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

Monday, December 10, 2007

Megan's Law listing may have led to slaying

12-10-2007 California:

Lake County prosecutors have investigated the possibility that information in the Internet database might have been the motive for the killing of a convicted sex offender.

LAKEPORT, CALIF. -- -- Convicted rapist Michael A. Dodele had been free just 35 days when sheriff's deputies found him dead last month in his aging, tan mobile home, his chest and left side punctured with stab wounds.

Officers quickly arrested Dodele's neighbor, 29-year-old construction worker Ivan Garcia Oliver, who made "incriminating comments, essentially admitting to his attacking Dodele," the Lake County Sheriff's Department said in a statement.

Prosecutors said they have investigated the possibility that the slaying of Dodele, 67, stemmed from his having been listed on the state's Megan's Law database of sex offenders. If so, his death may be the first in the state to result from such a listing, experts said.

Oliver pleaded not guilty to charges of first-degree murder, burglary and elder abuse when he was arraigned Nov. 30.

In a jailhouse interview Wednesday night, Oliver said he has a son who was molested in the past, and he took action to protect the child.

"Society may see the action I took as unacceptable in the eyes of 'normal' people," Oliver said. "I felt that by not taking evasive action as a father in the right direction, I might as well have taken my child to some swamp filled with alligators and had them tear him to pieces. It's no different."

Although Oliver did not say he killed Dodele, he said that "any father in my position, with moral, home, family values, wouldn't have done any different. At the end of the day, what are we as parents? Protectors, caregivers, nurturers."

In fact, Dodele was not a child molester. But a listing on the Megan's Law website could have left Oliver with the impression that he had abused children because of the way it was written.

Although Dodele's listing has been taken down since his death, a spokesman for the state attorney general said the site described the man's offenses as "rape by force" and "oral copulation with a person under 14 or by force."

"He was convicted of other bad things, but nothing involving a minor," said Richard F. Hinchcliff, chief deputy district attorney for Lake County. But "it would be easy to understand why someone might think so looking at the website."

Dodele's crimes involved sexual assaults on adult women, records show.

A neighbor at the Western Hills Resort & Trailer Park, a tattered collection of mobile homes and bungalows, said that two days before the killing, Oliver "told every house" in the park that he'd found Dodele listed on the website of convicted sexual offenders and was uncomfortable living near him.

"He looked it up on the computer . . . ," the neighbor said. "He said [Dodele] can't be around here."

The park resident requested anonymity because of a fear of reprisal, but reported Oliver's visit and statements to sheriff's deputies after the slaying. "A lot of people told them" about Oliver's claims, the person said.

Officials in Lake County -- a patchwork of wealth and poverty, vineyards and mobile home parks just north of Napa Valley -- would not offer a motive for the killing.

Hinchcliff acknowledged, however, that one possible motive investigated by the district attorney's office was that Oliver knew Dodele was on the Megan's Law list and did not want him as a neighbor.

According to court documents, Dodele committed his first offenses at age 15 and spent the last two decades either in prison or at Atascadero State Hospital receiving treatment.

His last attack was the 1987 knife-point rape of a 37-year-old woman on a Sonoma County beach.

Those were the charges that were listed on the Megan's Law website.

"I think [Oliver and Dodele] are both victims of the Internet," said Charlene Steen, a psychologist who examined Dodele on behalf of the defense in two 2007 trials about whether he should be recommitted to Atascadero.

Both ended in hung juries. Dodele was freed Oct. 16 and was hoping to start over in the crowded little mobile home park, where neighbors described him as open and friendly.

"The family is just sick," Steen said. "They finally got him back. They all thought he had made such great progress, and then this happened. It's pretty bad."

At 10:14 a.m. Nov. 20, an anonymous woman called 911 to report that a man was bleeding from his hands and directed medical personnel to Dodele's space at the mobile home park, according to a written statement from the Sheriff's Department.

When deputies arrived, they found Dodele's body.

The dead man's "immediate neighbors and other residents" sent the deputies to Oliver's home, the statement said, because "he had been seen recently leaving Dodele's residence with what appeared to be blood on his hands and clothing."

There was blood on a car in front of Oliver's house and at the front door of the concrete-block duplex. Inside, deputies reportedly found Oliver with blood on his hands and clothing and "injuries to his hands, consistent with having been in a physical altercation."

Authorities will not divulge exactly what Oliver said when he was arrested.

Steen wrote a letter to a local paper decrying Dodele's death "simply because he was a sex offender whose name and picture were on the registry."

Shortly after the letter was published, Steen said, a woman describing herself as Oliver's wife called to complain.

"She said, 'We have a child who was molested, and my husband is very upset to have a child molester living nearby'," Steen recounted, noting the irony that Dodele's crimes all involved adult women.

Steen said she had not talked to police about the phone call. Oliver said that the woman with whom he lived in the trailer park was his girlfriend, and the two were not married.

Attempts to reach the woman failed. One neighbor said she had moved away after the slaying.

Oliver is being held without bail, a police statement said, because he was convicted of assault with a deadly weapon in San Diego and was on parole when Dodele was killed.

