Seventh suspect in Laytonville murder case arrested in New Jersey

Garberville’s Gary Louis Blank III.
Garberville’s Gary Louis Blank III. Provided

The seventh and last remaining suspect in the Laytonville murder case was arrested Friday in New Jersey, the Mendocino County Sheriff’s Office announced in a press release.

New Jersey state police officers informed detectives from the Sheriff’s Office Friday night that they had arrested Gary Louis Blank III, 34, from Garberville, according to the release.

Blank, who was wanted for the murder and robbery of cannabis grower Jeffrey Quinn Settler in Laytonville, was taken into custody without incident and booked into the Mercer County Jail in New Jersey on an arrest warrant issued by the Mendocino County Superior Court, the release says.

Acting on anonymous tips that Blank had secured a ride from Southern California to the Northeast, sheriff’s detectives communicated with federal, state and local law-enforcement agencies in multiple states, including Ohio, Pennsylvania, and New Jersey, during their four-month-long investigation, the release says. The Sheriff’s Office and the Mendocino County District Attorney’s Office will work to have Blank extradited to the county to be prosecuted, it says.

The Sheriff’s Office believes Blank and the other six suspects murdered and robbed Jeffrey Quinn Settler, 35, at his home in the 49000 block of Highway 101 in Laytonville, where he operated a commercial marijuana grow.

The suspects, who previously worked for Settler as trimmers, allegedly returned to the property sometime after midnight on Nov. 11, 2016 and entered the building where Settler slept and stored his processed cannabis, the Sheriff’s Office has said.

The suspects allegedly assaulted and killed Settler during their robbery, took over 100 pounds of processed marijuana, and fled in at least two vehicles, going either to Southern California or out of state, according to the Sheriff’s Office. Seven suspects were identified and felony arrest warrants issued for each one.

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