Thursday, 13 June 2024

News

LAKEPORT – The Lake County Sheriff's Office is searching for a man allegedly responsible for sexually assaulting a local woman.


Capt. James Bauman said a young woman reported being assaulted on Thursday morning by a suspect who was unknown to her.


The suspect is described as a heavyset male Hispanic adult in his late 20s or early 30s, unshaven but not to the point of having a beard.


Bauman said the suspect claimed his name was “Roberto” and he was wearing a red snow beanie with tassels and blue “Dickie” style pants and shirt. The vehicle he was driving was described only as a dark blue or black Honda Civic.


On Thursday at about 11:20 a.m., deputies responded to a North Lakeport residence to investigate a sexual battery, Bauman said.


A 26-year-old woman reported that she was walking towards Lakeport on Lakeshore Boulevard near the old Rainbow restaurant at about 9 a.m. when a man pulled up in a vehicle and offered her ride to town, according to Bauman's reported.


The woman accepted the offer and, at her request, the man took her to a local church in Lakeport. Bauman said the woman went inside the church for a short time but when she came out, the man was still parked in front of the church. The man talked her into giving her a ride back to her home and again, she accepted the offer.


While driving back towards her home on Lakeshore Boulevard, the man started asking the woman intrusive questions and then began taking various turns away from her primary route home, Bauman said.


As the man drove around randomly in the area of Crystal Lake Way and Keeling Avenue, he started making sexual comments to the woman. Bauman said that despite the woman telling the man to cease and either let her out or take her back to the main road, the suspect continued with the comments and began sexually assaulting her.


After screaming and pleading with the man to let her out, the suspect eventually stopped and let her out at the 3000 block of Lakeshore Boulevard before continuing southbound, Bauman said. The victim went to the first home she could, got a ride back to her home and called 911.


Anyone with information on the possible identity of the man, or further information on his vehicle, is encouraged to call the Lake County Sheriff’s Department at 707-262-4200.


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LAKEPORT – A man and woman whose bodies were found last week near Lower Lake appear to have sustained gunshot wounds, officials reported Thursday.


Captain James Bauman of the Lake County Sheriff's Office said that on Wednesday autopsies were performed on the bodies of Frank and Yvette Maddox at the Napa County Coroner’s Office.


The bodies of the Maddoxes were discovered March 4 along Morgan Valley Road by two motorists passing through the area, as Lake County News has reported.


During the Wednesday autopsies, sheriff’s Major Crimes Unit detectives, evidence technicians and a coroner investigator were present for the day-long examinations, Bauman said.


Preliminary findings from the autopsies indicate that both victims had sustained apparent gunshot wounds, he said.


However, Bauman said that further findings were not possible due to the condition of the remains of both victims, and it is anticipated both will undergo further forensic anthropological examination on an undetermined date.


A final cause and manner of death in both cases are also pending a toxicology screening and other testing, he said.


In other news in the case, on Thursday afternoon, a Lower Lake resident contacted the sheriff’s office regarding the Toyota truck being sought in connection with the couple's deaths, Bauman said.


The man reported that some time during the last week of February, he had removed the truck from where it had been parked on Spruce Grove Road near Noble Ranch Road and taken it to his property where he has since dismantled it for parts. Bauman said that detectives are currently verifying that report and taking steps to recover what remains of the truck.


Although they have apparently determined the whereabouts of the Toyota truck, detectives are still asking that anyone with information about the truck, its activities or its drivers up until the end of February, contact the Major Crimes Unit at 707-262-4200.

 

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LAKE COUNTY – Lake County started off 2010 with the highest unemployment rate in decades, hitting 19.6 percent, according to numbers released Wednesday.


Lake County's unemployment predictably rose during January, which is known as one of the slowest months for jobs in the county, where main industries are agriculture and tourism.


January's unemployment rate was up from 15.3 percent in January 2009 and a revised rate of 18.2 percent last December, according to the California Employment Development Department (EDD).


“I am not surprised at all,” District 1 Supervisor Jim Comstock said Wednesday of the unemployment rate continuing to climb.


Added District 3 Supervisor Denise Rushing, “We're in the middle of a storm.”


