Tuesday, 23 July 2024


LAKE COUNTY – A woman who recently was sought in connection with an alleged kidnapping of a Glenn County child may not face kidnap charges after all, according to Glenn County authorities.

The Glenn County Sheriff's Office was seeking Tabitha Pasalo, 24,who lives between the Grindstone Rancheria in Glenn County and the Big Valley Rancheria near Lakeport.

Glenn County Sheriff's Det. Travis Goodwin said Wednesday that his department recently located Pasalo in Lake County and interviewed her about the situation.

Based on that interview and the other evidence in the case, Goodwin said the Glenn County District Attorney's Office has decided not to file kidnap charges against Pasalo.

Dwayne Stewart, an assistant district attorney with Glenn County, said the case is still open, and it's not the policy of his office to discuss open cases.

On April 21 Pasalo allegedly took a 2-year-old child from his home at Grindstone and brought him to her brother's home in Lakeport, according to Lt. Rich Warren of the Glenn County Sheriff's Office.

Warren said Pasalo's brother, John Pasalo, 22, may be the child's father.

Lake County Sheriff's deputies helped locate the child the next day, said Warren.

John Pasalo was arrested for felony child endangerment and a misdemeanor charge of resisting arrest for trying to escape with the child, LCSO Chief Deputy Russell Perdock previously reported.

Lake County Jail records show John Pasalo remains in custody on those charges with no bail set.

As to why no charges have yet been filed against Tabitha Pasalo, Goodwin said investigators are looking at her claim that she took the child from his mother, 20-year-old Dahnna Burrow, for his own safety.

Goodwin said they're now looking at the question of whether or not the child was actually being harmed, which could have justified Pasalo's actions. “We have to answer that question before we can deal with the kidnap situation,” Goodwin said.

Asked if it's possible Burrows could end up facing charges, Goodwin said, “Anything is possible.”

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


LAKEPORT – BoardStock is not coming to the city of Lakeport.

That was the final word from the City Council Tuesday night, following a third public meeting on the subject.

The council's unanimous decision at the end of Tuesday night's meeting effectively put an end to more than two months of discussion about bringing the extreme sporting event to Lakeport.

BoardStock promoter Rob Stimmel and Lakeport businessman Ron Campos had approached the city about hosting BoardStock after Konocti Harbor Resort & Spa decided in February not to host the event for a third year, citing problems with underage drinking.

Stimmel, who wasn't present for the meeting, said previously he believed his event was being blamed unfairly for Konocti Harbor's security and alcohol policies.

Earlier this month, Stimmel began negotiations with Konocti Vista Casino for locating BoardStock there in September rather than the original August dates.

Concerns about the event being located there but still drawing on Lakeport's police and fire resources, with no reimbursement agreements, got the discussions going with the city again. Campos recounted Tuesday that Mayor Roy Parmentier approached him after they began negotiations with Konocti Vista.

About 30 people attended the meeting, which was smaller than past gatherings. Rather than being more evenly split, the people who spoke seemed overwhelmingly opposed to BoardStock.

Lakeport resident Nancy Thornton said she left her daughter's softball game early to come and address the issue, which she said she feels strongly about.

"My big concern is the underage drinking," said Thornton, noting that people will find a way to bring in alcohol, despite the fact it would be advertised as an alcohol-free event.

"We need to do family and environmentally friendly events," said Thornton, citing the recent bass tournaments as an example.

"I think we need to promote a classy town," she added. "We have a classy town. We don't need to bring in this element."

Suzanne Lyons of Lakeport said she had a concern that the potential damage to the town's reputation could far outweigh any financial benefits.

George Smith, a 40-year Lakeport resident and retired math teacher, said it's often people coming from outside the community who cause problems at such events. As examples, he recalled the riots at Chico State's Pioneer Days in the late 1980s and early 1990s, and problems at the Stonyford Rodeo.

"I just picture something very similar with BoardStock," Smith said.

John Norcio, owner of Lakeport's McDonald's, said he wouldn't speak either for or against the event. However, he asked the council to be sure any contract they might sign be sufficient to cover their expenses. Norcio also was concerned that the city "still might be on the hook" for police and fire costs if Konocti Vista Casino hosts the event.

