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Wednesday, June 4, 2008

[CA] Update on Chief Gunderson's wife-rape charges & guns, guns, guns

...His attorney, Russell Clanton, contends that seeds of trouble were planted by the chief's former wife, now a Humboldt County sheriff's office dispatcher, who he says has plotted to poison Gundersen's relationship with his current spouse...

Previous entry:
[CA] Chief Gunderson 12-count cop-on-cop spousal rape charges - Blue Lake Police Chief David Gundersen's ex-wife - a legal office assistant in the Sheriff's office - claimed her then husband - drugged her for unwanted sex. Now he faces 12 counts of raping his CURRENT wife - a Blue Lake Police sergeant - while she was drugged. He also faces charges on 3 acts [allegedly] committed while in custody. One is threatening the witness, his wife - caught on a phone call... The chief's attorney, Arcata attorney Russell Clanton: "Frankly I think the position is that the state has put their nose into the bedroom of Chief Gundersen and his current wife"... He said the couple engaged in conduct that "has been misinterpreted and in fact has been exaggerated," and is of an intimate nature.

The head of the tiny force, accused of drugging and sexually assaulting his wife, collected enough guns at headquarters to arm a small platoon. He also allegedly kept unregistered guns at home.
Los Angeles Times
By Eric Bailey
June 4, 2008
[Excerpts] Just beyond the reach of the North Coast fog, this little community of 1,150 basked until recently under the protection of a police force of just four officers. Four officers packing 31 submachine guns. The Blue Lake police force was armed on a par with a big-city SWAT team. And no Blue Lakers knew until Police Chief David Gundersen's life began to very publicly unravel. In February, Humboldt County sheriff's deputies arrested Gundersen on suspicion of crimes in his own bedroom. Prosecutors have charged him with 33 counts, alleging that the chief repeatedly drugged his wife, a Blue Lake police sergeant, and forced her to have sex. As investigators dug deeper into his private life, they discovered Gundersen's guns. At home, he had a weapons cache that included a machine gun and a James Bond-style pistol with a silencer, both unregistered. At police headquarters, he had enough weaponry to arm a small platoon... In all, investigators seized 111 weapons -- nearly a quarter of them from his home. The chief behind bars, the police force mothballed, City Hall under fire -- this was a seismic scandal for a bucolic town tucked peacefully in the Humboldt County redwoods... Gundersen arrived in 1999 after a short run in nearby Trinidad and a controversial stint in the high desert San Bernardino County city of Adelanto, where he was accused of theft... Earlier this month, Gundersen went to court in a jail jumpsuit. He pleaded not guilty to all counts. The trial is scheduled for June 30. If convicted, Gundersen could face up to life in prison. For now, he remains behind bars in lieu of $1.25-million bail. His attorney, Russell Clanton, contends that seeds of trouble were planted by the chief's former wife, now a Humboldt County sheriff's office dispatcher, who he says has plotted to poison Gundersen's relationship with his current spouse. The result, he said, has been a "witch hunt" that has prosecutors, the media and disgruntled Blue Lakers piling on... In the meantime, critics are questioning why the City Council didn't step in more decisively long ago. Council members respond that they knew nothing of the gun cache until they read about it in the paper... [Full article here]

Selected excerpts from news since the last entry:

The Eureka Reporter
Apr 23 2008 · Updated: Apr 24 2008
[Excerpts] ..."Jane Doe 1" testified that she "felt coerced" by officials working in the Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office into making a statement about non-consensual sex with Gundersen... Gundersen, currently the police chief for the Blue Lake Police Department, may face trial on suspicion of 19 charges, including 12 counts of spousal rape with an intoxicant, one count of kidnapping to commit another crime and possession of a machine gun.. At the end of Tuesday’s session, Humboldt County District Attorney Paul Gallegos questioned Doe 1 about nude photographs found on Gundersen’s computer hard drive taken without her consent while sleeping... Jane 1 testified that she never filled out a report with the HCSO about the non-consensual sex, and felt "lured" by the HSCO to talk about it. She said it was never her intention to have Gundersen prosecuted and the only reason she is testifying is because she is under subpoena by the District Attorney’s Office... Doe 1 also brought up Margaret Gundersen, David Gundersen’s former wife, who also works at the HCSO. She felt Margaret Gundersen orchestrated the interview because of a custody battle she was engaged in with David Gundersen, and wanted the interview to end... Jane Doe 2 also finished her testimony, most of which revolved around her mental health prior to the alleged rape. Doe 2 testified that her memory is "pretty much wiped" because of medication she took for post traumatic stress disorder following the alleged rape... [Full article here]

