Monday, 22 July 2024


James Deback is going to state prison for molesting a 10-year-old boy. Lake County Jail photo.

LAKEPORT – A man convicted of molesting a 10-year-old boy was sentenced to state prison on Friday.

Senior Deputy District Attorney John R. DeChaine reported that Judge Richard Martin sentenced Lakeport resident James Michael Deback, 45, to the upper term of eight years in prison for child molestation.

DeChaine said the investigation began in March, when a neighbor witnessed what was believed to be inappropriate conduct between Deback and the child.

Jail records show that Deback, a painter, was arrested on March 28.

Formal charges were filed by the Lake County District Attorney’s Office on April 2, according to DeChaine, who prosecuted the case.

On Nov. 2 Deback pleaded no contest to one felony count of committing a lewd or lascivious act with a child under the age of 14 and one misdemeanor count of annoying or molesting a minor, DeChaine reported.

Both crimes, said DeChaine, require Deback to register as a sex offender for the remainder of his life.  

When Deback entered his no contest pleas on Nov. 2, he admitted a special allegation that the felony charge involved “substantial sexual conduct,” according to DeChaine.

DeChaine noted that the admission of this special allegation served to prohibit Deback from being granted probation, thereby ensuring a prison commitment.  

DeChaine said the case was investigated by a team of officers, including Mark Hommer and Jim Bell of the Lakeport Police Department and Investigator Von Morshed of the Lake County District Attorney’s Office.

Both Bell and Morshed have specialized training in conducting child forensic interviews in cases involving child sexual assault, DeChaine added.
Morshed and the victim’s family members were in attendance when Deback was sentenced, DeChaine said.

The family prepared a victim impact statement which was read by Denise Johnson of the Victim-Witness Division of the District Attorney’s Office prior to Judge Martin handing down the sentence, according to DeChaine.  

DeChaine said the felony county for which Deback was convicted is a violent strike in California, meaning Deback will not be eligible for parole until he serves at least 85 percent of his prison commitment.  


SACRAMENTO – Continuing a tradition which began in 2004, state Legislators are once again lending their support to a major gift donation drive on behalf of the state’s deployed members of the National Guard, Army Reserve and active duty soldiers.

At a news conference held Thursday morning at the State Capitol, lawmakers announced their intent to accept donations in their Capitol and district offices.

The fourth annual “Operation Christmas for Our Troops” drive actually began on Nov. 1; however, donations of new, unwrapped toys, new or used DVDs or video games, or retail gift cards will be accepted until Dec. 21.

A large number of retailers, churches and community organizations also are participating, as are 200 National Guard Armories, Reserve Centers and Active Duty military installations.

The statewide Operation Christmas for Our Troops and their families began in November 2004. The driving force behind the effort is Yellow Ribbon America, a nonpartisan, grassroots organization designed to unite Americans in support of the nation’s military members and their families.

The last three drives collected nearly 100,000 toys, DVDs and gift cards for California’s military families and their loved ones deployed overseas.

Brad White, Yellow Ribbon America’s national chairman, says the goal is to make this year’s donation drive “bigger and better” than ever.

“We are pleased to once again have the bi-partisan support of the California Legislature on behalf of Operation Christmas for Our Troops IV, which will bring community-based help and support for the families of our California deployed and home-based military members and their families so that they can have the best Christmas possible,” White said.

“Through the generous donations from California’s communities, we will be able to give gifts to military families especially the children of America’s military to help them through the emotional difficulties of the holidays while their loved ones are far from home.”

Among the lawmakers lending their support to this year’s effort are Assemblymembers Anthony Adams (R-Hesperia), Chuck Devore (R-Irvine), Roger Niello (R-Fair Oaks), Nell Soto (D-Pomona) and Alberto Torrico (D-Newark), Senators Darrell Steinberg (D-Sacramento) and Patricia Wiggins (D- Santa Rosa), and members of the Assembly and Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committees.

