On Wednesday, June 20, 2018 a Contra Costa County jury found defendant Todd Andrew Mayer guilty of two felony counts of stalking family members. The jury also determined Mayer was guilty of six misdemeanors for violating restraining orders that were issued by the court for the protection of his mother. Mayer lived out of state but, his family lived in Danville. He was arrested by Danville Police.
Contra Costa County Deputy District Attorney Chris Sansoe prosecuted the case on behalf of the People. Sansoe is a prosecutor in the Domestic Violence Unit. The jury trial lasted eight days before the Honorable Nancy Stark. Sentencing for the defendant will occur on July 20, at 9:00 a.m. Mayer could face up to 11 years in state prison.
“I am glad the jury was able to see the defendant’s actions for what they were, terrifying. I hope that the victims and their families can find some peace after this long struggle,” said DDA Sansoe.
In September 2016, after years of verbal and emotional abuse, Mayer’s wife filed for a restraining order for herself and children. She followed the procedures of the Contra Costa County Superior Court and was awarded a restraining order. Within days of receiving the order, Mayer violated the order.
Mayer then began to threaten other members of his family, including his brother and his mother. In March of 2017, Mayer’s brother had applied for and received a restraining order as well. This order prohibited Mayer from contacting his brother, or his brother’s family. Mayer’s mother would also apply for and receive a restraining order. As with his wife, the defendant violated these orders within days. Because of his violations of the restraining orders, his family members blocked his phone number and stopped responding to his violations.
After being blocked from calling or texting by the victims, Mayer switched his harassment to email form. Between March 25, 2017 and his arrest on October 10, 2017, Mayer sent his wife, brother, and mother hundreds of emails. The victims did not respond to these emails. As time passed, Mayer’s emails became more and more threatening in nature.
These threats included statements that Mayer would murder his former wife, brother, and his brother’s family. As time progressed, Mayer’s threats became more descriptive and detailed. On October 3, 2017, Mayer threatened to murder his brother’s wife and child in front of his own brother. In addition, Mayer used the film “Law Abiding Citizen” and its theme to threaten his brother. On October 6, 2017, Mayer sent an email to his family members, in which he threatened to do a Las Vegas type shooting. This threat was five days after the mass shooting occurred on the Las Vegas strip.
Stalking is a serious crime that is often an indicator of other forms of violence. The National Coalition Against Domestic Violence reports that 81 percent of women who were stalked by a current or former husband or cohabitating partner were also physically assaulted by that partner; 31 percent of women were sexually assaulted. 75 percent of women murdered by an intimate partner were stalked first; 85 percent of women who survived murder attempts were stalked. Nearly 3 out of 4 victims know their stalkers in some capacity and the most common relationship between the victim and the perpetrator is a current or former intimate partner. 1 in every 6 U.S. women and 1 out of every 19 U.S. men have been staked in their lifetime.
Abusers use stalking to intimidate and control their victims and the pattern of threats and harassment can come in many forms as it did in this case. Victims can get help by reporting the conduct to the police, by calling the STAND! for Families Free of Violence 24-hour toll free crisis line at 1-888-215-5555 or visiting the Family Justice Centers in Richmond (256 24th St.) or Concord (2151 Salvio St., Ste. 201). In any life-threatening emergency, victims should always call 911.
Case information: People v. Todd Andrew Mayer, Docket Number 05-180613-2Read More
Concord woman, three children injured
On Tuesday, June 19, 2018 at 6:38 PM Concord Police Department received numerous calls of a two-vehicle collision on Concord Blvd. near 3rd Street. Officers arrived on-scene along with Paramedics and Firefighters from Contra Costa County Fire Protection District.
The driver of one of the vehicles was pronounced deceased at the scene. The identity of the deceased driver is not being released at this time pending positive identification and notification of next of kin by the Contra Costa County Coroner’s Office.
The driver of the other vehicle, a 32-year old female from Concord, was transported to the hospital by ambulance with serious injuries. Three children who were passengers in that car (ages 8 years, 8 years, and 10 months) were also transported to the hospital with serious injuries that were not believed to be life threatening.
The female driver is cooperating with the investigation. At this time, alcohol/drugs are not believed to be a factor in this collision.
