Saturday, 13 July 2024


UKIAH – A Redwood Valley man was arrested late Friday for several charges including committing a hate crime after he allegedly assaulted two men and used racial slurs against them at a Ukiah convenience store.

Cody M. Cranford, 21, was arrested on charges of kidnapping, burglary, committing a hate crime, and assault and battery, according to Mendocino County Sheriff's Sgt. James VanHagen.

At 11 p.m. Friday Mendocino County Sheriff's deputies were dispatched to Jensen's Truck Stop, located at 1460 Lovers Lane in Ukiah, regarding an unwanted intoxicated subject causing a disturbance, VanHagen said.

When deputies arrived they contacted the victims – two store employees – and learned that Cranford had allegedly verbally and physically assaulted both employees while making racial slurs towards them, according to VanHagen's report.

VanHagen said the two victims also told deputies that Cranford had punched them in the face and head, and drug them outside the store while he continued to hit them.

After the alleged assaults Cranford fled the area, VanHagen said. Deputies searched the surrounding area and found Cranford near the bowling alley.

VanHagen said the victims identified Cranford, who then verbally identified himself.

Cranford was arrested without incident, and transported and booked in the Mendocino County Jail, with his bail set at $150,000, VanHagen said.

Earlier this month, another Redwood Valley man was arrested for allegedly committing a hate crime at the same truck stop, as Lake County News has reported.

In that incident 63-year-old Joseph Anthony Frank had entered the business, made comments about an employee's race and threatened to kill him.

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SANTA ROSA – A Cotati man who is alleged to have sexually assaulted multiple women in roadside attacks that spanned several months will stand trial on eight felony charges, officials reported thiw week.

On Thursday, following a preliminary hearing that stretched over two and a half days, Sonoma County Judge Kenneth Gnoss ruled that Thomas Boccaleoni, 44, will stand trial on eight felony counts of sexual assault, according to the office of Sonoma County District Attorney Stephan Passalacqua.

“We are pleased with the judge’s ruling to advance this case to the next stage,” Passalacqua said. “We are confident that once this case goes in front of a jury, there will be a positive outcome.”

The prosecution has charged Boccaleoni with sexual penetration by force, two counts of assault with intent to commit rape or penetration with a foreign object, two counts of making criminal threats, one count of sexual assault while victim is unlawfully restrained, and two counts of false imprisonment.

During the preliminary hearing, two of the victims testified, as well as a DNA expert and the case’s lead detective, Sonoma County Sheriff’s Deputy Joel Pedersen. Judge Gnoss found there was sufficient evidence for Boccaleoni’s case to be held over for jury trial, according to Passalacqua's report.

The case goes back to court on Monday, Feb. 1, for a ruling on a third count of assault with intent to commit rape or penetration with a foreign object, relating to the third victim, Passalacqua's office reported.

The acts occurred on rural roads in Sonoma County from November 2008 to April 2009, officials reported.

The three women allegedly were followed by a vehicle flashing its headlights while following behind them on rural Bennett Valley Road and Calistoga Road, and on Bodega Highway west of Sebastopol, according to Passalacqua's report.

In each of the three cases the women pulled their cars over and were eventually sexually assaulted, officials said. Two of the victims were able to identify Boccaleoni as the man who assaulted them. DNA evidence linked Boccaleoni to the third victim.

Deputy District Attorney Jason Riehl is the prosecutor assigned to the case.

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NORTHSHORE – A Northshore woman convicted of embezzling funds from the Northshore Fire Protection District has been sentenced to jail time and must make full restitution.

Fifty-nine-year-old Laurel Ann Bell – also known as Lori Ann Bell – of Nice will spend 240 days in jail, must serve five years of formal probation and 100 hours of community service, and be required to pay nearly $4,900 in restitution to the fire district, where she was an employee.

“We're glad that justice was done and now she's going to have to pay for it,” said Northshore Fire Protection District Chief Jim Robbins.

