Thursday, 18 July 2024


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 and on Facebook at .

BRANSCOMB – A Branscomb man was arrested last week after he allegedly ran his vehicle into the front of a post office and store.

Dale Carbaugh, 49, was arrested on charges of attempted arson, vandalism, burglary and felonious threats on March 5, according to Capt. Kurt Smallcomb of the Mendocino County Sheriff's Office.

On March 4 Mendocino Sheriff's deputies responded to the area of the Branscomb Post Office regarding a subject who had hit the front of the store with a vehicle, Smallcomb said.

Upon arrival, deputies spoke with witnesses who advised that Carbaugh had run his vehicle into the front of the store, impacting the gasoline pump, according to the report.

Smallcomb said that, upon hitting the pump, Carbaugh exited his vehicle and pulled the fuel dispensing nozzle off of the pump and placed it in the post office building, hooking it on a crate in an apparent attempt to dispense gasoline inside the building.

Witnesses advised the emergency shutoff switch was disengaged and Carbaugh got back into his vehicle and drove it to another location near the store, Smallcomb said. The witnesses also told deputies that Carbaugh walked past the store a few minutes later and threw a small plastic bottle towards them advising he believed the devil was inside the post office.

Deputies searched the area for Carbaugh but couldn't find him, Smallcomb said.

On the following day, Smallcomb said sheriff's deputies received a call for service advising Carbaugh was at the home of a relative in Branscomb and was vandalizing a boat with a hatchet. Deputies responded to the scene and arrested Carbaugh for felony vandalism attempted arson and burglary.

Smallcomb said the deputies also investigated the incident which had occurred at the relative's home. They learned Carbaugh had been hiding in the woods the previous day in hopes of eluding law enforcement and had arrived at a relative's home, where he took a hatchet and destroyed an inflatable Zodiac type boat.

Following this vandalism Carbaugh threatened to commit similar acts of violence on his family members at the location, Smallcomb said.

Carbaugh also was arrested on charges of vandalism and felonious threats. Smallcomb said Carbaugh was transported and booked into the Mendocino County Jail, with bail set at $50,000.

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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 .


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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.


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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.

UPPER LAKE – This Thursday, state education officials are expected to finalize a list of California schools that are considered “persistently lowest achieving,” with those schools facing remedies to improve performance.

The list of 188 schools, released Monday, identifies 5 percent of those lowest achieving schools based on a series of criteria derived from state and federal law, officials reported.

The schools are listed in three sections – tier one, tier two and graduation rate only.

On the tier two list – which includes middle or high schools that are eligible to receive Title I funds based on demographics such as above-average poverty – included one Lake County school, Upper Lake Middle School in the Upper Lake Elementary School District.

The only other school listed in the North Coast region was Kawana Elementary in Sonoma County's Bellevue Union Elementary School District. Tier one schools are elementary, middle or high schools that, among other things, are identified as being in Program Improvement in the 2009-10 school year.

Kurt Herndon, superintendent for the Upper Lake Elementary School District, received a letter dated Feb. 22 from California Superintendent of Public Instruction Jack O'Connell, a copy of which Herndon shared with Lake County News.

In the letter, O'Connell informed Herndon that the district may or may not have one or more schools on the list. Herndon later received a four-page explanation of the list and what it means.

“I'm in the awkward position of trying to explain something that doesn't make any sense,” said Herndon.

Herndon wrote a memorandum to his board of education to explain the situation, and also called board members.

Rachel Perry, director of the California Department of Education's academic accountability and awards division, said that identifying the 5 percent of persistently lowest-achieving schools in California is part of a multistep process that the state has to follow in accordance with three federal funding programs under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA).

Those programs are the Race to the Top, the School Improvement Grant and the State Fiscal Stabilization Fund, Perry said.

In addition, SB X 51 – state legislation authored by Sen. Darrell Steinberg (D-Sacramento) – added additional rules to help California compete in the Race to the Top, she explained.

The State Board of Education will discuss the preliminary list at its Thursday meeting, Perry said.

Perry said the US Department of Education allows states to apply for waivers of certain provisions of the federal law. She said California can apply for a waiver from having to identify lower performing schools before identifying the higher performing schools as required under the federal programs.

The State Board of Education will vote on seeking that waiver this Thursday, Perry said.

“If they vote to seek the waiver, the list will resort itself,” she said, with tier two schools like Upper Lake Middle School possibly being replaced by lower performing schools from tier one.

However, “There's still a second layer of review,” with Perry noting that the US Department of Education must approve the waivers, with the possibility that the agency could rule California doesn't qualify.

That makes it even more troubling for local districts because of the uncertainty, Perry said.

Herndon pointed out that Upper Lake Middle School isn't amongst the lowest 5 percent of schools when it comes to measures like the state's Academic Performance Index.

The school's 2009 API was 666, 12 points below its target score, according to state records. In 2008 the school scored 678, with a 2007 score of 672.