The cause of the collision is still under investigation. Preliminary investigation has revealed that both vehicles were traveling east-bound on Concord Blvd. prior to the collision.
Concord Blvd. was closed between 3rd Street and Parkside Drive for approximately three hours to perform roadway measurements, collect evidence, and conduct the investigation.
Additional details are not being released at this time.
Anyone with information or who may have witnessed this collision is encouraged to contact Officer Ghaznawi at (925) 603-5931.Read More
Fun and laughter for the entire family
Finally, a comedy show that caters to the entire family. The Family Friendly Comedy Show, in Brentwood on Saturday, June 30, will be a night filled with food, fun and laughter.
Headlining will be Donald Lacy from BET’s ComicView and HBO’s Def Comedy Jam, Featuring G. King one of the nation’s funniest and fastest rising comedians, Special Guest Jay Rich straight off the Paul Mooney & Friends Tour, Hosted by Comedian and Award-Winning Actor of Stage and Screen Lenard Jackson from Antioch. Music provided by DJ Oasis.
Saturday June 30, 2018, 8:00 pm doors open at 7:00 pm. Admission $20. at Brentwood Veteran’s Memorial Hall, 757 First Street in Brentwood. Brought to you by Rick Sullivan & C.O.G.H. This is a Rick Sullivan Production.
Producer and Promoter Rick Sullivan believes that there is a desire for comedy shows that cater to the entire family and decided to fill that void. Now parents and kids can come out and enjoy a comedy event together.
For the full line up and tickets for this event, please visit: https://www.brownpapertickets.com/event/3475085 or contact Rick Sullivan at 510.228.7038. Food and beverages will be available to purchase at the show.Read More
WHAT: Contra Costa Behavioral Health Services, a division of Contra Costa Health Services Department (CCHS), invites anyone interested in discussing local public mental health services to participate in a public forum Thursday, June 21, in Concord.
The forum offers the opportunity to discuss current issues relevant to providing mental health care in the community. These discussions will help inform future use of local Mental Health Services Act (MHSA) funding.
WHO: All members of the public are welcome, including participants in mental health services, their family members and service providers.
RSVP to attend a forum by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org – please include “MHSA Forum” in the subject line – or by telephoning (925) 957-2617. Attendees may also mail RSVPs to MHSA, 1220 Morello Avenue, Suite 100, Martinez, CA 94553.
WHEN: 7:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m., Thursday, June 21 at John Muir Medical Center, 2540 East Street, Concord
WHY: Contra Costa County’s current MHSA budget provides $51.6 million to more than 80 mental health programs and services. Forum goals include identifying service needs, priorities and strategies to inform the county’s MHSA Three-Year Program and Expenditure Plan.
The forum will include an overview of how MHSA works and how funding is currently used in Contra Costa.
Visit www.cchealth.org/mentalhealth/mhsa to read the plan and other information about the MHSA in Contra Costa.Read More
WHAT: Contra Costa Environmental Health and Contra Costa Supervisor Federal Glover will host a community forum to answer questions and provide current, accurate information about the alleged disposal of potentially radioactive materials from the Hunters Point Naval Shipyard at Keller Canyon Landfill in Pittsburg.
WHO: The forum is free and open to all, and residents of communities near Keller Canyon are encouraged to attend.
Technical experts from the Radiologic Health Branch of the California Department of Public Health, the United States Navy, the San Francisco Bay Area Regional Water Quality Control Board and other state and federal agencies will be on hand to answer questions following a presentation.
WHEN: The forum begins at 6:30 p.m. on Thursday, June 21.
WHERE: Ambrose Community Center, 3105 Willow Pass Road, Bay Point
WHY: In May it came to light that potentially radioactive material from the Hunters Point Naval Shipyard in San Francisco may have been improperly delivered to several landfills around California, including Keller Canyon in Pittsburg. (See related article) Contra Costa County and numerous other public agencies have been investigating to determine what happened, and if there is any potential health impact to surrounding communities. This meeting is an opportunity to bring the public up to speed on the investigation and answer questions from community members.Read More
By Allen Payton
In the face of interim appointed District Attorney Diana Becton’s growing lead, her main opponent in the June election, on Thursday Supervising Assistant D.A. Paul Graves sent out a letter to his supporters conceding the race.