Judge Arthur Mann passed sentence on Bell on Jan. 19 for one charge of embezzlement by a public officer. That same day that she pleaded no contest to the charge.

She also had faced 19 other charges that included embezzlement, grand theft and forging or filing false documents, for which she was not tried or sentenced.

Prosecutor Rachel Abelson and Bell's defense attorney, Komnith Moth, did not respond to requests for comment.

Bell had worked for the Nice Community Services District and, after the fire districts in Upper Lake, Nice, Lucerne and Clearlake Oaks consolidated into the Northshore Fire Protection District, she was brought over to work as an office assistant at the Lucerne fire station, said Robbins.

Bell, whose profession was listed as accountant, previously had worked for the Lake County Auditor's Office for 14 years, according to court documents.

The prosecution alleged that she took funds from Northshore Fire between Feb. 22 and June 7, 2007.

Investigative documents said that the funds she took included $500 from 25 burn permits, as well as funds from the sale of an older ambulance.

District officials realized something was wrong when, on June 11, 2007, a $300 deposit wasn't made, according to investigative records.

When the district began investigating, they found that Bell had started making deposits, which she wasn't supposed to do, said Robbins.

After they discovered the questionable activity, Robbins and his staff went through their records to make sure they weren't wrong about their concerns. They discovered other irregularities, including $2,000 the district received from the sale of an older ambulance that also wasn't deposited, Robbins said.

“In 37 years I can't even tell you a dime that was missing out of this place, so that made me just sick,” said Robbins.

He added that Bell wasn't working at the Lucerne fire station for very long before they discovered what was going on.

Court records stated that she was terminated a short time after the missing funds were discovered.

During an interview with a District Attorney's Office investigator, Bell said she liked to gamble at Robinson Rancheria. By that time, she was unemployed; her husband also was on disability.

The District Attorney's Office filed the case against Bell on Nov. 21, 2007, and she was arrested the next day, according to court records. Her preliminary hearing was held in February 2009.

Mann ordered Bell to surrender herself at the Lake County Jail at 9 a.m. Feb. 10, when she is due to start serving her jail sentence.

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Fog hovered above Clear Lake on Friday, January 29, 2010. The lake is enjoying healthier levels thanks to a series of recent rainstorms. Photo by Ron Keas.


NORTHERN CALIFORNIA – When it comes to water, things are definitely looking up in 2010 so far.

The California Department of Water Resource's second snow survey of the season, held Friday, showed a Sierra snowpack of 115 percent of normal statewide, compared to a snowpack at 61 percent of normal this time last year.

The Sierra snowpack is a critical water source for California, and it's closely monitored throughout the snow season.

The recent storms have helped bulk up the snowpack, which was at 85 percent of normal during the state's first snow survey of the season, which took place Dec. 30.

“Today’s snow survey offers us some cautious optimism as we continue to play catch-up with our statewide water supplies,” Department of Water Resources Chief Deputy Director Sue Sims said in a written statement.

But Sims cautioned, “We are still looking at the real possibility of a fourth dry year. Even if California is blessed with a healthy snowpack, we must learn to always conserve this finite resource so that we have enough water for homes, farms, and businesses in 2010 and in the future.”

The Department of Water Resources reported that Lake Oroville, the principal storage reservoir for the State Water Project, is at 33 percent of capacity, and 50 percent of average storage for this time of year.

Lake Shasta, the principal storage reservoir for the federal Central Valley Project, is at 56 percent of capacity, and 82 percent of average for the date, according to a Friday report.

In Lake County, where water supply depends more on annual rainfall, parts of the county received more rain on Friday.

The rains that have continued in recent weeks have helped Clear Lake's level, which in early December was hovering in the area of 0.50 feet Rumsey, the measurement used for the lake, according to the US Geological Survey's gauge of the lake depth. A full lake is 7.56 feet Rumsey.

On Friday, Clear Lake was at 4.42 feet Rumsey, according to the latest gauge readings. That's up from 1.14 feet Rumsey at this time last year.