“I am glad to be part of this wonderful, bi-partisan effort on behalf of our military and military families,” Senator Wiggins said. “Each and every one of us can, individually, make a difference in someone’s life. Together, we can make this the best ‘Operation Christmas’ drive ever, and by doing so, we can show our troops and their families that we are thinking about them during the holidays.”

In addition to Legislators’ Capitol and district offices, donations are also being accepted by the Senate Veterans Committee (room 251 of the Legislative Office Building, 1020 N St., Sacramento), and the Assembly Veterans Affairs Committee (room 389 of the same building).

Wiggins' spokesman, David Miller, said she will be accepting donated items at all of her offices, Capitol and district. Her Ukiah office, located at 200 S. School St., telephone 707-468-8914, covers both Lake and Mendocino Counties.

Folks wishing to offer support in other ways can also go to the Yellow Ribbon America Web site:


MIDDLETOWN – Officials have identified the two victims of a fatal Sunday morning crash.

California Highway Patrol Officer Josh Dye said Monday that Kelly Mankinen, 38, and Brian Quinlan, 52, both of Clearlake, died in the collision, which took place Sunday at about 5:40 a.m. on Highway 29, south of St. Helena Lane.

Mankinen was driving a 1999 Volkswagen Cabrio northbound on Highway 29 at an unknown speed, according to the CHP. Traveling southbound was Quinlan in a 2002 Honda Accord.

Mankinen's vehicle drifted to the left across the double-yellow lines and into the southbound traffic lane, causing the two vehicles to hit head-on, Dye said.

Both Mankinen and Quinlan were pronounced dead at the scene, according to the CHP. Both had been wearing their safety belts.

Just what caused the collision isn't known at this point, said Dye. “It could have really been anything at this point.”

Because it was early morning, Dye said Mankinen could have been tired and fell asleep, losing control of the vehicle and causing it to cross into the other lane.

Dye said the investigation is continuing.

Sunday's crash is the 13th fatal auto collision to take place on the county's roads this year, said Dye. In those 13 collisions, 16 people have died.

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KELSEYVILLE – A Kelseyville woman suspected of drinking and driving was arrested after she crashed her car into a residence.

Lisa Anne Tragiou, 45, was arrested by California Highway Patrol Officer Dallas Richey after the crash took place just before 3 p.m. Thursday in Kelseyville, according to CHP spokesman Officer Adam Garcia.

Tragiou was driving her 1986 black Ford Ranger pickup northbound on State Street, south of Gaddy Lane, when the pickup drifted right off the roadway and clipped a telephone pole, which escaped structure damage, Garcia said.

The collision caused the pickup to travel left across the roadway, Garcia reported, where it struck a cyclone fence, continuing through the fence and over a grass lawn.

Tragiou's pickup finally struck the front steps and overhead awning of a mobile home, said Garcia. CHP logs reported that the home was in the 2000 block of N. State Street.

The home's occupants, and Tragiou and her passenger, 46-year-old Jennifer Engstrom of Kelseyville, escaped injury, Garcia reported.

Tragiou was booked into the Lake County Jail, with bail posted at $1,740. She has since posted bond and been released, according to jail records.

Garcia said Richey is investigating the incident.

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LOWER LAKE – On Dec. 23, 2005, a speeding car traveling along a lonely road in Lassen County crashed into a building, bounced into a tree and caught fire. By the time rescuers were able to pull the car's passenger from the wreckage, the young woman had died. {sidebar id=39}

On Wednesday night, Judy Thein shared the horror of losing her 36-year-old daughter, Kellie, to that collision, caused by car's driver who, unbeknownst to Kellie Thein, had been drinking.

“No one deserves to die in such a cruel manner,” Judy Thein said.

Thein's emotional talk was one of several told by members of Team DUI in a town hall meeting Wednesday evening, held at the Lower Lake High School gym.

The two-hour meeting, attended by about 30 adults and teens, offered a stark reminder of the high cost that comes from underage drinking and drinking and driving.

For Thein, sharing her story has been a painful but important way of remembering her daughter, who worked as a social worker and advocate for children.

Thein recalled in vivid detail her experiences, from the moments of receiving the phone call that her daughter had died to her burial.

“That was a pain you could never, ever imagine, seeing my daughter's body lowered into the ground,” said Thein.

A contrast to Thein's story was found in that of 18-year-old Erica Harrison, a fresh-faced 2007 graduate of Middletown High School who stood on crutches, having lost her leg in a crash last year.

Harrison and Thein's partnership to speak to young people began earlier this year, Thein told Lake County News, and is an important part of the formation of Team DUI.

At the start of her senior year, Harrison went drinking with a friend one Friday afternoon before heading off to the first home football game of the season.

The last thing she remembered was getting into the car. She awoke to a chaotic scene, after having hit a tree at 65 miles per hour.

Harrison's friend survived, while she lost her leg and spent her first semester of school recovering from the crash and incurring astronomical hospital bills.

In addition, she paid thousands of dollars for an attorney to represent her on a felony DUI charge later lowered to a misdemeanor. She was sentenced to 100 hours of community service and had her driver's license suspended for a year.

None of her friends came to visit her in the hospital, and she had to struggle to make up for her lost semester in order to graduate this past June.

But none of that equaled the pain of seeing her family suffer, said Harrison. Her own little brother didn't see her during her months of hospitalization, and when he finally see her, “He hid from me and cried.”

Since then, Harrison said her goal has been to let others know the high costs of drinking and driving. “I'm trying to do the best I can and get the word out.”

Carle High School Principal Bill MacDougall shared his own story of how a DUI crash changed his life at the age of 14 and, in a roundabout way, led to his work helping children today.

MacDougall said his parents drank heavily and daily. He was 14 when his father, who had been drinking, went off a 300-foot cliff in his car, accompanied by a woman not MacDougall's mother.

The devastation that rippled through MacDougall's family resulted in his mother's suicide a year and a half later. “Due to the drinking and driving, I had no family,” he said.

His older brother took him in, and they lived above a motorcycle repair shop in San Jose. But it was the intervention of two high school coaches – MacDougall was a swimmer and wrestler – that made all the difference.

The two men championed the teen, helping him get scholarships to get into college.

“You wonder why I do what I do?” MacDougall asked.

It's to pay it forward to his students in just that same way, he explained.

Clearlake Police Chief Allan McClain emphasized the important role parents play in setting a good example for their children.

“What we say to them is not nearly as important as what we do,” said McClain, the father of two teenage boys.

Every decision a person makes has a consequence, said McClain. And sometimes those consequences can be horrific.

While a young deputy sheriff 24 years ago, McClain was heading home in the Central Valley one foggy night when he came upon a crash scene. A Volkswagen bus with a family including six children and an infant had been hit by a drunk driver.

The family, he said, were deaf and could not speak, and as he tried to communicate with them he realized that they were trying to tell him that their infant daughter was under the van's wreckage.

He said he can still remember vividly helping to pull the infant from under the van. She looked like a china doll, he said, but she was missing an eye and her body was crushed.

The memory, he said, “never goes away.”

For anyone convicted of a DUI, going to jail is the easy part, said McClain. Much worse is living with the consequences.

California Highway Patrol Officer Adam Garcia, who has been with CHP for six years, said an accident scene he came upon while a young officer in San Jose still haunts him as well.

A drunk driver had hit a man riding a motorcycle with his young stepdaughter, who Garcia estimated to be about 8 years old.

Hundreds of feet from the crushed motorcycle was the body of the little blonde-haired girl, said Garcia. When he went to her, he found she was already dead, her big blue eyes staring up at him.

“I can't tell you how much that affected me,” said Garcia.

