DA: Chris Renner Sentenced to 12 Years in Child Sex Abuse Case

Andrew Goff / Yesterday @ 2:58 p.m. / Crime


Del Norte District Attorney’s Office press release: 

The Del Norte District Attorney’s Office announced today that Christopher James Renner (58) of Crescent City, was sentenced by the Honorable Philip M. Schafer this morning to serve twelve (12) years in state prison for continuous sexual abuse upon a child under fourteen. The Del Norte County Probation Department, charged with the responsibility of making sentencing recommendations to the court, reported to the court that they would have recommended probation for Renner if he was eligible but since he was not, that he should only get six (6) years in state prison, the most lenient sentencing option available to the court by law.

Renner pleaded guilty on the morning of trial last month. In addition to pleading guilty, Renner had admitted three special allegations for having substantial sexual conduct with the child, for use of force and that the statute of limitations for the crimes had not expired.

The charges stem from a series of sexual acts that occurred in Renner’s home between 1997 and 1999 involving a juvenile male who was between five and seven years old at the time. Renner had engaged in substantial sexual conduct with the victim on three or more occasions spanning a minimum of three months. Renner had fondled the child’s genitals several times and on one occasion, Renner had forced the child’s hand onto his genitals. Renner had recurring access to the child during that period of time. In February of this year, the District Attorney’s Office became aware of the crimes, conducted the investigation and charged the case.

“I was completely perplexed that our Probation Department felt that Renner should get probation and not even sent to state prison at all for molesting a five to seven year old boy for two years,” said Del Norte District Attorney Dale P. Trigg who personally handled all aspects of the case for the prosecution. “This defendant, by his own admission, took advantage of his position of trust as the father of his son’s best friend, a boy he himself viewed as a family member, to pray upon a boy who was particularly vulnerable and in some of the most formative years of his life. This defendant had regular and recurring access to this boy over the course of two years, when he was between five and seven years old, by opening up his home to him as a ‘safe place’ where he could play with his own son. The Probation Department considered this defendant nothing more than a neighbor to this boy, who the defendant himself considered to be a member of his family, and would not recognize that he had taken advantage of his position of trust. Fortunately, Judge Schafer saw it differently and imposed a just sentence on this defendant who seized upon his own son’s friendship with this boy to take away his innocence,” said Trigg.

The court considered approximately 40 letters of support written for the defendant and the presence of several dozen community members who appeared at the sentencing hearing on his behalf. The defendant’s supporters included many prominent community members, including lawyers, medical professionals, business owners, counselors, a former supervisor, a supervisor-elect and a former judge. “One of the general objectives of sentencing provided by the California Rules of Court is achieving uniformity in sentencing. Any other defendant, who did not have this defendant’s money and resources, who could not hire a very skilled private attorney to represent him and who did not have all of these influential community members in court backing him up would not get six years with these facts. This defendant should be treated no differently,” Trigg argued to the court.

Renner will have to serve 85% of his twelve (12) year sentence before he will be eligible for parole. Additionally, Renner will have to register as a sex offender for life.

PREVIOUSLY: DA: Chris Renner Pleads Guilty to Child Sexual Abuse


Today: 10 felonies, 19 misdemeanors, 0 infractions


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INFRASTRUCTURE PARTY! Opening Day for the Willits Bypass Announced

Andrew Goff / Yesterday @ 2:28 p.m. / Traffic

Celebrate! | Source

It’s the road opening event you’ve all been waiting for! The era of bypassing Willits is upon us and Caltrans would like you to celebrate with them. 

Yes, today our orangest state agency announced that they will be holding an event to celebrate the completion of the Willits Bypass on Thursday, Nov. 3. While not specifically spelled out in the media release below, Caltrans District 1 PIO Phil Frisbee tells the Outpost that the event is open to the public and that the plan is to open the bypass to Joe and Jane Motorist sometime that very same afternoon, oh boy.

There will be spectacle. Says Caltrans: “Local classic cars, representing the more than six decades that have passed since the conception of the bypass and carrying VIPs, will be among the first to cross the viaduct.” Whee!

More details on the Willits Bypass and its opening ceremony below:

WHAT: Celebration for the completion of the Willits Bypass project and dedication of Jesse D Pittman S01 Navy SEAL Memorial Bridge. 