Becton now has 921 more votes than is needed to win, with 50.49% of the vote, up from 50.01% in the last update on June 8. The County Clerk-Registrar of Voters office announced on Wednesday that they have approximately 10,000 ballots left to count and that some of those might be disqualified.
In addition to thanking his supporters, during a brief interview Friday morning, Graves also thanked those who voted for him.
A Heartfelt Thank You
Dear Friends and Supporters,
Nearly all the votes have been counted, and although it is very close, it is unlikely we will have a runoff in November. This afternoon, I called Diana Becton to congratulate her on her expected election as District Attorney.
I am grateful for the support of Contra Costa’s law enforcement community and firefighters, Marc Klaas, and the support and confidence of my fellow prosecutors.
I have been especially moved by the survivors who have reached out to reconnect, and in doing so reminded me why I am a prosecutor. Most of all, I am grateful for the support and encouragement I have received from friends and my family, most of whom already knew that I was probably a better prosecutor than a politician.
I want to say to all my supporters that your dedication to this campaign has been humbling and inspiring, and I complete this chapter knowing that I would do it all over again for the privilege of fighting the good fight alongside you all. We didn’t just fight for “change,” we fought for the right change, and I know that we will continue to fight for the safety of our communities and justice for crime victims.
Most of all, we can be proud of our effort and that we maintained our integrity throughout this election, including the appointment process. The District Attorney’s office is an office built on trust, and we met our obligation to the people of Contra Costa with the type of campaign we ran from start to finish – armed with real knowledge, focused on real issues, and fueled by real, local grassroots support.
Now we must come together and support our newly-elected District Attorney for the sake of Contra Costa residents who are counting on us to put politics aside for their benefit and safety. This campaign has ended, but our worthy cause continues in our courtrooms every day.
Thank you all from the bottom of my heart,
According to County Clerk-Registrar of Voters Joe Canciamilla, the final election results are expected to be announced next Friday, June 22 by 5:00 p.m. Please check back later for those.Read More
Accept minimizing school casualties report
Two Contra Costa County Supervisors disagree with a key finding in a newly released Contra Costa County Grand Jury Report titled “The Opioid Crisis: Dying for Treatment” that reported in 2015-2016 over 100 county residents died from opioid overdoses.
Supervisors accepted the Grand Jury report as a consent item on a 4 to 0 vote. Board Chair Karen Mitchoff, who had won re-election to a new four-year term in last Tuesday’s election, was absent.
District 3 Supervisor Diane Burgis of Brentwood and District 5 Supervisor Federal Glover of Pittsburg said the actual number of deaths linked to opioid overdoses in 2015-2016 was lower. The two supervisors said there were 52 overdose deaths tied to opioids based on the information the supervisors received at a health conference that they attended last week.
Why the discrepancy? It is unclear.
Grand Jury Foreperson Mario Gutierrez told the Contra Costa Herald the Grand Jury collected its information from the Urban Institute and county senior healthcare officials in the 2015-2016 fiscal year. Gutierrez says he and the grand jury backs up the statistic. “County deaths mirror the alarming trend and the national epidemic of misuse and abuse of opioids, particularly prescription painkillers,” the report states.
Gutierrez speculates the two supervisors may have received “partial or half-year opioid death count figures” for either the 2016-2017 or 2017-2018 fiscal years. In both years, the opioid death tolls will exceed that of 2015-2016, Gutierrez predicted because that is the local and national trend with this drug crisis.
In May, Contra Costa County Board of Supervisors joined 29 other county board of supervisors in suing 19 opioid manufacturers and three major distributors for creating an opioid epidemic in California. The lawsuit seeks reimbursement of taxpayer funds that have already been spent in reaction to the opioid epidemic in Contra Costa County related to ongoing costs of continuing the fight including emergency response, prevention, monitoring and treatment, and for prospective relief to help the county undo some of the widespread damage that opioid manufactures and distributors have caused.