Speaking from behind a thick glass divider in the visiting area of the Lake County Correctional Facility, Oliver said his son had been molested, but he declined to give the details of his son's assault or to give the child's name.

Although he spoke of "the action I took," he would not describe what happened in the aging mobile home the Tuesday morning before Thanksgiving.

Oliver would not comment on whether Dodele had ever approached his son.

But Oliver said he saw the older man looking at the boy.

"It was more than watching," Oliver said. "You could see his eyes. He was fantasizing, plotting. Later on down the line, who knows how many other children he could have hurt."

Research indicates that, in general, the older rapists get, the lower their risk of re-offending, said L.C. Miccio-Fonseca, chairwoman of the California Coalition on Sex Offenders, a group of treatment providers, probation and parole officers.

In addition, she said, sex offenders who target grown women over the course of many years are unlikely to victimize children.

But when told that Dodele's victims were women and not children, Oliver seemed unfazed. "There is no curing the people that do it," he said.

Oliver's preliminary hearing is scheduled for Jan. 7.

Asked about what he thinks will happen to him, he said, "It's hard to tell at this point. There's no doubt I'm looking at a numerous amount of years. I'm not a lawyer. We haven't gone over the evidence."

But he also said that he "would never change who I am or what I do because of what society thinks is right or not right. I have always been who I am and always will be." ..more.. by Maria L. La Ganga, Los Angeles Times Staff Writer


New charge for Lakeport man
Police say Oliver, accused of killing neighbor, found with weapon in jail
12-20-2007 California:

A Lakeport man charged with fatally stabbing a neighbor he apparently thought was a pedophile now faces an additional charge of sharpening a toothbrush into a weapon while incarcerated.

Ivan Garcia Oliver, 29, has been charged with a felony count of possessing a weapon in jail, said Lake County Sheriff Rod Mitchell. He already was facing a first-degree murder charge in the stabbing death of Michael Dodele, a convicted rapist, in November.

In a jailhouse interview, Oliver told the Los Angeles Times he thought Dodele was a child molester, based on a faulty reading of the charges on an official sex offender Web registry. He said he acted to protect his son.

However, Dodele's sex crime conviction was for raping an adult Santa Rosa woman. Because he was a repeat offender, Dodele served nearly 20 years for the assault before being released two months ago.

Oliver previously was convicted in San Diego County of assault with a deadly weapon for stabbing a man multiple times, said San Diego County District Attorney's Office spokesman Steve Walker. In that 2003 case, Oliver stabbed a security guard who confronted him and and two other men after they left a restaurant without paying, he said.

He was sentenced to four years in prison, Walker said.

The discovery last week of the sharpened toothbrush was particularly troubling given Oliver's record, Mitchell said.

"Based on this man's history, I certainly think the discovery may have prevented a very serious injury to someone else, particularly a member of my staff," he said.

Mitchell said Oliver cannot claim to have made the device in order to protect himself because he was being held in protective confinement away from other inmates.

"He was in no danger," Mitchell said.

A corrections officer discovered the weapon last week while searching Oliver before moving him from one solitary cell to another, Mitchell said. ..more.. by Staff Writer Glenda Anderson at 462-6473 or

Earlier Articles


Law enforcement officers testify in accused sex offender killer trial


Law enforcement personnel took the stand on the second day of testimony in the trial of a nearly five-year-old murder case against a Lakeport man.

Ivan Garcia Oliver, 34, is accused of using information obtained from the Megan's Law online sex offender registry to kill Michael A. Dodele, 67, a registered sex offender at the time, on Nov. 20, 2007.

Oliver faces three felonies, including murder. He pleaded not guilty to all charges and denied several special allegations in the case. Richard Hinchcliff, chief deputy district attorney, is prosecuting the case. Oliver is represented by attorney Stephen Carter. Judge Arthur H. Mann presided.

Four law enforcement officers testified Thursday, including the first Lake County Sheriff's Office (LCSO) deputy on scene and the lead investigator.

Thomas Andrews was the first LCSO deputy to arrive at Western Hills Resort trailer park that day.

Andrews testified he was dispatched to the trailer park at 10:15 a.m. for a report of a man with bleeding hands in front of space 19. He said he arrived on scene within five minutes.

Upon entering the driveway, he made contact with a man in front of space 31, whom Andrews said he later learned was Oliver. Andrews said he asked Oliver where space 19 was located, and Oliver allegedly told Andrews it was at the back of the trailer park.

Andrews said he saw a 19 on a trailer nearby, to which Oliver allegedly responded that the trailer numbers were mismarked and that it was at the back. Andrews said he then drove around the park and ended up on the other side of the trailer in space 19, which he said was the second trailer upon entering the park.

Andrews said he didn't see anyone in front of space 19 but noticed a sliding glass door was open. He said he announced himself as he approached the trailer and, as he moved aside some closed window blinds, noticed blood drops on the floor of the living room area that continued toward the kitchen and down a hallway.

