Fortuna man released from jail without charges filed
One of the suspects in a string of stabbings at a Loleta party on Sunday, June 24 has been released from jail without charges filed against him, and it's uncertain whether he will be charged in the future.
Fortuna resident Aaron Storm Eubanks was arrested early Sunday morning at the scene of a chaotic fight involving more than 30 people that broke out at a Loleta house party and left at least five people with stab wounds. Humboldt County Sheriff's deputies booked Eubanks into jail on suspicion of attempted murder and assault with a deadly weapon, but the 19-year-old was released Wednesday, June 27, after prosecutors declined to file charges against him within 72 hours of his arrest, which would have been required by law to keep him in custody.
On Thursday, Sheriff's Office Lt. Steve Knight said Eubanks has been cooperating with the investigation and indicated that witness accounts of the melee have been inconsistent. Consequently, Knight said, it remains unclear if Eubanks will face charges in the future.
”At this point, the district attorney's office is still reviewing the case and working with our detectives to determine what, if any, charges are appropriate in the case,” Knight said. “Our detectives are still working this case, trying to piece together exactly what happened down in Loleta.”
Another man, Kurtis Shane Day, 20, of Rio Dell, was also arrested at the scene on suspicion of assault with a deadly weapon and is free after posting $50,000 bail. Day has also not been charged in the case.
Assistant District Attorney Kelly Neel confirmed that the investigation is ongoing and said a charging decision will be made upon its completion.
The sheriff's office was called to a house on the 500 block of Cannibal Island Road at about 3 a.m. Sunday, June 24 and deputies arrived to find numerous stabbing victims on the ground screaming for help and several fights in progress. Knight described the scene as a “chaotic mess,” saying the fights involved at least 30 of the more than 100 people attending the party.
A deputy was also injured in the fight, suffering what Knight described as a deep cut on his arm when he tackled Eubanks, who reportedly tried to flee the scene. The deputy and the five known stabbing victims were all treated and released at a local hospital, according to a sheriff's office press release.
In the media, witness accounts of the fights - and what started them - have varied wildly. Richie Roberts told the Times-Standard he believed the fight grew from an earlier altercation at the party, when a man grew angry at another man for talking to his girlfriend.
But Shaun McNaughton, who lives at the Cannibal Island Road home, told KSLG radio host John Matthews that the fight started when a group of people - including Eubanks and Day - pulled up to the house with the headlights of their cars turned off, jumped out and began stabbing people and fighting.
Knight said there have been “some inconsistencies” in the stories witnesses have given detectives, which he attributed in part to the chaos and excitement at the scene, alcohol consumption at the party and so many people being involved.
The investigation is ongoing, Knight said, adding that detectives are eying at least one additional suspect in the case. __”They're looking at a lot of people out there,” he said, adding that detectives are also still working to track down people who witnessed the melee.
Knight asked that anyone with information about the incident call Detective Diana Freese at 268-3639 or leave a message at the Crime Tip Line at 268-2539.
Thadeus Greenson can be reached at 441-0509 or email@example.com.