Criminal proceedings were postponed today for suspected fentanyl dealer James Charles Williamson, who refused to come to court for arraignment on a charge of killing a customer who reportedly overdosed on drugs he sold her.
Williamson, arrested Monday by the Humboldt County Drug Task Force, has been charged with manslaughter for the alleged killing of a 46-year-old Weitchpec woman found dead in her home on Nov 8.
District Attorney Maggie Fleming confirmed a manslaughter charge has been filed, saying this is the first time a fentanyl dealer has been charged with manslaughter in Humboldt County.
As of Nov. 15, 33 people had died this year from fentanyl overdoses in Humboldt. The Drug Task Force has arrested numerous people in 2021 for possessing or selling the powerful drug.
Refusing to come to court was apparently the trend today in the jail, with at least two other defendants declining to be brought down for arraignment.
The 30-year-old Williamson, found hiding in a closet in his residence on Boozer Lane in Hoopa, had four warrants out for his arrest. Most of the charges are for assault and battery, although the most recent one alleges false imprisonment, making criminal threats and assault with a deadly weapon.
Judge Larry Killoran rescheduled the arraignment for tomorrow afternoon.
- Hoopa Man Charged With Manslaughter Following Fatal Fentanyl Overdose in Weitchpec, Drug Task Force Says
Also appearing before Judge Killoran this afternoon was Eureka resident Curtis George Daniels, who was caught early Sunday morning allegedly stealing packages and letters from mailboxes.
Killoran released Daniels on his own recognizance, although he gave him a warning.
“If you come back on these types of charges,” the judge said, “we’ll make sure that you stay in custody until the matters are resolved.”
Daniels, 41, is charged with the misdemeanors of mail theft, receiving stolen property and identity theft. One of the items found in his possession was a stolen California driver’s license.
Deputy Public Defender Casey Russo requested the release, saying Daniels has no criminal history and is a lifelong Humboldt County resident.
Sheriff’s deputies who arrested Daniels at a Broadway service station saw “packages and envelopes inside (his) vehicle in plain view,” the Sheriff’s Office stated in a news release. Law enforcement was alerted by a Good Samaritan who spotted the thief in the Herrick Avenue area about 3 a.m. Sunday.
Deputy District Attorney Emily Norgaard argued Daniels should remain in custody or have to post bail, given he was stealing from mailboxes at a time of year when people are expecting to receive gifts and letters.
Daniels is scheduled for trial Jan. 10 in misdemeanor court.
In other court news, a Scotia woman arrested Sunday morning on a warrant for hit-and-run was arraigned this afternoon on a felony charge of smuggling fentanyl into the jail.
Sheriff’s deputies arrested Sierra Woodard Marshall, 29, on a warrant alleging hit-and-run, drunken driving, probation violation, evading an officer, driving on a suspended license and failing to wear a seatbelt. During the arrest, officers searched Marshall’s personal belongings and discovered methamphetamine and drug paraphernalia.
She was arrested without incident, but while being booked into Humboldt County Correctional Facility, “Marshall was found to have suspected fentanyl hidden inside her clothing,” the Sheriff’s Office said.
Judge Larry Killoran appointed the county’s Conflict Counsel’s Office to represent Marshall. Deputy Conflict Counsel Owen Tipps entered a plea of not guilty on her behalf and asked that she be referred to the Probation Department for the possibility of supervised release.
Killoran set bail at $25,000 and scheduled the bail hearing for Monday afternoon.