Indian Valley Reservoir also has shown marked improvement, with its water storage measured at 43,854 acre feet on Friday, up from 19,699 acre feet on Jan. 29, 2009, according to the Yolo County Flood Control & Water Conservation District, which built the reservoir to supply its customers.

Yolo Flood also owns the principal rights to Clear Lake.

Snow survey readings, updated daily, are available at .

For daily streamflow conditions in California, visit the US Geological Survey Web site at .

Yolo Flood water readings can be found at .

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UKIAH – Two men alleged to have been part of a group that robbed and assaulted several Ukiah residents were arrested earlier this month, with other suspects sought in the case.

Michael Diaz, 35, and David Diaz, 37, both of Redwood Valley, were arrested by Mendocino County Sheriff's deputies and booked on charges of robbery, burglary, vandalism and assault with serious bodily injury, according to Capt. Kurt Smallcomb.

Bail for the two, he added, has been set at $750,000.

Other possible suspects are alleged to have been involved in the incident, Smallcomb reported.

Just after 3 a.m. Jan. 17 Mendocino County Sheriff's deputies responded to a residence in the 3000 block of Eastside Calpella Road regarding a home invasion robbery, he said.

Several victims at the residence – four males and two females, ranging in age from 19 to 21, and all from Ukiah, according to Smallcomb – reported that a small group of suspects had arrived and entered the residence by force, assaulted and terrorized several people inside the residence while demanding money.

Smallcomb said the suspects demanded future money from the victims and threatened to kill the victims if they reported the incident to law enforcement.

The incident was under investigation and deputies developed information that Michael Diaz and David Diaz were part of the small group of suspects, according to the report.

Smallcomb said both men were taken into custody in the 600 Block of North State Street in Ukiah and incarcerated at the Mendocino County Jail.

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HOPLAND – An Oregon man found himself in the Mendocino County Jail on Wednesday after he allegedly swiped a Mendocino County Sheriff's deputy's gear bag and attempted to escape with it.

James Anderson, 42, of Brookings, Ore., was arrested for grand theft and possession of stolen property, according to a report from Capt. Kurt Smallcomb of the Mendocino County Sheriff's Office.

On Wednesday at approximately 2:40 p.m. deputies were investigating a domestic disturbance behind the Hopland Farms market, located at 13501 S. Highway 101, Smallcomb said.

While the deputies were investigating the alleged domestic incident, Anderson allegedly entered a sheriff's patrol vehicle and stole a deputy's gear bag, according to the report.

Smallcomb said a witness at the location contacted the deputies and informed them of the theft and said that Anderson had fled in a vehicle heading east on Highway 175.

Deputies caught up to Anderson and conducted an investigation stop. Smallcomb said the stolen gear bag was in the passenger seat with Anderson, and he was arrested for grand theft and possession of stolen property.

It was later discovered that Anderson is a convicted felon and forbidden by law to posses ammunition, Smallcomb said. The gear bag he stole contained ammunition and he was also charged with a felon in possession of ammunition.

Anderson was incarcerated at the Mendocino County Jail on the listed charges with bail set at $50,000.

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LAKEPORT – On Friday a local church's former youth group leader pleaded guilty to one count of sexual battery.

Christopher Andrew Puryear, 23, of Kelseyville, accepted a plea bargain in which he pleaded guilty to felony sexual battery on a 14-year-old girl, according to his defense attorney, Stephen Carter.

That puts Puryear on a fast track to sentencing, which Carter said is scheduled for 9 a.m. Friday, March 5.

In exchange for the guilty plea, Deputy District Attorney Ed Borg dropped felony charges of oral copulation and threatening a witness, and a misdemeanor domestic violence charge, Carter said.

Puryear previously was a youth group leader for Gateway Ministries in Finley, formerly Big Valley Community Church, as Lake County News has reported.

Last November, Lake County Sheriff's deputies responded to a report that Puryear was having “inappropriate relations” with one of the teenage girls in the youth group, according to a sheriff's office report.