The Eureka Reporter
Apr 24 2008
[Excerpts] ..HCSO Detective Troy Garey testified about contact between Gundersen and Doe 1 after an Emergency Protective Order was signed by Doe 1. Doe 1 said in previous testimony that she didn’t realize what the order entailed until after she signed it, and wanted it reversed. The order prohibited Gundersen from direct and third-party contact in any way with Doe 1, and is the source of two of the 19 charges against him. Garey testified that on Feb. 9, Gundersen contacted Doe 1 and asked her not to testify and to contact Cox, Hislop and/or Gallegos to have the charges dropped. Garey monitored phone conversations with Gundersen to make sure the EPO was enforced. There were also three letters intercepted by Garey and jail staff in April. Toward the end of the day, testimony by Chief DA Investigator Michael Hislop focused on why there wasn’t a report from EPD about Doe 2’s visit on March 26, 1999... When interviewed by Hislop, Johnson vaguely recalled the encounter, but couldn’t remember specifics... [Full article here]

By JOHN C. OSBORN , The Eureka Reporter
Apr 30 2008 · Updated: May 1 2008
[Excerpts] After five days of testimony during the preliminary hearing for Blue Lake Police Chief David Gundersen, the Humboldt County Superior Court held Gundersen to stand trial to 19 charges Wednesday... Gundersen will go to trial on charges that include suspicion of 12 counts of spousal rape with an intoxicant, possession of a machine gun and possession of a firearm with a silencer. He is being held at the Humboldt County jail in Eureka with a $1.25 million bail... Prior to closing statements, District Attorney Investigator Steve Dunn presented testimony to support charges of possession of a machine gun and possession of a firearm with a silencer — two firearms were found in Gundersen’s home... Law enforcement officers found approximately 111 firearms, including 25 found at Gundersen’s residence...
1. Spousal rape with an intoxicant — 12 counts
2. Prevent/dissuade witness from reporting
3. Disobey court order/process
4. Possession of a controlled substance
5. Rape by force
6. Disclosure of information/record without permission
7. Possession of a machine gun
8. Possession of a firearm with a silencer
[Full article here]

By JOHN C. OSBORN , The Eureka Reporter
May 12 2008
[Excerpts] Former Blue Lake Police Chief David Gundersen pleaded not guilty to the 33 charges now against him during his arraignment Monday. The Humboldt County District Attorney’s Office added 14 new charges against Gundersen based on testimony during his preliminary hearing in April. “Jane Doe 1” testified that Gundersen engaged in non-consensual sex with her once a month for about two years... The District Attorney’s Office also filed a count of suspicion of kidnapping to commit rape – pertaining to “Jane Doe 2” – despite Judge John F. Feeney’s ruling on April 30 that no kidnapping took place. Feeney modified the charge to rape by force. Gallegos said he thinks there is enough evidence to warrant the kidnapping charge... [Full article here]


