electronics business in Fortuna. He had been requested by Blue Lake PD to install gun mounts (electronic mounts) for 2 shotguns and one MP-5 in a Suburban in July of 2004.

Shaw: "That particular one was in the Chiefs Suburban...I installed a console for the radio and stuff. It was set up like a police car."

Nancy Huntzinger was called next (her relationship to the case was unclear).

Clanton: "What did she (Darcy) tell you?"

Huntzinger: "That it wasn't true."

Clanton: "What wasn't true?"

Huntzinger: "What she told law enforcement."

With that, the defense rested its case.

Trial to resume Monday at 9am with closing arguments and jury instructions..

9.9.08

Defense attorney, Russell Clanton, calls DA Investigator Wayne Cox to the stand.

The defense resumed their attacks on the alleged victim, Darcy Seal, in an attempt to portray Dave Gunderson, former Police Chief of Blue Lake, as the victim in the marriage. During the questioning, Clanton referred to an investigation Cox had done into possible grand theft committed by Seal while she was a Sargeant at the Blue Lake Police Dept. The grand theft refers to her allowing former brother-in-law Carl Patton to "shop" in the BLPD evidence room and help himself to weapons (later used in the commission of a crime) and marijuana grow lights (used to start a grow operation in Gunderson's rental house).

Clanton: "Did Carl Patton tell you that he did any criminal activity whith Darcy Seal?"

Cox: "He said Darcy let him into the police department to "shop." Once for grow lights and once for weapons."

Clanton: "He grew marijuana in a place that he rented from Mr. Gunderson?"

Cox: "Yes, sir."

The cross-examination of Cox by DA Paul Gallegos brought up an exchange between Cox and Seal in which Cox called Seal a liar.

Cox: "The big issue where I call her a liar was an interview I had with her regarding shake. She had a big issue with me calling her a liar (regarding the shake) and we went round and round with that."

Gallegos: Did you ask her if she ever gave weapons to Carl Patton?"

Cox: "I did. She denied it."

Clanton then called Ruby Seal to the stand. Ruby is Darcy's aunt and a former employee of the Blue Lake Police Department. The majority of the questioning focused on whether Seal treated Gunderson well or was she mean to him (making disparaging comments about his weight and his hair). Ruby felt that Seal was disrespectful to Gunderson and it "made her uncomfortable." She also stated that Seal rarely showed up for work in the last two years and would take Ruby shopping during work hours. Ruby stated that she believed Seal made the decisions in the relationship. Ruby said she had never witnessed Gunderson being abusive to Seal but thought Seal was abusive to Gunderson. Ruby lost her job at BLPD.

Clanton next called former Blue Lake Police Officer Joseph Gerace to the stand. Gerace stated that Seal was his training officer when he started with the department. He also felt that Seal was disrespectful to Gunderson and that it was "unprofessional."

Gerace: "It became clear pretty quick that Seal was dominate in the relationship."

Gerace also stated that he felt Seal couldn't be trusted as she was "very very wishy washy."

The questioning then focused on the automatic weapons that were taken to the local shooting range and used by Gunderson, Seal, Gerace, Gerace's wife and Gunderson's two younger boys. During the cross examination, Gallegos asked about the contention that the day at the shooting range was "training" for the officers.

Gallegos: "Does your wife work for BLPD?"

Gerace: "No"

Gallegos: "When you trained, how many times did you shoot it (the automatic weapon) that day?"

Gerace: "Once that day"

Gallegos: "Did you have any follow-up training on that machine gun?"

Gerace: "No"

...

Gallegos: "Was it strange to you that your wife got the same amount of "training" on that weapon that you did?"

Gerace then said that the training was in case anyone needed to back up the Chief, including his wife. Gerace confirmed that the weapon being shot was in fully automatic mode rather than single shot.

Gerace corrected himself and stated that his wife was not, in fact, there for machine gun training.

Gallegos also established that the BLPD never had 10 officers, which Gunderson had stated on the paperwork to request the automatic weapons ten at a time. Gerace also stated that he was unaware that the BLPD had 30 weapons, including the side arm with a silencer.

Gallegos: "So you were never told that you might have to respond with these weapons to the casino or the school."

Joan Gallegos, wife of DA Gallegos and former family law attorney for Margaret Gunderson, was called to the stand next. She stated that there was no discussion or plan of using the rape allegations or the nude pictures of Seal in the family law case. Once the charges were filed against Gunderson, Joan stopped representing Margaret immediately. Despite being given the opportunity to question his wife under oath, Gallegos had no cross examination questions.

The next witness called was a minor who said that they had lied to investigators.

Judge Watson closed the session for the day and stated that the defense should be able to finish its presentation by the end of this week. Next week will include closing statements and jury instructions, then the case will be in the hands of the jury.

9.8.08 Former Blue Lake Police Chief David Gunderson's attorney, Russell Clanton, recalls Darcy Seal to the stand.

Starting todays testimoney defense attorney Russell Clanton began by having Seal discuss various stresses that she has been under the past couple of years. Quickly the questioning turned to Darcy herself.

Seal acknowledges that she has arguments with her husband both at home and at work where she is “aggressive”.
Clanton: “Could it be said that you have a mean streak?”
Seal: “Yes”
Clanton: “Did you argue about Chief Gunderson’s judgment?”
Seal: “Yes”
Clanton: “Did you ever disparage him about his physical appearance?”
Seal: “Yes”
(Seal goes on to discuss how she knew that Gunderson was insecure about his weight and would use this as a method of being mean to him.)
Clanton: “If you were in an argument do you recall whose feelings would be hurt first?”
Seal: “Probably him.”
Clanton: “Were you ever physically abusive?”
Seal: “I shot him with squirt guns!”


The defense appears to be building a case for Dave being victimized by Seal during their marriage and then by a conspiracy between Seal and Margaret Gunderson. Clanton’s questioning of Seal attempted to establish an alleged “plan” between the two women to get Dave Gunderson out of the area.


Clanton: “Did you and Margaret ever form a plan, for lack of a better word, to get Dave out of the area?”
Seal: “I don’t think we talked about a plan but that’s what it ended up going to.”


Responding to questioning, Seal (a police sergeant herself) stated that she had no idea that Gunderson would be arrested. She reiterated that she had made up all the allegations and perjured herself in the preliminary hearing. Seal stated that her earlier allegations were designed to “help Margaret” and get Gunderson out of the area.


The questions then addressed the issue of the protective order that was granted to Seal.

Seal: “I hadn’t read it (the protection order) and they didn’t read it to me.”


In response to questions about the District Attorney’s office…
Seal: “Hislop said that I didn’t have the right to not be a victim and that they were taking it over.”


Clanton then focused on criminal allegations regarding Seal and alleged “threats” made by the District Attorney’s office.
Seal: “There were a lot of threats at that time.”
When asked what the threats may have been about…
Seal: “My son getting me marijuana and trading drugs for guns.”
Clanton: “These accusations materialized about the time of the preliminary hearing?”
Seal: “Yes”
Clanton: “Did they threaten jail or prison?”
Seal: “Prison”


Clanton then focused on the immunity agreement granted to Seal as a motivator for her making up these allegations about Gunderson. Clanton asked about Seal letting Carl Patton take marijuana grow lights that had been seized by the Blue Lake Police Department in order to start a grow operation in one of Gunderson’s rental properties. Seal stated she didn’t remember anything about the grow lights. Seal stated that she felt “backed into a corner” and had to testify falsely against Gunderson or she would go to prison herself.


The questioning then focused on a series of email messages Seal had sent to various people, including the Grand Jury, the State Attorney General’s office and the Times Standard. Seal stated that she had written the emails because “no one was listening to her.” She was hoping that another department would step in and Gunderson would get out of jail.


When asked why she didn’t want to testify, Seal responded…
Seal: “I don’t feel like this is about me.”


Paul Gallegos then cross-examined Seal. Seal reiterated her earlier testimony that she thought she would not be prosecuted by the DA’s office for her own possible criminal activity if she testified against Gunderson. During this time she was also in close contact with Gunderson’s defense attorney, Russell Clanton.


When asked about why she emailed Gunderson in Aug. of 2007 and accused him of raping her, Seal stated that she was just “being mean.”
Gallegos: “Did you say you had been raped because you were under some sort of pressure from my office?”
Seal: “No, I already answered that.”


Gallegos asked Seal if she knew what a mandated reporter was.
Seal: “I understand what that means and I worked with many sex crimes.”


Gallegos then asked about a Quit Claim deed that she had wanted Gunderson to sign regarding their home. It was learned earlier in the trial that Gunderson never put Seal’s name on the deed to the home. Seal had stated that she believed it was the realtor who made a mistake by “forgetting” to include her name on all of the paperwork that would have been signed by Gunderson at that time.
Gallegos: “So that quit claim deed was never signed?”
Seal: “No and we lost both of our houses. Thanks!”
Seal’s demeanor made it clear that she blames the District Attorney’s office for their current legal trouble.


Seal was dismissed from the stand, subject to recall.

9.3.08 Loaning of Machine Guns to Rio Dell Police by Blue Lake Police Department was Illegal.

Today we concluded the audio taped recordings between Investigator Wayne Cox and Darcy Seal. Seal at no time denied the facts of the case as she had originally testified in the preliminary hearing. Seals life turmoil is evident by her statements regarding the case, divorce, finances, and the overall feeling of helplessness by her seems to progress as time progresses towards the trial.

Turning to the guns we heard testimony from investigator Steve Dunn who is an expert on guns and was the officer in charge of securing the weapons at both the Gunderson home and Blue Lake Police Department. Where there were some 48 registered guns as well as the unregistered MP5 and 25 caliber pistol with silencer. Gunderson falsified paperwork submitted to purchase guns by putting 10 as the number of officers working for Blue Lake PD. The actual number was 4 and that is including both Darcy Seal and Chief Gunderson.

District Attorney Paul Gallegos: "Did you ever see if Mr. Gunderson was a registered firearms dealer?"

Investigator Steve Dunn: "He is not!"

Gallegos tried to enter into evidence Exhibit #14 which was a printout of Chief Gunderson’s Myspace page. Which was objected to by Chief Gunderson’s Attorney Russell Clanton. The bottom of Gunderson’s Myspace page says "Weapons Systems / Sales and Service"

More details of today will be coming ASAP There will be a partial day tomorrow then the defense will start on Monday.

8.29.08 Gunderson not a victim, according to Darcie Seal!

Today's hearing revolved around the taped conversations between the District Attorney's office and Darcie Seal. Excerpts of the tapes can be read here. Court will resume on Tuesday with more of the tapes. Updated with more excerpts from the tapes!

8.29.08 The Honorable Judge W. Bruce Watson: “The DVD Speaks for itself. There are a couple of areas that were redacted because they are not relevant to the proceedings... Mr. Cox will run the recordings and he will identify what is next.” (Wayne Cox is an investigator for the Humboldt County Sheriff who was in charge of the searches of Chief Gunderson’s home as well as the Blue Lake Police Department.) “…We will conclude the recordings on Tuesday.”
Investigator Cox: “ The first tape is 6.10.08 at 9:10 hours.” (the first tape is very brief, it consisted of him calling Darcie and having her call him back).
Track 2: Darcie Seal has some brief discussion with investigator Cox over the protective order and what it means. Seal seems confused about what the order means and its implications. Cox reminds Seal of an encounter where Seal was with her friend Janet Arnot, following District Attorney Paul Gallegos and investigator Cox outside the courthouse on Fifth Street and tried to approach with some questions. Cox told her that as he had explained at the time he was unable to speak with her without her attorney, Patrick Griego, present. Cox also mentioned in the conversation about the interview that Seal and her then attorney had with Cox and Gallegos on the 4th floor of the DA’s office which centered around the topic of the protective order. Cox states to Darcie “…and you were in favor of the order.”
Seal: “Except that it is not keeping him from harassing me!”
Cox: “Is he harassing you?”
Seal wants to talk off of the record. Cox explains that it is not possible to do that. He further details “…how Dave is going to take you fishing” (which is a threat that was allegedly made to Seal).
Darcie: “Nobody knows what Dave has put me thru and what was put in the paper is only the tip of the iceberg”… “ I have no attorney!”
Cox: “I can’t tell you that what you tell me will stay between us.” … “How has he been harassing you with a court order in place?”
Seal: “His brother calls me.”
Cox: “Has he threatened you?” (There was no response to that question)
Seal continues “You realize he was writing my son.”
Cox: “I know about that.”
Seal continues to describe how he is so nice in the letters now and is disturbed because “he is treating me like shit for all these years…”

There is some other fragmented discussion about the divorce and Cox again reiterates “Darcie, I can’t give you any legal advice. The letters to the son would be up to an attorney to decide if it was against the law.”
Cox: “The letters to (son) are nice, the letters to you are nice. Can you see why he would try to be nice?”…”1. I can’t give legal advice and 2. I can’t know how you feel. That’s why I said from the first time I talked to you that there is victim witness protection. …and you said you didn’t want them to help you.”
Seal: “Everything I say will be in the paper…”
Cox: “not everything you say will be in the paper.”
Seal: “The pictures… I want them destroyed!” Seal also states that she is very distraught over people coming by her house and taking pictures…
Seal further explains that she is worried that they (the unauthorized and authorized pictures of her) will not be completely removed from the computer hard drives when the equipment is returned to Blue Lake. She explains that she has heard that it is virtually impossible to erase everything. Cox explains that everything humanly possible will be done to make sure that the pictures are removed. Cox tells Seal: “You’re our victim Darcie, it is our job to get justice and protect our victim. I can’t control what the press reports because it’s a public process. After a picture of your house came on the news I had a long discussion with the news guy… he agreed and apologized… I would anticipate when the trial kicks off there will be press… They don’t have to follow my directions..I think they will.”
Seal continues to discuss her concerns about the press and Dave and how she is confused etc.
Cox: “Dave did bad things to you.”
Seal: “Yeah.”
Cox: “That’s why we have laws, he was not supposed to do those things to you.”
Seal continues with fragmented statements about her confusion…
Cox: “Do you want to come in and talk?”
Seal: “I don’t want anything else in the paper.”
Cox: “Was everything you told us the truth?”
Seal: “I don’t know. I am confused.”
Cox: “Did Dave have sex with you against your will?”
Seal: “I don’t know, my psychologists says … (she was vague about what he actually said). We were having problems because he was abusive verbally and psychologically, because Margaret (Chief Gunderson’s ex-wife)… had a big role in that” (I believe the “that” was the several hour interview with Humboldt County Sheriff’s investigators back on February 8th, 2008 at the McKinleyville substation) Seal goes on to state that for years Margaret has been filling her head with things…
Seal: “…said Dave raped me and she just put all these things into my head.”…
Cox: “I remember that you told me you told him to stop having sex with you…
Seal: “That’s the thing, when I went in there I was being sarcastic. I was in no way upset or distraught. I have seen the video and the last thing he said to me on that day was to get my head out of my ass.”
Seal changed the conversation back to an interview that she had had at the DA’s office with her attorney Michael Crowley. She was upset about her friend Janet Arnot not being allowed to come in with her for moral support in the interview. She further states “Michael Crowley was not allowing me to tell the truth.” She goes on to say “I don’t have any other friends.” Cox goes on to state once again “We need the truth… There are people out there that think we don’t like Dave and we will do anything to get him.” Cox again asks Seal, were you forced to have sex against your will?
Darcie: “I would never withhold sex… I didn’t say no. Me lying there lifeless or crying doesn’t mean it wasn’t ok…”
Cox: “In court, when you said at least once a month is that true?”
Seal: “That was being nice.”
Darcie: “Are you recording this?”
Cox: “No”
Darcie: “Are you telling the truth?”
Cox: “(chuckle’s) Yes.”
Seal asks what the definition of consent is.
Cox: “I think consent is in the eyes of the beholder”