In an effort to help the local economy, Comstock said the county is implementing measures like its local vendor preference, and Rushing added that they're doing everything they can to support local business.


The EDD's report on January's unemployment figures placed Lake at No. 50 of 58 counties.


Counties that had worse rates included Yuba, 20.4 percent; Sutter, 21 percent; San Benito, 21.1 percent; Merced, 21.7 percent; Plumas, 22.3 percent; Trinity, 25.8 percent; and Imperial, 27.3 percent.


The highest unemployment in the state was found in neighboring Colusa County, where 27.4 percent of its labor force is out of work, according to the report.


The lowest unemployment was found in Mono County, which registered an 8.1 percent unemployment rate.


California's overall unemployment rate was 13.2 percent, higher than was reported earlier this week.


In Lake County approximately 4,930 people of a workforce of 25,110 were out of work in January, compared to 4,510 people out of work in December, when the workforce numbered 24,740 people. The local workforce also was up slightly from the 24,920 workers reported the previous January.


A total of 12,370 jobs were reported across all industries in Lake County in January, down 5.3 percent from 13,060 in January 2009 and a 1.3-percent loss or 12,530 jobs in December, pointing to the impact of the job losses in neighboring counties and its impact on local residents who commute.


The largest job losses by percentage over the last year came in the category of “nonfarm” under the durable goods production subcategory, which lost 33.3 percent of its jobs, or 30 out of 90 jobs over the past year, based on the EDD's report.


Wholesale trade was down by 28.6 percent, or 60 jobs, over the past year, and leisure and hospitality jobs dropped by 23.5 percent, or 270 jobs.


Largest losses by numbers came in the subcategory of “total private” nonfarm industries, which lost 450 jobs.


Subcategories that showed job gains included government, which had an overall 1 percent gain; within that subcategory, the federal government showed job increases of 20 jobs locally, or 14.3 percent, from last year and 10 jobs or a 6.7-percent increase from December; followed by state government, with grew by 6.7 percent or 10 jobs from the previous year and had no changes from the previous month.


Local government added 20 jobs over the year but was down 40 jobs from December, the report added.


“Other services” also gained 10 jobs over the year, or 3.3 percent, but was down 10 jobs from December, for a 3.1 percent loss.


For Lake County's cities and towns, Clearlake Oaks had the highest unemployment rate, at 28.6 percent, while Upper Lake had the lowest, with 10.3 percent.


For other areas of the county the following unemployment rates were reported: Nice, 28 percent; city of Clearlake, 27.6 percent; Lucerne, 20.7 percent; Middletown and Kelseyville tied, each with 20 percent; city of Lakeport, 19 percent; Cobb, 17.6 percent; Lower Lake, 16.5 percent; Hidden Valley Lake, 16.3 percent; and north Lakeport, 15.7 percent.


Lake's neighboring counties posted the following rates and state rankings: Glenn, 18 percent, No. 42; Mendocino, 12.7 percent, No. 19; Napa, 11.1 percent, No. 10; Sonoma, 11.3 percent, No. 11; and Yolo, 14.8 percent, No. 28.


E-mail Elizabeth Larson at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. . Follow Lake County News on Twitter at http://twitter.com/LakeCoNews and on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/pages/Lake-County-News/143156775604?ref=mf .

LAKE COUNTY – With the switch to daylight savings time this Sunday, March 14, Cal Fire and the Office of the State Fire Marshal are reminding all California residents to change their smoke alarm batteries when setting their clocks ahead one hour.


Daylight Saving Time begins each year at 2 a.m. on the second Sunday of March. This year, Daylight Saving Time begins on March 14 and ends on Nov. 7, according to the National Institute of Standards and Technology.


Move clocks ahead one hour at the start of Daylight Saving Time.


For fire officials, it's a good time to remind people about the importance of fire prevention and the importance of keeping smoke alarms in working order.


Every year, lives are lost due to inoperative smoke alarms. More than 66 percent of home fire deaths that occurred between 2003 and 2006 were in homes without a working smoke alarm, according to the National Fire Protection Association.