On Nov. 25, Puryear allegedly asked a 14-year-old girl to go outside with him to talk during a church function, at which point he allegedly made physical and sexual advances towards her. Officials alleged that Puryear only stopped when he was interrupted by someone else exiting the church.

Puryear's attorney said the young man can expect to receive a five-year sentence, and will probably serve about half of that time due to credits including time served. He's remained in the Lake County Jail since his Dec. 19 arrest, with bail set at $250,000.

Without the plea deal, Puryear was facing eight years in prison, Carter said. The sexual battery charge is not a strike but it will require Puryear to register as a sex offender.

“Mr. Borg and I worked hard to work on a resolution that was acceptable to both sides,” said Carter, adding that he thought Borg “took a very good approach in the case.”

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LAKE COUNTY – A local man has arrived in Haiti on a mission of mercy to the shattered country.

Glenn Bridges of Kelseyville flew into the airport in Haiti’s capital city of Port-au-Prince on Wednesday evening with his colleague, Art Berry, who runs a ministry in Haiti.

Bridges is working with Washington-based Starfish Ministries' earthquake relief effort in Haiti. The country was hit by a 7.0 earthquake on Jan. 12 and has been hit by dozens of large aftershocks since then.

Media reports from Haiti and international news services estimate that as many as 1.5 million people in the country of 9 million have been left homeless by the disaster, with the death count possibly as high as 200,000.

“Right now, I’m on my way to the Dominican Republic to pick up nearly 40,000 pounds of dried soup mix which will be delivered to a compound in Port-au-Prince and distributed by a local church that is partnered with Starfish Ministries,” Bridges said Thursday.

Bridges is the director of building operations for Starfish Ministries. The group began in 1998 when Bernie and Sheryl Bovenkamp decided to take over a project to build an orphanage that was being dropped by Childcare International, a Christian relief organization.

Since then, one orphanage has turned into many; they've also established many schools that provide education and four meals per week for more than 7,000 Haitian children, Bridges said.

None of the children served in those orphanages or schools were harmed during the quakes, he added.

“Life is beginning to move forward,” said Bridges. “There are piles of supplies sitting at the airport and I've seen big truckloads of pure cement for the rebuilding process.”

Bernie Bovenkamp and Bridges are very good friends and have traveled to Haiti together nearly 50 times.

“This is my 52nd trip,” said Bridges. “I plan to be here for several weeks; my wife doesn’t like me to be gone very long.”

“She’s used to it,” Glenn’s son, Boone, said about his mother Thursday morning. “I was going to go with my dad but the plane we were going to take fell through. Plus my wife wasn’t too keen on the idea of me taking a one-way trip to Haiti either.”

Bridges and Berry were able to snag two free seats on Wednesday on a private jet that was filled with about 500 pounds of medical supplies.

“We actually met with five surgeons who were literally waiting for the plane to land so they could get the supplies they needed,” said Bridges.

When he arrived, he was happy to see Doug Jarvie, president of the Starfish Ministries in Canada, on the tarmac awaiting their arrival. Bridges went to Haiti now to allow Jarvie to go home to his family.

Jarvie arrived in Cap Haitien, a city on Haiti's north coast, on Jan. 15, just three days after the first big earthquake hit. He is attending meetings with the United Nations and World Food Program to apply for food to distribute to Haitians while Bridges drives to the Dominican Republic to pick up more food.

The ministry’s distribution effort has gone smoothly so far. On Jan. 19, the group purchased 10,000 pounds of food which was distributed.

The food Starfish is delivering has come from numerous generous organizations and people, the group reported.

A lot of the food was bought using money from the Starfish Ministries members' and supporters' own pockets.

The Feed My Starving Children organization is one group which donated some food, according to the updated blog for Starfish Ministries at . Churches in the Dominican Republic also have donated bottled water.

Bridges said he had a hard time getting on the road to deliver that food because his delivery truck broke down.

