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Sunday, November 14, 2010

Man killed by deputy was wanted in 11 felony cases, including rape

11-13-2010 California:

The parolee who was shot and killed by a deputy sheriff Tuesday was wanted in at least 11 felony cases, according to the Mendocino County District Attorney's Office, including an August kidnapping and rape.

Charges would have been filed Friday against transient Shane Hutchins, 32, who eluded authorities in several vehicle and foot chases since May, according to Mendocino County Deputy District Attorney Matt Hubley.

"This is all alleged, because we're never going to get a chance to go to court and prove it," Hubley said.

Hutchins was fatally shot during a confrontation with a deputy who hasn't been identified after he allegedly ran out of a Fort Bragg home Wednesday night, where Mendocino Major Crimes Task Force agents and MCSO deputies following a tip tried to arrest him.

The kidnapping and rape is one charge, Hubley said, and would have itself meant a sentence of 25 years to life, if Hutchins had gone to trial and been convicted.

He said Hutchins was convicted of a Mendocino County residential burglary in 1997 and sentenced to four years in prison at age 19, then received a sentence of seven years in prison for battering a police officer and selling methamphetamine in 2003.

He was out on parole, and state parole officers were looking for him because he allegedly was in violation of his parole terms, Hubley said.

At about 9:30 p.m. Aug. 27, a law enforcement officer spotted Hutchins driving through Ukiah and turned on his lights and siren to stop the vehicle, according to Hubley. He said Hutchins led the officer, who was quickly joined by other local law enforcement agencies, on a high-speed chase that ended up in the unmarked, dirt roads in the hills of Potter Valley.

Hutchins had a minor in the car when the chase began, according to Hubley, and was reportedly giving the girl a ride to a friend's house in Potter Valley. The girl told Hutchins to let her out, but Hutchins allegedly lifted his shirt and showed the girl a pistol and knives he had on his person. He also allegedly told her he was "not going back to prison."

Hutchins stopped the car in Potter Valley and allegedly dragged the girl out of the car by her hair.

The two ran into the hills to a "lookout point," according to Hubley. The victim reported that a couple of hours later, when the activity died down, Hutchins allegedly "throws her on the ground, rips her pants off and rapes her," according to Hubley.

Hutchins also allegedly threatened to kill the girl if she told anyone, he said.

Because the alleged rape happened in the course of a kidnapping, the charge was considered a "one-strike" charge, Hubley said, and would have doubled the penalty for any subsequent felony conviction.

"That (charge) was going to get our full attention," Hubley said.

Other alleged crimes for which Hutchins was wanted in Mendocino and Kern counties included absconding from state parole, domestic violence and evading authorities.

Hutchins allegedly led authorities on three vehicle chases over the summer, where at least one deputy injured himself in a crash while in pursuit. Officers also chased him on foot twice in that time.

Hutchins was also wanted in a burglary, kidnapping and chase that happened in Ukiah last weekend, according to Hubley. ..Source.. by Tiffany Revelle


Deputy cleared in 2010 fatal coast shooting

3-15-2011 California:

Mendocino County District Attorney David Eyster has determined the tense nighttime shooting of wanted fugitive Shane Hutchins by a Mendocino County sheriff's deputy on November 10, 2010, was justified.

Deputy Jason Cox and his canine Ben were part of a multiagency task force attempting to take Hutchins into custody at a Fort Bragg home. Cox and his canine were staked out in the back yard of the Lahmon Lane residence at around 9 p.m. as another group of officers entered the residence where they believed Hutchins was hiding out. Eyster described the scene as "tense, uncertain and rapidly evolving."

"Deputy Cox identified himself and ordered the parolee to stop," said Eyster in a press release. "When the parolee continued to flee, Deputy Cox released his canine partner. The canine was blocked from interacting with the parolee by a wire fence.

"As Deputy Cox moved towards the parolee's location, the parolee attempted to escape by scaling a wooden fence. The parolee was then observed by Deputy Cox reaching towards his belt. Having been provided information in briefings that the parolee should be expected to be armed with a knife and/or handgun and had expressly stated that he would not be voluntarily taken into custody, Deputy Cox perceived the parolee's furtive hand movement towards his beltline as provocative and life-threatening. He fired his duty firearm at the parolee multiple times, killing Mr. Hutchins."

"It was not overlooked in the review of this matter that it was determined by investigators after-the-fact that there was no firearm or knife found on or around the deceased's body," said Eyster. "It is objectively and subjectively reasonable for the deputy to have perceived the suspect's furtive hand movement as an immediate threat to the safety of the deputy himself, his canine partner, and/or members of the apprehension team."

The investigation also noted that Cox, who was on assignment with the Mendocino County Major Crimes Task Force at the time of the shooting, was not "wearing distinctively-marked law enforcement raid gear as mandated by Task Force policy." Cox did have his badge clearly displayed on his belt.

All officers taking part in the raid had been apprised Hutchins was likely armed with knife and pistol and had vowed not to return to prison.

Hutchins had served two prior prison terms. In 1997 he was convicted of battery on a peace officer and in 2003 for assault with a deadly weapon. He was paroled to Mendocino County in 2009. For Hutchins any conviction for a new serious or violent felony would have resulted in a likely "third strike" sentence of 25 years to life.

Soon after being paroled, he was arrested for kidnapping but the charges were dropped by then-District Attorney Meredith Lintott. Shortly following his release on the kidnapping charges, state parole officers issued a warrant for his arrest for parole violations. Deputies attempted to pull him over in June 2009, but Hutchins sped away and eluded them. One of the deputies broke his leg when a patrol vehicle crashed. Several warrants were subsequently issued for his arrest.

In August he was again spotted by police. After leading officers on a high-speed chase, he abandoned his car dragging a juvenile girl through the brush with him. The victim told police Hutchins had raped her after police had given up the search.

By November 2010 Hutchins had eluded police numerous times and "was wanted for a November 2010 kidnapping, a sexual assault case, a domestic violence case, a car theft, and a residential burglary in Kern County," said Eyster.

Another factor considered by Eyster in reaching his ruling was "there is no question that the suspect was attempting to evade arrest," and that it was reasonable for the deputy to fear Hutchins posed "an imminent threat to people living in the immediate neighborhood and beyond should the defendant succeed in escaping."

Hutchins was the third man shot and killed by Mendocino County Sheriff's Department in 2010. The identities of the officers involved in the two other shootings were never revealed. ..Source.. by Linda Williams/TWN Staff Writer

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