The changing of the clocks provides an ideal reminder to change your smoke alarm batteries at least twice a year, according to fire officials.


“With proper maintenance and regular testing, smoke alarms play a pivotal role in the early notification of a fire emergency,” said Chief Tonya Hoover, acting state fire marshal. “By taking just a few seconds each year to replace the battery, you can truly make a difference in protecting your family and your home.”


Cal Fire has the following tips on smoke alarms:


  • Test smoke alarms once a month.

  • Replace batteries in all smoke alarms twice a year.

  • Don’t “borrow” or remove batteries from smoke alarms even temporarily.

  • Regularly vacuum or dust smoke alarms to keep them working properly.

  • Replace smoke alarms every 10 years.

  • Don’t paint over smoke alarms.

  • Practice family fire drills so everyone knows what to do if the smoke alarm goes off.


To find more information visit the Cal Fire Web site at www.fire.ca.gov .


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LAKE COUNTY – Would you like to see services that government provides to Lake County residents improved?


Would you like to see area roads repaved and infrastructure upgraded?


If the answer to those questions is yes, there's a quick and easy way for you to help make that possible: Fill out your US Census form when it arrives this year and return it in the accompanying postage-paid envelope.


Census Day is April 1, 2010.


The US Census is a count of everyone living in the United States and is mandated by the U.S. Constitution.


The first complete count of the nation took place in 1790, when George Washington was president of the United States.


Census data are used to distribute Congressional seats to states, to distribute more than $400 billion in federal funds to local, state and tribal governments each year, and to make decisions about what community services to provide.


Congressman Mike Thompson said local communities will lose $3,000 for every person not counted in this year's US Census.


Late last year Complete Count Committees formed across the country to spread the word about the importance of the 2010 Census and to motivate every resident in their community to complete and return their 2010 Census questionnaire.


Composed of local leaders, the groups are responsible for implementing census awareness campaigns tailored to their unique communities.


Supervisor Denise Rushing heads up the Lake County Complete Count Committee.


“Given the difficult economy, this is going to be a particularly tough time to get a complete count and yet it is vitally important,” Rushing said. “We need an accurate count so that we can secure our fair share of federal and state monies in key programs from Section 8 to food distribution to water system improvement.”


Lake County Superintendent of Schools Dave Geck, also a Lake County Complete Count member, said that other critical programs and services rely on accurate population counts.


In Lake County school districts currently receive approximately $4.9 million in funding through the No Child Left Behind federal programs, Geck explained. These are distributed on a formula basis and underreporting was a problem after the 2000 census.


As a result, funds to Lake County schools were reduced, particularly those funds for children of some of the county's hard to count populations, he said.


In March census forms will begin arriving at homes around Lake County. Everyone is asked to complete the simple, 10-question form and return it by April 1.


For those who receive their mail in a post office box, a US Census worker will visit their home to drop off the forms.


The 2010 Census questionnaire will be one of the shortest in history and consists of 10 questions, taking about 10 minutes to complete. Strict confidentiality laws protect the confidentiality of respondents and the information they provide.


The Lake County Complete Count Committee has set out to raise the local response rate to the mailed US Census forms.


In 2000, Lake County tied with Calaveras County for a 54-percent response rate; only two other counties – Plumas and Sierra – were lower, with 49 percent, according to US Census records.


That meant lost services and lost opportunities for government funding over the following decade.


“Our local complete count committee is hoping to increase Lake County's return rate,” said Jennifer Hammond, an administrative analyst with the county of Lake and Lake County Complete Count Committee member. “Traditionally, Lake County has been undercounted and has one of the lowest return rates in the state. We are looking to turn this around."


For 2010, the group has set its sights on achieving a 65-percent response rate to that first mailed questionnaire.


In order to improve the rates, Lake County Complete Count Committee members are working to get the message out to hard-to-reach populations, from Spanish speakers to the homeless, from homebound seniors to those who don't have physical mailing addresses but, as in the case of thousands of Northshore residents, receive mail by post office boxes, to which the US Census does not mail forms.


In January, a US Census bus tour made a stop at Robinson Rancheria Resort & Casino in Nice, and kiosks will be available around Lake County where people can pick up forms.


