An illegal immigrant from Mexico will be sentenced to almost 50 years in state prison for attempting to murder a Humboldt County sheriff’s deputy who he shot with a shotgun.
Hugo Parral-Aguirre, who has been in custody since the shooting on Dec. 16, 2017, is scheduled for sentencing on May 17.
Deputy District Attorney Roger Rees confirmed today that the case resolved with an agreed-upon sentence of 48 years. Parral-Aguirre, 34, also waived custody credits of one year and eight months for a total sentence of 49 years and eight months.
At the time of the shooting Parral-Aguirre was staying with relatives who were working at a dairy farm on Coppini Lane in Ferndale. He had been deported to Mexico the year before but was back in the United States illegally.
According to witnesses at his preliminary hearing, Parral-Aguirre fired a shot at one man living on the farm. After that man jumped out a window and fled, Parral-Aguirre held the man’s girlfriend at gunpoint for hours.
Deputy Roselie Freixas, one of the officers who responded to the report of a disturbance at the dairy, was shot in the shoulder just inches above her bullet-proof vest.
Parral-Aguirre was shot several times when officers returned fire.
Witnesses said Parral-Aguirre had been acting strangely, talking with invisible people and imagining his entire family was dead. He initially was ruled mentally incompetent to stand trial, but after spending some time in a mental hospital he was declared competent.
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In other court news, today Judge Gregory Elvine-Kreis denied the prosecution’s motion for a continuance in the animal-cruelty trial of Arcata rancher Ray Christie.
Deputy District Attorney Steven Steward had requested more time to review a motion, filed by defense attorney Rick Richmond, that consists of about 300 pages. It asks the judge to bar evidence gathered during a March 2018 raid on properties Christie owned or leased for cattle-grazing.
The defense wants the judge “to exclude and keep out all of our evidence,” Steward said. Also, Steward said, the motion brings up issues that have already been ruled on by Judge Christopher Wilson.
At this point no trial date has been set because Christie has cancer and is seeking treatment out of the area. Richmond, appearing today via Zoom, said Christie was consulting today with doctors in Los Angeles.
One of the issues Steward brought up today was Richmond’s plan to call several witnesses who did not testify at Christie’s first trial. Steward said this will require he and co-prosecutor David Moutrie to conduct more investigation and possibly interviews.
Elvine-Kreis pointed out that motions asking to keep evidence out during a trial are generally filed the week before trial. At this point there is not even a date for trial.
But the judge also said that after reading the defense motion, “it does appear to me that none of this is a surprise.”
The next hearing is set for May 10, when a trial date may be set.
Christie’s first trial ended with the jury deadlocked 11-1 for guilt on the animal cruelty charges. During a multi-agency raid on several of Christie properties, investigators found a number of cows either dead or dying from apparent starvation. They said the animals had no access to food or water.
The same jury convicted Christie of numerous misdemeanor counts of dumping animal carcasses too close to state waters.