Seal: “What I was thinking was how could someone who loved me so much do what he did…”
Cox: “Was it with your consent?”
Seal: “I let him do it.”
There was some discussion about how much jail time Chief Gunderson is looking at.
Cox: “He’s looking at life.”
Seal: “I don’t like him he’s, he’s a liar, he’s an abuser.”
Cox: “Is he a rapist in your opinion?”
Seal: “I don’t know… My expectation is he wouldn’t have sex with me. How could he have sex with someone who is crying?”
Cox encourages Seal to let witness protection help her. He says that he will have them contact her today for help. He further explains that the witness protection people are made up of people who were victims themselves. He compares what they do to drug counselors who used to be drug addicts and that those are the most respected counselors by the addicts because they know where they are coming from.
Seals conversation turns to questions about Gallegos.
Cox: “Let me tell you something about Paul. Paul is blatantly blunt”

Cox: “Dave is responsible for what happened. Do you know about Stockholm syndrome?” … “Patty Hearst. The theory of it is the victim becoming sympathetic and responsible for the bad guy.”
(Seal then talks about the gun charges and what is going on with them)
Regarding the gun charges, Cox: “To me these are second fiddle to crimes against humans.”
Cox says that they wouldn’t have filed charges if they didn’t believe that Dave raped her.
Cox: “There is 100% no way in hell this office would have filed charges if we didn’t believe a crime was committed!”
Seal: “I am very intimidated by Dave.”
Cox: “Why?”
Seal: “Ask Margaret.”
Cox: “I can’t ask Margaret.”
Seal goes on to say “He didn’t hit me, he let me know how stupid I was, he just has an air about him that is threatening to me.”… “That’s why I am calling; I have to live with whatever happens here.”
Seal goes on to state that Gunderson thinks he has everything beat. He says that the trial won’t happen on June 30th. She goes on about how she is isolated
Seal: “You guys don’t talk to me and Clanton doesn’t talk to me”
Cox: “Clanton doesn’t talk to you because he is the bad guys’ attorney.”
The audio was stopped and Gallegos states that the remainder of the call will be played later and that he wanted to go onto a different track before coming back to it.

Next tape 6.10.08

Cox: "[W]as he (Michael Crowley) telling you to lie?"

Seal: "He yelled at me and got in my face...I have to live with whatever happened...I am completely honest."

Cox: "Are you telling me that there is more stuff, crimes or something else because of the newspaper?"

Seal: "I have said that all along."

Cox: "I need you to assure me that you are telling the truth."

...

Seal: "I have a shit load of hard drives and all the bullets..."

Cox:"I would like to see them."

...

Seal: "I am more worried for his mom, if she dies over this."

Next tape 6.14.08

District Attorney Paul Gallegos and Darcie Seal

Gallegos: I really think you should talk to victim witness protection. I do understand how embarrasing and humiliating this thing can be. I can ask for a gag order so that the attorney's can't talk to the press, so...it may not happen because of the 1st amendment."

Seal: "Can I say something now, he has been damaging me for years. I was in counseling for verbal abuse and emotional abuse."

Gallegos: "I am starting to understand Darcie."

Seal: "To tell you the truth, I am supposed to do that in front of every body and the press? Where does that leave me?...He was a jerk, he was an asshole and he treated me like shit"...

...

Seal: "I don't talk to his brother at all now. He told me to drop things or he is going to get an attorney."

Gallegos: "What is your best case scenario with Dave?"

Seal: "He is passive agressive...I have found so much more stuff in the garage. Hard drive's, floopys, small cameras, some that look like thermostats...I want all of those pictures destroyed."

...

Seal: "All those, some are consentual and some look to be consentual but there not...you don't say no to Dave. Why's that? It's hard to understand. He just intimidates me."

...

Gallegos: "First of all and foremost, the important thing is the truth. Were you victimized...that's the thing...the facts you have told us. I am not a perfect person...the facts you have told us are not normal for a man and a wife."

Seal: "I am worried that no matter what, he can get off."

Gallegos: "I will do everything I can to make him accountable for what he has done. He is going to say anything and everything to save his butt. If he raped you...the question isn't whether you said no. It's whether you said yes. A husband and wife, it is not presumed that you said yes. The law recognized that women have power over their body's."

...

Seal: "People blame me for getting the department closed."

Gallegos: "You are not responsible."

Seal: "Dave has been verbally and psychologically abusive for many many years. Now I don't have an attorney so I can say...my only concern is my son. He is my #1. I have having trouble with my renter because of Dave."

Gallegos: "It's going to get worse before it gets better."

...

Gallegos: "Why do you think he is writing your son?"

Seal: "To get to me."

...

References were made to the arrest of Chris Woody for child pornography and his regular contacts and conversations with Dave Gunderson. Seal felt that this relationship was suspicious.

Gallegos: "You found all these small cameras around the house..."

Seal: "He is obsessed with poronography...I know he has pictures of me, what else is he doing?"

8.28.08 Today's testimony started with Diane Wetendorf, an expert witness on domestic violence. Wetendorf spoke of the "wheel of power and control" when decribing domestic violence and the effects on the victim. It is common for victims to recant their testimony and even come to the defense of their abuser. This is part of the psychology of abuse. The violence involves emotional control as well as physical and sexual abuse (The emotional control and demonstration of his power over his wife was demonstrated by Gunderson during the jail visit when he insisted Darcie expose herself). The witness was cross examined by defense attorney Russell Clanton who insisted that Wetendorf is a biased victims advocate who was paid by the prosecution to testify today.

Janet Arnot, a long time friend of Seal's, was called to the stand next. She spoke of Darcie's fear of Gunderson and belief that he would kill her if she ever went against him. After the marriage, Gunderson made Seal break off contact with Arnot. They had not spoken for approximately four years and then reconnected after Gunderson's arrest. Arnot stated that Seal had told former Blue Lake City Manager, Wiley Buck, about the abuse and subsequent harassment but nothing was ever done. During one incident in 2001, Arnot called 911 for help when Gunderson was breaking into the home. Arnot told the operator that the Blue Lake Police Chief was the one breaking in and terrorizing the women and children present. Gunderson then contacted the Duane Rigge at the Sheriff's office himself and asked him to "call his dogs off." There was no police response to the 911 call after that.

Humboldt County Sheriff's Office Investigator Mike Losey was the next witness to the stand. He spoke of the arrest of Gunderson and the subsequent search of the residence and the Blue Lake Police Department. Clanton objected to the introduction of the property receipt given to Wiley Buck that recorded the weapons taken into evidence. Judge Watson has not yet ruled on the introduction of that evidence. Investigator Mike Stoen then testified about the computer evidence that was taken by law enforcement.

Investigator Wayne Cox then testified regarding the interview with Seal . Seal told him, "If he (Gunderson) finds out I am here, I'm in trouble." Cox stated that while in jail Gunderson contacted Seal, which was a violation of the protective order that was in place for her protection. Cox also stated that just the day before, Seal contacted Cox and told him that she wanted to leave town immediately. Cox reminded Seal that she was still subject to recall in the current hearing.

The witnesses expected to testify on Friday, August 29th, include Wiley Buck, Duane Rigge, Steve Dunn and Wayne Cox (who will be resuming his testimony)

8.27.08 The Jury was dismissed for the day today so the court was able to take care of some business. Tomorrow is another day...

8.26.08 Today's testimony began with Margaret Gunderson, former wife of the accused. They were married from 1991 to 2000 and have two sons together. Margaret testified that she believes Gunderson drugged her and then had nonconsensual sex with her during their marriage. She had found wine bottles with a white powdery residue in the bottom, although the residue was never tested. Her prescription sleeping pills, Ambien, were kept in a locked box with only Margaret and Gunderson having access. Pills went missing soon after. She also testified to waking up half naked, from the waist down and no memory of what happened. Margaret stated that she confronted Gunderson about putting the Ambien in the wine that he was then encouraging her to drink. He replied with an accusation that she was wearing a wire, which she denied. He then admitted to lacing the wine, according to Margaret.

