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Amanda & Chris Go Digging

Ms. Amanda Marsh and her boyfriend, Chris Geurts, were invited to go on a dig at a vacation house out on Woodland Park Road between Laytonville and Dos Rios. 

No, Virginia, Marsh and Geurts are not archeologists; “dig” in the parlance of burglars means a place where fencible goods can be stolen.  And when the owner of the vacation house, a Mr. Liskey, came home on September 16th after a four-week absence, he saw two of the diggers, Ms. Marsh and Mr. Geurts, on his porch, and a quantity of his things in the back of a white pickup. Mr. Liskey yelled and honked his horn, causing Marsh and Gertz to run off into the woods.

Sergeant Riboli took the stand during a preliminary hearing last week and said Mr. Liskey told him a four-wheel ATV had been stolen from the property as well, the chain locking it having been cut. The thieves’ pick-up had blue masking tape over the license plate – which Liskey removed, and Liskey also took the keys out of the ignition. The door jamb to the house showed signs of forced entry, and while Liskey was looking over his ransacked home, he heard the pick-up start and roar off, with some of his stuff falling out as the fleeing truck careened up the hill. 

The pick-up was later found on a skid road. Marsh and Gertz were also found and detained. A third suspect, Mackenzi Wilson, was also detained, and a fourth, Terry Ellison, got away, and remains at large.

Marsh, Geurts, Ellison

It was Mr. Geurts’s defense that he got black-out drunk and when he came to he was at the burglarized residence and Liskey was yelling at him so he ran away.

Geurts’s lawyer, Al Kubanis, tried to establish whether Geurts smelled of alcohol, but the arresting officer, Deputy Anderson, said no, he seemed sober and cooperative, and though he had to be transported to Howard Memorial for an existing medical condition, Guertz was so well behaved that he didn’t need to be handcuffed. Deputy Anderson said he knew what the medical condition was, but didn’t know whether he should mention it. Judge Richard Henderson (recently retired, but back for this case), who was filling in for Judge John Behnke, told Deputy Anderson, “Let’s not go any further.”

Deputy Jeremy Mason was called, and he also said Geurts seemed sober, though he was sweating from the exertion of running through the steep woodland surrounding the “dig.”

Kubanis: “Would you characterize my client [Geurts] as being overweight?”

Mason: “Yes.”

Kubanis: “In excess of 300 pounds?”

Mason: “You took the words right out of my mouth.”

Kubanis: “Did he say he was black-out drunk?”

Mason: “What he said was he got drunk and passed out and woke up at the residence.”

Kubanis: “How long were you in his presence?”

Mason: “Approximately an hour.”

Kubanis: “Did you smell alcohol on his breath?”

Mason: “No.”

Kubanis: “Was there any discussion about when he arrived?”

Mason: “His statement was that he awoke with someone yelling at him and that he’d been intoxicated prior to that.”

Kubanis: “Did you go into the house?”

Mason: “I did.”

Kubanis: “Did you observe any bottles of liquor?”

Mason: “The place had been ransacked and there were bottles of alcohol, none empty.”

Kubanis: “Did my client indicate to you when he first heard someone yell at him?”

Mason: “At first he said it was while he was in the vehicle, but later he said it was when he was on the porch; and when I asked him about inconsistencies in his story, he said he didn’t want to incriminate anyone else.”

Kubanis: “What did he say about the items in the white truck?”

Mason: “He denied taking anything.”

Douglas Rhoades was Ms. Marsh’s lawyer, and Rhoades asked whether Marsh had agreed to talk to Deputy Mason, and he said she had.

Rhoades: “She told you she’d been ‘invited’ to go on a ‘dig’?”

Mason: “That’s correct.”

Rhoades: “Did you ask her what she understood ‘dig’ to mean?”

Mason: “I did and she didn’t answer.”

Rhoades: “Didn’t she say she didn’t know what it meant?”

Mason: “She didn’t say she didn’t know, she just hemmed and hawed.”

Rhoades: “So she was unable to tell you …did you ask her if she thought it meant the place was to be burglarized?”

Mason: “She said no.”

Rhoades: “Nothing further.”

Henderson: “Any affirmative evidence for the defense?

Rhoades: “No.”

Kubanis: “No.”

Henderson: “Any argument?”

Rhoades: “There’s not one shred of evidence placing Ms. Marsh inside the residence. She has given a consistent story – that she didn’t know why they were there – and I’ll submit it on that.”

