[Editor’s note: This post has been corrected from a previous version that misattributed statements from the District Attorney’s sentencing memorandum. The Outpost regrets the errors.]
Thirty-six-year-old Juan Joseph Ferrer, who was sentenced yesterday to 12 years in prison for the 2013 stabbing death of an unarmed Abruzzi chef named Douglas Anderson-Jordet, has shown no genuine remorse for his actions, according to a probation report sent to the Outpost by the victim’s family.
The report describes a pattern of “callous” behavior, starting with the brutality of the crime itself, continuing through Ferrer’s carefree behavior in the following days and finally revealing itself fully in phone calls made (and recorded) while he was incarcerated in the county jail.
According to the report, Ferrer attempted to influence his jury trial not only by feigning remorse and coaching his grandmother on what to say and what not to say, but also by drawing a “Voodoo doll” of the prosecuting attorney and covering it with his own blood, which he’d gotten while testing his blood sugar in a jail cell.
In one phone call placed from jail on May 18, the day he was found guilty of voluntary manslaughter, Ferrer laughed about beating the more serious charge of second degree murder, according to a sentencing memorandum from the District Attorney’s office. Ferrer used another inmate’s name and personal identification number (PIN) to make the call, which was recorded and presented as evidence during the sentencing hearing. Here’s part of what Ferrer said, according to the transcription:
I didn’t murder him, but I did fucking kill him, ha ha ha, you know what I mean. Like, I beat a murder. I beat a murder trial in Humboldt County, and I fucking, I actually fucking killed the motherfucker. You know what I mean, like, fucking, I got love.
Ferrer was born on Sept. 1, 1978, the eldest of six children. His parents divorced when he was 7, and his mom, who is now disabled, eventually moved to Arcata, where she now lives with her long-term boyfriend. After the divorce, Ferrer and his two oldest siblings frequently lived with their maternal grandmother, who also lives in Arcata.
Ferrer told officers that he started working at age 15 and held jobs in fast food, at a floral farm and as a nursing home aid. From 2003 to 2013 he was employed as an in-home support services (IHSS) worker, and at the time of his arrest he’d been filling that role 24/7 for his grandma.
In May of 2000 Ferrer was convicted of disturbing the peace — specifically fighting in a public space or challenging another person in a public place to fight. He later explained to a probation officer that he had “pushed a store clerk to the ground when he was confronted about shoplifting.”
In 2006 Ferrer was charged with battery after engaging in what he called “mutual pushing” with his mom’s boyfriend because Ferrer didn’t want him in the house, he told a probation officer. The charge was eventually dropped.
At about 1:25 a.m. on November 25, 2013, Ferrer and two friends — 24-year-old Sophie Buttercup Rocheleau and 28-year-old Nicholas Benjamin Stoiber, both of Arcata — encountered Anderson-Jordet walking through downtown Arcata. Words were exchanged, an altercation ensued, and Ferrer stabbed Anderson-Jordet in the heart with a knife. An autopsy later revealed that Anderson Jordet’s blood alcohol level was 0.23.
Deputy DA Roger Rees’s sentencing memo states, “As the three fled, the defendant told his friends, ‘I think I stabbed him.’ The defendant was still holding the open knife in his hand, and said, ‘I should get rid of this.’” He did so, disposing of the knife somewhere along his walk home. The weapon was never recovered. Neither Ferrer nor his friends called law enforcement or an ambulance, actions that may have saved Anderson-Jordet’s life, the report says.
In the days afterward, Ferrer traveled to San Francisco for a long Thanksgiving weekend. the DA’s office writes, “Although claiming that killing Doug ‘ruined his weekend,’ the defendant managed to go to a rave, a large family gathering, a concert, and several trips to the Hello Kitty store to shop and pose for photographs” — including one in which he stood in front of the store, flashing a peace sign and smiling.
When law enforcement finally caught up with the trio of suspects, eight days after the killing, “all three of them initially lied about their involvement in the present offense,” the probation report states. It wasn’t until they were confronted with photographic stills of surveillance video showing them walking alongside Anderson-Jordet that they confessed to even being there.
As previously reported, the case against Ferrer saw many twists and turns. In February 2014 Ferrer pleaded “no contest” to involuntary manslaughter, a charge for which he faced up to four years in prison and three years’ probation. But the case quickly became politicized. Prosecutor Elan Firpo was at the time a deputy district attorney running for the office’s top job.
Firpo agreed to a plea deal that would have given Ferrer just two years in the county jail. She justified the deal in a post to her Facebook page (since removed) that read, in part:
In a best case jury trial scenario, Mr. Ferrer would have been found guilty of voluntary manslaughter. He would have been sentenced to a term of three years in prison (because he has no prior record), of which he would have served 85 percent, or approximately 2 years and 6 months.
