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Boonville Drive-By

Attempted murder charges stemming from an incident in Boonville have been filed on two Hopland men, Marshall Stillday and Asher Knight, for firing a shot at Jesus Alvarez-Ceja around 10 pm on August 7th. Ceja was in his vehicle at the Boonville Fairgrounds parking lot when a bullet fired from a passing car containing the two men narrowly missed Ceja’s head.

When they were arrested, both Stillday and Knight admitted that they didn’t know their intended victim. 

Such is the nature of gang warfare. Stillday and Knight are both allegedly — and this is one of the charges they are facing — associated with the Norteños (Northerners) prison and street gang. 

The un-associated Alvarez-Ceja was coming home to Boonville from a friend’s house near Philo when he passed a silver Mustang driven by Stillday. Knight told Stillday, “That’s that Boonville blue-ragger [a derogatory name for Sueño, or Southerner].” 

Stillday made a u-turn and followed Alvarez-Ceja to the Boonville Pic-N-Pay convenience store. Alvarez-Ceja said he stopped at the Pic-N-Pay because he didn’t want the silver Mustang to follow him to his residence. He spoke with a young man at the Pic-N-Pay, a relative named Oscar Bienveniedos-Rangel, a suspected gang member of the blue handkerchief (i.e., the blue rag) persuasion. Bienvenidos-Rangel wanted Alvarez-Ceja to buy him booze. Alvarez-Ceja declined to buy it and left the Pic-N-Pay only to find the Mustang on his tail again. 

Still uncertain what to do, but unwilling to have the Mustang follow him home, Alvarez-Ceja pulled into the well-lit Fairgrounds parking lot, where he pulled up under the street light in about the center of the lot, and waited. 

The Mustang entered the parking lot, stopped for a moment, then began to creep toward Alvarez-Ceja’s vehicle, a white Acura Integra. Suddenly the Mustang sped up and as it got near — about five feet from Alvarez-Ceja’s driver’s side door, Knight fired a single shot that flew inches past Alvarez-Ceja’s face and exited through the passenger-side rear window of his Integra. 

The shell casing for a .45 ACP pistol was later found in the parking lot; a bullet hole was found in the bleachers west of the lot, as well, but the spent round was not recovered. 

The shooter’s Mustang sped away southbound on Highway 128. 

Jesus Alvarez-Ceja, we may well imagine, crossed himself more piously than usual, also thanked his lucky stars and called 911. The first to respond to talk with the shaken young man was Officer Jay McCrae of the California Highway Patrol, who took the above statement from Alvarez-Ceja, and shortly thereafter, passed it on to County Deputy Sergeant Luis Espinoza who arrived on the scene around midnight. 

Sgt. Espinoza, with his extensive gang-suppression experience, along with his familiarity with Boonville where he’s a native son, took over the investigation. One of Sgt. Espinoza’s first moves was to bring in Deputy Ryan Murdaugh, a gang expert who knew both Stillday and Knight well enough to recognize them from the video surveillance cameras at Pic-N-Pay. 

On August 17th Deputy Murdaugh made a traffic stop on a Ford Fiesta in Ukiah for failure to dim its lights. The driver of the Fiesta was Nekko Garcia, whom Murdaugh had arrested before on gang-related charges, the front seat passenger was also a known gang member, Trevan Vallencia. Asher Knight along with Marshall Stillday were in the back seat. A search of the Fiesta produced a duffle bag, belonging to Asher Knight. Inside the bag was a Smith & Wesson 9 mm pistol in a nylon holster. The serial number — which someone had tried to file away — came back to Leland Murphy in Hopland. Asher Knight had been staying at Murphy’s residence — having been asked to leave the Stillday residence where he’d lived before because of posting pictures of himself posing with guns on Snapchat. 

Stillday, Knight

Leland Murphy turned out to be Nekko Garcia’s grandfather, and when Mr. Murphy was asked if he owned a Smith & Wesson 9 mm, he said he did, but hadn’t seen it in a long time. The gun Asher Knight posed with was a .45 caliber Glock 21 pistol, the same one believed to have been used in the Boonville incident. There was a lot of testimony about the gang associations of the two defendants, Stillday and Knight, and by the end of the day the prelim was still unfinished, and it was continued to November 4th at 8:30 am. So far, it looks like Knight was the shooter, and that the gun was stowed under the passenger seat of Stillday’s Mustang. 

The beginning of the prelim cleared up some of the ambiguities about the incident, but many still remain, and we hope to find out more on November 4th. So far it looks like just about anybody could be mistaken for a rival gang member and shot down in cold blood for no other reason. Stillday and Knight allegedly belong to a subset of the Norteños called UNLV; and no, it doesn’t stand for University of Nevada Las Vegas, but rather, “Us Northerners Love Violence.”