“The Grand Jury also found that limited implementation, lack of funding, inadequate availability and insufficient accessibility in treatment being the least supported of the strategies. There are not enough programs in place to enable first responders to provide treatment immediately when sought. There is a need for on-demand treatment, but delays in access to medical care result in missed opportunities to reduce harm, and recovery, and prevent overdose deaths,” the report said.
“Based on its findings, the Grand Jury recommends that the County Board of Supervisors consider seeking funds for expansion of addiction treatment programs. The Board may also consider encouraging more medical care providers to become Medication-Assisted Treatment (MAT) certified, hire more MAT clinicians, provide in-county residential treatment facilities for adolescents, and place more certified professional addiction clinicians within the county’s three detention facilities. The Grand Jury also recommends that the Contra Costa County Office of Education consider making overdose antidotes in public high schools.”
The supervisors have 60 days to respond to the Grand Jury’s recommendations. The Contra Costa County Office of Education has 90 days to respond to the Grand Jury’s recommendation that the CCCOE seek funds for the 2019-2020 fiscal year to provide free NARCAN kits in all county school districts.
Supervisors Accept Minimizing School Casualties Report
Supervisors also approved as a consent item another grand jury report entitled Minimizing School Casualties During an Active Shooter Incident.
While acknowledging “No active shooting incidents have occurred on school campuses in Contra Costa County, The Contra Costa County Civil Grand Jury conducted an investigation to determine what preparations law enforcement agencies have made to respond to such an incident in the county, should one occur. The Grand Jury reviewed current practices of County law enforcement and paramedics serving the County. The investigation focused on high schools, where most school shootings have occurred.’’
The Grand Jury report was drafted at a time when 148 students and teachers had been killed and 310 wounded during 240 school shootings nationwide.
During the Grand Jury’s investigation, it surveyed the Acalanes Union High School District’s four high schools, at one of which local police ran an active shoot exercise. “Although most teachers and students have received verbal guidance on dealing with an armed classroom intruder, they have not received specific written instructions developed jointly by the AUHSD and the local policy,” the Grand Jury report stated.
In addition, the report states: “The Grand Jury recommends that the County Board of Supervisors consider seeking funds to finance ballistic protection for Fire District paramedics. The Grand Jury further recommends that the BOS continue funding the County Sheriff’s Office active shooter training program for paramedics and law enforcement. In addition, the Grand Jury recommends that the Acalanes Unified High School District Governing Board consider requiring its four high schools to work directly with local police to develop and implement specific written guidelines for teachers and students on how to handle classroom break-ins by an active shooter.”
The supervisors have 60 days to respond to the Grand Jury’s recommendations.Read More
Don Stuart Bell, a veteran of the Vietnam War, a former Contra Costa County Sheriff Deputy, and former Antioch resident died unexpectedly on Saturday, June 2, 2018 at age 71.
He is survived by his wife, Sandy Harter-Bell; his children Don Scott Bell, Leanne Herrick, Debra Peeling, and Dawnyll Hooker; and his grandchildren, Garret, Elizabeth, Alex, Ashlyn, Michael Patrick and Elijah. He is also survived by his siblings; John Bell and Susan Hoff.
A Celebration of Life will be held on Thursday, June 28th at 2:00 p.m. at the Folsom Veterans Hall – 1300 Forrest Street, Folsom, CA 95630.Read More
Investigators with the Contra Costa County Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force recently participated in the nationwide Operation Broken Heart, a nationwide effort to investigate individuals exploiting children on the internet. Throughout March, April and May, the team conducted investigations of subjects who distributed child pornography over the internet and focused on individuals traveling to Contra Costa County to meet minors to engage in sexual activity.
In addition to the proactive investigations the ICAC team participated in, a significant school outreach program was also undertaken to teach parents and students about the risks associated with smartphones and social media. During the three-month period, investigators and prosecutors delivered presentations at six schools, reaching 140 parents and over 300 students. During the 2017/2018 school year, the ICAC task force has delivered presentations to over 300 parents and over 2,800 students in Contra Costa County.
The three-month nationwide operation by the ICAC Task Force Program resulted in the arrests of 2,300 suspected online child sex offenders.