The case was further politicized when the victim’s family retained attorney Arnie Klein, who was also running for DA, and Klein asked the judge to set aside the plea deal as too lenient. In April of 2014, Judge Joyce Hinrichs did just that.
Reached today by phone, Firpo said, “I decided that I’m just not going to comment on Ferrer. Nothing Arnie or I could say would have value to the family. I just don’t think we should be involved in these discussions at this point.”
While held at the county jail, Ferrer made a series of phone calls, apparently under the impression that, since he was using another inmate’s name and PIN, the calls weren’t being monitored. Speaking with his grandma on May 13 he was recorded saying, “I’m not sorry for what I did. I’m only sorry for my family. I don’t give a fuck about anything else, man. Because I know my heart’s in the right place.”
In a May 20 conversation with Rocheleau, his girlfriend, Ferrer complained about having to feign remorse for the benefit of probation officers. “Yeah, they’re going to come talk to me, again, and I have to show remorse, and I don’t really know how to do that,” he was recorded saying. “You know what I mean, it’s been a year and a half, you know, I’m kind of over it, ha ha ha. Honestly, I’m just going to have to be like, ‘Oh, God.’”
Later in the same phone call he described watching TV coverage of his case from inside the jail:
I seen a picture of him on the news one day, like, during my trial. And I felt sick to my stomach, and one of the reasons why is because everybody was clapping. There was a round of applause, you know, ‘Ferrer is accused of fatally stabbing chef Douglas Anderson-Jordet,’ and it had a picture of him. And then everybody starting, whoa, like, cheering, you know, like I fucking did something cool. Ha ha ha. It’s crazy, isn’t it? It’s like, right on, like, whoa, like cheering me on, like, fucking good for you. That’s our boy! Ha ha ha. Fucking like. Ha ha ha.
Still, he made an effort to sound contrite. The probation report notes that in an interview just over a week ago Ferrer said, “I still feel pretty terrible about everything that happened. … It wasn’t my intention to hurt anyone.”
He went on to say that while in custody he’s been expanding his spirituality by meditating with a Zen group and reading from the Bhagavad Gita. He stated, “Hopefully I can redeem myself for this horrible thing. … I’m just looking to whatever happens to live a better and more useful life. I pray and meditate every day for Doug and his family.”
Probation isn’t buying it. After reviewing the facts of the crime and listening to Ferrer’s phone calls, the probation report concluded, “it is impossible to believe the sincerity of defendant’s claims.”
The DA’s office feels much the same. The memo notes that the court didn’t present the jury with evidence of Ferrer’s association with the notorious Norteños gang. Nor did jurors see a photograph of Ferrer posing with a handgun pointed at the camera or evidence of his “assault of his mother’s boyfriend,” the sentencing memo states. “While the court determined this evidence was not proper for the jury to consider, the Court can and should consider it in determining the appropriate sentence,” she writes, adding, “The defendant is a violent person, not the peaceful person he claims to be when it suits him.”
The memo continues: “The act of stabbing an unarmed and drunk man, fleeing the scene without seeking any help, and lying to anyone and everyone about what happened demonstrates the defendant’s high degree of cruelty and callousness toward his victim. … This conduct may be repeated in the future; if someone makes fun of him again, how will the defendant react? He represents a serious danger to society because of his violent overreaction to perceived slights.”
The probation report also includes mournful and distraught letters from friends and family members of the victim, who urged Judge John Feeney to enforce the strictest possible sentence.
Judge John Feeney followed the probation report’s recommendation, giving Ferrer 11 years in prison for voluntary manslaughter with another year for the special allegation of using a knife. Ferrer will also serve three years’ parole following his release. As reported by the Mad River Union, Ferrer will receive 559 days’ credit for time served and another 83 days’ credit for work time, reducing the sentence by about a year and nine months.
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- Juan Ferrer Faces Four Years in Prison For the Stabbing Death of Douglas Anderson-Jordet (UPDATED)
- Friend Wants to Clear Arcata Stabbing Victim’s Name
- DA’s Race Heats Up as Deal Struck in Fatal Stabbing Faces Possible Challenge by Victim’s Family
- Showdown Over Arcata Stabbing Suspect’s Plea Deal This Afternoon
- Judge Tosses Plea Deals in Anderson-Jordet Stabbing Case
- Juan Ferrer Found Guilty of Manslaughter for 2013 Stabbing Death of Douglas Anderson-Jordet