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Flip The Muffins While I Beat This Guy To Death


The preliminary examination of the evidence against Joshua R. Ruoff in the murder of a co-worker, Timothy Sweeting, at a pot pharm on the Charlie Hurt Highway near Covelo last May 17th got under way Friday morning with the eyewitness testimony of Tyler Marschok, who also worked on the grow.

The hearing began late so there was only time for one witness because Public Defender Linda Thompson was trying to do two things at once: a court trial for suspected child molester Alfredo Knight in Judge Ann Moorman’s court and the Ruoff prelim in Judge David Nelson’s courtroom. However, at long last Ms. Thompson finished grilling the third-grader in the molest case and the Ruoff hearing got under way with Deputy DA Richard Welch calling an eyewitness who drove in to Ukiah from Grass Valley Friday morning, Tyler Marschok.

Mr. Marschok said he had come originally from New Hampshire, lived four or five years in Lake Tahoe and eventually found himself working on a marijuana grow at the home of a former high school classmate, Jack Overend, near Covelo on the Charlie Hurt Highway. Marschok shared a room with another friend from school, Connor Day.


The accused murderer, Joshua Ruoff, and the about to be victim, Timothy Sweeting, also lived in the house and worked on the grow. Ruoff had a room to himself and Sweeting slept on the couch. Jack Overend slept in the master bedroom. Overend’s parents, back in New Hampshire, had bought the Covelo property for their son. It goes without saying that Mendo marijuana brings top dollar on the pot starved East Coast.

There were also several dogs at the frat house-like Covelo farm. Overend had three dogs, Sweeting had two and Marshok had two.

Welch for the prosecution: “Were there any issues about the dogs?”

Marschok: “Yes.”

Welch: “Ever hear Ruoff complain about Sweeting?”

Marschok: “Yes, he complained about his dogs, one was in heat and bleeding on the floor, and about leaving his clothes laying around, and being lazy.”

Welch: “Lazy?”

Marschok: “Yes, I remember that, and not cleaning up after his dog. He said Timmy was lazy.”

Welch: “Did he complain about Mr. Sweeting’s sleep habits?”

Marschok: “Yes, he said Timmy was all the time sleeping on the couch.”

Welch: “Did you leave often?”

Marschok: “Yes.”

Welch: “Where did you go?”

Maschok: “Tahoe and Grass Valley.”

Welch: “Did Connor leave often?”

Marschok: “Yes, he’d go to Berkeley where his parents lived.”

Welch: “Sweeting?”

Marschok: “Yes, but I’m not sure where.”

Welch: “What about Ruoff?”

Marschok: “No.”

Welch: “Why not?”

Marschok: “I’m not sure why, but I know he didn’t have a car.”

Welch showed the witness some cell phone text messages printed on paper and asked him to identify them. They were exchanged between Ruoff and himself, Marschok said. The content of the texts were not mentioned, only their accuracy ascertained.

Welch: “Had Mr. Overend’s dogs gone missing?”

Marschok: “Yes, after the accident Jack had in the Jeep. The dogs were thrown out and ran off.”

Welch: “Did you help look for them?”

Marschok: “Yes, Josh and I drove out to look for them.”

Welch: “Did you find the dogs?”

Marschok: “The next morning they were back at the crash site.”

Welch: “Did anyone else’s dogs go missing?”

Marschok: “Yes, Timmy’s.”

Welch: “What did Tim do?”

Marschok: “He was upset and went driving all over looking for them.”

Welch: “Did anyone help?”

Marschok: “I did.”

Welsch: “Did Ruoff?”

Marschok: “He did not.”

Welch: “Why not?”

Marschok: “He said something along the lines of Timmy only cared when his own dogs went missing.”

Welch: “Was Timmy emotional?”

Marschok: “Yes, he was upset and broke down crying.”

Welch: “Was there a day shortly after this when you were at the residence with Sweeting and Ruoff and the others were gone?”

Marschok: “Yes.”

Welch: “Where was Jack?”

Marschok: “At the casino.”

Welch: “Was Connor there?”

Marschok: “No, not that day, he wasn’t there.”

Welch: “What do you remember doing that night?”

Marschok: “I went to the kitchen about midnight to toast some English muffins.”

Welch: “Where was Sweeting?”

Marschok: “Sleeping on the couch.”

