Court roundup: Hearing for man accused of killing Eureka investigator delayed again


Man accused of killing investigator a no-show at hearing

For the third time in as many scheduled court appearances, arraignment was delayed Wednesday for a Fairfield man convicted in a murder-for-hire scheme in Fortuna in the early 1990s and now facing manslaughter charges in the recent death of a Humboldt County investigator, with a defense attorney noting he remains hospitalized, recovering from serious injuries incurred in a motorcycle crash.


The case of Stephen Duane Chiara, 48, is now delayed until Aug. 28 in the courthouse in Fairfield. He is facing four counts, including vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated, driving without a license, and DUI causing bodily injury. Three of the counts are felonies.

Solano County Deputy Public Defender Pamela Boskin said Chiara is still recovering from serious injuries sustained in the crash.

On March 27, Chiara was headed east on Interstate 80 in Fairfield when he crashed his Harley-Davidson motorcycle. A California Highway Patrol report stated that “for unknown reasons, the driver was unable to maintain control of the motorcycle and both the driver and the female passenger were ejected from the motorcycle.”

According to the charging documents, Chiara was under the influence of both alcohol and an unspecified drug at the time.

Both Chiara and his passenger, Mary “Max” Hadley, were taken to NorthBay Medical Center in Fairfield with major injuries. Hadley later succumbed to her injuries.

Hadley, identified as a resident of both Eureka and Fairfield, worked in the Humboldt County Public Defender’s Office, according to Transparent California.

Chiara was on parole, according to the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation. As part of his recent charges, a petition for the revocation of his parole has been filed.

Chiara’s pending court appearance also will address that petition, court records indicate.

In 1991, Chiara, then 20, was arrested in connection with the death of a Fortuna woman, Mary Kesser, after he was found hiding with a sawed-off shotgun in a closet at a residence close to Kesser’s Fortuna home, according to a Times-Standard coverage at the time.

Chiara was convicted in January 1993. He was paroled to the San Francisco Bay Area in July 2018, according to the CDCR.

Hearing set for Fortuna man accused of making terrorist threats

Sean Allman, a Fortuna resident arrested in June who is accused of making terrorist threats, is scheduled to be in court for a preliminary hearing next week but that date could change, according to Allman’s defense attorney.


“The preliminary hearing remains set but I did state in open court the DA gave me a lot of new discovery I will need to go over,” said Benjamin Okin, referring to new evidence he needs to review, following a short intervention hearing Wednesday afternoon. “Essentially, that means the date for the hearing could change if I need more time to prepare.”

Allman has been charged with two felonies including making threats and obstructing the exercise of religion and making threats to commit crimes resulting in death. He is accused of threatening the Episcopal Diocese of Northern California, a group that was meeting in Arcata at the time the threats were made.

Allman posted $50,000 and appeared in court alongside Okin out of custody.

Allman pleaded not guilty to both charges at his arraignment hearing and the preliminary hearing remains scheduled for Aug. 14.

Hearing could be delayed in July 4 homicide case

A pre-trial discovery conference involving the prosecution of murder suspect Daniella Moore was held on Wednesday afternoon.


Moore has been charged with murder in connection with the July 4 stabbing death of 19-year-old Eureka resident Hannah Elizabeth Hayhurst.

The hearing was conducted behind closed doors and an intervention hearing remains scheduled for Aug. 14.

According to District Attorney Maggie Fleming, who handled the Moore case on behalf of Deputy District Attorney Stacey Eads who is out of office this week, defense attorney Casey Russo intends to file a motion for a continuance ahead of a preliminary hearing currently scheduled for Aug. 23 but Russo was not present in court for the hearing. That could mean the hearing will be delayed.

Moore has been charged with two felonies, first-degree murder and torture, along with the special allegations of the use of a deadly weapon other than a firearm — in this case, shears — and a special allegation of murder with torture that could impact the length of her sentence if convicted.

Moore remains in custody and she is not eligible for bail.

Dan Squier can be reached at 707-441-0528. 

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