Andrews said he announced himself again, entered the trailer and followed the blood trail to the hallway. After waiting for backup, he said the two deputies walked past the closed bathroom door, where the trail continued, and into the bedroom.

Andrews said they discovered Dodele's body at the foot of the bed in the fetal position. He said he checked for a pulse and found none, noting that Dodele was warm to the touch.

Andrews said he notified dispatch, requesting an ambulance and an LCSO investigation team.

During the investigation, Andrews said he noticed blood drops around the trunk area of a white car parked outside space 31 as well as on the front door handle to space 31B. He said he knocked on the door to 31B several times and received no answer. After other deputies arrived and further attempts to contact the residents of 31B went unanswered, Andrews said the deputies forced entry into the trailer. Andrews said Oliver was located in the residence along with his 4-year-old son and girlfriend.

LCSO Lt. Brian Kenner said he assisted in the forced entry of 31B. Upon entering, he said Oliver was discovered on the floor of the kitchen.

Kenner testified Oliver later allegedly admitted to the crime and said that he was defending his family after Dodele allegedly attacked them and went after his son. Kenner said Oliver "seemed agitated."

Kenner said Oliver had a wound on the back of his right hand around the webbing. He said he rode in an ambulance with Oliver to Sutter Lakeside Hospital, where Oliver received several stitches for the wound. Kenner testified that Oliver told the doctor treating him that he cut himself while shaving.

Brian Martin, a former LCSO lieutenant, testified a cellphone was discovered by another investigator between the mattress and box spring of the bed in 31B.

Martin said he contacted Dodele's sister, and asked for Dodele's cellphone number. Martin said he allegedly called the number she provided and the phone rang, leading the investigators to believe it belonged to Dodele.

Martin also searched an area behind 31B because the window screen in the bathroom was allegedly pushed out and there was blood on the window sill. Upon investigation, Martin said he discovered two knives. Oliver's then-girlfriend confirmed one knife belonged to Oliver, according to Martin.

LCSO Sgt. Corey Paulich, the lead investigator, described to the jury photos taken inside Dodele's trailer, many of which showed a trail of blood drops and other places where blood evidence was present. Paulich testified he smelled bleach upon entering Dodele's trailer. He said he allegedly saw an area of the rug where it was recently scrubbed or cleaned.

Hinchcliff provided more than 40 crime scene photos for the jury to look at before testimony concluded for the day. Paulich will resume testimony tomorrow at 9 a.m. in Department 3. ..Source.. by Kevin N. Hume


Trial in Lakeport sex offender's killing nears end


No one's denying Ivan Oliver stabbed a Lakeport neighbor 65 times after mistaking him for a convicted pedophile. The question about to be mulled by a Lake County jury is whether it was a case of premeditated murder, self defense or something in between.

During closing arguments Friday in the Lake County Superior Court trial, Chief Deputy District Attorney Richard Hinchcliff told jurors the death is a clear case of first-degree murder.

He said Oliver went to Michael Dodele's mobile home with a knife and the intent to kill him. Oliver stabbed Dodele “over and over and over again” with enough force to fracture several ribs and vertebrae, he said.

“There was no way that was self defense. He was like a shark on a feeding frenzy,” Hinchcliff said.

He said Oliver, 34, killed Dodele, 67, in November 2007 because he hates child molesters and thought Dodele was a convicted pedophile after finding him on a Megan's Law sex registrant list. A confusing entry on the Megan's Law website was at the root of the mistake.

Dodele was convicted of raping multiple women in the 1970s and 1980s, not children. He'd served more than 20 years in prison for his crimes and had been released just a month before he was killed.

The misreading of the website led Oliver to think Dodele may have touched his 4-year-old son and to confront Dodele about the suspected incident, said defense attorney Stephen Carter. The attorney characterized Oliver as a doting, concerned father who was frantic with concern for his son's safety.

Recounting his client's trial testimony, Dodele said that when Oliver confronted Dodele, the older man became angry and tried to stab Oliver, he said.

Oliver was able to seize the knife and defend himself, Carter recounted. He said Oliver, eyes closed, “wildly” stabbed at Dodele. Oliver initially tried to cover up the crime but eventually admitted the slaying, according to court testimony.

Hinchcliff told jurors the self-defense scenario is implausible but Carter defended his client's story. He said Dodele was a dangerous man who had raped several women at knifepoint and was capable of using the weapon on another adult.

“Mr. Dodele lived by the knife and died by the knife,” Carter said.

Oliver also had experience with knives. He has a prior conviction for stabbing a security guard who confronted a group of Oliver's friends for leaving a Southern California restaurant without paying. He also is suspected of assaulting a young gay man the same day he killed Dodele.

Carter advised jurors to conclude that Oliver killed Dodele in self defense. At most, they should find him guilty of voluntary manslaughter, he said.

The jury will begin deliberations on Wednesday. In addition to murder, the counts they will be considering include a special allegation that Oliver used information from the Megan's Law sex offender registry to commit a felony, burglary, elder abuse and using a knife to commit a crime. ..Source.. by GLENDA ANDERSON

No comments: