I was asked a few years ago to inspect a vineyard just outside of Geyserville. I used to get these requests often, and this was not a large vineyard, so no problem. When I arrived I could see the grapes in front; in the back was an older home surrounded by several out buildings. None of this was unusual.
I went to the home to introduce myself, which on a new account I usually did prior to a first meeting. The occupant/tenant of the house was a man who said he was ‘Paul’. Nice guy, but it seemed to me a little late in the morning to just be getting up, as he said he was. I asked to be shown around with which was done with pride. This is an old vineyard probably planted pre- Prohibition. No irrigation, pruned, a few sulfur dusts, sucker and pick. Money in the bank.
What I did notice in the middle of the front block of vineyard was a big round growth of green foliage; since I am not certified to inspect this particular crop I purposefully stayed far away from this area.
Several weeks later I open up the Santa Rosa Press Democrat and read about a slaying northwest of Geyserville. Possible link to a marijuana robbery. Suspect Paul Nice Guy. Arrested at vineyard with no resistance. Second robber escapes into hills.
I knew about this robbery. When I inspected the vineyard I saw the Marijuana Patch. I thought to myself, Robbery coming right up.
On my initial inspection Paul had taken me out back to show me the very upscale wood stoves he was building. These were indoor heat wood stoves with lots of brass. The bonus was a device in the bottom that moved all of the ash into a removable container so you could take the ash in the container outside and dispose of it. Just amazing. Also several hundred dollars per stove, about 1500 a few years ago.
After the first article announcing the murder there no following articles. This is unusual. I quickly forgot about Paul the Nice Guy until one day in Ukiah. For some reason I was at the Sheriff’s office and right there in the parking lot was a pickup with the name on the side, Morningstar Stoves. Man, I couldn’t pass this up. Wait for the owner of the pickup to return and ask a lot of questions. Well, it wasn’t long and here comes this guy sauntering out of the Sheriff’s office. I stop him by the pickup and reintroduce myself.
The rest of the story is amazing. As Paul Nice Guy relates it. On that day of the robbery he observed the individuals in his patch, one of them armed, carrying a gun as he approached One of the guys attempts to raise his gun to fire at Paul Nice Guy. Guy number one raising the weapon gets hung up in the foliage and cannot get a clean shot. Paul Nice Guy has a hand gun and quickly gets off 2 rounds. Guy number one goes down and guy number two runs off. Paul goes down full drawn, and finds Guy number one gut shot but talking. Paul drags Guy number one out of the pot patch and back to his house. Props him up. And gives him some water. They are talking the entire time.
Paul Nice Guy goes back outside to look for Guy number two. He is gone! Pretty soon Paul Nice Guy hears a car start up on Canyon Road and leave. Probably Guy number two.
Paul Nice Guy returns to the house only to find that Guy number one is dead, Paul Nice Guy panics! So he throws the body in the back of his pickup. Not knowing what to do he just drives around Alexander Valley for a few days. He then gets an idea to dump the body at the old dump site high above Cloverdale. The dump is closed, no one ever goes there, perfect. Well someone finds the body and links the body to the shooting and Paul Nice Guy. That is when the sheriff appears. They take him to the office write up a report and release him. Paul waits, and waits, but nothing ever happens. He continues to build stoves. One appeared in a tasting room I built for McDowell Winery tasting room just several years ago. They sold out and the tasting room was closed. The building was torn down by new owners. I wonder where the stove is?