The testimony then focused on Darcy Seal. Margaret stated that not long after their marriage she had shared with Darcy what she alleges Gunderson did to her in regards to the drugging and unconsensual sex. Eventually, Darcy admitted to Margaret that he was doing the same thng to her. Darcy told Margaret that she had found pictures of herself on the computer previously. These pictures were taken of her while unconscience and posed provocatively. Darcy asked Margaret if she could try to recover the pictures from the hard drive. Margaret stated that she hadn't wanted to do it at first but then did agree to try and help. Margaret was present at an interview done at the Eureka police station as moral support for Darcy. She stated that Darcy was very upset that Gunderson was being charged and that wasn't what Darcy had wanted to happen. Darcy became more and more hostile towards Margaret and repeatedly stated that she "wasn't ready" for this.

Margaret was cross examined by defense attorney Russell Clanton. His line of questioning initially implied some type of conspiracy between Margaret, the district attorney's office and other law enforcement. Clanton inferred that the animosity between Margaret and Gunderson, revolving around the issue of the divorce settlement and custody, were an underlying cause of these allegations. In regards to Margaret's allegation of being drugged and taken advantage of by Gunderson, Clanton asked why there was no complaint filed. Margaret replied that she wasn't emotionally up to it. Margaret was represented by Joan Gallegos (wife of the district attorney) in the custody case. Clanton questioned whether there was a plan between Joan Gallegos and Margaret to get the indecent pictures of Darcy to use in the custody fight. Margaret testified that there was no such plan. During the redress by Gallegos, Margaret testified that Darcy never asked to leave the interview with law enforcement and at no time did she say anything about her testimony being false. Margaret was excused from the witness stand, subject to recall.

The next witness called to the stand was Michael Crowley, former attorney for Darcy Seal. Darcy had previously testified that she had told her attorney that she had lied about the allegations and that he had yelled at her and told her to keep to her story. Crowley stated that he had met with Darcy prior to the preliminary hearing and had instructed her to tell the truth, speak clearly while on the witness stand, etc. At no time did he, nor would he, tell a client to lie under oath. Clanton cross examined Crowley regarding the immunity agreement that had been reached to protect Darcy from self-incrimination. Clanton asked Crowley if he was aware that there was an investigation at that time into Darcy allowing Carl Patton (I believe he may be her brother) to go "shopping" in the Blue Lake Police Department's evidence room in exchange for marijuana. Crowley stated he was unaware of that specifically.

Former attorney for Darcy, Patrick Griego, then testified about assisting Darcy with the immunity agreement. He stated that it was clearly explained to Darcy that her testimony couldn't be used against her regarding any criminal charges provided it was truthful testimony. False testimony would invalidate the immunity agreement. If any independent evidence showed Darcy was involved in any criminal activities, she could be charged. Griego testified that Darcy was upset over the interview with law enforcemet. She stated she had told the truth but was upset over how the whole thing came about. Prior to this, Griego was familiar with some of the possible criminal charges against Darcy as he had spoken with Clanton, who was representing Carl Patton. Griego was aware of the statment Patton had filed but said Darcy wasn't worried about it. Griego then testified as to Darcy's state of mind during this time frame. He stated that he had spoken to her approximately 100 times during his representation and that she was consistently terrorfied of Gunderson and what he would do to her for testifying against him. She had stated that Gunderson had worked with a gang unit down south and knew people that could make her disappear. She was petrified that she would be killed if she testified.

The final witness of the day was Boyd Lazelle, a bail bondsman and locksmith who is a friend of Gunderson and Darcy. Lazelle had helped open the safes in the Gunderson home during the search and later told Gunderson about the search and what was done. Gallegos asked Lazelle if he had accompanied Darcy to the jail in order to visit Gunderson. Lazelle testified that he had gone with her. He said that during the jail visit Gunderson told Darcy to show her breast, which she did. He then told her to show her butt but she refused. Gunderson got very upset at her for refusing him. Darcy then had an anxiety attack. Gallegos asked Lazelle if Darcy had ever dicussed her relationship with Gunderson. Lazelle stated that she "said he didn't rape her, she said he did engage in unconsensual sex." When asked if he felt Darcy was scared of Gunderson, Lazelle said that she was, "sometimes."

Court was dismissed for the day, scheduled to resume tomorrow.

8.25.08 Darcy Seal finishes up on the stand for now. We learned through her testimony that it was in fact her plastic surgeon who gave her the prescriptions of Lunesta and Klonopin; her psychiatrist gave her the prescription for the Prozac. Monday morning was filled with the cross examination by defense attorney Russell Clanton. Much of this day’s testimony centered on Ms. Seals’ recantation of the accusations of rape against Blue Lake Police Chief David Gunderson. She claims that she was tricked by the ex wife and the Sheriff's department, etc. She also states that she took 2 Klonopin under her tongue just prior to speaking with Sheriff's investigators. After some re-cross by the District attorney, Ms. Seal was excused from the stand but is subject to recall by both the prosecution and defense.

On board for tuesday is Margarette Gunderson. The Chief's ex wife...

8.15.08 Darcy Seal still on the stand with cross examination by Russell Clanton. Seal answered questions about her employment and early involvement with Dave Gundersen and his then wife Margaret. She stated that she was hired in 1998 by then Police Chief Stokes, Gundersen was the Deputy Chief. Seal stated that she had a good memory about events in 2001 between Gundersen and his wife. According to her testimony, there was an internal investigation involving herself and Chief Gundersen in 2001. Seal had become friends with Margaret Gundersen during this time. In 2001 Seal received a phone call from Margaret stating that Gundersen had "raped" her. Seal stated, "I didn't believe her." The two women spent time together as friends over the next few years. Seal then married Gundersen in 2005. Seal testified that her relationship with Margaret changed at this point as "she was upset about the marriage." After the marriage, Seal began to refuse to work on-call for the police department as she was "burnt out." In 2006, "something happened" that resulted in a trip to the emergency room for Seal and prescriptions for Lunesta, Klonopin and Prozac. She started to have frequent anxiety/panic attacks. Seal testified that the Lunesta had a "light" affect on her and she never told her husband that she was taking medication. Seal also stated that she was taking approximately four times the prescribed dosage of the Klonopin (side effects for an overdose of Klonopin include coma, confusion, sleepiness and slowed reaction time). "I was a mess," according to Seal. Clanton asked Seal if "at any time did you ever have nonconsentual sex under the influence of Lunesta? Seal responded "no."

Seal then stated that she had never consented to having nude photographs taken of herself, only partially nude. The nude photographs of Seal had been recovered off of a hard drive she had delivered to Margaret at the Humboldt County Sheriff's office (where Margaret is employed). Seal testified that she "made sure that the photos were deleted before dropping off the hard drive." Seal then stated that she "didn't trust her (Margaret)." When asked how things got to the point that Seal would say these things about her husband, Seal responded "I don't know." Despite being a trained law enforcement officer, Seal stated that she lied to investigators during the interview and on the witness stand at the preliminary hearing. "I didn't think it was going to go anywhere," explained Seal. Clanton closed today's hearing by asking Seal if she felt Margaret was "using her" to gain custody of their children. Seal agreed that she believed she had been used and that Margaret was awarded custody.

The trial is scheduled to resume Monday, Aug. 25th.

