SoHum man suffers life-threatening stab wounds; suspect pled guilty in 2006 killing

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Grant Scott-Goforth

Times-Standard

Less than six months after pleading guilty to involun¬tary manslaughter in the 2006 killing of a Eureka man, a suspect was arrested this week on suspicion of at¬tempted murder following a stabbing in the parking lot at the Bayshore Mall in Eureka.

Police are seeking a second suspect in the Monday, Feb. 11 stabbing, which left the victim with life¬-threatening wounds. Robbery does not appear to have been a motive, and there is no suggestion that the vic¬tim was engaged in any kind of criminal activity, offi¬cials said.

Eureka Police Department detective Todd Wilcox said the victim is hospitalized, but recovering.

Suspect William Frank Whipple, 23, was arrested Tuesday, Feb. 12 on suspicion of attempted murder and booked in the Humboldt County jail on $500,000 bail.

Whipple was released from jail on Aug. 31, 2012, after he pled guilty to involuntary manslaughter in the 2006 stabbing death of Trevvor James Davenport, whose body was found on the 200 block of L Street in Eureka on April 30, 2006. Whipple was arrested four years later, while serving time in Folsom State Prison.

Whipple’s guilty plea car¬ried a maximum sentence of four years. He was released for time served after awaiting trial in jail for two years and earning two years of good conduct credits, according to court documents.

Whipple became a suspect in the cold case homicide in 2009 after a jailhouse inform¬ant implicated him in the crime, according to court documents. He was 16 at the time of Davenport’s slaying. Whipple was transferred from Folsom State Prison to the Humboldt County jail in February 2010.

At the time, EPD described Whipple as a “local gang member,” and called Davenport’s slaying “gang related.”

District attorney Paul Gallegos said the plea deal was arranged due to questions about malice and provocation in the 2006 killing.

”I definitely felt that the manslaughter disposition was an appropriate decision,” Gallegos said. “It came to us as a murder investigation. Further investigation and analysis led us to believe there were legal and factual issues with the murder charge.” Gallegos said involuntary manslaughter is considered when a suspect did not intend to kill, but was engaged in an unlawful act such as fighting or driving under the influence.

Gallegos said he’s almost certain that Whipple was part of the state’s Post Release Community Supervision program, part of the public safety realignment enacted in 2011.

Since then, jail officials have been shouldering the responsibility of holding serious criminals for longer periods of time, instead of sending them to state prison. As a result, a larger number of offenders have been released from jail and into programs like post-release supervision. The program is one of several alternatives designed to reduce the need for bed space in county jails and state prisons by removing low-level offenders from overcrowded jails.

”We’re going to see a lot more of these people in our community,” Gallegos said. “It’s all part of realignment.”

Police said two people were involved in Monday’s stabbing.

”I have not yet ID’d the second person,” Wilcox said. “My victim was accosted by two people. That leaves me with someone outstanding.”

Anyone with any information about who may have been involved is asked to contact detective Wilcox at 441-4315.

photo captions:

1. The vehicle depicted here is believed to be related to the suspects. Anyone with information about who may have been in this vehicle on Monday, Feb. 11 is asked to contact detective Wilcox at 707-441-4315.

2. William Frank Whipple

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