Complete Count Committee members also have set up Web pages on local government Web sites to share more information about the importance of the national count, contacted local postmasters and businesses to help spread the word, and shared their message in the local media.


“I urge those who receive Census forms in the mail to return them as soon as possible, but no later than April 1,” said Rushing. “For every 1 percent returned nationwide, the Census saves $85 million. Those who do not receive the forms can pick them up at a kiosk or a Census assistance center."


For more about the US Census, visit www.2010census.gov .

 

Follow Lake County News on Twitter at http://twitter.com/LakeCoNews and on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/pages/Lake-County-News/143156775604?ref=mf .

 

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The missing Toyota pickup, being sought by Lake County Sheriff's Major Crimes Unit investigators, is believed to be connected to the deaths of a Maine couple who were found dead near Lower Lake, Calif., on Thursday, March 4, 2010. Photo courtesy of the Lake County Sheriff's Major Crimes Unit.




LAKE COUNTY – Sheriff's officials are offering new details about a missing pickup truck that they're hoping to locate as part of their investigation into the deaths of a Maine couple whose bodies were found near Lower Lake last week.


The Lake County Sheriff's Major Crimes Unit is seeking the missing Toyota pickup that reportedly belonged to Frank Maddox, who along with wife Yvette, was found dead by two motorists at the bottom of an embankment about six miles east of Lower Lake March 4.


Since the bodies were found, detectives have arrested a person of interest in the case of the deaths, 29-year-old Robby Alan Beasley, for an unrelated fugitive warrant out of the state of Maine, Sheriff's Capt. James Bauman said.


Bauman said Wednesday that the pickup officials are attempting to locate is believed to be possibly connected to the deaths of the Maddoxes.


The missing truck is described as a 1982 Toyota pickup, either tan, beige, or pale yellow in color, with a black camper shell, and primer paint that is exposed on the hood and roof areas.


Bauman said the truck has oversized tires with chrome and gold wheels, a chrome brush guard on the front, and had California license plates of 1MHV850.


During their investigation over the past weekend, detectives learned that the truck had been missing since the couple's disappearance in late January or early February, Bauman said.


Bauman said that investigators have since learned that a truck, believed to be the Toyota pickup in question, had been called in to the county Code Enforcement Division on Jan. 25 as an abandoned vehicle parked on Jerusalem Grade Road near Spruce Grove Road, near Hidden Valley Lake. Code Enforcement tagged the truck for abatement on Feb. 2 and took several photographs of it.


However, sometime between Feb. 2 and Feb. 18, the truck was moved by someone and had been seen parked several miles further north, on Spruce Grove Road near Noble Ranch Road on Feb. 18, and again on Feb. 23. Bauman said the truck has since left that location and its whereabouts are still unknown.


Meanwhile, as a result of the search warrants served at his residences on Saturday, Beasley has had additional local felony charges filed against him for cultivation of marijuana, possession of marijuana for sales and maintaining a place for the unlawful sales of marijuana, according to Bauman's report.


Bauman said Beasley is now in custody with a $1,000,000 bail for those charges, however an additional no-bail warrant has also been signed by a magistrate in the state of Maine for additional probation violations.


Beasley remains a person of interest in the deaths of Frank and Yvette Maddox at the present time, Bauman said.


Anyone with information on the possible whereabouts, recent sightings, or recent drivers of the truck are asked to immediately contact the Sheriff’s Major Crimes Unit at 707-262-4200.

 

Follow Lake County News on Twitter at http://twitter.com/LakeCoNews and on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/pages/Lake-County-News/143156775604?ref=mf .

 

 

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The pickup belonged to Frank Maddox, who was found dead with his wife, Yvette, near Lower Lake, Calif., on Thursday, March 4, 2010. Photo courtesy of the Lake County Sheriff's Major Crimes Unit.
 

MENDOCINO COUNTY – A former Lake County resident has been sentenced to state prison for several charges of child molestation that began in Lake and continued in Mendocino County.


On Friday Mendocino County Superior Court Judge Ronald Brown sentenced Sean Dylan Robey, 40, to 15 years and eight months in prison in the case, which involved two children.