8.14.08 The jury viewed the rest of Exhibit 24, the video tape of Darcy Seal's interview with investigators, as well as more of her testimony. In the video tape, she recieved numerous text messages from Gunderson about her needing to call him immediately. When asked about an Emergency Protective Order, she worried about Dave's safety, the safety of the officers serving it and her safety afterwards. The interviewers told her that they might be arresting Gunderson, to which she replied, "I need to know if that's going to happen", and "I'm not ready for this". Darcy Seal went back on the stand after the tape had been viewed, and DA Paul Gallegos continued with his questioning. He asked her about the interview, about the allegations she made and about her testimony in the preliminary hearing. She replied that she did not recall much of the interview because she was under a lot of stress. Regarding the allegations, she said that she "telling them what they wanted to hear", that she "didn't take it seriously" and that she was angry and just wanted space from both Dave Gunderson and his ex wife Margaret, whom she has accused of manipulation. As for her testimony in the preliminary hearing, she stated that she "felt [she] had to testify to what [she'd] originally said". There were many questions about what her idea of consent was; Darcy told the DA that she didn't feel like she needed to consent, because they were married. She also told him that she and her husband had a previous arrangement, and that she didn't mind not being able to consent to sex because she was under the influence. She repeatedly replied to the DA's questions with statements about how she thought they knew she was joking and that nothing would happen because no one was taking it seriously. Towards the end of today's questioning, DA Gallegos showed Darcy the MP5 and the handgun with a silencer found in their home. She stated did not recognize them. Darcy Seal will be cross examined tomorrow by Defense Attorney Russell Clanton, and then court will recess until the week of August the 25th. -Marylynn

8.13.08 The People vs. Blue Lake Police Chief David Ray Gundersen. Darcy Seal, wife of Gundersen, took the stand today. Defense attorney Russell Clanton objected to the submission of the exhibits which he based on Evidence Code 352. Noting the objection, the Honorable Judge Watson allowed the questioning by District Attorney Paul Gallegos of Seal to proceed. Seal, a hostile witness for the prosecution, dismissed her prior allegations of rape, abuse and false imprisonment as lies that she had written in e-mails and told to investigators. Seals responses to questioning were vague and confused, if not outright evasive. Seal was shown a picture she had taken of a computer screen that allegedly contained a compromising photo of her on it. Seal would not say that the picture accurately reflected what she saw on the computer screen when she took it. There was little recollection by Seal of the exhibits as they were presented to her, which included several e-mail correspondences with Gundersen as well as the photos that were entered into evidence earlier. (Note: much of this evidence was objected to by Defense Attorney Clanton based on Evidence Code 352. “The court in its discretion may exclude evidence if its probative value is substantially outweighed by the probability that its admission will (a) necessitate undue consumption of time or (b) create substantial danger of undue prejudice, of confusing the issues, or of misleading the jury”).

Notable Quotes: (Referring to e-mails that were sent to Blue Lake Police Chief David Ray Gundersen)

Darcy Seal: “Where is the allegation?”

District Attorney Paul Gallegos: “Fifth line up”… “Do you recall in the e-mail calling him a rapist?”

Darcy Seal: “I don’t recall it and I was angry when I wrote it.”

District Attorney Paul Gallegos: “Has your husband ever had sex with you against your will?”

Darcy Seal: “No!”

In further testimony by Seal regarding an hour and a half video taken by investigators for the Humboldt County Sheriff, Seal said “I was being sarcastic!” “I was under duress!” Further statements on the witness stand by Seal included; “after investigators told me that he was homicidal and suicidal” “that’s why I said what I said” “I responded because Margaret asked me to, I didn’t know that I was being recorded. I was being sarcastic.” “I have said that all along.” “I didn’t take it seriously, Margaret sent me there and I was just talking to her friends…” (Note: Seal is a trained police sergeant with the Blue Lake Police Dept.)

The video of Seals interview was presented which contradicted Seals testimony on the stand. More on this soon.

Seal retakes the stand tomorrow to complete her testimony.

Steve

8.12.08 People vs. Blue Lake Police Chief David Ray Gunderson. Published into evidence today were two pictures that were pulled off of the defendent's hard drive. District Attorney investigator Richard Grimm was able to confirm the victim's identity in Exhibit 9a because of her identifying tattoo, and the victim's face could be seen in Exhibit 8a. These photographs were both nude photographs of the victim, Darcy Seal 1, that were taken without her knowledge or consent. E-mail correspondence between the victim and Chief Gunderson was also submitted as Exhibits 6 and 7. DA Investigator Mike Hislop testified regarding the search warrant issued on Gunderson's home and the Blue Lake Police Department. In Gunderson's home locked in a safe the detectives found a Mark 23 .45 calibur handgun with a silencer and an MP5 Machine gun. The police department's ledger and some receipts were admitted into evidence in an attempt to discover whether the weapons were obtained legally and whether they were obtained for the Police Department or for personal use. The defense, represented by Russell Clanton, was trying to prove that the guns could have been traded for through a surplus weapons program called DRMO when court was adjourned for the day. The case will continue tomorrow at 8:30am again. -Marylynn

8.11.08 Opening arguments today in trial of Blue Lake Police Chief David Ray Gunderson. Brought into evidence was one computer hard drive said to contain explicit unauthorized photos of Darcy Seal, who is the Blue Lake Police Chief's wife. We will bring updates to this case online as time allows. There are about 3 weeks of witnesses for the prosecution according to District Attorney Paul Gallegos. The case continues tomorrow at 8:30am. Steve

8.6.08 The Jury is picked! Blue Lake Police Chief David Ray Gunderson trial is set to start Monday at 9am with opening arguments. The Jury consists of 7 women and 5 men, with the Honorable Judge Bruce Watson presiding.

TS - Hash receives 11 years in prison

☛TS Hash receives 11 years in prison (Well, 5 1/2, if that)

Steven Daniel Hash pleaded guilty on Friday to manslaughter in the death of Curtis Huntzinger, a 14-year-old Blue Lake boy killed in 1990.

As members of Huntzinger's family watched, Assistant District Attorney Wes Keat read the terms of the plea agreement, which stipulated Hash will serve 11 years in prison, and pay a total of more than $9,000 in restitution fines.

Following the reading, Hash wiped tears from his eyes and spoke directly to Nancy Huntzinger, Curtis' mother.

”I'm so terribly sorry,” he said. “For years, I've asked God, 'How come I'm walking around in the free world?'

”I know what I've done. I took everything Curtis had ... I took it all and it's real hard to deal with that. I've been dealing with that for years.”

Hash then thanked District Attorney Chief Investigator Mike Hislop and investigator Wayne Cox for their “thorough and competent investigation.”

Hash was granted 45 days credit for time served. By California statute, Hash will be eligible for parole 51/2 years after his sentence begins.

The crime of voluntary manslaughter carries statute of limitations of six years, meaning the statute of limitations expired 13 years ago. Nevertheless, Hash was able to plead to the felony as part of the agreement.

According to Keat, after his arrest, Hash was willing to fully cooperate with investigators, and had explained to them all the events that led up to the killing. Based on his admission, and the available evidence, the charge of manslaughter was appropriate given the circumstances of the killing, Keat said.

In May of 1990, during a sudden quarrel at Hash's home, Hash struck Curtis Huntzinger in the head with a dumbbell, killing him, Keat said.

”In the instant afterward, he was sorry it happened,” Keat said. “It was classic manslaughter.”

The quarrel was a result of allegations Hash had sexually molested Huntzinger. Those allegations would have been “hard to prove” in court, Keat said. But a letter, which was written by Curtis Huntzinger's sister Cindy DeVore, was read in court Friday and hinted at the alleged molestation.

Dated Jan. 1, the letter, addressed to Hash, read: “The last time I saw Curtis he was sitting on the arm of my couch, his hazel green eyes filled with pain.”

In the letter, DeVore expressed regret she could not do more to comfort her brother on that occasion.

”All we ever wanted was Curtis. Now we have him,” DeVore wrote. “He was loved and cherished, he was wanted and needed, but you killed him ... none of us will ever be the same.”

During the Friday hearing, Nancy Huntzinger also gave a brief statement thanking Hash for leading investigators to her son's grave.

After Hash had left the courtroom to be returned to his cell, Nancy Huntzinger said she was ambivalent about Hash's agreement, and was simply happy to have her son's body returned to her.

