A McKinleyville man has been sentenced to seven years to life in state prison for attempting to murder his girlfriend’s father by slashing his throat as he slept.


This morning Judge Larry Killoran sentenced 35-year-old Erick Allen Battersby to seven years to life for the premeditated attempted murder of Mark Minton, whose daughter was dating Battersby at the time of the attack three years ago. Battersby was also sentenced to six years for assault with a deadly weapon and six years for first-degree burglary, but those terms will run concurrently with the seven years to life sentence.

Minton attended the sentencing, which has been postponed numerous times as defense attorney Russ Clanton sought a new trial.

“To have (Battersby) break into a home where I was a guest, and try to kill me,” Minton told Killoran. “With the time I have left I just want to enjoy my grandchildren, enjoy my family, and to never have to see his face again.”

He was even more direct afterward outside the courtroom while thanking Deputy District Attorney Roger Rees, the trial prosecutor, for his work.

Minton said he was disappointed the judge rejected Rees’s argument that the six-year burglary sentence for Battersby should run consecutively to the life sentence. Battersby can be considered for parole in less than four years because he has so much credit for time served.

“I just hope I don’t have to terminate him,” Minton said.

“You won’t,” Rees replied.

Battersby attacked and tried to kill Minton after the older man turned his daughter and Battersby over to Child Protective Services because he disapproved of the way his grandchildren were living.

On Dec. 3, 2016, Minton was sleeping on a friend’s couch in McKinleyville when he awoke to a knife against his throat.

“The first thing was feeling the knife on my throat and him screaming that he was going to kill me,” Minton testified at Battersby’s preliminary hearing.

He was able to fight Battersby off and ended up with a knife wound he estimated at 2 inches long and 1/8 inch deep. Minton refused stitches and the wound was covered with a butterfly bandage.

Clanton told the judge today that Battersby “has sincere remorse” for his actions.


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Clockwise from upper left: Valenzuela, Mitchell, Fode, Thomson, Godoy-Standley.

Today, the third anniversary of Tyson Eduardo Claros’s death, the trial date was confirmed for four people accused of his murder.

Deputy District Attorney Carolyn Schaffer confirmed to Judge John Feeney that she will be ready for trial on the scheduled date of Jan. 21. Another pre-trial hearing was set for Jan. 14 to make sure the case is on track.

Brandon James Mitchell is accused of shooting the 20-year-old Claros to death during a carjacking near Manila on Dec. 12, 2016. Mitchell and Catherine “Catie” Fode suspected Claros of molesting their then 3-year-old daughter, a charge that was never proven.

Fode has already pleaded guilty to voluntary manslaughter and agreed to testify against Mitchell and the three other defendants. They are Tamara Nicole Thomson, represented by appointed attorney David Nims, Cesar Octavio Valenzuela, represented by Deputy Public Defender Casey Russo, and Hector Godoy-Standley, represented by appointed attorney Russ Clanton.

All three are charged with murder for participating in the carjacking that led to Claros’s death.

Mitchell’s attorney is Andrea Sullivan from Lake County. She participated in the hearing today by phone.

Several of Claros’s family members were in the courtroom today, as were members of the defendants’ families.

At some point before the trial, a hearing will be held on whether Godoy-Standley was mentally competent during his preliminary hearing. Godoy-Standley has been diagnosed as developmentally disabled, but doctors at Napa State Hospital determined he is competent to stand trial.