Stories posted are written by National news Journalists, not by this blog. The Journalist's name and "Source" link follow each story. We add "Tags" based on facts from the article, which are used for later retrieval, if someone wants to see all stories by a tag (Click tag of choice). Tags are at the top of story.
Our Commenting Policy

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Deputies get rare break in Sebastopol killing case: Investigation stymied until Graton man turns himself in, implicates boy

6-18-2003 California:
A 9-month-old Sebastopol homicide case that was headed for the unsolved mystery pile apparently was solved Monday after a 28-year-old man turned himself in, saying he wanted to unburden his guilty conscience. Miguel Olvera of Graton walked into the Sonoma County Sheriff's Department asking to speak with a detective about the Oct. 9 stabbing death of Gordon Fowler, 74, who lived just south of Sebastopol. Fowler's slaying had confounded detectives who decided just last week that the case was nearing a dead end. But Olvera told detectives enough to convince them he and a 15-year-old friend were involved in the Sebastopol-area slaying.

Olvera and the juvenile, whose name wasn't immediately available, were arrested on suspicion of murder, conspiracy to commit murder, robbery, burglary and car theft. Olvera was held being without bail in the Sonoma County Jail. The boy was at Juvenile Hall. During an interview Tuesday at the jail, Olvera, who was being held in the mental health unit, wept on and off and referred several times to the Ten Commandments. "I feel much better. I wanted to tell the truth ever since the day it happened," he said in Spanish. "Now I sleep much better at night." Olvera's comments during the interview incriminate the 15-year-old in the stabbing while shielding himself from blame, but Detective Dave

Thompson said Olvera implicated himself "quite deeply" with investigators. Investigators declined to discuss Olvera's statements in detail but characterized him as "extremely cooperative" and said he provided enough details to convince them he had first-hand knowledge of Fowler's death. "He said he had done some soul-searching over the past few days and decided to lay it on the table. He said, 'I know the consequences but I want to get this off my chest,'" Thompson said. After telling detectives how Fowler was stabbed, Olvera agreed to surreptitiously record a conversation with the 15-year-old, whom he said he knows only as Marcos, a Graton resident.

With detectives listening in Monday night, Marcos admitted his involvement, investigators said. He was arrested minutes later after a short foot chase, Lt. Bruce Rochester said. From jail, Olvera said he turned himself in to clear his conscience for hiding knowledge of the killing and to ensure Marcos doesn't kill again. He said his other inspiration was his 2-year-old son, whom he says he hopes will forgive him someday for his involvement. "I want to pay for my crime of robbery. But I'm innocent of murder. I don't have it in me to kill," he said. Olvera said he met Fowler, a resident of Sonoma County for 70 years, twice before the killing, the first time 15 days before the stabbing.

Olvera said Fowler and another man approached him on a street corner in Graton and offered him paid work. Assuming it was legitimate housework, Olvera accepted. But when they got to Fowler's house, Olvera said Fowler asked him, "Have you ever had sex with a man?" Olvera said he angrily rejected the advance and a minor scuffle broke out. He said he slugged Fowler, grabbed his wallet from his hand and left. Two days later, Fowler again approached Olvera on a Graton street, this time alone and with a gun, Olvera said. He said he asked Fowler what he wanted and offered to return his wallet, but Fowler told him he wanted Olvera to get him a boy under 18 for sex and he would pay him to do it.

Olvera said he told Fowler he would find a young person for him, "but only to get him to leave me alone. And he did leave." Detectives wouldn't confirm Olvera's account of the meetings but said the account is "not inconsistent" with what they were told. Fowler was registered as a sex offender after a conviction for a low-level sex crime decades ago, Sgt. Greg Contos said. Olvera said he wanted to tell police about Fowler after that incident, and he knew of others in his neighborhood who could vouch for him, but nobody wanted to be a witness because they were only interested in getting work. The next time he saw Fowler, it was the day of the killing. Olvera said he was with Marcos, again in Graton.

Olvera said Marcos urged him to rob Fowler again. Olvera said he resisted the temptation, but Marcos got into Fowler's car and drove off with him. Shortly after, Olvera said a horrible feeling came over him. He ran to Fowler's home, where he found a nervous Marcos exiting with a bloody knife in hand. "What have you done?" Olvera said he asked Marcos. He said Marcos said he killed Fowler. "Are you sure he's dead? Maybe we can still call 911 to help him," Olvera said. "'He's dead. I stabbed him about 30 times,'" Olvera said Marcos told him. Olvera said they panicked and decided to steal Fowler's car to escape. Although Olvera blamed Marcos for the killing, both face the same charges for now.

"We don't see any of this as a plausible defense to mitigate either of these guys' culpability," Sgt. Dave Edmonds said. "We found nothing to suggest this was justified and excusable." After the Oct. 9 slaying, detectives quickly exhausted the few promising leads. They found Fowler's car abandoned in a Sebastopol neighborhood but uncovered no worthwhile evidence inside. Distant relatives of Fowler's who had a history of criminal activity were interviewed in a Wyoming jail but were ruled out, Rochester said. Last week, homicide detectives talked about how it was beginning to look like the case was stalled. Olvera and Marcos never came into the picture before Olvera showed up Monday. Thompson, usually a domestic violence detective, interviewed Olvera because he speaks Spanish.

"It's not every day somebody walks into your office to talk about something of this scale," he said. "We get all kinds of people coming into the office to report all kinds of things, and you never know whether it's legit or not." Olvera may have been able to escape arrest had he not come forward. "There weren't any working leads," Thompson said. "He certainly could've gotten away with it legally, but morally he couldn't." ..more.. : by LORI A. CARTER and DELFIN VIGIL

No comments: