February trial set in 2016 death of teen in McKinleyville
A man accused of homicide and DUI in the death of a 16-year-old in McKinleyville is scheduled to go on trial on Feb. 25
James Arthur Merrick II, who is accused of being under the influence of alcohol when he struck and killed 16-year-old Tessa Rae Gingerich in 2016, has pleaded not guilty to first-degree murder, gross vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated, DUI and hit-and-run, all felonies.
A hearing regarding a motion filed by the District Attorney’s Office to compel the defense to turn over evidence is scheduled for Jan. 22. The motion was filed by Deputy District Attorney Trent Timm.
Timm was unavailable for Wednesday’s hearing and Deputy District Attorney Josh Rosenfeld filled in at the hearing in front of Humboldt County Superior Court Judge Lawrence Kiloran.
“I am not prepared to argue the motion,” Rosenfeld said, “I request we put the matter over for a couple of weeks so that Mr. Timm can handle the matter.”
There was no objection from defense attorney Meagan O’Connell, supervising attorney at the Conflict Counsel’s Office.
Merrick appeared in court wearing jail-issued clothing and handcuffs and three family members of Gingerich were in the gallery to watch the proceedings.
Merrick was arrested on Dec. 14, 2016, and he has been charged with homicide because at the time of his arrest he was on probation for a previous DUI conviction in 2015. In March, Merrick’s bail was reduced from $1 million to $300,000 and he remains in custody.
Hearing delayed for suspect in Arcata shooting
Arcata resident Matthew Ramsey, who was arrested by the Arcata Police Department in December in connection with a shooting incident on Heather Lane, was in court on Wednesday for a hearing.
The hearing was to confirm an attorney for Ramsey, but the hearing was put off until Thursday morning due to scheduling conflicts.
Ramsey has been charged with attempted murder in the incident.
Private attorney Russell Clanton has been appointed to defend Ramsey and at Wednesday’s hearing, Humboldt County Public Defender Marek Reavis filled in because Clanton is currently involved in a trial in another case.
“I can confirm that Mr. Clanton was appointed on Dec. 13 and I’d like to put the matter over so we can confirm that,” Reavis told Killoran with no objection from the prosecution. “We do have the initial complaint and discovery,” said Reavis.
Ramsey was arrested during a high-risk traffic stop on Foster Avenue following the shooting that left the victim with a non-life-threatening injury. Officers discovered a rifle in the pickup truck and Ramsey was arrested.
He appeared in court wearing jail-issued clothing and he remains in custody.
Trial set for man accused of shooting at sheriff’s deputies
A Mexican national charged with attempted murder and false imprisonment is scheduled to go on trial June 17 and he was in court Wednesday for a trial-setting hearing.
Hugo Parral-Aguirre was arrested by sheriff’s deputies after he fired at them during an incident at a farmhouse on Coppini Lane in Ferndale in December 2017.
Parral-Aguirre was initially determined to be incompetent to stand trial shortly after his arrest. Following treatment, he was declared competent in March and was formally charged following a preliminary hearing in April.
On Wednesday, Cosme Hozven served as an interpreter for Parral-Aguirre who only speaks Spanish and he was represented by conflict Counsel Supervising Attorney Meagan O’Connell with Deputy District Attorney Josh Rosenfeld filling in for the assigned prosecutor, Deputy District Attorney Stacey Eads, who is currently in the middle of another trial.
Parral-Aguirre remains in custody with bail set at $1.1 million.
Dan Squier can be reached at 707-441-0528.