  1. Links to Gundersen coverage
    ☛ TS Blue Lake police chief arrested for alleged rape 2/9/08
    ☛ ER Blue Lake Police Chief arrested on suspicion of rape 2/9/08
    ☛ TS DA: Allegations stem back a couple years, may have been continual occurrence 2/10/08
    ☛ ER Blue Lake police chief accused of multiple assaults 2/11/08
    ☛ TS News spreads quickly in sleepy Blue Lake
    ☛ KMUD Daniel Mintz interview with Gallegos. Click on KMUD Local News, 6:00 pm edition, Monday, February 11, 2008 6:00 pm
    ☛ TS No charging decision made in Gundersen case, says DA 2/12/08
    ☛ TS Attorney: Gundersen claims 'false'
    ☛ TS Gallegos sticks to his guns regarding investigation into Blue Lake police chief
    ☛ ER Defense attorney announced for Blue Lake Police Chief 2/13/08
    ☛ ER Blue Lake residents speak out against police chief 2/13/08
    ☛ TS Gallegos sticks to his guns regarding investigation into Blue Lake police chief 2/13/08
    ☛ TS In tense meeting, council puts off action on jailed police chief 2/13/08
    ☛ TS Gundersen hit with 12 counts of rape
    ☛ TS Gundersen pleads not guilty to 12 rape charges 2/14/08
    ☛ ER Police Chief denied release from jail — $500,000 bail stands 2/15/08
    ☛ TS Judge denies police chief's release 2/15/08

    ☛ ER Gundersen: No stranger to bumpy roads 2/16/08
    ☛ MP Rape Case Proceeds Against Blue Lake Police Chief 2/19/08

    ☛ TS Gundersen faces additional charges. 2/27/08 (link is dead, story was updated)
    ☛ ER Blue Lake explores police options 2/27/08
    ☛ ER Four new charges against Gundersen 2/28/08
    ☛ TS Gundersen faces new charges of kidnapping, possessing a machine gun 2/28/08
    ☛ TS Blue Lake changed policy to allow Gundersen, wife to work together 2/28/08
    ☛ ER Gundersen’s attorney: Gallegos to face difficulty upholding burden of proof2/29/08
    ☛ TS Court documents shed light on Gundersen case 2/29/08
    ☛ TS Gundersen's lawyer: A 'witch hunt' 2/29/08
    ☛ ER Judge more than doubles Gundersen’s bail to $1,250,000 3/1/08
    ☛ TS Judge raises Gundersen's bail to $1.25 million 3/1/08
    ☛ TS Gundersen, alleged second victim were living together, report says3/4/08
    ☛ TS Investigation report: Gundersen's ex-wife also alleges drugging, rape 3/4/08
    ☛ TS Blue Lake's gun arsenal called shocking 3/5/08
    ☛ ER DA mistake violates victims’ rights 3/14/08
    ☛ TS Gundersen hearing pushed to April 3/14/08
    ☛ TS An evolution of law: Spousal rape recently prosecutable 3/23/08
    ☛ TS Blue Lake ends Gundersen's employment 4/10/08
    ☛ TS Gundersen's wife gets immunity 4/11/08
    ☛ TS Gundersen preliminary hearing continued 4/12/08
    ☛; ER Gundersen hearing moved ahead for third time 4/12/08
    ☛; TS Blue Lake's remaining officers placed on leave 4/15/08
    ☛ TS BLPD evidence storage facility burgled 4/15/08

    ☛ TS Gundersen alleged rape victim testifies in hearing 4/21/08
    ☛; ER First Witness Testifies at Gundersen's hearing 4/22/08
    ☛ ER Log of the Testimony, Gundersen's hearing 4/22/08
    ☛ TS 'Jane Doe 2' tells court of rape by Blue Lake chief 4/22/08
    ☛ TS EPD reportedly didn't follow up on 1999 rape report 4/22/08
    ☛ ER Both “Jane Does” testify, immunity deals criticized 4/23/08
    ☛; TS Defense questions alleged rape victim 4/23/08
    ☛; ER Jane Doe “felt coerced” into making statements 4/24/08
    ☛ ER Gundersen's hearing transcripts 4/24/08
    ☛ TS Key witness in Gundersen case says testimony coerced 4/24/08
    ☛ TS Experts: Little impact from coercion charges in Gundersen case 4/24/08
    ☛ ER Doe 1: ‘I don’t think I would have ever come forward’ 4/24/08
    ☛ TS Police chief's wife feared he'd hurt her 4/25/08
    ☛ TS Gundersen held to stand trial 4/30/08
    ☛ ER Gundersen to answer to 19 charges 4/30/08
    ☛ TS Gundersen faces 14 new counts 5/14/08
    ☛; TS Court dismisses civil action against Gundersen 5/27/08
    ☛ ER Gundersen to go to trial in July
    ☛ LA Times Police chief’s arrest jolts town 6/4/08
    ☛ TS Gundersen trial pushed back to July 6/20/08