Not having control or access to reimbursement was a concern repeated throughout the meeting by Parmentier.

Officials said during the meeting that Stimmel had offered to give the city $40,000 to cover police and fire costs.

Elaine Jolin of Lakeport asked about whether it was better to have BoardStock hosted by the city or the casino.

"It's really a team effort to cover BoardStock," said Police Chief Kevin Burke, who explained that wherever the event is held police, the Lake County Sheriff's Office and the California Highway Patrol will be covering it.

Burke said it's hard to anticipate what the event would be like, because it's never been at Lakeport or Konocti Vista before. Later in the meeting, he ventured the event would be similar to how it was in the city of Stockton, where there was little problem within the city, but rather outside of its limits.

Alcohol was the major factor, said Burke, when it was at Konocti Harbor. "At Konocti, they made very little effort at all to control alcohol the last time it was held," Burke said.

As to concerns about tribal jurisdiction, Konocti Vista is private property, but Burke said he anticipated them asking for additional coverage.

"Most of the problems associated with BoardStock occur at the location where the event takes place," said Burke.

Despite assurance from Campos that security money would be paid, other objections couldn't be overcome, such as Councilman Buzz Bruns' assertion that the lake, which is already low, would be much lower during the suggested September dates.

Councilmembers also noted receiving overwhelmingly negative feedback from city residents when it came to hosting the event.

Councilman Bob Rumfelt said he worked with Konocti on security during previous BoardStocks. The event itself, he said, wasn't the problem, but the issues that came with it were.

Parmentier maintained, "If we have it here, at least we'll get paid for it."

No one at the meeting could say for certain if Stimmel already had signed a contract with Konocti Vista, including Campos, who said he was the one who first took the idea to Konocti Vista. Bertsch said he spoke with the casino, where they would only say their lawyers were exploring it.

Councilman Jim Irwin said he liked the idea of having the event in Lakeport to try to maintain control.

"With that said, I'm not comfortable at all with this contract that we have," he said.

Ultimately, the council came back to its previous stance and voted unanimously to decline the event coming to Lakeport.

In other council news from Tuesday, the council approved an employment contract with new city manager Jerry Gillham as part of its consent agenda.

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


THE GEYSERS – The Geysers area was hit by a 3.1 magnitude quake early Monday.

It's the third quake surpassing 3.0 in magnitude to hit the area since last Tuesday.

The US Geological Survey reported the quake occurred at 8:51 a.m. Monday, centered two miles north northwest of The Geysers and six miles west of Cobb. The quake's depth was 2.1 miles.

Three smaller earthquakes, the largest a 1.6 magnitude microearthquake, occurred in the hour following the 3.1 quake, according to the US Geological Survey.

Last Tuesday, there was a 4.4 quake one mile east southeast of The Geysers. On Sunday, a 3.4 quake occurred that was centered two miles northwest of Anderson Springs and four mile east of The Geysers.

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


LAKE COUNTY – With the appeals court denying a change of venue motion, a young San Franciscan facing murder charges for the death of two companions during an alleged December 2005 break-in is scheduled to go to trial here this month.

Renato Hughes, 22, was arrested Dec. 7, 2005, the same day as he and two other men, Rashad Williams and Christian Foster, are alleged to have broken into the Clearlake Park home of Shannon Edmonds.

Edmonds reportedly shot Williams and Foster as they fled the scene. It's Hughes, however, who is facing charges for their deaths; a state statute allows those accused of committing a felony which is likely to result in a lethal response to be held liable for any deaths that may occur.

As Lake County News previously reported, Hughes' attorney, Stuart Hanlon of San Francisco, had filed a change of venue motion with Lake County Superior Court.

Hanlon said Hughes – who is black -- can't get a fair trial in Lake County due to the county's predominantly white population and other factors, including pre-trial publicity.

On March 2, Judge Arthur Mann denied the motion.

However, on April 10, Hanlon filed a petition for a writ of mandate and a stay of Mann's ruling with the state's First Appellate District Court, according to court documents.

Last week, the appellate court denied Hanlon's petition to have the order reversed and the venue moved, the court reported.