On Thursday morning, Boone Bridges reported that the last he heard, his dad was on a “tap-tap,” a rented Haitian motorcycle, riding around looking for parts to fix the brakes on the truck, which has a 10,000-pound capacity.

Later in the day, Glenn Bridges had fixed the truck and was on the road again.

The food Bridges was on his way to pick up will be distributed to a “tent town” of nearly 5,000 people who were living in Port-au-Prince and are now homeless as a result of the earthquakes.

After the deliveries, he said he planned to head about 80 miles north of Port-au-Prince to where most of Starfish Ministries' schools are located. Bridges wants to visit every school to see the people and assess any damage that has been done.

Boone Bridges said the ministry plans to send a team from Lake County to Haiti in the next three to six months. The last group went in 2000.

Another group is a local connection, Seaplanes Operations LLC, is getting involved by sending a seaplane to Haiti to help with the disaster relief efforts as well, according to their Web site, .

With roads impassable, seaplane are offering an important alternative because they can land on the water all around the country to reach the people that haven’t gotten much help due to the closures, the group reported.

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The family of Heather Anderson are still waiting for answers into the young woman's fatal stabbing on Thursday, December 17, 2009. Courtesy photo.



LAKE COUNTY – More than a month after a former Lake County resident was stabbed to death, investigators are offering few clues about the crime, arrests are yet to be made and a mother says her family is waiting for justice.


Heather Danielle Anderson, 24, formerly of Nice, was fatally stabbed at the Colville Indian Reservation near Omak, Wash., on Dec. 17, as Lake County News has reported.


The one-month anniversary of the young woman's death that just passed was very hard on her family, according to her mother, Diana Anderson of Paradise, who said she misses her daughter more every day.


Heather Anderson, a member of the Robinson Rancheria Band of Pomo, had gone to Washington late last year to assist a friend with moving to the Colville Indian Reservation, Diana Anderson said.


In the early morning hours of Dec. 17, Heather Anderson was stabbed once in the left clavicle, which severed her jugular vein, her mother said.


Diana Anderson said her daughter's death certificate noted that the young woman would have died quickly from the wound.


Additionally, the autopsy noted no defensive wounds on the young woman. Diana Anderson believes her daughter would have fought if she had been able to do so, and that she may have been held down.


The Federal Bureau of Investigation took over the case from Colville Tribal Police shortly after Anderson was killed.


Last month, FBI Agent Frank Harrill told Lake County News that the investigation into Anderson's death could be “a relatively lengthy process.”


Several calls to the FBI's Spokane office for an update on the case were not returned.


Diana Anderson said she spoke with an FBI agent last week who told her that evidence was still being processed at laboratories in Washington, DC.


When she headed north to Washington in November, Heather Anderson was still recovering from a June auto collision that nearly took her life and left her with serious injuries, both physically and mentally. However, her family said she was working hard to get back to being independent.


Diana Anderson has been searching for clues in her daughter's death, and points to some strange facts in the case.


Although Heather Anderson's autopsy said her death occurred at about 1:30 a.m. Dec. 17. It was nearly three hours later that two male subjects – not the friend with whom she was staying – took her to the hospital. She was pronounced dead at 4:22 a.m.


Heather Anderson's friend at the Colville reservation, “Shannon,” has denied any involvement, although the previous day she was reportedly seen at the home of another woman said to have been involved in the fatal altercation, Diana Anderson said.


When Diana Anderson asked to have her daughter's belongings sent home, she said Shannon told her she burned everything, claiming it was tribal tradition. Diana Anderson, who is American Indian along with the rest of her family, questioned that.


“There's something off the wall right there,” she said, explaining that it was up to her family and tribe to decide what traditions to follow for her daughter, not a person from another tribe like Shannon.


She said her daughter called her two days before she was murdered and said she needed to tell her something, but couldn't discuss it over the phone. Then just before her death, Heather Anderson called to ask for a plane ticket home.