He added, “She lives with me everyday, every night when I go to bed. I wish I could make it go away but I can't.”

Garcia said it took everything he had not to reach out and strangle the man who caused the accident, who he said had no concept of what he had done.

“As a parent, I couldn't imagine outliving my child,” said Garcia. “That's not how nature works.”

The purpose behind Team DUI's effort, said Garcia, is to encourage people to make better decisions and understand how dangerous drinking and driving really is.

As for the CHP and police, said Garcia, when it comes to DUI crashes, “We don't want your business. We really don't.”


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MIDDLETOWN – Two people died early Sunday morning in a collision that took place on Highway 29 near Middletown.

The two-vehicle accident occurred at about 5:40 a.m., according to the California Highway Patrol incident logs. One vehicle had reportedly rolled over and another was reported to be close to catching on fire.

A report from the Ukiah CHP Dispatch Center said that Highway 29 just north of Middletown was shut down because of the collision, with traffic rerouted onto Highway 175 through Cobb. The CHP logs said that traffic was shut down from Butts Canyon Road to St. Helena Road.

Officers confirmed two deaths at the scene at approximately 6:10 a.m., according to the logs. The Coroner's Office was en route to the scene later in the morning.

CHP's Ukiah Dispatch Center confirmed the two deaths at noon Sunday.

Caltrans was notified to activate signs warning of the collision, with a towing service also called to remove the vehicles.

CHP reported that both lanes of the highway were reopened to traffic by 11:47 a.m.

Lake County News will publish an update as soon as more information is available.

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Animal Care and Control Officer Morgan Hermann visit with Deja following the Thursday surgery to remove the dog's right front leg. Photo courtesy of Wasson Memorial Veterinary Clinic.

CLEARLAKE They work long hours, see a lot of sad stories and often get criticized in the course of doing their work. {sidebar id=40}

Despite all of that Animal Care and Control officers remain in incredibly difficult jobs because they love animals, said agency Program Director Paula Werner.

They often encounter situations of need, said Werner, and are forced to think with their heads even when their hearts are involved.

But every once in a while they get challenged in a way that throws practical thinking out the window, which is what happened this week.

Katie Bennett, who works in Animal Care and Control's front office, said they received a call Monday from Clearlake resident Michael Sims.

The 60-year-old Sims said he needed to surrender his dog and have her euthanized because he couldn't afford treatment for a tumor that had grown up on one of her legs, Bennett explained.

Bennett said they told Sims they could pick up the dog at 4 p.m. that day. Sims, however, said he couldn't, because he had an appointment at the mortuary to plan his wife's funeral.

Two days earlier, on Nov. 24, Sims lost his 52-year-old wife, Evelyn, to cancer. The couple, who had been married 17 years, have a 15-year-old son, Justin.

The family loved its animals, which included many birds and their two dogs, a 6-year-old Rottweiler named Deja – short for Dejavu – and Wiener, a 10-year-old Dachshund.

But they had to get rid of the birds in order to move into a rental after their home was foreclosed on, said Sims.

“It's been a real rough year,” he said.

Both of the dogs, said Sims, were rescues, animals that came into the lives of his family after their previous owners moved or could no longer keep them.

The aging Wiener was blind, deaf and suffering, said Sims, so he had already surrendered him to Animal Care and Control to be put down. “He knew his way around the yard, but it was time.”

But the younger Deja – “she's just beautiful, a sweetheart” – had only been with the family three years, said Sims.

Compounding the family's sorrow, in the past month, Sims said Deja's tumor appeared on her leg, seemingly, out of nowhere. “It came on real fast. I thought she was snake bit.”

Not thinking it was a tumor, Sims took Deja to the vet only to find out she required $2,000 worth of treatment, which included amputating her right front leg. That, coupled with seeing her in pain and his already stretched finances, led Sims to his heartbreaking decision.

