The Trinity County District Attorney's Office will post Press-Releases here when they are issued.
The Press Releases are in reverse order with the newest Press Release on top and the older ones below.
February 5, 2019 - Suspects Sentenced for Poaching Crimes in Trinity County
In October 2017, Wildlife Officers with the California Department of Fish and Wildlife assisted by allied agencies served a search warrant in the Three Forks area of Trinity County for violations of streambed and habitat destruction. During the search Wildlife Officers discovered several poaching violations involving deer and bear. They also found an area of the property that was illegally baited to attract wildlife and included motion sensing spotlights to illuminate the bait piles at dark. In California, big game species are highly regulated and the use of bait and artificial light to hunt at night is illegal.
While on scene, three brothers, Joseph Bradley Leadingham (Ridgefield, WA), David Jon Leadingham (Seaside, CA), and William Robert Leadingham (Sun City, AZ), were interviewed and ultimately confessed to poaching several deer and bear over the bait at night using lights. Investigating Wildlife officers filed a case with the Trinity County DA’s Office and collectively, all three subjects were charged with 29 misdemeanor violations of the Fish and Game Code related to big game hunting violations.
On November 14, 2018 the three brothers, William Leadingham, Joseph Leadingham and David Leadingham each pled guilty to three counts of the Fish and Game Code and one count of the California Code of Regulations. The violations included Spotlighting an animal, unlawfully taking a deer, feeding big game animals, and unlawfully possessing a deer. As part of the plea agreement all firearms were forfeited and their hunting privileges were revoked for 3 years. Additionally, they were assessed fines and fees totaling nearly $3,000 and placed on 3 years’ probation where they will each be required to do 100 hours of community service. The primary investigator of the case was California Fish and Wildlife Officer Jason Smith and the case was prosecuted by Trinity County Deputy District Attorney Colleen Murray.
The California Department of Fish and Wildlife would like to remind the public that anyone who believes they are witness to unlawful poaching or pollution activity is encouraged to call CalTIP, CDFW’s confidential secret witness program, at (888) 334- 2258 or send a text with the tip411 app. Both methods allow the public to provide wildlife officers with factual information to assist with investigations. Callers may remain anonymous, if desired, and a reward can result from successful capture and prosecution.
October 25, 2018 - Collen Sentenced to 22-years in State Prison
On October 23, 2018, Gregory Collen was sentenced to the maximum sentence of twenty-two years in state prison. Mr. Collen was convicted of two forcible sexual assaults against a child who was under the age of 14, a felony violation of Penal Code 288(b)(1)- forcible lewd and lascivious conduct against a child victim, and a felony violation of Penal Code 289(a)(1)(b)- forcible sexual penetration.
The sexual assaults occurred over a period of many years until the child revealed the information to a trusted adult. An investigation was conducted by the Trinity County Sheriff’s Office, which led to Mr. Collen’s immediate arrest.
According to Deputy District Attorney Megan Marshall, “We are so thankful to obtain closure in this case on behalf of the BRAVE young victim who fearlessly spoke up against this repeat violent predator. This was a team effort where multiple agencies came together to fight for justice. We are very grateful to Detective Josh Ford, Nicole Bradford, Angela Benson, Megan Sholty, Amy Alward, Sarah Neff, and the entire District Attorney team who helped insure this defendant was prosecuted. “
October 23, 2018 - Grates Sentenced to Three Years of Formal Probation
On September 12, 2018, a jury found defendant Anthony Grates guilty of a violation of Penal Code Section 273.5, corporal injury to a cohabitant, a felony. On October 23, 2018 Judge Michael Harper sentenced defendant Anthony Grates serve 3 years of formal probation, 270 days in jail, participate in a 52 week batterer’s treatment program, perform 24 hours of community service, pay fines and fees to the court, and pay restitution to the victim.
On October 21, 2017, following an argument, Grates grabbed his girlfriend, the victim, by her arms and forced her against the wall of their home. He then threw her on the bed got on top of her and pinned her there with his knees on her upper arms and his forearm across her chest. The victim was gasping for breath. Grates eventually let the victim up and told her to leave. This violent attack left the victim with significant bruising on her left arm, with additional bruising to her right arm and chest.