Kubanis: “Submitted, your honor.”

Henderson: “I think there’s ample evidence that a burglary was committed and that the two defendants were responsible, and they will be held to answer.”

Corporal Mason said that he’d gone to Ellison’s residence to arrest him but that he had escaped – Mason was unable to set his K-9 on Ellison because of the other people in the area, and Ellison was able to get away, but apparently his bail had been revoked and Ellison was “in the wind” to use the courthouse euphemism.


  1. Honesty is the best policy December 23, 2019

    The person who wrote this article is by far the worst journalist ever. He misspells names after spelling them correctly ,his version of the story has some facts right but twisted and lied about other facts to make his story more interesting to sell more. This newspaper is notorious for not having the facts straight and printing straight lies. Unfortunately the Freedom of press and freedom of speech allows incompetent people to print whatever makes readers laugh and/or to pump fear into them. It is hard to take anything this paper publishes.

    • Bruce McEwen Post author | December 23, 2019

      Thanks, Al. Coming from you — that’s a cute pen-name, incidentally, but, to borrow a line from John Lennon, “one thing you can’t hide is when you’re a Trumpster inside…” and I could spot your style a mile off w/out my field glasses — the comments above are compliments of the first order.

    • Bruce Anderson December 28, 2019

      What facts are wrong?

      • mr. wendal December 29, 2019

        I don’t know any facts about the alleged criminals or the event itself, but the location was not on “Woodland Park Road” as stated in the article. It’s Woodman Creek Road.

        Another correction: “Liskey” should be spelled Lieske.

        And is it Geurts or Gertz? Both spellings are used for the same person.

  2. Honesty is the best policy December 28, 2019

    I’ll borrow a line from Paul Simon “you can call me al” if you want and i want to make a Correction, fortunately we are all protected by the right to freedom of speech; you can spew your lies & misconstrue facts to tittilate your audience of Trumpian wannabes (speaking of Trump) and I can call you out for those lies.

  3. Ms.Sanora Mayfield December 28, 2019

    Who and where is Virginia?

  4. Honesty is the best policy December 29, 2019

    What facts are wrong? Where shall I begin? I’d like to remind you all parties are innocent until proven guilty and potential jurors might be misled because most people who read the paper assume what they are reading was researched and has some validity to it. That being said we can go in order.first of all who is Virginia? Secondly we can address the said location where the alleged crime was committed. I googled woodland park rd in Mendocino county and found no such results. Other than the misspelled names the other important inconsistency I found was regards to the fourth subject who supposedly gotten away and remained at large. The booking log shows he was arrested and in custody around the same time as the others. That is the one that bothered me the most because it painted the picture in readers minds that they are in potential danger. All of these mistakes make me question the legitimacy of the people who own and work for the Anderson valley advertiser.

    • Bruce Anderson December 29, 2019

      Mr. McEwen reports, and reports accurately what he sees and hears in court. Are you related to the thieves?

  5. Mckinzie Wilson December 29, 2019

    I am McKenzie Wilson and you can ask me anything!

  6. Bruce McEwen Post author | December 29, 2019

    There are a great many people who feel the AVA gets the facts wrong — Al Kubanis is one of them, and this “Honesty is the best policy” character sounds just like him, so the mistake is understandable, if it is a mistake; but here’s the point: Nobody, nobody but the principals, knows what goes down when a crime is committed; and all I know, as a reporter, is what is said in open court; and even then, I can’t get it all down in my notebook (recorders are not allowed in courtrooms, either), so I don’t pretend to know what happened in this case, or in any other. The witnesses on the stand said the name Guertz and I wrote it down the way it sounded; the same with the Woodland Park Road — or whatever it was. Now, you will say, “why not go to the people charged and ask them?” But it has been my experience that they will deny everything, or minimize their involvement, if not lie outright — and if I go to the police, they will exaggerate, if not lie, as well. So, I am left with reporting what is said and done in court, and the lawyers and judges all agree, and compliment me on the fact, that I generally get it pretty darn close to what was said and done. Of course it’s annoying to have your name mis-spelled, but is it really that offensive? Of course not. Only a very silly person does not know who the proverbial “Virginia” is, so I won’t go into that rhetorical device. As for the rest of these niggling cavils, I offer neither excuses or explanations. Take it or leave it. And as to Ms. Mckinzie, she’d be well advised to consult her lawyer before answering any questions.

  7. Ms.Sanora Mayfield January 2, 2020

    Who is Virginia?

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