”I told (DA investigators) when we got Curtis back, he (Hash) could get time served,” Nancy Huntzinger said.

Since Curtis Huntzinger's body was found in a shallow grave under a stand of young redwoods, between Blue Lake and Korbel, officials have used the word “closure” to describe the conclusion of the 18-year long search for his body.

But for some members of the Huntzinger family -- the other victims involved in the killing -- the word is hardly descriptive.
”Closure? I mean, that's like it's the end,” Nancy Huntzinger said. “It will never be the end. I will never forget Curtis. I will remember him as long as I can breathe his name.”


Sean Garmire can be reached at 441-0514 or sgarmire@times-standard.com.

Sean Garmire/The Times-Standard
Posted: 01/03/2009 01:34:06 AM PST

Comments:
CJ Saint Claire - "In the instant afterward, he was sorry it happened..." so Mr Hash casually cruises through the expiration of the statue of limitations, and after 18 years of anguish, mom says "time served is OK" - I cannot imagine the pain and, quite possibly, the liberation of from such awful torment.

...and for Hash - Here is a case where just being sorry just is not good enough, you just got handed a pass on this one.

Someone needs to take this incident to the star chamber.

Case closed, finally. Sadly. Welcome home Curtis."
***
anono - "All in all some good work by the DA's office. Give credit where credit is due."
***
whodem dat slewdem - "11 years is a very short sentence considering that at most he will do 80% of that time and could do as little as five years. eligible for parole in 5.5 years really means eligible in 3 years. I am sure that the family is more concerned with closure than this mans sentence and they are relieved that they found the remains. Hash got a pass."
***
Shkayle - "So he came forth how many times to admit this crime? And now the the statue of limitations is his saving grace. Something is terribly wrong with the justice here. I believe in forgiveness, he can be forgiven but he still needs to serve a life sentence or have his life taken."
***
Scott Decker - "I totaly agree with Shkayle, Mr Hash should be sitting side by side serving the same sentence and mike Fox. I had met Curtis a few times and he seemed like such a wonderful kid. I also know that curtis was in Eureka staying with Mike Fox and Mr Hash They the two of them Fox and Hash used cloraform on young teens and did ungodly things to then youngsters. I had a friend show up at my house one Christmas eve with her teenage son who was beaten so badly that the poor kid coulde not even enjoy Christmas all becouse of Mike fox and Mr hash.

Mr Hash admited to this crime more then once and still he remained free all this time. It just makes me sick how the justuce system in this Country lets something like this go on and SIT ON IT FOR MANY YEARS WITHOUT EVEN TOUCHING THE CASE!
Curtis Huntzinger my he now rest in peace sufferd a untimly death and his KILLER walked free and got nothing but a SLAP on the hand for his crime.

People of Humblold County need to stand up for the rights of this young man (Curtis) And make sure that Mr Hash never gets out of jail.

And if that does not work make sure that Mr Hash is ran right out of the County as soon as he gets out of jail.

What ever happend to the old days when the LAWS where just and the killer was strung up in the center of town and hung to death for taking someone's life? Now they call it inhumian I say screw that bring back justice as our founding fathers wrote it and hang this MUDERER IN COLD BLOOD as he did to this poor young man ( Curtis ) who was just begining his life as a young.

Curtis layed in a shallow grave for 18 long years and I am sure his soul was in limbo wondering Why and why hasent anyone come to find me. what a sicking thought of how his soul mush have sufferd all these years and what his poor soul must be thinking now that Mr Hash just got a slap on the hand.

Dear Curtis, I met you a few times in our lives and what a sweet and fun loving person you where. I am deeply sad that your life ended long befor your time. I pray that your soul is now in peace and you are a free spirit and a wonderful angle. You have more then earned your wings, the suffering is over and may you rent in the wounderful loving care of your make our lord in the heavens above."
***
Scott Decker - "There are a few typos in my post sorry for that it is hard to write something with tears in the eye."
***
Mart - "It is time for America to get tough on criminals. Hash should have received the death penalty, and it should be carried out in a timely manner. I am sick of the scum sitting on death row for years and years while the family members take flowers to their loved ones grave site. Whats up with you people calling him "MR." Hash. He does not deserve to be called MR., just murderer!!
God Bless you Curtis! You will never be forgotten!"
***
Scott Decker - Scott thank you. My elder son was fondled on the testicles by the teenage son of my ex wife's boyfriend. When I notified CWS the Arcata Police Department called to interview my son. I arranged for the officers to talk to my son on a Saturday evening when I had custody. But I got a call that Saturday afternoon by an officer, Karen Jullian, who stated they would not need to question my son. I asked why. She said they contacted the mother who said the whole incident was very innocent - that the boys, a 17 year old and my 6 year old were wrestling on the floor.

Don't you find it the least bit peculiar that a mother, a teacher, a mandatory reporter of abuse would find a 17 year old boy fondling her son on the testicles to be innocent? Just as my son was going to sleep I asked him,'were you alone with (17 year old) or was your mom and (her b/f) there when () tickled you?'. He stated he was alone. I called the officer and left a message. She never returned my call nor followed up. She soon left the Arcata Police Department. I have first hand knowledge who inept the local police are when it comes to such matters.

Dont let it rest. If I was you I would DEMAND to have the police look into this incident if they still say no file the case in court stateing what took place and that the local police would not help or even look into the matter at hand. call cws everyday untill someone looks into the matter dont take NO for a answer. get your self a tape recorder ask your son what happend who it was with how long did it last that way that way you have record of it and his words can not be changed or took out of text by the law. I feel sorry that this happend to your son but DO NOT GIVE UP. Fight for your rights.

A 17 year old should not be touching a 6 year old or wrestling for that matter in areas where no one can see I am sure your 6 year old would not make up a story that a 17 year old touched his testicals at the age of 6 they dont even know what sex is for god sakes. This is what I would do if it was my child. call arcata pd, call hcsd, call child protetive services and if all else fails call your local newspaper and local tv call for answers, call for help.but do not let it sit idle dont STOP untill justise for your son is resoved....."
***
Serra - "11 years? Probation in 5 1/2?? He's been walking around free for how many? Talk about a slap on the wrist. I can't believe anyone would be happy with that sentence, well, besides the killer. What a tragic story, but at least his family finally has his body to bury."
***
Y4ever - "So someone could take care of Hash when he gets out and only do 51/2 years for manslaughter."
***
BLer - "CJ Saint Claire wrote:
”In the instant afterward, he was sorry it happened..." so Mr Hash casually cruises through the expiration of the statue of limitations, and after 18 years of anguish, mom says "time served is OK" - I cannot imagine the pain and, quite possibly, the liberation of from such awful torment.
But this is coming from the same woman who publically forgave him for the crime years ago."
***
eric - "You got to be kidding. Only 11 years! Where's the justice? The young boy is gone forever and the suspect only gets 11 years. Our judicial system needs sucks."
***
eric - "Mart wrote:
It is time for America to get tough on criminals. Hash should have received the death penalty, and it should be carried out in a timely manner. I am sick of the scum sitting on death row for years and years while the family members take flowers to their loved ones grave site. Whats up with you people calling him "MR." Hash. He does not deserve to be called MR., just murderer!!

God Bless you Curtis! You will never be forgotten!

I agree with all you said. I hope the suspect gets what he deserves in prison. It's time for a revolution. Some countries would have throughn him to the gators."
***
pugs2 - "Terrible man, just plain murder"
***
Jeff E - "How could anyone objective, credit the DA's office for this travesty?
The guy CONFESSED years ago & remained free. He was only "caught" when he confessed again.

Then, for murder, child sex abuse and perjury, he gets out in 5 1/2 years??????"
***
Apple Seed - "Jeff E wrote:
How could anyone objective, credit the DA's office for this travesty?
The guy CONFESSED years ago & remained free. He was only "caught" when he confessed again.
Then, for murder, child sex abuse and perjury, he gets out in 5 1/2 years??????
Jeff, how much time in jail should one get if one sneaks into a house that he used to live in by using a key he had kept, and then going into a teenage girls room in that house and fondling her underwear?