Katherine Ann Delaquadra appeared in Ukiah Superior Court October 31st, Halloween Day, for a report (a “1368 hearing”) on her competency to participate in her own defense at trial. She had been evaluated by Ukiah psychologist Dr. Kevin Kelley and found competent, but she wanted another doctor to evaluate her, and this motion was denied by Judge Keith Faulder. She also wanted to get rid of her lawyer, a variation of a “Marsden motion,” but since her lawyer was hired by Delaquadra herself, rather than appointed, it was procedurally a little different. The nature of Ms. Delaquadra’s complaint regarding her lawyer was not made public, the judge having cleared the courtroom to hear it. But this motion was also denied. The lawyer, an out-of-towner I don’t know, seemed as disappointed as Delaquadra that he wasn’t relieved of the case.

Readers may remember the preliminary hearing more than a year ago in which a Ms. Delaquadra, an equine version of a cat lady, was bound over for trial on charges of animal cruelty and neglect in the care of her starving heard of horses, wherein three foals died, one killed by a stallion, another euthanized by a gunshot after breaking a foreleg, and the third from starvation. It was obvious that Ms. Delaquadra did not have the means to properly care for the animals. 

Since then Delaquadra has campaigned to get her horses back; back, that is from the County of Mendocino, which has been taking care of the animals at considerable trouble and expense.

In attendance at the 1368 competency hearing were three local women who Delaquadra has named “The Cult.” One of these women was Theresa Moore, the Redwood Valley ranch owner where Delaquadra last boarded her horse herd, and it was Theresa Moore who testified against Delaquadra at her 2018 prelim. Roni McFadden was also present as part of the Cult arrayed against Delaquadra. Ms. McFadden, an author of two books and owner of Ridgewood Ranch in Willits, worked for the veterinarian Dr. Michael Witt of Redwood Valley Equine and has a long history of witnessing the abuse and neglect Delaquadra has subjected her herd to over the years. Angie Herman, the third Cult member, is a long-time volunteer at SAFER Horse Rescue, and has followed Delaquadra’s roaming herd from remote Spyrock Road, where her abuse was not so conspicuous, to Laytonville, and on to Willits where it became an obvious concern for any passerby, and things finally came to a head, as they say.

The Cult, these three women I named, are very familiar with all of Delaquadra’s self-inflicted travails going back years, having read and tried to understand Delaquadra’s manifesto on horse breeding and management (the defendant is homeless, herself, and, judging solely by appearances, her mode of livelihood is to go to landowners and beg for pasture-land to board her multiple horses on — and here it gets kinda nutty to explain because of Delaquadra’s concepts of how horses should be kept, cared for, and how the foals should be reared for the realization of her Ideal Stud Farm and new breed of horses to outshine in beauty and intelligence even the famed Lipizzaners of Spain… 

Anyway, for AVA readers who have read her (to me) impenetrable diatribes on the AVA’s comment page or heard her statements to the Supervisors during public expression, it will perhaps seem an unusually patient person who could take such silly horse-hockey as her manifesto seriously. 

But the ladies of The Cult go back even further and deeper into the (again, to me) ravings of Ms. Delaquadra, remembering Delaquadra’s campaign from years ago in “Saving Holy Cahto” another manifesto written by Delaquadra and a “fund raiser” (ostensibly for her dream of a stud farm). Saving Holy Cahto from what, you ask? Well, from ancient evil spirits, Native American demons. The Cahto Tribe of Laytonville Rancheria, I suspect, does not endorse the horse lady’s co-opting their traditions for her own ends, vague as those ends are.

Her utopian stud farm, where the mares and stallions run free over the open land — wait a minute, isn't the land all parceled up, privately owned, and ubiquitously fenced-in? These idiotic shenanigans would seem largely harmless except that Delaquadra has become so fanatic about it that she has accosted (apparently after stalking) both Theresa Moore — who was obliged to get a restraining order against Delaquadra — and Deputy DA Beth Norman at grocery stores, delivering her streams of vilification and such profuse profanity as would stir admiration of a drunk sailor. 

Delaquadra has also made attempts to dissuade witnesses in this same manner by subjecting the veterinarian Dr. Witt to nasty threats and verbal abuse. She scalded the ears of your trusty courthouse correspondent with a tirade of vilification, which I’m long accustomed to but still…. 

During the hearing on Halloween, Judge Faulder — on the few occasions when Delaquadra let him get a word in — ordered her to stand trial on the charges she was arraigned on after the 2018 prelim. Still, she managed to put it off until February of 2020, saying as she left that she wanted it in March, at the earliest.

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