That means the way is clear to proceed with trial in Lake County.

In addition to two charges of murder, Hughes is facing felony charges of first-degree robbery, first-degree burglary and attempted murder, according to records from the Lake County Jail, where he has remained for the year and a half since his arrest.

District Attorney Jon Hopkins said motions in the case will begin May 8, with jury selection set for May 10.

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


UKIAH – A Lake County man died late last week after his pickup went off the roadway and into a creek.

The Mendocino County Coroner's Office reported that Paul Jason Rosales, 37, of Nice, was the victim of the early-morning accident that occurred April 28.

The California Highway Patrol's Ukiah office reported that the accident was called in at 7:30 a.m. by a motorist passing 1300 Redemeyer Road near Ukiah.

CHP Officer Matt Holzhauer arrived at the scene within five minutes, according to the CHP statement. There, Holzhauer found a blue Ford F350 pickup on its roof in a creek, 30 feet below the roadway.

Rosales, the vehicle's only occupant, died at the scene, according to Holzhauer's report.

Holzhauer's preliminary investigation found that Rosales' pickup was traveling at an unknown speed southbound on Redemeyer Road. For an unknown reason, the pickup entered the road's west shoulder, where it collided with a wooden guardrail before landing on its roof in the creek below.

Ukiah Valley Fire, Cal Fire, Ukiah Ambulance and the Mendocino County Sheriff's Office responded to the scene.

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


CHP officers investigate the scene of a single-vehicle accident Saturday afternoon near Clearlake Oaks. Photo by Elizabeth Larson.


CLEARLAKE OAKS – A Clearlake Oaks woman died as the result of a single-vehicle collision Saturday afternoon.

The California Highway Patrol reported Monday that the 49-year-old woman, whose name has not yet been released pending family notification, was the driver in the crash. Two passengers traveling with her also were injured.

A report from CHP Officer Adam Garcia stated the woman was driving her 2004 Pontiac westbound along Highway 20 just east of Beryl Way at approximately 12:39 p.m. Saturday when the accident occurred.

For reasons that aren't known, the driver was unable to negotiate a curve to the left, Garcia's report stated.

Garcia reported the car went off the highway's north edge and collided with a rock retaining wall, which caused major inward crush to the vehicle's passenger compartment.

Passenger Michelle Reidle, 45, of Clearlake Oaks sustained minor injuries, according to CHP Officer Josh Dye. A third person in the vehicle, a 16-year-old girl, received major injuries, Dye reported.

All three of the vehicle's occupants were wearing their safety belts, according to Garcia's report.

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


LAKE COUNTY – Two men who failed to comply with the law and register as sex offenders with local authorities were sentenced to prison last week.

On April 27, Superior Court Judge Stephen O. Hedstrom sentenced Alberto Mendoza, 30, and Jeffery Lee Hackler-Knight, 22, to six years in prison each for violating Penal Code section 290, the sex registration statute, according to a statement from the Lake County District Attorney's Office. The cases were not related.

According to court records, defense attorney Doug Rhoades represented both men. Rhoades could not be reached for comment on the cases.

Deputy District Attorney John R. DeChaine prosecuted both defendants.

Detective Mike Curran of the Lake County Sheriff’s Office investigated the Hackler-Knight case, and obtained evidence that Hackler-Knight had moved from his Middletown residence to Clearlake without notifying the authorities, the District Attorney's Office reported. LCSO has jurisdiction over registrants in Middletown and should have been notified by Hackler-Knight within five business days of any change of residence.

Because Hackler-Knight was on felony probation for his underlying sex offenses at the time he violated the registration law, he also was found in violation of that probation and was simultaneously sentenced to state prison for his underlying sex crimes, according to the District Attorney's Office.

On March 9, Hackler-Knight pleaded guilty to failing to register as a sex offender in violation of Penal Code section 290. The District Attorney's Office reported Hackler-Knight was sentenced to a total of 13 years and four months in prison.

Detective Martin Snyder of the Clearlake Police Department investigated the Mendoza case after CPD Officer Timothy Hobbs learned that Mendoza had moved into Lake County, and that he was a sex offender who was likely out of compliance, the District Attorney's Office reported.

The investigation revealed that Mendoza had been living in Clearlake for approximately eight months before coming to the attention of law enforcement. Mendoza’s violation was aggravated in that he had been registering as a sex offender in Sonoma County, but had moved to Lake County without notifying the authorities, according to the District Attorney's Office.

On Feb. 2, Mendoza pleaded no contest to violating Penal Code section 290.

Failing to register as a sex offender carries a maximum prison sentence of three years, the District Attorney's Office reported. However, because Mendoza and Hackler-Knight were each required to admit a prior felony strike conviction at the time of their pleas, each three-year sentence was doubled to six years pursuant to applicable law.

Committing lewd and lascivious acts with a child under the age of 14, in violation of Penal Code section 288(a), was the prior strike admitted in both cases, according to the District Attorney's Office.




LAKEPORT – An Iraq war veteran will spend another six months in jail after being convicted of felony possession of stolen property.

Derick Hughes, 21, was sentenced to a total of 280 days in jail and felony probation Monday afternoon after lengthy courtroom sentencing deliberations between prosecutor Art Grothe and defense attorney Stephen Carter.

Hughes was charged with felony possession of stolen property after being pulled over in Nice last December. During the stop, a sheriff's deputy discovered two used 10-inch by 12-inch ballistic panels from a military body armor system, a BB gun, a miniature souvenir baseball bat and a quantity of concentrated cannabis.

During the first part of testimony on Friday, Grothe attempted to cast doubt on Hughes' military service and his activities in the Marines while Carter worked to relate Hughes' behavior in Lake County to a psychological condition known as post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Grothe questioned Hughes about the dates and locations of his service as well as the temperature of the weather in Iraq.

Hughes developed PTSD after an explosion during a promotion ceremony in an Iraq battlefield which took the lives of 10 of his fellow soldiers, Carter said.

While on the stand, Hughes described the promotions location. “It was in the middle of an ops zone, a combat zone,” he said.

That tragic event was dramatic enough to garner the attention of ABC's Good Morning America, which interviewed a number of the survivors, including Hughes.

According to testimony during the sentencing, Hughes was diagnosed with PTSD by a Navy doctor before being discharged from the military.

Subsequently, he received an Other Than Honorable (OTH) discharge after testing positive for marijuana and methamphetamine in Twentynine Palms shortly after returning from Iraq. During the sentencing, Hughes admitted to using the drugs.

The sole defense witness, aside from Hughes himself, was Dr. Albert Kastl, the clinical and forensic neuropsychologist Carter brought in to evaluate Hughes.

Kastl, an expert witness, concluded that Hughes' behavior and attitude was consistent with that of someone affected by PTSD.

At one point Kastl told the court that Hughes had been “trained not to show weakness,” and that suspicious, defensive behavior was “highly consistent” with PTSD.

During cross examination Kastl explained that instances of PTSD were much higher in Iraq than in previous wars. In Iraq, Kastl said, as many as 20 to 30 percent of the soldiers would suffer from the affects of PTSD while in Vietnam the numbers were much lower, closer to 5 percent.

Active duty troops in Iraq currently number around 160,000, according to press accounts.

Friday's sentencing was cut short by the judge and two fire alarms which emptied the courthouse before either attorney had completed their closing arguments. The sentencing resumed Monday afternoon.

The weekend respite gave Carter sufficient time to accumulate 24 defense exhibits comprised of Hughes' discharge documents, a letter of commendation, a two-page checkout sheet reflecting that all items checked out to Hughes were returned, numerous photographs of Hughes in Iraq and a video copy of the Good Morning America show in which Hughes appeared.

Before getting to the video Judge Richard Martin silently reviewed all the exhibits for several minutes, looking over some items more than once. After he had finished reviewing the multiple exhibits, Carter presented the video and Grothe uttered his objection.

Grothe did not object to any of the exhibits except for the Good Morning America video, which he described as redundant.

During a brief give-and-take with Carter over the tape, Martin questioned Carter about how the tape might boost Hughes' credibility with the court. Carter sought to have Martin play the tape and decide for himself.