Robey had pleaded guilty to a felony count of continuous sexual abuse with a child under the age of 14, three felony counts of unlawful sexual intercourse by a person over the age of 21 with a minor under the age of 16 and felony oral copulation with a person under the age of 18, according to the Mendocino County District Attorney's Office.


Mendocino County District Attorney Meredith Lintott's office reported that the acts for which Robey was convicted began in Lake County in 2006 with a 13-year-old child, and continued in Mendocino County where Robey molested a second 15-year-old victim.


Lake County News was unable to get a response from the district attorney's offices of either Mendocino or Lake County regarding the handling of the local molestation case in the Mendocino County.


Officials said in a press statement that both of the victims were subjected to sexual abuse over a long period of time from Robey, who held a position of trust.


Prosecutor Steve Jackson tried Robey on the charges based on an extensive investigation by the Ukiah Police Department and the Mendocino County District Attorney Investigator Unit. Robey was defended by C. David Eyster.


Sean Robey is the nephew of retired District 1 Supervisor Ed Robey, who said Friday he was shocked to hear about the case. Ed Robey said he hadn't seen his nephew in more than 20 years.


Officials reported that Sean Robey will have to register as a sex offender for the rest of his life and the Department of Corrections has the ability to assess him for status under the Sexually Violent Predator Act. Any assessment to that effect will be forwarded to the Mendocino County District Attorney's Office for consideration of the filing of a petition to initiate such proceedings.


“Sexually violent predator" means a person who has been convicted of a sexually offense, which includes substantial sexual conduct against children under the age of 14, and who has a diagnosed mental disorder that makes the person a danger to the health and safety of others in that it is likely that he or she will engage in sexually violent criminal behavior, officials reported.


Follow Lake County News on Twitter at http://twitter.com/LakeCoNews and on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/pages/Lake-County-News/143156775604?ref=mf .

LUCERNE – The county will hold a Lucerne Community Town Hall Meeting at 5:30 p.m. on Thursday, March 18, at the Lucerne Alpine Senior Center.


District 3 Supervisor Denise Rushing invites the public to attend the meeting, where county staff will provide updates on county issues, redevelopment agency projects and other issues of local interest including code enforcement activities.


The agenda includes an update from community organizations and an open forum to discuss issues of interest to the community of Lucerne.


Local organizations and businesses are welcome distribute literature at this event.


The Lucerne Alpine Senior Center is located on Country Club Drive between Ninth and 10th streets.


For more information contact Rushing at 707-263-2368 or by email at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..


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THE US GEOLOGICAL SURVEY HAS DOWNGRADED THIS QUAKE FROM 3.1 IN MAGNITUDE TO 3.0 IN MAGNITUDE.

 

 

THE GEYSERS – A 3.0-magnitude earthquake shook The Geysers area of southern Lake County Wednesday evening.


The temblor occurred at 5:06 p.m. at a depth of 1.1 miles, according to the US Geological Survey.


Its epicenter was located at The Geysers, five miles west southwest of Cobb and seven miles west northwest of Anderson Springs, the US Geological Survey reported.


One shake report was filed from San Rafael, according to the agency.


The previous week, on March 4, a 3.4-magnitude earthquake occurred at 9:47 a.m. at a depth of seven-tenths of a mile, the US Geological Survey reported.


That quake was located two miles west northwest of Cobb, four miles northeast of The Geysers and six miles northwest of Anderson Springs.


The US Geological Survey received seven shake reports from seven zip codes, including reports from Kelseyville and Middletown.


E-mail Elizabeth Larson at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. . Follow Lake County News on Twitter at http://twitter.com/LakeCoNews and on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/pages/Lake-County-News/143156775604?ref=mf .

LAKEPORT – Following more than a month of testimony and more than 15 hours of deliberations, 12 jurors emerged with a verdict on Thursday in the murder trial of two men.


The jurors ruled that Shannon Lee Edmonds, 35, was guilty of second-degree murder for the Sept. 22, 2009, stabbing and beating death of 25-year-old Shelby Uehling, but that Edmonds' codefendant, 38-year-old Melvin Dale Norton, was not guilty of murder.