One of the reasons Upper Lake Middle School landed on the list was its failure to increase its API score by 50 or more points over the last three years. Perry explained that schools that didn't make that growth target were identified as low performers according to state law.

“We evaluate performance and progress,” she said.

Any schools that increased their API by more than 50 points or were at or above the state's API target of 800 points were removed from the state's analysis used to identify low performing schools, she said.

The California Department of Education reported that the schools identified as persistently lowest achieving must engage in a school intervention model as required by state and federal law.

Schools that make that final list of persistently lowest-achieving schools are required to implement one of four school intervention models: the turnaround model, which requires major school improvements that can include replacing the principal and adopting a new governance structure; a restart model, in which the school is converted or closed and reopened; the school closure model, in which the school is closed and students are enrolled in other, higher-achieving schools; and the transformation model, which also can include replacing the principal and increasing instructional time.

Herndon said the school already has worked on remedies to address performance, including the turnaround model.

Upper Lake Middle School currently has a new principal following the retirement of the previous principal, Herndon said.

“It just sounds so bad,” he said of the school's inclusion on the list.

Now that the school knows what to shoot for, he said it won't be on the list in the future.

Herndon is sure of one thing. “We are not in the bottom 5 percent of schools in California,” he said. “It's not that simple.”

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 and on Facebook at .

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 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 and on Facebook at .

LAKEPORT – This Friday, the community is invited to come and enjoy the premiere of the inaugural “We Love the Tules Four Minute Film Festival.”

The Lake County Arts Council and Main Street Gallery, at 325 N. Main Street in Lakeport, is hosting the reception ceremony on Friday, March 12, to celebrate the creativity of the community.

Seven films were entered and each will be given its own reward, said Cheri Holden, creator of the festival and owner of Watershed Books.

“There were a wide variety of participants,” said Holden. “All of the films are worthy of an award. We had participants from age 13 to age 70, both amateurs and professionals.”

The festivities begin at 7 p.m. and will most likely last until about 9 p.m., she reported.

In addition to the films entered into the contest, several others also will be shown that are related to Clear Lake, Holden said.

“I’m keeping the films secret until the premiere, so I can’t give you any idea of what they are like,” said Holden.

The criteria for the entries was that the star of the movie be Clear Lake itself, that it be appropriate for all ages and be between two and four minutes in length, as Lake County News has reported.

To attend the award ceremony – complete with snacks and drinks - guests must RSVP.

Call or visit Watershed Books, which is located at 305 N. Main St. in Lakeport, 707-263-5787, or email Holden at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .

So far, almost 30 people have confirmed that they will attend, so space is running out, Holden said.

E-mail Tera deVroede at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. . Follow Lake County News on Twitter at and on Facebook at .

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 and on Facebook at .

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.”

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SANTA ROSA – On Tuesday, a former Chico resident was sentenced to life in prison for shooting his elderly grandfather in the back of the head as he sat in his rocking chair.

Sonoma County Judge Kenneth Gnoss sentenced Sean Patrick Mooney, 22, to spend the rest of his life in prison without the possibility of parole for the murder of his grandfather, Robert Deming, on May 20, 2008, according to Sonoma County District Attorney Stephan Passalacqua.

“Justice was finally served today for a senseless act upon a vulnerable victim, 78-year-old Robert Deming,” Passalacqua said in a written statement. “The jury agreed that the defendant executed his grandfather as he sat at rest in a rocking chair for the selfish expectation of financial gain.”

On July 24, 2009, a Sonoma County jury convicted Mooney of first degree murder with a special circumstance of committing murder for financial gain, use of a firearm, elder abuse charges and receiving stolen property, the 12-gauge shotgun that was used in the murder.

The evidence revealed that Mooney had shot his grandfather in the back of the head, at near contact, as Deming sat peacefully in his rocking chair at his Sonoma home.

Shortly following the jury’s verdict, Mooney hired new counsel to present a motion for new trial, claiming among other things that his trial counsel was ineffective at trial and there was insufficient evidence to support the jury’s verdict.

After several days in evidentiary hearing in February, Gnoss denied the motion for new trial and set the case for sentencing.

In addition to his sentence of life without the possibility of parole, Mooney also must serve two years for possessing a stolen shotgun and another 25 years to life for using a firearm during the murder.

Deputy District Attorneys Traci Carrillo and Rosanne Darling led the prosecution of the case. Detective Chris Vivian from the Sonoma County’s Sheriff’s Office led the investigation. District Attorney Investigator Les Vanderpool also assisted during the trial and subsequent court hearings.

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Upcoming Calendar

07.18.2024 6:00 pm - 8:00 pm
Clearlake City Council
07.20.2024 10:00 am - 1:00 pm
Farmers' Market at the Mercantile
07.23.2024 10:00 am - 1:00 pm
Farmers' Market at Library Park
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

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