Carter argued that since Grothe had suggested on multiple occasions that Hughes was not being truthful, it helped support Hughes' claim of military service in Iraq. “It goes to weight,” Carter said.

Carter ultimately convinced Martin to review the tape before deciding whether to sustain Grothe's objection. Carter then placed a small television on the judge's desk and played the video in full view of the court.

During the first portion of the ABC video, Hughes expressed that losing his fellow soldiers was akin to losing relatives. “It's like losing a family member, that's what we lost,” Hughes said on the tape.

Judge Martin then overruled Grothe's objection and accepted the video into evidence along with the other 23 exhibits.

The two attorneys then proceeded with their closing arguments.

Carter had filed a 17b motion, which is used to request a reduction from felony to misdemeanor. He focused on Hughes' service and need for treatment. He stressed that Hughes, who had fought to establish a right to vote in Iraq, stood to lose his own right to vote in the US if found guilty of a felony.

At one point, Martin noticed two veterans in the audience, one a veteran's representative who would soon testify that Hughes would still be eligible for Veterans Administration benefits even after being OTH discharged.

Richard Hulet, a Vietnam veteran who works for the Employment Development Department as a veterans representative, took the stand.

“He's gonna be eligible for full VA treatment for post traumatic stress,” Hulet said of Hughes.

During his closing, Grothe continued to attempt to poke holes in Hughes' story by picking out conflicting details from a probation report and Kastl's testimony. Grothe told the judge he would not seek prison time.

In the end Martin told the court that he had problems with the inconsistencies in Hughes' account and denied Carter's request for the 17b reduction from felony to misdemeanor.

“This court doesn't hand out 17bs right and left,” he said. “This court is not ready to turn him loose on a 17b.”

Martin then sentenced Hughes to 280 days with credit for 90 days served, bringing his sentence to 190 days. Carter said Hughes will actually serve two-thirds of that sentence.

Martin also allowed for day-for-day credit if Hughes takes part in a residential VA treatment center. That treatment would be in lieu of jail time with the possibility of other types of treatment centers as an option.

After the sentencing, Carter expressed his satisfaction with the verdict and reported that Hughes was taking it in good spirits.

“We're very happy he didn't get a prison sentence,” Carter said. “For a guy who's been through what he has been through this isn't such a big deal.”

Carter will meet with Hughes on Wednesday at the jail to work out a strategy going forward. Hughes could potentially complete his three year probation in one year through good behavior and petitioning the court for a reduced charge.

“A year from now when I expect Derick Hughes will be successfully completing the terms of probation, our plan is to bring a motion for early termination of probation,” Carter said. “There's an open door there, we don't have to wait the full three years.”

Should Hughes successfully complete his probation, “You can bet I'll be at the courthouse,” Carter said, where he'll apply to have Hughes' felony expunged from his record.

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



SPRING VALLEY – Fire protection, water, emergency preparedness and community identity proved to be the top issues at a Saturday town hall meeting held for the Spring Valley community.

About 50 people gathered for the afternoon meeting, hosted by District 3 Supervisor Denise Rushing, at the Spring Valley Community Center on Wolf Creek Road.

It was the fourth town hall meeting that Rushing has organized so far this year for the communities she represents throughout District 3.

During Saturday's meeting, the valley's residents made it very clear to officials that they view themselves as a unique and separate community, and not part of Clearlake Oaks.

Rushing was once again joined at the town hall meeting by county officials including county Administrative Officer Kelly Cox and Deputy Redevelopment Director Eric Seely, who gave updates on county projects. Also on hand was Northshore Fire Protection District Chief Jim Robbins.

Much like some other Northshore communities, Spring Valley is concerned about water.

Mark Dellinger, who heads up the county's Special Districts – which includes Spring Valley's Community Service Area 2 water district – couldn't attend Saturday's meeting.

However, Karen Hanson, Special Districts' administrative manager, attended and was available to answer questions about water bills and the district's budget.

Hanson said she has already compiled Special Districts' preliminary budget for the coming year. Included it in, she said, will be a way to track the money spent on special projects, such as improving the water system.