Diana Anderson thinks her daughter saw or heard something that may have made her a target. In the days before she died, some of her possessions also were stolen, and she had just received some money from her mother for travel and purchasing Christmas presents for friends in Washington.


The Anderson family currently is working to get assistance from the FBI's Victim Witness division and looking into other avenues of getting help on the case.


“Will we get the complete story?” Diana Anderson asked. “I don't know.”


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THE GEYSERS – A 3.6-magnitude earthquake was reported near The Geysers early Saturday morning.

The quake occurred at 1:32 a.m. and was centered two miles north of The Geysers, four miles west of Cobb and seven miles west northwest of Anderson Springs, according to the US Geological Survey.

The survey reported that the earthquake was reported at a depth of 1.7 miles.

Among those making shake reports to the US Geological Survey were residents of Kelseyville, Middletown, Geyserville, Cloverdale and Calistoga. A report even came in from Cupertino, 180 miles away.

Cobb resident and Lake County News contributor Roger Kinney felt the quake and called it a “pretty good shaker,” which he said felt stronger and seemed to last longer than quakes in the area usually do.

The most recent earthquake measuring 3.0 in magnitude or above was reported Dec. 20. That quake, a 3.8, was recorded two miles east southeast of The Geysers, four miles southwest of Cobb and four miles west of Anderson Springs at a depth of 2.7 miles, as Lake County News has reported.

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LAKEPORT – Testimony in the trial of two Clearlake men accused of murdering a man in an early morning confrontation last September began on Thursday morning.

Shannon Lee Edmonds, 35, and Melvin Dale Norton, 38, are each facing a murder charge for the Sept. 22 murder of Shelby Uehling, 25, who had moved to Clearlake from Montana earlier in 2009.

Edmonds also is charged with murder with a special allegation of using a knife, and Norton faces charges of murder with a special allegation that he used a billy club, and assault with a deadly weapon with a special allegation of causing great bodily injury, as Lake County News has reported.

Jury selection in the case started earlier this month, and on Wednesday an evidentiary hearing was held before Judge Arthur Mann, who is presiding over the case.

Prosecutor Art Grothe used his opening statements to give the six-woman, six-man jury an overview of the case.

Between 1 a.m. and 1:30 a.m. Sept. 22 Clearlake Police dispatch received a 911 call reporting that a fight was taking place somewhere along Old Highway 53. When officers arrived on scene, they found Uehling face down on the side of the road, lying next to an oak tree, his carotid artery slashed. A large blood trail started about 10 feet away from his body.

Fifty yards down Old Highway 53 Uehling's red Honda was still running, with the windows down, the driver's side door open and the head of a golf club buried in the dash. The shaft of the club was found between the car and Uehling's body.

Among the numerous wounds Uehling suffered was a deep, penetrating wound on his right buttock, which Grothe said a pathologist will testify is not consistent with a knife but with a golf club shaft.

Grothe discussed Edmonds and his relationship with 23-year-old Patricia Campbell, with whom he had an on again, off again relationship.

During a brief period in which Campbell and Edmonds were broken up, Campbell and Uehling became romantically involved, a fact Edmonds became aware of a week before Uehling died, Grothe said.

Grothe shared some text messages Edmonds is alleged to have sent Uehling in which he made it clear that he didn't want Uehling near the young woman.

In one message Edmonds called Campbell a “bag whore” – a term for a woman who will trade sex for drugs – and told Uehling, “She'll never be yours.”

Grothe alleged that the messages also carried threats. In another of the texts, Edmonds told Uehling, “What goes around comes around,” and “I know a lot of bad people in this town.”

“That was a week before Mr. Uehling's throat was slit,” Grothe said.

He alleged that Norton, walking home from a barbecue at Edmonds' home late on the night of Sept. 21, saw Uehling's car parked at Mendo Mill on Highway 53. Norton then allegedly called Edmonds, took a golf club and went with his friend to Uehling's parked car.

Edmonds' defense attorney, Doug Rhoades, said the fatal confrontation didn't start either on Sept. 21 or 22, but weeks before, when Uehling and Campbell had been in that brief relationship.