Edmonds also was found guilty of two counts of assault with a deadly weapon, one for use of a knife, the other for the use of an asp – an extendable police-style baton. The jurors also convicted him of personally inflicting great bodily injury on Uehling.


The jury acquitted Edmonds of assault with force likely to produce great bodily injury.


Norton was found not guilty of murder, assault with a deadly weapon using a knife and assault with a deadly weapon using an asp, but convicted of assault with force likely to produce great bodily injury and being an accessory to murder.


The two men are scheduled to be sentenced on April 26.


Lake County News was unable to catch up with prosecutor Art Grothe on Thursday following the verdicts.


A call to Uehling's stepfather was not returned Thursday.


Doug Rhoades, who represented Edmonds, said he was disappointed by the second-degree murder verdict.


“I thought that the more appropriate verdict, given the facts of Shelby Uehling essentially loitering about for four hours, in an area where the defendants lived, without cause, apparently looking for trouble, would have more appropriately supported a voluntary manslaughter verdict,” he said. “That was my goal, if not a self-defense verdict, which I realize would have been difficult based on the evidence presented.”


He said it was Uehling, not Edmonds, who was the aggressor. “I believe that is what the evidence showed,” but he added that the jury has spoken and, absent the appeal to follow, “that is the verdict with which we must live.”


Rhoades added, “I appreciate the patience of the jury, and echo Judge Mann's comments that the jury was exemplary in their dedication to their tasks.”


Stephen Carter, who represented Norton, called the not guilty verdict on the murder charge “a wonderful result” for his client.


“I'm very pleased to have helped acquit my client of the murder charge as well as the other assaults,” he said.


Based on the penal code, second-degree murder can bring a sentence of 15 years to life, and assault with a deadly can bring about four years in prison.


Carter said under normal circumstances his client would be looking at four years and eight months in prison, but because of two previous strikes he could be facing 25 years to life, more time than Edmonds.


“That, to me, seems a little unjust,” Carter said.


He'll seek a Romero motion to strike one of Norton's previous strikes in an effort to get a lower sentence of about 10 years.


Jurors explain their approach to the case


Testimony in the trial began Jan. 28, following more than three weeks of jury selection.


Once seated, the six-woman, six-man jury sat through what Rhoades would call in his closing statements a “convoluted case.”


They would hear from Edmonds and Norton themselves – both in testimony on the stand and from their recorded interviews with police in the hours following Uehling's death.


The jury also heard from a pathologist, criminalists, police officers, witnesses who claimed to have heard the fatal fight and the woman believed to be at the center of that final confrontation – Patricia Campbell, who had dated Edmonds for several months before disappearing to spend a methamphetamine-fueled week with Uehling.


After a week with Uehling, the 23-year-old Campbell would abruptly return to Edmonds, testifying that she had always loved him and wanted to be back with him.


Uehling had called her repeatedly and attempted to contact her at her mother's home. She would tell both Edmonds and Norton – a longtime family friend – that Uehling was stalking her.


That, Edmonds and Norton would tell the court, was the reason they walked up to Uehling's car, which Norton spotted not far from the trailer park where he lived early on the morning of Sept. 22, 2009. They said they intended to tell Uehling to leave Campbell alone.


In the ensuing fight, Uehling's throat would be cut. His lifeless body was found face down, the torso slightly propped up on the elbows, next to a tree alongside Old Highway 53.


Following their dismissal from service Thursday morning, several of the jurors agreed to share details of their deliberations with Lake County News.


They said they hadn't expected to finish up on Thursday; one juror said she had thought deliberations would continue into next week. But at about 10 a.m. they settled on the verdicts and began to fill out the necessary forms. The verdicts were ready about 45 minutes later.


They took to heart the words of the jury instructions – which Rhoades had admonished them to remember – regarding the importance of having an “abiding,” and lasting, conviction of guilt on the charges.


“We all wanted to be able to sleep at night afterward,” said one female juror, who asked that her name not be used. This was her first jury trial.


