The jury trial won’t be held until nearly next spring for two of four defendants in a December 2016 murder and carjacking near Manila.
This morning Judge Christopher Wilson set a March 4 trial date for Brandon James Mitchell and Tamara Nicole Thomson, two of four suspects charged with carjacking a vehicle that 20-year-old Tyson Eduardo Claros was riding in on State Highway 255. Mitchell has been named as the person who shot Claros dead, but his companions also were charged with murder for allegedly participating in the carjacking.
Thomson, 20, and Mitchell, 24, are scheduled to be tried together. A separate trial for Thomson’s then-boyfriend, 25-year-old Cesar Octavio Valenzuela, is expected to be scheduled next month. The case against suspect Hector Godoy-Standley, 23, is in limbo until Judge Dale Reinholtsen issues a ruling on whether he is mentally competent to stand trial.
And Godoy-Standley’s then-girlfriend Catherine Suzanne Lynne Fode, originally charged with murder, agreed to testify against the others in exchange for pleading guilty to voluntary manslaughter. Fode, 20, could be sentenced to up to 12 years, while the others are looking at the possibility of life in prison.
This morning both Deputy District Attorney Carolyn Schaffer and Deputy Conflict Counsel David Lee, Mitchell’s attorney, requested Mitchell and Thomson be tried no later than January.
“We just don’t want to go into March,” Lee said.
But attorney David Nims, representing Thomson, told Wilson he has civil trials scheduled for January and February and won’t be available.
Wilson decided to accommodate Nims’ schedule, noting he is a private attorney who was willing to be court-appointed in Thomson’s case, and the service of such attorneys is much-appreciated.
According to a statement Thomson made to sheriff’s investigators, Mitchell and Fode believed Claros had molested their then 3-year-old daughter. The allegation was investigated but never charged.
All five defendants remain in Humboldt County Correctional Facility.
- 20-Year-Old Shot Dead in Manila Early This Morning; Victim Found Lying in the Middle of Highway 255
- This Morning’s Manila Homicide Victim ID’d by Sheriff’s Office
- More Details Emerge in Manila Murder Conspiracy as Three Suspects Appear in Court
- INVESTIGATORS: Manila Murder Conspiracy Driven By Belief That Victim Had Sexually Abused Suspects’ Daughter
- One of ‘Manila Five’ Murder Plot Suspects Deemed Mentally Incompetent, Will Not Stand Trial
- Once Suspected in Manila Murder Plot, Hector Godoy-Standley Instead Referred to Facility Serving the Developmentally Disabled
- Alleged Murder Plot Participant Stuck in Legal Limbo, as Regional Center for Developmentally Disabled Adults Declines to Serve Him
- Defendant in Manila Murder Case Has Criminal Proceedings Against Him Suspended, Will Be Committed to a State Hospital
- Defendants in 2016 Manila Murder Plot to be Tried Separately, Judge Rules
- ‘Manila Five’ Suspect Flips: Fode Pleads Guilty to Manslaughter, Agrees to Testify Against Former Codefendants in Roadside Murder
- Psychiatrists Deem Manila Murder Plot Suspect Competent to Stand Trial, After All; Defense Will Challenge the Finding
- California Mental Hospital Inefficiencies Leave Two Humboldt Murder Suspects in Limbo
- Judge Frustrated by Delays for Manila Murder Suspect’s Competency Hearing
- Reams of ‘Jail Mail’ to Sort Through in 2016 Manila Murder Plot Case; Two of the Five Suspects Will Be Tried Together