He said that Uehling, who was using methamphetamine, gave the drug to Campbell, and Edmonds found out about it.

Then Uehling and Campbell broke up. “It terminated not on the best of terms,” said Rhoades. “She got tired of him. He became demanding,” with Campbell telling him in no uncertain terms to leave her alone.

Rhoades alleged that Uehling didn't like being told no, and that on the night of Sept. 21 he was parked in an area off of Old Highway 53, near Campbell's home – nowhere near the place in the Avenues where he had been staying.

The only reason for him to have parked there, said Rhoades, was to watch traffic. “There's no reason for him to be there at all, no legitimate reason,” he said.

Rhoades said Norton and Edmond met up and found Uehling still in the area. “There is an argument, a confrontation of some kind,” Rhoades said. “I don't know who said what to whom first, who was more aggressive than the other.”

Uehling was stabbed, Edmonds was knifed in the arm, and afterward Edmonds and Norton panicked, going to Norton's home, changing their clothes and hiding them and the weapons, Rhoades said.

“Our contention is that Mr. Edmonds was defending two people – one was present, one was not,” said Rhoades, referring to Norton and Campbell, respectively.

Norton's attorney, Stephen Carter, told the jury that the evidence will show that the dispute arose out of a desire to protect Campbell. “That's how this whole dispute started.”

While Edmonds had romantic feelings for Campbell, Norton's family had been close to hers, and he felt protective of her, Carter explained.

The thing that “gets this rolling,” said Carter, was Campbell's brief breakup with Edmonds and relationship with Uehling, with whom she used methamphetamine. “That's the start of the case, the evidence will show,” he said.

Even after Campbell broke up with him, Uehling couldn't forget about her, Carter stated. He recounted an episode in which Uehling came to her trailer and Norton and Edmonds told him to leave, with Norton holding Uehling's car door so he couldn't get out.

“There is worry here about what's going on with Mr. Uehling and his plans for Ms. Campbell,” Carter said.

Carter asserted that when the confrontation occurred between Uehling and Edmonds and Norton, Uehling was high on methamphetamine. He said Uehling had in his car an ax handle with a homemade grip and a screwdriver, and a fixed blade knife in his shoe.

After the fight, Norton and Edmonds left the scene. Carter said the blood on Norton appeared to be more from “incidental contact” with Edmonds, who he said had more blood on him, than directly from Uehling.

“I think the evidence will show that Mr. Norton was scared,” said Carter, explaining that Norton saw his friend Edmond with blood on his hands on the knife.

Officer describes crime scene

The first witness of the day, and the one who spent the longest time on the stand Thursday, was Clearlake Police Officer Michael Carpenter, the first person to arrive on the scene and discover Uehling's body.

Responding to the area of Clement and Lotowana, Carpenter recalled that as he pulled up to the scene, his squad car's lights moved over the pool of blood and then illuminated Uehling's body lying next to the tree.

Carpenter said he got out of the vehicle and started yelling at Uehling to see if there was movement. He then put on safety gloves due to the large amount of blood and began assessing the scene. “I didn't know what we had at the time,” he said.

When Sgt. Brenda Crandall arrived just a few minutes later, Carpenter said he tried to find Uehling's pulse.

Paramedics also responded and Uehling was taken to the hospital, where Carpenter responded to take pictures of his body and bag his hands. He and other investigators later went to Norton's and Edmonds' residences; the two men later ended up at the Clearlake Police Department for questioning.

Edmonds had a cut on his left forearm, which he said he received from a fence, Carpenter said.

Using an overhead projector, Grothe led Carpenter through a series of photos that showed the crime scene, including a closeup of Uehling's body near the tree, face down, but his torso partially propped up on his elbows.

Carpenter also explained several photos of Uehling's body which showed signs of the assault, including long gashes that he suggested were the result of an asp, or foldout club that Edmonds is alleged to have had in his possession along with a knife.