Determined to get help

Animal Care and Control arranged to come and pick Deja up Wednesday. Sims – who has had dogs all of his life – said he got “a little emotional” when Officer Morgan Hermann arrived to take the dog.

The emotion quickly passed to Hermann and other Animal Care and Control staff as they learned Sims' story.

Bennett said they see a lot of sad stories come through their doors, but this one struck them especially hard.

When Hermann arrived back in Lakeport with Deja, Bennett said the staff concluded, “We've got to figure something out.”

On Wednesday, they took Deja to Clearlake Veterinary, which is their contract vet when seeking grants from the Cobb-based Acme Foundation, which gives grants to help seniors and the disabled pay for veterinary care for seriously ill pets.

Deja's prognosis, however, wasn't good, said Bennett.

Deja, who is young and in otherwise good health, is suffering from bone cancer, with treatment not likely to gain her much time. Because of that, the Acme Foundation's strict funding criteria didn't allow them to help, despite the fact that the group wanted to, said Bennett.

The staff at Animal Care and Control weren't ready to give up, said Bennett. The story had broken their hearts and given them a firm resolution, that they wouldn't put Deja to sleep.

Next, they turned to Wasson Memorial Veterinary Clinic, and Dr. Chris Holmes, a vet there for the past 13 years.

Bennett said Wasson works closely with Animal Care and Control, frequently giving them discounts when treating animals in need.

Holmes said Hermann brought the dog to him, heartbroken over the situation. “I hate seeing Animal Control officers crying over a case,” he said.

The emotion shown by Hermann and her coworkers, said Holmes, told him there was a bigger story behind Deja's case.

So Holmes took on the case, which he said he was happy to do.

Before they even knew the cost, Bennett said Animal Care and Control staff were determined to get Deja help in order to reunite her with her family. “No matter what, we're doing it. Even if all of us here have to pay for it.”

Just after noon Thursday, Holmes completed the surgery to amputate Deja's leg, with its softball-sized tumor.

Speaking with Lake County News just after surgery, Holmes said Deja was recovering just fine.

“She looks good,” he said. “She's going to be instantly pain-free compared to where she was.”

Deja's condition, bone cancer – or osteosarcoma – is extremely painful, said Holmes. The cancer eventually will eat right through the bone, causing it to break.

Osteosarcoma often appears in the larger breeds, said Holmes, including Rottweilers and Great Danes.

While the surgery got rid of the tumor, Holmes was candid in saying that the cancer already had spread. “We know that it's elsewhere.”

The amputation buys Deja about six months, with three scheduled chemotherapy treatments – one of which started within a few hours of surgery – adding six more months to that, Holmes said.

“We're basically buying her a year of a good quality of life,” he said.

In the coming weeks, Deja will receive two more chemotherapy treatments of Carboplatin, drug also used on human cancer patients, Holmes explained.

The surgery and chemo treatments will cost about $2,500, said Holmes, after Wasson initially discounted the care by $500 as its donation.

Holmes also discovered Deja has heartworm, a condition Wasson will treat at its own cost, he said.

The issue of cost preventing a family from saving a pet isn't new, said Holmes.

“We often see cases where you get an older animal and it's a big problem and they do have to weigh the costs of treatment versus how much life they may actually buy them,” he said.

Some people use medical issues as a reason to get rid of pets, said Holmes. At the same time, “There are plenty of people who would spend all the money in the world and we still can't save them.”

Staff starts fundraiser effort

“I can't recall a case like this,” said Werner, who added that Animal Care and Control Staff have been “in a big fat puddle of tears” for the last few days over Deja's plight.

“This one just got to us, that's all I can say,” she said.

The closest case to Deja's was in 2006 involving “Hero,” a German shepherd found emaciated at a Lakeport home. Bennett said the community donated so much money that it easily covered all of Hero's treatment, again provided by Wasson Memorial.

Werner said about eight staffers so far have signed on to donate their own money “on our county paychecks, I might add.”