WHEN: Thursday, November 3, 2016, at 11:00 a.m.; parking opens at 10:00 a.m. 

WHERE: Along the new highway, at the south end of the 1.1 mile long viaduct (bridge), through the south interchange, just south of the city of Willits.

Media and dignitaries check-in at the orange tent on the south side of the Jesse D Pittman S01 Navy SEAL Memorial Bridge prior to the event.

Crews constructed approximately six miles of roadway and 14 bridges on U.S. Highway 101 in Mendocino County. The $300 million two-lane bypass is improving safety for traffic and pedestrians traveling through the city of Willits. The project also eliminated the only stoplights on U.S. 101 between San Francisco and Eureka, relieving congestion and reducing delays for motorists. This project received $136 million from Proposition 1B funds, the 2006 voter-approved transportation bond. In total, more than $19 billion in Proposition 1B funds have been distributed statewide.

One of the main features of the Willits Bypass project is a 1.1 mile long viaduct. At the ceremony, the viaduct will officially be named Jesse D Pittman S01 Navy SEAL Memorial Bridge, in honor of a local United States Navy Seal, who gave his life in service to his country in Afghanistan in 2011.

Local classic cars, representing the more than six decades that have passed since the conception of the bypass and carrying VIPs, will be among the first to cross the viaduct.

Follow the signs for “Special Event” to be directed to parking. Please see the attached map for more details.


-BELOW: A Willits Bypass Drive Through-

Seven Arrested in Yesterday’s Salyer Home Invasion Weed Robbery; Most Suspects From Hoopa/Weitchpec Area

Hank Sims / Yesterday @ 2:27 p.m. / Crime











From the Trinity County Sheriff’s Office:

October 20, 2016
TCSO Case Number: 2016001231
Home Invasion Update

Persons Arrested:

  • Cody Albers, DOB: 11/11/1990, Weitchpec, CA
  • Kelly Byrns, DOB: 06/02/1968, Hoopa, CA
  • Deverous Frank, DOB: 03/26/1975, Weitchpec, CA
  • Dawn Colegrove, DOB: 10/26/1988, Hoopa, CA
  • Timisha Moon, DOB: 07/13/1996, Hoopa, CA
  • Ilene Nelson, DOB: 07/27/1979, Hoopa, CA
  • Kori Rakestraw, DOB: 08/09/1974, Salyer, CA
  • 211 PC Robbery
  • 182 PC Conspiracy to commit crime
  • 245(A)(2) PC Assault with a deadly weapon
  • 459 PC Burglary

On Wednesday, October 19, 2016, the Trinity County Sheriff’s Dispatch center received a 911 call at 8:29 am stating there was an active home invasion at 1271 Fountain Ranch Road, Salyer. Reporting party stated there were three male subjects seen with pistols in dark clothing. The armed suspects entered the residence demanding money and marijuana. The victims were assaulted by the suspects and sustained minor injuries. No property was taken from the residence.

Officers from Trinity County Sheriff’s Office, United States Forest Service, California Highway Patrol, Shasta County Sheriff’s Office, Redding Police Department, Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office, and California Department of Fish and Wildlife responded to the location at which time the suspects fled to a second location, on Councilman Road, Salyer.

Units set up a perimeter and Shasta/Redding SWAT responded; Humboldt County SWAT was on standby. California Highway Patrol air operations flew the area but were unable to locate suspects due to poor weather conditions. Seven subjects were arrested without incident, 3 males and 4 females. No names or photos are available at this time.

The second residence, on Councilman Road, was not harboring the suspects. They fled there from the first residence and were hiding there from law enforcement. The officers from Shasta/Redding SWAT made entry into the residence and arrested all inside without incident. It does not appear that the subjects knew each other. This was a home invasion/robbery for the purpose of taking marijuana and money.
The Sheriff’s office continues to investigate the incident and further information will be release when available.