“No child should ever have to endure sexual abuse,” U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions said. “And yet, in recent years, certain forms of modern technology have facilitated the spread of child pornography and created greater incentives for its production. We at the Department of Justice are determined to strike back against these repugnant crimes. It is shocking and very sad that in this one operation, we have arrested more than 2,300 alleged child predators and investigated some 25,200 sexual abuse complaints. Any would-be criminal should be warned: this Department will remain relentless in hunting down those who victimize our children.”
Some notable arrests and investigations conducted during Operation Broken Heart include:
-On April 6, 2018, investigators arrested Russell Meirose of Milpitas, California. Meirose was arrested after chatting online with someone he believed to be a 13-year old girl and enticing her to meet for sex. Meirose was arrested at a hotel in Pleasanton after he rented a room for the girl and himself. The girl he was talking to was actually an undercover police officer. Meirose has been charged with multiple felonies including attempted lewd acts with a child and arranging to meet a minor for sex.
-On April 19, 2018, investigators arrested Andrew Lund, a fourth grade teacher and school supervisor at Glen Cove Elementary school in Vallejo. Lund was arrested after it was determined he was sending harmful material to a person he believed to be a minor and attempting to arrange a meeting with that 14-year-old girl for sex. In reality, Lund was chatting with an undercover police officer. When investigators searched his house in Vallejo, they located child pornography on Lund’s cell phone. Lund has been charged with possession of child pornography and sending harmful material to a minor, among other charges.
In conjunction with Operation Broken Heart, on May 25, 2018, which is nationally recognized as Missing Children’s Day, the ICAC task force executed three search warrants in Contra Costa County, targeting offenders distributing child pornography.
-Investigators with the Contra Costa County District Attorney’s Office, Contra Costa FBI Safe Streets Task Force, San Ramon Police Department, United States Secret Service, San Jose Police Department, Santa Clara County Sheriff’s Office and the Contra Costa County Probation Department served a search warrant in the 1200 block of Elmwood Drive in Walnut Creek. Investigators located a significant quantity of child pornography on computer devices inside of the home and the Contra Costa County District Attorney’s Office is currently reviewing the case for potential criminal charges.
-Investigators with the Contra Costa County Sheriff’s Office served a search warrant in the 200 block of Hillside Ave in Antioch. Investigators located a significant quantity of child pornography on computer devices inside of the home and arrested Raymond Myers for possession of child pornography. The Contra Costa County District Attorney’s Office is currently reviewing the case for potential criminal charges.
-Investigators with the Contra Costa County District Attorney’s Office and Homeland Security Investigations, Child Exploitation Unit, served a search warrant on Brush Creek Drive in Pittsburg. Investigators located a significant quantity of child pornography on computer devices inside of the home and the Contra Costa County District Attorney’s Office is currently reviewing the case for potential criminal charges.
The Silicon Valley Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force is managed by the San Jose Police Department. In Contra Costa County, detectives and investigators from the Walnut Creek, Martinez, San Ramon, Concord and Moraga Police Departments, the Sheriff’s Office, Contra Costa County Probation Department and Contra Costa County District Attorney’s Office participate in the task force along with Special Agents from the United States Department of Homeland Security and the United States Secret Service.
Parents are encouraged to discuss online safety with their children and can visit the website www.kidsmartz.org for further information. If you believe your school or community organization would benefit from a smartphone and social media awareness presentation, please contact Deputy District Attorney Lauren Whalen at email@example.com or Senior Inspector Darryl Holcombe at firstname.lastname@example.org.Read More
The investigation into the in-custody death at the Martinez Detention Facility is continuing. The death is being investigated by the Contra Costa County Office of the Sheriff and the District Attorney’s Office per the in-custody death protocol.
At approximately 7:43 AM Tuesday, a Deputy Sheriff at the Martinez Detention Facility found an inmate who had hung himself in the shower.
The inmate was unresponsive. Deputies called for medical staff at the facility and began CPR. An ambulance and the fire department also responded to MDF. The inmate was later pronounced deceased at the scene.
The inmate has been identified as 52-year-old Phillip Andrew Jacobson of Antioch. He was arrested and booked into jail on July 11, 2017 by the Antioch Police Department. He was being held on eight felony counts of child molestation. His bail was set at $4,150,000.
Arrest photos of child molesters are not typically released by the Antioch Police Department out of respect for the victims.Read More