Community members also have started helping, said Bennett, with a Clearlake business donating $200.

Werner said Animal Care and Control staffers wanted to give Michael and Justin Sims back their dog for Christmas.

Holmes added, “Maybe his Christmas will be a little bit better.”

After a “rough year” – a decided understatement after what he's been through – Sims said Thursday the help he's received from Animal Care and Control and Wasson has given him “a different point of view.”

It's also given his teenage son some hope.

When he told Justin on Wednesday that Deja was getting help and may be coming back home, “He just lit up,” Sims said.

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COW MOUNTAIN – A weekend search for a lost dirt biker ended with the man being found by some campers.

Lake County Sheriff's Office deputies were dispatched to the Cow Mountain Recreation Area on the report of a missing person at approximately 8:30 p.m. Friday, Nov. 23, according to Lt. Cecil Brown.

Steve Vandermost, 21, of Bellflower had been dirt biking with his cousin and some friends when he got separated from the group, said Brown.

Vandermost's cousin called to report him missing, Brown said, after he and his friends looked for Vandermost but failed to find him.

Brown said deputies took a missing person's report, and Search and Rescue units were dispatched to the area. Assisting the search was Sonoma County's Henry-1 helicopter.

The search continued through the night and into Saturday, Brown said.

While the search remained under way Saturday, Brown said a group of campers called Lake County Central Dispatch at about 7 p.m. to say that Vandermost had wandered into their camp and that they were taking him to Sutter Lakeside Hospital.

Vandermost had reportedly complained of being cold, and was treated at Sutter Lakeside, although Brown said officials weren't sure exactly what condition he had been treated for while at the hospital.

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The Eleven Roses Ranch muledrawn trolley once again transported visitors around downtown Lakeport. Photo by Harold LaBonte.


LAKEPORT – Lakeport's Main Street was transported back to Victorian times for the fourth annual Dickens Christmas Market on Saturday.

More than 60 vendors lined up both sides of Main Street throughout the day.

Thousands of curious shoppers drifted from First to Fourth streets and back examining a wide range of holiday items and seasonal arts and crafts, many created by local artisans.

Children of all ages enjoyed a ride on a miniature train or rode the now-familiar muledrawn trolley from Eleven Roses Ranch. Hundreds more waited patiently to visit Santa in Santa’s Workshop.

Everyone was treated to live holiday caroling and several persons covering all ages donned period attire to show support of the event, as well as try and win a prize for best costume.

The day was topped off by a lighted Christmas parade at 6 p.m. followed by the city's Christmas tree lighting.

A majority of downtown business owners remained open for this year’s celebration, hosted by the Lakeport Chamber of Commerce. Total attendance estimates was not available at press time.

Contact Harold LaBonte at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..



Bert Hutt, attired as a Victorian gentleman, was a fixture of the day. Photo by Harold LaBonte.




The popular miniature train toured Lakeport's streets Saturday. Photo by Harold LaBonte.




Carolers added a festive touch to the market. Photo by Harold LaBonte.




Sandy Coelho-Davis (left) and friend at a booth downtown. Photo by Harold LaBonte.




The wares for sale included these decorative gourds. Photo by Harold LaBonte.




Another Christmas-themed item offered at the market. Photo by Harold LaBonte.




LAKE COUNTY – It's cold this morning and may be even more frosty on Saturday according to the most recent weather forecast.

The National Weather Service in Sacramento is predicting cooler high temperatures today 5 to 10 degrees colder than Thursday with even lower overnight temperatures into Saturday morning.

Temperatures are expected to dip into the low and mid-20s tonight unless high clouds remain into the evening, according to the National Weather Service.

If clouds do remain into the evening, temperatures are forecast to hover around freezing for most areas, but if the light and variable winds the National Weather Service expects for today don't taper off early and the evening sky clears, temperatures are expected to fall.