If one was caught red handed doing this, and was reported to the sheriff, how should the DA have handled this type of incident?

Hypothetical, of course.:-)"
***
Mike- "Working On the Chain Gang, Steve Kercher, Open Wide"
***
NYC - "Is there any crime worse than the murder of a child? An innocent.
Plea deals in these kind of cases are a miscarriage of justice.

Rest in Peace Curtis."
***
Blue Lake Cousin - "Mr. Gallegos; you and your staff should be ashamed of yourselves and your pathetic attempts to bring justice for Curtis. Steve Hash is a child molestor and murderer; he tormented my family for years with the knowledge of what he did to Curtis, and you want us to believe that he was sorry for his actions and that this was a "classic case of manslaughter?" Since you've already thrown Curtis under the bus, what about the other children of Humboldt County that came into contact with Steve Hash and his sick cronies! I hope this isn't the end of the investigation; you owe it to the people of this county to carry this investigation forward and make sure that other children get the justice that they deserve. If this case is allowed to drop, the people of this county need to vote you out of office; you are a failure to the people of this county and the justice system that is supposed to protect us."
***
Cedric - "Homicide rate among black youths rises

www.mysanantonio.com/news/Rise_in_homicides_s..."
***
Nice - "I imagine there was a plea deal in exchange for locating the body. It's a hefty price, but it needed to be done. Although everybody knows Gallegos is weak! Look at Siskiyou County they are gonna fry people for the same exact thing."
***
miss hw - "even with a body a murder conviction can be tricky, BUT cops should use the death penalty as a chip, we want criminals to confess, not play poker."
***
anonymous - "It's a wonder he's getting any time at all.

This court system is the worst.

And I'd like to know what ever happened to people also being prosecuted for perjury. Caught in lie after lie, yet it makes no difference.

Truth and justice have nothing to do with anything anymore. Not in Humboldt County."
***
anonymous - "Figures, Humboldt County liberals. What ever happened to justice. His mother should not have settled for a plea bargain. That is shameful in itself and is exactly why people like Hash get a slap on the wrist."
***
anonymous - "For the record, I am not the anonymous that said his mother never should have settled for a plea bargain and that it is shameful in itself.

I didn't say it.

I don't know what she even had the right or chance to agree or disagree to.

If it's true that she herself came up with the plea deal in exchange for knowing where her son's body was, then so be it.
But I seriously doubt that was her idea. Even if in fact she did agree to it."
***
No name please - "Please tell me where were all the caring adults when the Hash children were beaten on a regular basis by a father who returned home drunk. Please tell me why no one nocticed the Hash children eating out of garbage can at school while other kids made fun as they were starving. Dad drank up all the money and no one noticed these hungry, beaten, ill dressed children. No excuse for Steve's actions in the future however, big scars are left from child abuse."
***
Nucking Futs - "Please tell me how Steve Hash was able to live with the things that he did for so long-Go about his life for eighteen years..What kind of scar do you think is left behind from the murder of a child, a brother, a friend. I would say that an unsolved murder leaves bigger scars"
***
miss hw - "Yea, those family law R.O'S suck. My husband got one from his ex.. also for harsly speaking. Well we moved away and ended up with custody. AND the ro is good till 09."
***
his sis - "Nucking Futs wrote:
Please tell me how Steve Hash was able to live with the things that he did for so long-Go about his life for eighteen years..What kind of scar do you think is left behind from the murder of a child, a brother, a friend. I would say that an unsolved murder leaves bigger scars

Yeah I can tell you that it definately does leave giant scars, more like opened wounds. Thanks for caring. To all of you who have said crap about my family I would love the oppertunity to meet you and SPIT in your faces!"
***
Cherri - "I would like to know if the people of Humboldt County are satisfied with their justice system. Please correct me if I am wrong, but as I understand it....in Humboldt County you can molest a child of 14, you can murder this child and bury his body in the woods somewhere. The trick is to keep somewhat quiet about if for just long enough. Then after say 19 years of being free to do what you want, raise your own son maybe, make sure he can take over your possession and your affairs are in order, you can decide to confess on your own terms. You then get a speedy court date, and nice slap on the hand of an 11 year sentence, where you know you'll probably be home in a little over five years. Am I right about all this? Can a criminal living in Humboldt County do these things and get away with it? Tell me I am wrong. Tell me there is a justice system in place that would never allow such horrible disgusting crimes against our children to go unpunished. If you take a life, is it really swept under the rug if you keep quiet long enough? My name is Cherri Hairston and Curtis Anthony Huntzinger was my brother. Steve Hash molested him. Steve Hash is a child molester! Steve has picked up a dumbell and hit my brother so hard in the head that it killed him. I hope my brother didn't suffer long. I hope he died long before Steve begun to cover up his crime by burying him in the woods. Then Steve Hash kept somewhat quiet for 19 years. For 19 years he knew what he had done and where my brother was. He lived his life. He saw his own son grow up and he did nothing to ease my family's pain.I expect the D.A. is pretty happy with himself for closing a 19 year old case. But this is not justice. This is not justice. The crime of murder and child molestation was commited and the man who confessed to it may walk the streets of Humboldt County as soon as 2014. Is this what passes for justice in Humboldt County? I wonder if we would have taken justice into our own hands back in 1990 what justice would have been? If it would have meant that we would be walking free after so little years, less than the 19 my family spent being tortured, I would have surely done it. We tell ourselves not to take justice into our own hands, that the truth would come forth someday and Steve would pay. I think we were wrong. Steve got away with molesting, murdering and burying my brother. He dropped a brick in the water that is our family and we are still in its wake. He got away with 19 years of torturing all who loved Curtis. He got away with it all."
***
anonymous - "a_hole, the situation you described is unfortunately only one of many of the travesties allowed to occur in these courts because the truth has ceased to have anything to do with it. People are made to raise their right hand and swear to tell the truth and nothing but the truth, yet no matter how many times they may be caught in their own lies, nothing ever comes of it. It's almost as though the one who lies the most, wins. And that's not how it's supposed to work."
***
miss hw - "the justice system sucks. Now other killers and molesters know where to go to do their dirty work. When little kids start to go missing, you'll know why. It's sick and lame."
***
ANON - "When my daughter was 7 yrs. old, she was molested bvy a "friend" of the family. She suffered anxiety for years, before she finally told us when she was in high school what had happened. We contacted the police to make a report. My daughter went through the wrenching ordeal of having to describe the molestation in detail to the officer. There was a long investigation, and search for the predator. When they finally found him, of course he denied it. After all this, we we're told that nothinf could be done, because there were NO WITNESSES!! How many pedophyles do their dirty work with an audience present??"
***
blue lake mom - "Cherri wrote:
I would like to know if the people of Humboldt County are satisfied with their justice system. Please correct me if I am wrong, but as I understand it....in Humboldt County you can molest a child of 14, you can murder this child and bury his body in the woods somewhere. The trick is to keep somewhat quiet about if for just long enough. Then after say 19 years of being free to do what you want, raise your own son maybe, make sure he can take over your possession and your affairs are in order, you can decide to confess on your own terms. You then get a speedy court date, and nice slap on the hand of an 11 year sentence, where you know you'll probably be home in a little over five years. Am I right about all this? Can a criminal living in Humboldt County do these things and get away with it? Tell me I am wrong. Tell me there is a justice system in place that would never allow such horrible disgusting crimes against our children to go unpunished. If you take a life, is it really swept under the rug if you keep quiet long enough? My name is Cherri Hairston and Curtis Anthony Huntzinger was my brother. Steve Hash molested him. Steve Hash is a child molester! Steve has picked up a dumbell and hit my brother so hard in the head that it killed him. I hope my brother didn't suffer long. I hope he died long before Steve begun to cover up his crime by burying him in the woods. Then Steve Hash kept somewhat quiet for 19 years. For 19 years he knew what he had done and where my brother was. He lived his life. He saw his own son grow up and he did nothing to ease my family's pain.I expect the D.A. is pretty happy with himself for closing a 19 year old case. But this is not justice. This is not justice. The crime of murder and child molestation was commited and the man who confessed to it may walk the streets of Humboldt County as soon as 2014. Is this what passes for justice in Humboldt County? I wonder if we would have taken justice into our own hands back in 1990 what justice would have been? If it would have meant that we would be walking free after so little years, less than the 19 my family spent being tortured, I would have surely done it. We tell ourselves not to take justice into our own hands, that the truth would come forth someday and Steve would pay. I think we were wrong. Steve got away with molesting, murdering and burying my brother. He dropped a brick in the water that is our family and we are still in its wake. He got away with 19 years of torturing all who loved Curtis. He got away with it all.

cherri you have been through to much. Your mother will have good reason for great joy, I believed chuck pierce when he said that God would have justice for her. I hope that steve hash's fate, finially frees you and your mother of the scares he has caused.