Special Districts is currently exploring several funding sources – from state to federal loans and grants – in order to improve Spring Valley's treatment plant, she said. Along with that, she said, Dellinger is looking at different treatment plant options.

In addition, Hanson reported that Special Districts has so far installed 182 new water meters in Spring Valley, with 117 more to go. She said a test of the old water meters showed inaccuracy levels of as much as 27 percent, with the meters actually underreporting usage.

Hanson reported that since 1997 the district's unbilled water costs due to those inaccuracies amounted to $350,205.

Fire and emergency preparedness were major discussion topics, with Monte Winters, the District 3 volunteer coordinator for the local Office of Emergency Services, discussing how to be prepared for emergencies in the valley.

That theme was echoed by Rushing and Robbins. In particular, concerns for fire were noted several times, with Roberts saying that fire is the valley's No. 1 expected disaster.

Preparation in dealing with fire should always be a No. 1 issue in Lake County as a whole, said Robbins.

Area residents were concerned about use of the fire rings at the Spring Valley campground during the dry summer season. Robbins explained that while burn bans are managed by the county, campfire permits are managed by a state agency, and the two aren't connected.

During his five years leading the Northshore Fire District, Robbins said he hasn't seen actual problems with actual campfires at the campground, although there have been separate issues with teens and bonfires.

When Rushing asked whether the community wanted to have the campground shut down for the summer to prevent fire issues, there was little support. The room also was split on banning campfires altogether.

In other fire-related news, Robbins said that Northshore Fire recently completed a weed abatement ordinance requiring that weeds be kept down to no more than 4 inches in height on vacant parcels and land during the summer.

The district is starting a database to track owners of vacant lots, Robbins said. If the owners don't keep down the weeds, Robbins said the district will have the weeds mowed and the owners will be billed.

Robbins also addressed the issue of how to evacuate the valley's 300 families in case of an emergency.

Citing the example of a large fire in the valley a few years ago, Robbins said New Long Valley Road -- the main path into the valley – would likely only be shut down for a few hours in such an instance. However, he said, creating an evacuation plan is still critical to the valley's residents.

Old Long Valley Road may offer another route out of the valley, said Robbins, an issue that he said needs to be further explored.

"I feel a little unsafe with you really having only one way out of here," said Robbins.

Rushing said she had Public Works Director Gerald Shaul conduct an assessment regarding access routes out of Spring Valley, as well as likely emergencies.

The two most likely emergencies, said Rushing, are fire and landslides. She said Shaul also said the bridges in the valley need to be evaluated, because some of them may not be able to hold fire trucks responding to emergencies.

A fire-related emergency, said Rushing, "may well be the most important issue in this valley, and it can happen at any time."

During an open forum for questions, residents asked Rushing about a variety of issues, including use of Lake Transit and ways to deal with ATVs.

Rushing said Lake Transit hasn't yet found a cost-effective way to offer public transportation to valley residents. She said she would pass along a suggestion from the meeting that Lake Transit provide service to the valley a few days a week so that residents can make shopping trips to nearby towns.

At Rushing's request, Spring Valley resident Helen Mitchell gave an update on a community plan to set up a Neighborhood Watch-type group called Rapid Responders to address security issues at the campground.

Mitchell said she also is working with Sheriff Rod Mitchell to deal with ATV riders who are destructive at the campground, and would like to set up a special permit process for ATV riders who obey rules.

Another town hall meeting is planned for Blue Lakes, but Rushing said no date has yet been set.

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


LAKE PILLSBURY – A 3.0 magnitude earthquake hit the Lake Pillsbury area early Wednesday morning.

The quake was recorded at 6:01 a.m. at a depth of less than one-tenth of a mile, according to the US Geological Survey.

The epicenter of the quake was eight miles west northwest of Lake Pillsbury along a fault that US Geological Survey seismologist David Oppenheimer previously reported is unnamed.

A smaller quake, registering 1.9 in magnitude, followed at 7:59 a.m. It was located eight miles northwest of Pillsbury, whereas most of the recent activity has been located west northwest of the lake.

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


SANTA ROSA – A Sonoma County man whose history of drunk driving culminated in his hitting and killing a former Clearlake resident was sentenced to 15 years to life in prison last Thursday.