Uehling's torso showed signs of bruising across the chest, stomach and around his waist, and his knees – bare because he had been wearing shorts – looked bruised and dirty from having been in the dirt and weeds during the final struggle. Uehling's blood was found up the trunk of the oak tree next to him, Carpenter said.

The photos showed what Carpenter estimated to be a nickel-sized wound on Uehling's right buttock where it's alleged he was stabbed with the shaft of the golf club. They also showed what appeared to be a stab wound across the middle part of the right side of his back.

In Uehling's right shoe investigators found the fixed blade knife, which was sticking out near the base of the tongue of the shoe. Carter had said during his opening arguments that no blood from either Edmonds or Norton was found on the knife. Grothe showed the knife – contained in a clear plastic bag – to the jury.

Other pictures shown to the jury included pictures of the cut on Edmonds' left forearm, a small nick on his neck, and pictures of his hands and the inside of his leg, none of which appeared to show any signs of injury.

Also on the stand Thursday were neighbors who lived in the area of the assault, including Phillip Adams, who was outside that night, smoking a small marijuana roach, when he began to hear arguing, yelling and screaming, which became “louder and more terrifying” over the two to three minutes it lasted.

Adams said he didn't have a telephone and didn't wake the neighbors. Instead, he walked in the direction of the screams but couldn't see anything because it was so dark. In less than five minutes after the screaming stopped, he said he saw two people walking into Lotowana Village.

Testimony in the case will continue at 9 a.m. Tuesday, Feb. 2, in Department 3.

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LAKE COUNTY – The recent sewer spills in Clearlake remind us of the sensitive nature of the sewer collection system during heavy rainfall events.

Sanitary sewers have limited capacities and are not designed to dispose of storm water (i.e., rainwater) from your property. The rapid increases of flow into the sewer system caused excessive “flooding” thus creating spills.

Significant amounts of ratepayer funds were expended to pump sewage from manholes in order to minimize the spills. During the period from Jan. 19 to 25, more than 500,000 gallons were disposed of via pumper trucks.

These efforts were conducted to protect public health and to reduce regulatory fines. However, we will need the help of our customers to succeed in reducing spills.

Spills are caused by clogged pipes and/or too much flow. Everyone needs to keep unwanted items out of sewer pipes such as grease, trash, rainwater and tree roots.

Rainwater referred to as “inflow” enters the system from sources such as yard and patio drains, roof gutter downspouts, uncapped cleanouts, pond or pool overflow drains, footing drains, cross-connections with storm drains.

Although these inflow connections may help alleviate yard flooding and puddles, they have significant impacts to the sewer system, the sewer rates, and public health.

Broken house sewer laterals also cause excessive rainwater to enter the sewer system.

What can you do to prevent and reduce inflow?

– Inspect the rain gutters on your house to see if the downspout connects to a sewer line. Such connections are illegal (a violation of the Lake County Sewer Use Ordinance). If the gutter downspouts are connected to the sewer line, have them disconnected – the large amount of water from the roof can cause a sewage spill. The rainwater needs to be directed onto your lawn and/or to the storm drain system.

– Look for and check your sewer cleanout. The cleanout is usually a small pipe, about 4-inches in diameter, outside your house that is used to access the sewer lateral for cleaning. You will normally find it near the house (where the sewer lateral comes out) and/or near the property line (where the sewer lateral connects to the main sewer line). Make sure the cap to the cleanout pipe is not missing and has not been damaged (such as by a lawn mower). Replace missing caps so that rainwater cannot get into the sewer line.

– Check to see that outdoor patio, deck or yard drains are not connected to the sewer. Also, be sure that pool or pond overflow drains are not connected to the sewer. These connections are not allowed by the Lake County Sewer Use Ordinance. You may want to call your plumber to assist you in checking your connection.

You also can call Lake County Special Districts at 707-263-0119 for assistance.

We urge you to voluntarily take steps to find and correct any potential problems on your property.

Mark Dellinger is administrator for Lake County Special Districts.

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