This case was prosecuted by Deputy District Attorney Jessica Hurley.
May 11, 2015 - SCAM WARNING................
People are calling elderly Trinity County residents and having them Western Union money for fictitious arrests and injuries of the victim's relative. The thieves tell the elderly person that there is a GAG order and they can't tell other relatives what happened.
PLEASE WARN YOUR RELATIVES AND DON'T DO THIS!!
Please warn your relatives that ANYONE that calls them and wants their credit card, social security number or any personal information over the phone, DON'T GIVE IT TO THEM!!!
The FBI website has additional information about this specific scam. Please go to the websites listed below for information about this scam and others. By all means this is not a list of all the scams used by criminals.
April 28, 2014 - District Attorney's Office Most Wanted Webpage - Success! (#2)
After less than two weeks on Trinity County District Attorney's Most Wanted list, Frederick Jacob Guidotti was arrested in Lewiston on Saturday, April 26. Guidotti was wanted on a no-bail warrant to answer charges of committing a felony while awaiting a court date, drug charges and revocation of post-release community supervision.
The district attorney's office wishes to thank Deputy Sheriff Nate Trujillo and his K-9 Johnny, for their excellent follow up and cooperation in apprehending Guidotti.
Also, Greg Anthony McCoy, wanted on warrants totaling more than $100,00 since 2009, traveled from AZ to turn himself on Thursday, April 24. McCoy was wanted for grand theft, possession of stolen property, making threats and giving false information to a peace officer. He fled to AZ to avoid answering these charges, but with a more recent tip from a Trinity County resident, Mr. McCoy was caught.
Trinity County District Attorney's office thanks Mohave County Sheriff's Office in AZ for their aid in bringing McCoy to justice.
April 18, 2014 - District Attorney’s Office Most Wanted Webpage - Success! (#1)
The Trinity County District Attorney’s Office recently began listing fugitives from justice on the Trinity County District Attorney’s website in hopes that others will see these individuals and report their location to law enforcement. It is working! Two men listed on the Trinity County District Attorney's Most Wanted list went to jail yesterday, April 17th, after appearing in court.
Derrick Justin Hamel, profiled on the Most Wanted list since March 25, appeared with his attorney to answer for a $100, 000 warrant issued back in 2012. The El Dorado County Sheriff’s Office checked several locations for Mr. Hamel in the So. Lake Tahoe area prior to his arrest. Mr. Hamel was wanted for several burglary charges, and six counts of grand theft. A bail hearing is set for Friday, April 18, with Deputy District Attorney Eric Heryford requesting a bail increase.
Manuel Roberto Alvidrez, wanted on a no-bail warrant, was also added to the Most Wanted list on March 25, 2014. He faces weapons and drug charges. Hoopa Police Department arrested him on those charges, but after Alvidrez failed to appear at his court date in Trinity County, another warrant was issued. After appearing on Trinity County’s Most Wanted list, Mr. Alvidrez turned himself in and was remanded to jail, where he awaits his next court appearance.
The office of the Trinity County District Attorney wishes to thank Hoopa Police Department and the El Dorado County Sheriff's Office for their help.
March 31, 2014 - April is Crime Victims’ Rights Month
Murder, sexual assault, child molestation, DUI with fatalities, assaults with a deadly weapon, and other crimes harm our community and its citizens. Law enforcement investigates the crimes and the District Attorney’s office prosecutes the offenders. However, the victims – or the next-of-kin of deceased victims – may suffer from physical injuries, psychological trauma, loss of income, or medical bills and are thrust into court proceedings of which they may have little understanding.
The Trinity County District Attorney’s Office has a ‘Victim Witness Assistance Program’ that will help victims of crime in navigating the court processes and in accessing services to aid in the victim’s recovery. Depending on the nature of the crime, there may be compensation available from the state’s Victim Compensation and Government Claims Board which can include victim counseling, help with medical bills, loss of income, and other assistance.
According to District Attorney Michael Harper, “Victims of crime need to know they have an advocate at the District Attorney’s office who will help them. Ensuring that the rights of crime victims are taken into account is an important part of our prosecution of the criminal.”
To view online information about the Victim Witness Assistance Program, go to the Trinity County webpage at: www.trinitycounty.org , click on “Departments”, click on District Attorney, then click on “Victim Witness Assistance”.
You may also contact our Victim Witness Coordinator at 530-623-8357 for information on the program and services.
March 25, 2014 - Trinity County District Attorney’s ‘Most Wanted’ on Website
The Trinity County District Attorney’s Office has created a webpage with “Trinity County District Attorney’s Most Wanted” individuals. Each person listed has a warrant for their arrest and the webpage provides a name, photograph, physical description, warrant amount, and a brief description of the offense.
The public is cautioned to report any information about the defendants directly to law enforcement (non-emergency line – in Trinity County the number is 530-623-2611) and not take any direct action involving the defendant. Observe only and contact law enforcement when in a safe location.
According to District Attorney Michael Harper, “The persons listed on this webpage are wanted in Trinity County for serious crimes. We are asking the public’s help in locating these individuals and advising law enforcement of their whereabouts. The District Attorney’s Office is pleased to provide this service to help make our community safer.”
To view “Trinity County District Attorney’s Most Wanted”, go to the Trinity County webpage at: www.trinitycounty.org , click on “Departments”, click on District Attorney, then click on “Trinity County District Attorney’s Most Wanted.”
The defendant information is provided as a public service and is current at the time of posting.
February 25, 2014 - Gifford Nichols Found Guilty of Child Sexual Assault Charges
On February 25, 2014, a Trinity County Jury found Gifford Nichols guilty of six separate counts of child sexual assault violations and a special allegation that the offenses were committed against multiple victims.
Nichols was charged with having, and attempting to have, sexual intercourse with a child under 10 years old, lewd and lascivious conduct with a child under 14 years old, sexual penetration of a child under 10 years old, and substantial sexual conduct with another child under the age of 14 for a five year period of time.
Two separate victims testified to the conduct Nichols was charged with. Additionally, his adult daughter testified that Nichols had molested her as a child.
Deputy District Attorney Eric Heryford stated that the conviction was possible because the victims were willing to come forward and expressed his appreciation for their strength to come and testify. He also stated that Trinity County Sheriff Detective Jeremy Ammon did a great job investigating the case and putting it together for prosecution.
Sentencing is set for March 25, 2014. Nichols is facing a possible 65 years to life sentence.
January 8, 2014 - Involuntary Manslaughter Plea in 2012 Death of Adrian Rael
On January 8, 2014, Donna Huebsch entered a guilty plea to PC 192(b), involuntary manslaughter. Ms. Huebsch was charged with Penal Code section 187(a), murder, from an incident that occurred on August 15, 2012, when the victim, Adrian Rael, was shot and killed. According to District Attorney Michael Harper “the defense attorney recently turned over reports to us that revealed that Ms. Huebsch shot Mr. Rael by accident while she was protecting herself from his unwarranted aggression towards her. Out of fear of retaliation, she initially denied shooting Mr. Rael. We always believed that she did in fact shoot Mr. Rael, but we were uncertain as to what led to the shooting. Her statement to her investigator, which was taken right after the incident, but that we just learned about from her new attorney, is reasonable to the point that we do not think that she would be convicted of murder. Her plea acknowledges that she did in fact shoot and kill Mr. Rael, but that she did not intend to do so as she was just trying to protect herself when the gun was accidently discharged.” Ms. Huebsch will be sentenced on February 26, 2014, to two years in State Prison. She was released pending sentencing as she has already served that amount of time.
December 11, 2013 - State Compensation for Victims of Crime – Trinity County (2012/2013)
The Trinity County District Attorney’s Victim Witness Assistance Program provides a variety of services to the victims and witnesses of crime. One service for crime victims is assistance with filing claims for certain financial losses with California's Victim Compensation and Government Claims Board.
The funding for victim compensation comes from a number of sources including defendant fees and fines and state and federal sources. There are no direct “local” dollars involved.