    ☛; TS Gundersen attorney wants change of venue 7/2/08
    ☛ TS Gundersen's attorney seeks to dismiss charges 7/3/08
    ☛ TS Judge hears motion to dismiss Gundersen charges 7/10/8
    ☛; ER Judge to consider change of venue for Gundersen trial 7/10/08
    ☛ TS Gundersen trial jury selection slated to begin 7/14/08
    ☛; ER Two charges against Gundersen dismissed 7/15/08
    ☛ TS Judge dismisses three charges facing Gundersen 7/15/08
    ☛ TS Gundersen turns down plea deal 7/16/08
    31 counts, including 24 charges of spousal rape with the use of an intoxicant, forcible rape of a second victim with a firearm enhancement, attempting to dissuade a witness, violating a court order and possessing a submachine gun and a pistol with an attached silencer and reduces it to one count of spousal rape and another of forcibly raping a second victim.

    The TS reports that Gundersen, who is facing 28 felony charges, turned down a plea deal that could have landed him in prison for anywhere from nine to 26 years, attorneys said in court Tuesday.

    ”We rejected it in its entirety,” Gundersen's attorney Russell Clanton said of the deal, in which Gundersen would have pleaded guilty to one count of spousal rape and another of forcibly raping a second victim. “Our position is that the defendant has no criminal liability.”

    ☛ ER Juror questionnaire ready as selection process begins 7/16/08
    ☛ ER Former police chief now faces two trials 7/22/08
    ☛ TS Gallegos asking for Gundersen's ex-wife to take stand 7/23/08

    Heraldo - Blue Lake Police Chief Arrested for Rape
    Mirror - Police chief denies spousal rape accusation, says two were never married 5/10/08
    The Wasp - Gallegos the Sneak 5/13/08
    The Wasp = Correction/Update
    Mirror - Police chief pleads not guilty to spousal rape, requests Valentine’s Day conjugal with wife 5/14/08
    The Wasp - Gold stars for Thad and John...but something's amiss
    Fred: What???
    Fred: Prosecutions
    SoHum Parlance - Blue Lake police chief denied OR
    BEHIND THE BLUE WALL blog has a post on the Gundersen matter.
    Mirror - Blue Lake slips motto contest into city council agenda 3/5/08
    Mirror - Gallegos hires Mandrake the Magician to erase memories of alleged rape victims’ names 3/18/08
    Mirror - At this point, we would definitely consider a name change 3/26/08
    Blue Lake cans Chief Gundersen 4/9/08
    Mirror - Blue Lake City Council shows some sack 4/10/08
    Mirror - Blue Lake’s entire police force now on paid administrative leave 4/15/08
    Mirror - Gundersen got way more action than previously believed 5/13/08
    Mirror - Confirmed: Gundersen attorney desperately seeking venue change 7/7/08

    ☛; ER Gundersen: No stranger to bumpy roads The story of Gundersen's previous arrest and its outcome.
    ☛ Legal Defense Fund
    Adelanto Showdown: Officers vs Council February 1998
    ☛ From the Lunesta site Opening paragraph:

    First posted 2/16/08 Updated on an ongoing basis

  2. Wow. You've really done the work.

    Be careful. That's how I started - by getting VERY VERY involved in tracking and saving ONE CASE. :)

    You're a sis in spirit.


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