P.S
Mr.Paul Gallagoes, I think the motherly vote in Blue Lake just went south on you. TY. I hope every mother in Humboldt county remembers Curtis and his mother nancy and his sister cherri Huntzinger on election day.."
***
WCfriend - "Nice wrote:
I imagine there was a plea deal in exchange for locating the body. It's a hefty price, but it needed to be done. Although everybody knows Gallegos is weak! Look at Siskiyou County they are gonna fry people for the same exact thing.

I hope in Siskiyou county they will fry child killers. At least make them spend the rest of their lives in prison. I hear that in prison, the inmates hate people who hurt children and they make them pay. One could hope that every single day is a complete nightmare for child killers and molesters.

I am sorry to hear that the low life responsible for the death of this young man is not getting what he deserves. I pray that the kidnappers and the killer of 6 year old Willie Cook (32 years ago) get what they deserve in Siskiyou county, however all of your horror stories have got me worried.

To the friends and family of Curtis, you are in my thoughts and prayers.
***
his sis - Cherri wrote:
I would like to know if the people of Humboldt County are satisfied with their justice system. Please correct me if I am wrong, but as I understand it....in Humboldt County you can molest a child of 14, you can murder this child and bury his body in the woods somewhere. The trick is to keep somewhat quiet about if for just long enough. Then after say 19 years of being free to do what you want, raise your own son maybe, make sure he can take over your possession and your affairs are in order, you can decide to confess on your own terms. You then get a speedy court date, and nice slap on the hand of an 11 year sentence, where you know you'll probably be home in a little over five years. Am I right about all this? Can a criminal living in Humboldt County do these things and get away with it? Tell me I am wrong. Tell me there is a justice system in place that would never allow such horrible disgusting crimes against our children to go unpunished. If you take a life, is it really swept under the rug if you keep quiet long enough? My name is Cherri Hairston and Curtis Anthony Huntzinger was my brother. Steve Hash molested him. Steve Hash is a child molester! Steve has picked up a dumbell and hit my brother so hard in the head that it killed him. I hope my brother didn't suffer long. I hope he died long before Steve begun to cover up his crime by burying him in the woods. Then Steve Hash kept somewhat quiet for 19 years. For 19 years he knew what he had done and where my brother was. He lived his life. He saw his own son grow up and he did nothing to ease my family's pain.I expect the D.A. is pretty happy with himself for closing a 19 year old case. But this is not justice. This is not justice. The crime of murder and child molestation was commited and the man who confessed to it may walk the streets of Humboldt County as soon as 2014. Is this what passes for justice in Humboldt County? I wonder if we would have taken justice into our own hands back in 1990 what justice would have been? If it would have meant that we would be walking free after so little years, less than the 19 my family spent being tortured, I would have surely done it. We tell ourselves not to take justice into our own hands, that the truth would come forth someday and Steve would pay. I think we were wrong. Steve got away with molesting, murdering and burying my brother. He dropped a brick in the water that is our family and we are still in its wake. He got away with 19 years of torturing all who loved Curtis. He got away with it all.

I love you sis!"
***
anonymous - "I know of someone who had "I support Gallegos" signs all over his yard. He's a convicted felon and not even allowed to vote in the first place.

Why do you think he wanted Gallegos in office? Again.

He's a felon, not in jail, and runs around this community making people think he is an upstanding great, and trustworthy guy.
Look very carefully into who you do business with.

If they are licensed in any way, you can get that information online or by calling the department they are licensed to do business through.

There are creeps on every corner who laugh at having "beat" the system and know exactly how to go about it."
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Generation X - "Well said.
anonymous wrote:
a_hole, the situation you described is unfortunately only one of many of the travesties allowed to occur in these courts because the truth has ceased to have anything to do with it. People are made to raise their right hand and swear to tell the truth and nothing but the truth, yet no matter how many times they may be caught in their own lies, nothing ever comes of it. It's almost as though the one who lies the most, wins. And that's not how it's supposed to work."
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blue lake family - "Steve Hash is a sociopath, he is not sorry for what he did, the only feelings he has are for himself.

He took a young child from a large family and groomed him so he (Steve Hash) could get the evil gratification that he so craved.

While we as decent human beings are repulsed by his actions Steve Hash did not, does not, nor will he ever be sorry for his vile deeds.

Mr. Gallegos there are others in Blue Lake that are just as culpable because of their involvement with Steve Hash, they condoned his evil ways and kept a secret for 18 years thus allowing this monster to remain free for all of these years.

Redeem yourself and go get the rest of them, some of them are still living in Blue Lake.

This case should not be over yet, do your job and let this child finally rest in peace and give justice to the other victims (children that lived in Blue Lake) of Steve Hash."
***
really now - "I voted for Gallegos so correct me if I'm wrong,please: Gallegos assured us he'd protect community and families. He'd go after hard drugs and violence. This was the reasoning to go easy on small marijuana cases. The gate was opened for hundreds to move here and cultivate with NO threat of prosecution. Then the large growers were allowed to slide. Then the really large commercial growers were given passes. Now the child molesters and child murderers are able to plea out? AND the DA's office speaks like it's a victory? I'm outraged and would like to hear a reasonable explanation from Paul himself. This WILL be an election issue. This plea is an insult to our county and a disgrace to past Gallegos supporters."
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blue lake - "No name please wrote:
Please tell me where were all the caring adults when the Hash children were beaten on a regular basis by a father who returned home drunk. Please tell me why no one nocticed the Hash children eating out of garbage can at school while other kids made fun as they were starving. Dad drank up all the money and no one noticed these hungry, beaten, ill dressed children. No excuse for Steve's actions in the future however, big scars are left from child abuse.
where were the mothers?"
***
hmm - "Let's think about it.. Who had the case prior to the District Attorney's office? That's right...Blue Lake Police Department.

Let's put the blame where it belongs... Blue lake Police Department was as much incompetent as it was corrupt."
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Laura O - "I am horrified by the verdict, and I am very very shocked and disappointed that justice was miscarried in this case,"With this verdict, we are saying it's okay to murder and walk away.. I hope the prison inmates can seek a better justice!"
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Laura O - "I am horrified by the verdict, and I am very very shocked and disappointed that justice was miscarried in this case,"With this verdict, we are saying it's okay to murder and walk away.. I hope the prison inmates can seek a better justice!"
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sick and tired - "Laura - sorry but there was no verdict here. This was a classic plea bargain by our inept DA."
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a-non - "so - "”In the instant afterward, he was sorry it happened,” Keat said.“It was classic manslaughter.” "

Keat needs to be disbarred along with his boss on this one. This is classic murder and not heat of passion manslaughter. So when does saying you were sorry for it instantly 19 years later make it classic manslaughter. No wonder the plea bargains coming from that office are so deranged. Hash was given the manslaughter offer in order for them to clear the case. No justice for Curtis. No justice for the community.

Shame on you Mr. Keat for blowing smoke up our backsides with that stupid remark to protect your incompetent boss."