Agencies involved:

  • Trinity County Sheriff’s Office
  • California Highway Patrol, Trinity River Division
  • United States Forest Service
  • Shasta County Sheriff’s Office
  • Redding Police Department SWAT
  • Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office SWAT
  • Department of Fish and Wildlife

HSU Answers Students’ Cries of Poopy Butts, Toilet Paper Made Accessible to All Campus Residents Once More

John Ross Ferrara / Yesterday @ 2:25 p.m. / HSU

Heavily secured toilet paper in Siemens Hall. John Ferrara.

The great Humboldt State toilet paper famine of 2016 has ended.

Director of Housing and Residence Life Steve St. Onge tells the Outpost that toilet paper is flowing freely to all campus residents once again.

The announcement comes weeks after student protests heaped national attention onto the university when administrators decided to stop supplying doo-doo paper to all residence halls with private restrooms.

St. Onge said that the decision was a matter of privacy, and was not necessarily a money saving measure.

“We clean and maintain the bathrooms in traditional residence halls. But apartment and suite style residences have more independence, we don’t clean those,” St. Onge said. “It’s like we were going into their personal space. So we decided we weren’t going to continue delivering cases of toilet paper and violate their personal space.”

However, KRCR news quotes an HSU associate housing director saying that cost was a factor. Furthermore, toilet paper was never placed directly into private bathrooms by housing staff. Instead, T.P. was typically put in secure common areas like laundry rooms, where students could stock up on the white stuff as needed.

Either way, the university has given in to the students’ demands, and St. Onge said that the campus will soon be notified via email.

“We heard students say that it’s hard to get to the store at times, or that it would be helpful, so that’s how decided [to offer the toilet paper again],” St. Onge said. “It is available now.”

Campus residents can now pick up free toilet paper at the Resident Housing Association office, or the Housing and Residence Life desk on the second floor of the Jolly Giant Commons.

Happy wiping!

Local U.S. Marshals Arrest Man on the Lam From Alleged Assault on Ashland Cop

Hank Sims / Yesterday @ 12:23 p.m. / Crime

From the Ashland (Ore.) Police Department:

On 10/18/16, David Jon Dickerson (40) AKA - Auram, was arrested by United State Marshals in Northern California and is currently lodged at the Humboldt County Correctional Facility on the following charges:

  • Assaulting a Public Safety Officer
  • Robbery in the First Degree
  • Robbery in the Second Degree
  • Unlawful Use of a Weapon
  • Attempt /Assault in the Second Degree
  • Menacing
  • Resisting Arrest 
  • Interfering with a Peace Officer

The arrest stems from a May 6th incident where Dickerson refused to identify himself after an officer contacted him in Lithia Park for smoking marijuana. Dickerson tried to leave the area and when the officer tried to stop him, a fight ensued. During the fight the officer was punched in the face and dropped his flashlight. Dickerson picked up the flashlight and charged the officer. Even though Dickerson was tased, he was able to break free from the Taser prongs and escaped.

Dickerson’s arrest was a joint effort between the Ashland Police Department, the USMS Pacific Northwest Violent Offender Task Force-Medford Office and the San Francisco USMS Fugitive Task Force.

OBITUARY: William Alvin Stephens

LoCO Staff / Yesterday @ 7:36 a.m. / Obits

“God saw him getting tired, and a cure was not to be. So he put his arms around him and said, ‘Come to me.’ With tearful eyes we watched him suffer, and saw him slowly fade away. Although we loved him dearly, we could not make him stay. A golden heart stopped beating, hard working hands put to rest, and God broke our hearts to prove to us that he only takes the best.”

William Alvin Stephens passed away peacefully on Friday, August 12, 2016 at UCSF Medical Center. He was surrounded by his close friends Donna Ragan, Kathy Powers, his daughter June Bricco, friend Caleb Pellegrini, prayer, his favorite music and so much love on his last day here. Stories were shared, songs sung way off key, tears were shed, and memories treasured while his hand was always held so he knew someone was by his side.

William was flown down to UCSF to be treated for a brain aneurysm, stroke and pneumonia in July, and during the three weeks they discovered he had stage 4 lung cancer. His team of doctors worked hard to help get him stable enough to come home, and William fought hard as his cancer spread aggressively in his body to his brain, liver, and heart. Although he wasn’t able to make it home, home found his way to him. His son, William was able to take an emergency leave from the Army and flew out from South Korea for a couple weeks to be by his side. His wife, Alicia, son Adam, ex son-in-law Stacy and granddaughter Alicia were able to be by his side while he still had the strength to talk. His oldest son, Mike was also able to fly out from Washington to spend several days by his side.