Joseph Elton Lynchard, 74, was driving drunk in an incident two years ago when he hit and killed bicyclist Kathryn Lynn Black, 43, according to Sonoma County District Attorney Stephan Passalacqua.

Lynchard pleaded guilty to second-degree murder in Sonoma County Superior Court Judge Lawrence Antolini's courtroom in January. On Thursday Antolini handed down the 15 years to life sentence last week.

Passalacqua, who called Black's death a “senseless tragedy,” said Lynchard had numerous previous DUI convictions by the time of the incident, which gave rise to the second-degree murder charge.

“The law permits such a charge when people like Mr. Lynchard are subjectively aware of the risk, and choose to ignore that very risk when they drive under the influence and take another’s life,” Passalacqua said in a January statement.

Black was riding her bicycle eastbound on Mark West Springs Road on the afternoon of March 28, 2005, when she pulled her bike onto the dirt shoulder of the road and appeared to be standing over her bike resting, according to a statement from Passalacqua's office.

Lynchard was driving his Ford F150 pickup home after drinking at his brother’s bar, Eddie’s, according to Passalacqua's statement. He drove onto the dirt shoulder, up and over a raised asphalt curb and struck Black from behind.

Black died at the scene, according to the original California Highway Patrol report. CHP officers reported at the time that Black's family came upon the accident shortly afterward, to find that she had been killed.

Lynchard’s blood alcohol level was determined to be 0.24 percent, three times the level permitted by California law, according to Passalacqua's office.

The criminal investigation, according to Passalacqua, determined that Lynchard had seven prior arrests for driving under the influence of alcohol, and had attended the state-mandated drunk driving course four times previously.

The Sonoma County District Attorney’s Office statement said it charged Lynchard with second-degree murder because this prior history demonstrated that Lynchard was aware of the risk, and chose to ignore it when he drove after consuming alcohol.

Deputy District Attorney William Brockley was the prosecutor assigned to the case and was assisted by District Attorney Investigators Kris Allen and Roslyn Eliaser, and Victim Advocate Miriam Gaon. California Highway Patrol Officers Steve Wyatt and Robert Mota were the lead detectives on this successful investigation.

“I hope this sentence gives the Black family some closure to aid them in the healing process,” Passalacqua said.

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


ANDERSON SPRINGS – The Anderson Springs area has had another sizable earthquake in a week's time, with a 3.4 magnitude earthquake hitting the area Sunday.

The quake was recorded at 6:06 a.m. at a depth of 1.3 miles, according to the US Geological Survey. It was centered two miles northwest of Anderson Springs, three miles south of Cobb and four miles east of The Geysers.

The quake was immediately preceded by a 2.0 magnitude quake centered three miles west northwest of Anderson Springs.

A 4.4 magnitude quake hit near The Geysers last Tuesday.

In recent weeks, seismic activity has increased around the county, with larger quakes seen in the areas around The Geysers, as well as across the county near Lake Pillsbury.

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


Upcoming Calendar

07.23.2024 10:00 am - 1:00 pm
Farmers' Market at Library Park
07.23.2024 6:00 pm - 8:00 pm
Clearlake Planning Commission
07.24.2024 7:00 pm - 8:00 pm
ReCoverCA Homebuyer Assistance Workshop
07.27.2024 10:00 am - 1:00 pm
Farmers' Market at the Mercantile
07.30.2024 10:00 am - 1:00 pm
Farmers' Market at Library Park
08.03.2024 10:00 am - 1:00 pm
Farmers' Market at the Mercantile
08.06.2024 10:00 am - 1:00 pm
Farmers' Market at Library Park
08.10.2024 10:00 am - 1:00 pm
Farmers' Market at the Mercantile
08.13.2024 10:00 am - 1:00 pm
Farmers' Market at Library Park
08.17.2024 10:00 am - 1:00 pm
Farmers' Market at the Mercantile

Mini Calendar



Award winning journalism on the shores of Clear Lake. 



Enter your email here to make sure you get the daily headlines.

You'll receive one daily headline email and breaking news alerts.
No spam.