For the reporting period of July 1, 2012 through June 30, 2013 the following statistics indicate the direct payments to crime victims and to providers (hospitals, doctors, therapists, etc.):
Total Paid FY12/13 $ 27,428.97
Payment by Service
Funeral/Burial $ 4,529.42
Medical $ 8,327.05
Mental Health $ 14,572.50
Payment by Payee Type
Claimant $ 6,625.42
Provider $ 20,803.55
Payment by Crime Category
Assault $ 17,971.05
Child Abuse $ 2,761.00
Homicide $ 4,529.42
Other $ 1,762.50
Sexual Assault $ 405.00
Payment by Filing Status
Adult Survivor $ 550.00
Adult Victim $ 18,046.55
Deceased Victim $ 4,529.42
Minor Victim $ 4,303.00
Payment by Gender
Female $ 18,534.95
Male $ 8,894.05
Source: Victim Compensation Program Annual Report for Fiscal Year 2012/2013 – Crime County
What are examples of crimes that are typically covered?
• Assault with a deadly weapon
• Battery (when there is injury or threat of injury)
• Child abuse
• Child sexual assault
• Child endangerment and abandonment
• Domestic violence
• Driving under the influence
• Hit and run
• Vehicular manslaughter
• Sexual assault
• Sexual battery
• Unlawful sexual intercourse (where there is injury or threat of injury)
• Other crimes that result in physical injury or a threat of physical injury to the victim
For more information on the Victim Compensation Program, visit the Victim Compensation and Government Claims Board website at: http://www.vcgcb.ca.gov/
Or visit the Trinity County District Attorney’ Victim Witness Assistance Program at: Victim Witness Assistance Program
Or contact the Trinity County Victim Witness Assistance Program at 530-623-8357.
August 21, 2013 - District Attorney’s Office Welcomes New Prosecutor
The Trinity County District Attorney’s office extended a warm welcome to their newest deputy district attorney. Megan Marshall, daughter of Bob Marshall and granddaughter of Agnes Marshall, has joined the ranks of the local law enforcement team. Megan has a deep affinity for Trinity County and she is looking forward to becoming an active member of our community.
Megan Marshall is a veteran prosecutor with over seventeen years of experience as a deputy district attorney. She has been honored for her participation in the Peer Court and Drug Court programs. She has over eleven years of expertise in Juvenile Criminal law and also taught criminal justice at Sierra College. She attended Stanford University and U.C. Davis Law School.
District Attorney Michael Harper stated, “Megan’s deep experience in prosecution and her local connections to Trinity County make her a tremendous addition to our staff. We are very excited to have Megan join us and advance our goal of protecting the people of our county. With her background and experience she will fit in perfectly. We are lucky to add such a wonderful person to our staff and to our community.”
May 2013 - District Attorney Michael Harper announced that on Tuesday, March 19, 2013, Clifford Dean Kester, 42, of Willow Creek, California, pled guilty to three or more acts of substantial sexual conduct against each two different minor victims over a period of years. On May 7, 2013, Judge Clark Sueyres, a retired judge from San Joaquin County, sentenced Mr. Kester to serve 18 years in state prison.
According to Deputy District Attorney Adam Grace, the sentence was fair. "Mr. Kester used his position of trust to abuse more than one minor victim, over a long period of time, in a disgusting and predatory way. As part of the plea arrangement, he pled to two 'strike' crimes, he will have to serve 85 percent of the 18 years he was sentenced to state prison, and he will have to register as a sex offender for the rest of his life. We applaud the courage of the victims of this case in coming forward so that Mr. Kester could be stopped from abusing them and others."
December 2012 - On December 18, 2012, Keven Floyd, of Hyampom, was sentenced by Judge Woodward to 10 years and 8 months in the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation. Mr. Floyd had entered a plea to Kidnapping, Criminal Threats and two Domestic Violence charges for an incident that happened on May 18, 2010. The police report revealed that Floyd was angry with a former girlfriend and he started to assault her. The beating took place over a period of time during which time he made threats on the victim’s life. Eventually, Floyd forced the victim into a car. The victim escaped by jumping out of the car as it slowed for a stop sign.
According to District Attorney Michael Harper, “Had this case gone to trial, it would have been very difficult on the victim to testify, so we are glad we were able to resolve this matter. Two of these charges are considered strikes and are violent felonies so Mr. Floyd will be required to do 85% of his sentence (instead of the normal 50%) and when he is released from prison he will be considered a three striker, which means he potentially could go to prison for life for any future violent or serious convictions.”