Thursday, 02 February 2023

Murder suspect charged with having weapon in jail

LAKEPORT – A man being held for murder has been arraigned on a new charge stemming from his alleged possession of a weapon at the Lake County Jail.


Ivan Garcia Oliver, 29, was arraigned in Lake County Superior Court on Friday on a felony charge of possessing a weapon in jail, said Chief Deputy District Attorney Richard Hinchcliff.


Hinchcliff also is prosecuting Oliver for the Nov. 20 murder of Michael Anthony Dodele, 67, of Lakeport.


Oliver is alleged to have stabbed Dodele multiple times in the chest with a knife, as Lake County News has reported.


Sheriff Rod Mitchell said Friday that Oliver was found with a plastic toothbrush that had been sharpened on one end and had a makeshift handle created out of paper on the other.


“It was very plainly what we would consider a shank,” said Mitchell.


On Thursday afternoon Lake County Sheriff's Detective Corey Paulich arrested Oliver on the weapons possession charge in addition to a felony charge of damaging jail property in an amount less than $400, according to jail records. Hinchcliff said he is not pursuing that second charge against Oliver.


Jail staff were preparing to move Oliver from one secure area of the jail – called an administrative segregation unit – to another when the item was discovered, said Mitchell.


When “high risk” inmates are moved from one area to another, Mitchell said it's standard practice for officers to thoroughly search the new destination, then to search the inmate, including changing out clothes, in order to make sure no illegal items are taken with them.


In this case, Correctional Officer Jeremy Wichlaz was searching Oliver when he noticed that Oliver was holding something high up between his legs, said Mitchell.


If Wichlaz had been more cursory in his inspection, the item may have been missed, said Mitchell. “I really have to give accolades to the correctional officer.”


Oliver refused to grant detectives an interview or explain why he allegedly made the weapon, said Mitchell, so they don't know his motives for having it.


Mitchell said there was no legitimate reason for Oliver to have made or hidden the weapon, which could have been used to seriously hurt an officer or another inmate. He said there is no reason to believe any threats have been made against Oliver.


The sheriff called the weapon a “sophisticated effort.”


Mitchell said he's seen many weapons fabricated by inmates. “This was as good an edged weapon as an inmate can make with a toothbrush.”


He added, “All of that leads me to be exceedingly grateful that none of my officers were hurt by him.”


Jail officers will now increase the frequency of their inspections when it comes to Oliver and any items he may have access to, including legal pencils, and his comb and toothbrush, said Mitchell. “His actions have increased the level of scrutiny that we will apply to him in our routine procedures.”


Hinchcliff said he's uncertain yet if he will try Oliver on the weapons possession charge separately from the murder case.

At the time of his arrest for the Dodele murder, Oliver was on parole from San Diego County, according to Lake County Sheriff's officials.


Steve Walker, a spokesman for the San Diego County District Attorney's Office, told Lake County News that Oliver was convicted in June of 2003 on one felony count of assault with a deadly weapon with force likely to cause great bodily injury. He was sentenced to four years in prison.


Walker said that Oliver and two other men had left a restaurant without paying their bill. When a security guard confronted them, Oliver stabbed the guard multiple times with a knife.


At the time of his sentencing Oliver had no prior record, said Walker.


Oliver was released on parole in 2005 after having served less than two years in state prison, according to state parole spokesman Jerome Marsh.


A week after his arrest for the Dodele murder Oliver was indicted on federal charges stemming from a March 2005 incident in which he and his half-brother, Guillermo Garcia, are alleged to have dumped hazardous materials into a San Diego County creek.


Oliver is due to be arraigned on those federal charges next month, according to Hinchcliff.


E-mail Elizabeth Larson at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..


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