A Eureka man has been sentenced to 10 years in state prison for knifing another man three times in the back, then continuing to stab him as he ran for his life.
Judge Christopher Wilson imposed the sentence this morning on 30-year-old Matthew Michael Fockaert, who pleaded guilty to attempting to murder Raymond Duff. Duff was found, bleeding from multiple stab wounds, on the front steps of a residence on G Street. He had a collapsed lung and needed surgery for his wounds.
Fockaert, who has a long criminal history, was arrested May 4 when he showed up for a meeting with his probation officer.
According to Fockaert’s probation report, Duff and Fockaert were acquainted because both were once married to a woman named Stephanie.
On March 18, the report states, Fockaert contacted Duff through Facebook and asked him to “hang out,” saying they would smoke marijuana and meet some girls. Fockaert picked Duff up at a motel in Fortuna and they drove to Fockaert’s girlfriend’s home and picked up a man named Shawn Alberson.
Duff told Eureka police later that he did not know Alberson, “but Mr. Alberson seemed to know a lot about him.”
The three men went to a home at 833 G St., supposedly to obtain some marijuana, and Fockaert led the way to a stairway to the basement. The three started down the stairs, Duff told police, with him in the middle.
“As they walked downstairs,” the report continues, “Mr. Duff realized he was being set up and believed he was being led to the basement to be killed. As he turned to flee, (Fockaert) stabbed him in the back three times.”
Duff was able to get past Alberson, the probation officer writes, and he ran out of the house and stumbled across the street.
“(Fockaert) caught up with Mr. Duff and stabbed him on his left side while demanding his wallet and money. (Fockaert) took Mr. Duff’s jacket, which had his cellphone in the pocket. As Mr. Duff tried to flee again, (Fockaert) stabbed at him with the knife causing wounds to his forearms.”
Duff made it to the front door of a nearby house. Fortunately for him, someone answered the door and Fockaert ran.
Duff could only speculate about the motive, saying there were a couple of possibilities. First, he and ex-wife Stephanie, also Fockaert’s former wife, were in a dispute over custody of their child.
Second, Duff told officers, he is a registered sex offender whose victim is the niece of a “captain” in the 18th Street gang. Duff believed Fockaert was affiliated with the gang, “as that is how he obtained his drugs.”
At an earlier court hearing for Fockaert, Judge Wilson told him he was fortunate to get a 10-year prison term because “I look at this report and I see premeditation and deliberation.”
During the same hearing, Deputy District Attorney Candace Myers told Wilson the jail had intercepted a letter from Fockaert saying he planned to stay in Humboldt County Correctional Facility as long as possible because he would receive one day credit for each day served.
Wilson informed him that because he was being sent to prison, he would receive only 15 percent credit.
“Do you understand that?” he asked Fockaert.
“Well, understand it now.”
This morning Wilson sentenced Fockaert to seven years for attempted murder, three years for a special weapons allegation and three years for probation violation. The probation-violation sentence will be served concurrently. Fockaert was represented today by attorney Joe Judge, with Myers representing the District Attorney’s Office.