Clearly emotional after the verdict, she was the same juror who had been approached by a local store owner weeks earlier while she was on a break from the trial. The business owner had told the juror that she had been injured in a hit and run crash involving Norton. The juror had reported the incident to the court immediately but the court found no issue.


She and her fellow jurors noted that they worked to be respectful of each other, even at times when they weren't agreeing in the lengthy and emotional deliberations.


Part of her emotion was due to her awareness of what impact her decision would have on the lives of Norton, who she found a more sympathetic figure, and Edmonds, who she called “cold.” She said she has been especially nervous and jumpy in recent days.


She gave high marks to defense attorneys Rhoades and Carter for their efforts.


Another juror, Jeff Hill, said this was his third trial serving as a juror. He also noted the respectful nature of the jurors working together.


“We went through an ordeal,” he said.


Even so, Hill suggested that some friendships were created in the jury room. To break the tension in the room, which sometimes got emotional because of the case, there would occasionally be some joking and laughter to help lighten the mood.


They said everything was important to consider in the deliberations, with Hill noting that they went through everything methodically. “We tore apart the evidence,” Hill said. “We didn't want to take anything for granted.”


A key piece of evidence cited by jurors was the pair of blue jeans Norton was wearing when the fight took place. He had testified that blood on the pants came from when Edmonds had reached out to hit him on the leg, not blood spatter from the fight, a claim the jurors believed to be true.


“You could almost see the handprint on the pants,” said Hill.


During deliberations, Rich Swaney, who was jury foreman, said they had large sheets of paper – one for every witness with evidentiary value – hanging on the jury room wall, and they broke down the judge's jury instructions down line by line to make sure they understood the applications of the law.


“It was very methodical,” Swaney said, explaining how they organized their approach to deliberations.


“We put a lot of value on the initial statements” to police, said Swaney.


In those initial statements, the golf club buried in the dash didn't come up, Swaney noted.


There was too much emphasis on some issues – like Norton's differing accounts of walking or bicycling home, and not enough discussion of things like doughnuts that were laying in the roadway, jurors said.


Those doughnuts were found near where Uehling's body was found, down the road from his car. That led jurors to conclude on a different scenario for the fight.


Uehling had been spotted at Flyer's gas station earlier in the evening buying the doughnuts, which they believed he had in his hand – along with a small flashlight – when he got out of the car, after they believe Norton swung the golf club.


They don't believe Norton meant to hit him, and they diverge on whether Norton swung it through the driver's side or the passenger side windows.


However, they felt that Uehling got out of the car with the doughnuts and flashlight in hand and that a fight didn't start behind the car, but rather down the road, where they think Uehling had run to safety. There they believed he dropped the doughnuts.


Swaney suggested Uehling may have said something that caused Edmonds to lose his temper, leading to the fatal wounds.


“The guy's like a light switch,” Swaney said of Edmonds.


He pointed to how Edmonds started to lose his temper both in his interview with police and when Grothe had him on the stand, asking him repeatedly about certain aspects of the fight.


The jurors pointed out that the fight could only have lasted a few minutes; there was only eight minutes between the last phone call from Uehling's phone to his friend Linda Dale – it was only a few seconds and he had probably only started dialing – and when police arrived at the scene around 1:16 a.m.


They didn't believe Uehling had stalked Campbell, who Swaney called a “puppeteer.” Her comments to Edmonds about Uehling stalking her helped created Edmonds mindset, jurors suggested.


The jurors were curious to find out about what they didn't hear during the trial – including information about an additional strike on Norton's record and a mistrial motion, among other issues.


They also asked about Edmonds' previous issues with the law, and were surprised to find out about an incident in December 2005 when three men allegedly broke into his home to steal marijuana and beat him, his girlfriend and her son. Edmonds fatally shot two of the men in the back as they ran from his home.


When they heard about that case, two of the female jurors gasped.


E-mail Elizabeth Larson at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. . Follow Lake County News on Twitter at http://twitter.com/LakeCoNews and on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/pages/Lake-County-News/143156775604?ref=mf .

LAKEPORT – On Thursday a Clearlake man was convicted of second-degree murder and two counts of assault with a deadly weapon for the death of a former Montana resident last September.