The National Weather Service encourages Lake County residents to take cold weather precautions such as covering sensitive plants, bringing pets indoors and checking up on your elderly or sick neighbors.

They also advise to bundle up and stay warm if going out of doors.

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


KELSEYVILLE – The holiday weekend saw turkeys of a different kind causing problems for businessman and supervisor, Rob Brown.

Brown reported that a car wash he owns on North Main Street in Kelseyville was burglarized sometime between 5:30 p.m. Friday and 11:30 a.m. Saturday.

The burglars did about $10,000 in damage to get at $500 in coins in the car wash coin machine, said Brown.

In addition, Brown said the burglars stole tools and other random items such as garbage bags.

A bemused Brown noted that among the rest of the items stolen were numerous packets of Armor All and cases of car air fresheners, which should make the culprits pretty easy to spot.

In the 10 years he's operated the car wash it's been hit by hoodlums before, he said. “We've been burglarized before but nothing to this extent.”

Because of the damage, Brown has had to shut down the car wash while repairs are made, which has resulted in lost business.

Brown said he's offering a $500 reward for information leading to an arrest of the burglars. He said anonymous tips are welcome, with no questions asked.

Anyone with information is asked to contact Det. Brian Martin of the Lake County Sheriff's Office, who is handling the case, at 262-4200.

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LAKEPORT – The story behind the murder this week of a Lakeport man took on an even grimmer tone with the confirmation that the murder victim had recently served time in prison.

Michael Anthony Dodele, 67, was stabbed to death in his home at Space 19 in the Western Hills Mobile Home Park on Tuesday morning.

That same morning, Lake County Sheriff's deputies arrested 29-year-old Ivan Garcia Oliver. Officials reported that Oliver was allegedly covered with blood and made statements admitting to attacking Dodele.

Oliver is from San Diego, where he was on parole for an assault with a deadly weapon conviction, according to a report from the Lake County Sheriff's Office.

A reader tipped Lake County News that Dodele was listed on the Megan's Law Web site, which lists registered sex offenders and their addresses.

A check of the site confirmed that Dodele was on the site, registered at the Lakeshore Boulevard address. The record noted that he was in compliance for registration.

The Lake County Sheriff's administrative office was closed Friday, so Chief Deputy Russell Perdock could not be reached for comment on the case.

Dodele, who also went by the alias Michael Salta, had been convicted of rape by force, according to the Megan's Law Web site and confirmed by California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation records.

Previously a resident of Sonoma County, records obtained by Lake County News showed that Dodele was committed to state prison in February of 1988 after being convicted of rape in Sonoma County. He received a 26-year sentence.

Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation records show that Dodele was discharged from that agency's supervision in February of 2004.

According to court records he later was committed to the Atascadero State Hospital, which is where the state Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation commits patients including offenders with mental illnesses and those being held under the California Sexually Violent Predator Act, according to state legislation. However, Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation had no information about his time at Atascadero.

While at the Atascadero State Hospital in San Luis Obispo County, Dodele took a case to the First Appellate District Court Jan. 23, 2002. His case was argued before the court in San Francisco Jan. 29, 2003.

The court upheld his conviction, and he next appealed to the state Supreme Court, which denied his petition for a review on April 20, 2003.

It is not clear from records if that appeal was an effort to have his original conviction overturned or if it was related to his commitment to Atascadero.

While he was at Atascadero in 2005, Dodele suffered chest pains and thought he was having a heart attack. Doctors found out he had a hyatal hernia, but when they tried to arrange surgery, Atascadero personnel refused to allow the treatment, according to an article about the incident on Echoes of the Gulag, a Web site dedicated to people held under the Sexually Violent Predator Act.

In May 2006 the U.S. Department of Justice and the State of California reached a settlement concerning civil rights violations at state mental hospitals, including Atascadero, according to court documents.

An autopsy of Dodele is scheduled for Tuesday, Nov. 27, as part of the ongoing investigation into his murder, Perdock reported this week.

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