He was grateful for the friends that called him each day to say hi, and that he was missed. Although he wasn’t able to have the strength to talk on his last day, his eyes told more than he has ever spoken. Words cannot express the happiness he felt to hear a loved one’s voice for the last time. After each conversation that he heard for the last time his heart filled, but so did the fear he had of never having the chance to hear or see them again since he was aware it was his time to go. To witness someone who was always a fighter accept and understand that they aren’t going win a battle is one of the most admirable things I have ever seen and makes me proud to call him Dad.

William was a friend to all that knew him, and losing him affected more than he was aware. His joking character and happy-go-lucky attitude made a difference to the people who passed by him while he sat on his porch, to the friends and family that were always close by. William loved going to get his coffee at his favorite restaurant, Kristine’s. He’d always wake up bright and early so he could head over to Kristine’s at 6 a.m. to enjoy his cup of coffee with friends. It was one of his favorite parts of his day, and you could set an alarm to him since he would always head out the door the same time each morning.

William loved meeting new people and hearing their stories. He loved sitting on his green chair on his front yard sipping a freeze from Dutch Bros, and visiting with people who passed by or friends who would join him on his porch. He would always wait up for his granddaughter’s bus each school day, rain or shine, to give her a kiss on the top of her head and to tell her he loved her. He enjoyed when she would stop and visit him with his daughter June, and she would point out different places on his map in his living room of where certain countries were along with all her favorite volcanoes. He loved his granddaughter Alicia so much, and she was one of his favorite people.

William also loved the Avenue of the Giants and spent so much time taking his family there when his children were younger. He loved spending an entire day out there. He and his family would go on picnics, hike, swim or go camping because he loved being out in the woods. He was always on the go and ready for any new fun adventure.

He also loved the water and was a merchant marine for many years in San Francisco. There wasn’t one job he didn’t do before he was finally able to retire. He was a taxi driver in San Francisco and a cook for many different cafes; one thing that will definitely be missed is “Dad’s famous fudge.” He loved to eat, and one thing he loved was his watermelon and pie. He always had a pie in the oven, whether it was his favorite sweet potato pie, apple, peach or pecan.

He is survived by his wife, Alicia Stephens, sons Mike Stephens, Joe Stephens, Nick Stephens, William Stephens and Adam Stephens, his only daughter June Bricco and his granddaughters: Alicia, Sophia, and Emilia, and one more grandbaby who hasn’t come home and was by his side the entire time even though no one was aware.


The obituary above was submitted by William Stephens’ familyThe Lost Coast Outpost runs obituaries of Humboldt County residents at no charge. See guidelines here. Email news@lostcoastoutpost.com.

OBITUARY: Dewey Joseph Vrzina, 1951–2016

LoCO Staff / Yesterday @ 7:23 a.m. / Obits

“Joe” was called home September 18, 2016. He struggled with health problems and passed from congestive heart failure. Joe was the last survivor of his family — Father Dewey, Mother Mary Jane, brothers Ernie and Mike. He was very devoted to his parents. Joe always put them first and took care of them as a loving son. He had many friends and we will all miss him. Too many friends to mention!

We were blessed to have such a great friend! Joe was involved in many sports during his school years and became well known from his sense of humor and all around great guy. He received his degree from College of the Redwoods and continued his schooling at Humboldt State University. Joe had many different jobs, such as a car dealer and working in a mortuary. He even went to an academy for the FBI.

Joe loved music. He took many road trips over the years to concerts with close friends. He was always good for a story and had a great memory — or was it because he always kept notes on everything? If you ever received a gift from Joe, you experienced his sense of humor.

Celebration of life will be Saturday October 29, 2016 at the Moose Lodge, Eureka, 2-6 p.m. Please come join us in celebrating Joe’s life.


The obituary above was submitted by Joe Vrzina’s familyThe Lost Coast Outpost runs obituaries of Humboldt County residents at no charge. See guidelines here. Email news@lostcoastoutpost.com.