Shannon Lee Edmonds, 35, sitting alongside his attorney, Doug Rhoades, received the verdict just before 11 a.m. Thursday.


He and his co-defendant, Melvin Dale Norton, 38, were accused of killing 25-year-old Shelby Uehling in an early morning fight along Old Highway 53 in Clearlake on Sept. 22, 2009.


Uehling was found on the side of the road, his throat slit and his body covered with bruises and scrapes.


Norton was acquitted of murder and lesser included offenses of manslaughter and voluntary manslaughter. His defense attorney, Stephen Carter, patted Norton on the shoulder as the “not guilty” verdict on the murder count was read.


However, Norton was found guilty of assault with force likely to produce great bodily injury and being an accessory to murder.


Prosecutor Art Grothe had argued that the men had attacked Uehling as he was sitting in his car alongside of the road, with Edmonds' primary motivation being jealousy over Uehling's brief relationship with Edmonds' on-again, off-again girlfriend, Patricia Campbell.


The defense had asserted that Edmonds and Norton were genuinely concerned about Campbell's safety because Uehling – who allegedly was using methamphetamine – wouldn't stop calling or trying to see her after their abrupt breakup.


After weeks of testimony that led to nearly two and a half days of deliberation, the six-woman, six-man jury reached its verdict at about 10 a.m. Thursday, jurors told Lake County News after they were excused from the case.


They sat impassive as the court clerk read the counts and the verdicts.


Edmonds was found guilty of second-degree murder; assault with a deadly weapon, a knife; and assault with a deadly weapon, an asp or police-type extendable baton.


In addition, the jury found that Edmonds personally inflicted great bodily injury on Uehling.


He was found not guilty of assault with force likely to produce great bodily injury.


Norton was found not guilty of murder, assault with a deadly weapon using a knife and assault with a deadly weapon using an asp, but convicted of the assault and accessory charges.


Carter asked the jury be polled, and each of the 12 jurors replied “yes” when the court clerk asked them if the verdicts were true and correct.


Judge Arthur Mann then asked the jury to briefly step out of the courtroom while the court dealt with the matter of Norton's previous strike convictions.


Carter said Norton was prepared to admit them. Mann asked Norton if he understood that he had the right to remain silent and allow the jury to decide if the previous strikes were true. Norton said he did.


When Mann asked Norton if he had previously been convicted of felony strikes, Norton admitted that he had.


The jury was brought back in, and Mann told them about the prior convictions and Norton's admission about them, making it unnecessary for the jury to perform the function of deciding the truth of those strike convictions.


“Your service in this case has now concluded,” Mann said.


He added, “You've been an exemplary jury.”


Although Edmonds and Norton have the right to be sentenced within 20 days, Carter asked for more time in order to prepare a Romero motion. Such a motion is used to “strike a strike” or remove it from consideration during sentencing.


With Edmonds and Rhoades agreeing to the delay, Mann set sentencing for April 26.


A full account of the trial's conclusion, including interviews with the jurors, with be posted later on Lake County News.


E-mail Elizabeth Larson at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. . Follow Lake County News on Twitter at http://twitter.com/LakeCoNews and on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/pages/Lake-County-News/143156775604?ref=mf .

NORTH COAST – The participation in Congressman Mike Thompson's latest telephone town hall, held Monday, broke records, Thompson's office reported Wednesday.


Nearly 12,000 constituents took part, breaking the previous record of 11,000, according to Thompson's staff.


The questions were on a wide variety of topics, ranging from health care to the federal debt to immigration, Thompson's office reported.


“Each time I hold one of these events, we have more and more participants,” said Congressman Thompson. “They are not a replacement for in-person town hall meetings, but they are a great way to hear from folks all across our district.”


He said the Monday event was a good chance for him to talk with constituents about important things like health care reform and jobs.


“It’s important that we had a chance to share our thoughts,” he said. “I wasn’t able to get to everyone, but I’ll be responding to all of the 131 voice mails that were left at the end of the call.”


Follow Lake County News on Twitter at http://twitter.com/LakeCoNews and on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/pages/Lake-County-News/143156775604?ref=mf .

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