Welch: “Where was Ruoff?”

Marschok: “He came in the kitchen with a ball bat on his shoulder. He was upset and screaming. He threw the bat in the sink, pulled the muffins out of the toaster oven and flipped them over, saying they’d cook better that way. Then he went toward the living room and started to talk to Timmy about how he only cared about his own dogs.”

Welch: “Did Timmy respond?”

Marschok: “Yes, he said he helped look for Jack’s dogs too.”

Welch: “What did Ruoff do?”

Marschok: “He went into the living room and heard Timmy yell, ‘What the fuck?’ It sounded like he’d thrown something.”

Welch: “What did he do next?”

Marschok: “He started attacking Timmy with the bat.”

Welch: “What did Sweeting do?”

Marschok: “He put his arms up to protect his face and head.”

Welch: “What did you do?”

Marschok: “I started yelling for him to stop at the top of my lungs.”

Welch: “What did Ruoff do?”

Marschok: “He continued hitting Timmy with the bat. I came up behind Rouff and tried grabbing his arms.”

Welch: “Were you able to?”

Marschok: “No.”

Welch: “Did he pay any attention to you at all?”

Marschok: “He pushed me off.”

Welch: “Did you see anything?”

Marschok: “There was blood on the wall and Timmy’s face was all bloody.”

Welch: “Were you able to have any impact at all on Mr. Ruoff?”

Marschok: “No.”

Welch: “What did you do?”

Marschok: “I grabbed my cell phone and dogs and got out of there.”

Welch: “Why?”

Marschok: “I was scared for my safety.”

Welch: “Did you take anything else?”

Marschok: “I may have grabbed a pillow and I drove to Grass Valley.”

Welch: “Did you call the police?”

Marschok: “Not until the next morning.”

Welch: “Did you make any calls?”

Marschok: “I called Jack Overend as I was going out the driveway and told him what happened.”

Welch: “Was Ruoff under the influence?”

Marschok: “I can’t tell. I knew he’d been drinking, though.”

At this point recess was taken for lunch. Afterwards Public Defender Linda Thompson began her cross.

Thompson: “It’s my understanding that you and Connor and Jack all went to high school together in New Hampshire.”

Marschok: “That’s correct. We graduated in 2005.”

Thompson: “Josh Ruoff went to school there, too — well, let me just ask you this: was Josh friends with Jack?”

Marschok: “No. He just knew him is all.”

Thompson: “But didn’t Jack’s parents own the property?”

Marschok: “You could say that, yes.”

Thompson: “Wasn’t there an agreement that you and Connor would get 75 percent of the grow and Jack would get 25 percent?”

Marschok: “That was later.”

Thompson: “You moved there in March?”

Marschok: “Yes.”

Thompson: “And was Josh already there?”

Marschok: “Yes.”

Thompson: “At what point did you discuss the marijuana?”

Marschok: “A couple of weeks after I moved in.”

Thompson: “But you didn’t know what Jack’s arrangement was with Josh?”

Marschok: “Correct.”

Thompson: “Had any of the marijuana ever gone missing?”

Marschok: “Yes. Some got taken to the dump.”

Thompson: “Was Jack upset?”

Marschok: “No, it was a mistake.”

Thompson: “So Jack didn’t beat up you or Connor?”

Marschok: “No, it was a mistake is all.”

Thompson: “As to Josh’s complaints about Timmy’s – well, let me just ask you this: Did Timmy make any effort to clean up after his dogs?”

Marschok: “Yes.”

Thompson: “One of the dogs was in heat — did they get into fights?”

Marschok: “No, they just rough-housed.”

Thompson: “Josh’s complaint was that Timmy was lazy?”

Marschok: “Yes.”

Thompson: “Ever see him yell at Timmy?”

Marschok: “No.”

Thompson: “It was your understanding that Josh had no vehicle — but wasn’t he allowed to borrow Jack’s Jeep?”

Marschok: “Yes, until it got totaled.”

Thompson: “From the toaster oven in the kitchen can you see out into the living room?”

Marschok: “It depends where you’re standing.”

(This is the kind of all over the place interrogation typical of Thompson, who seemed, as always, ill prepared.)

Thompson: “After the accident in the Jeep, the dogs flew out, you and Josh helped look for them, and they were found the next day, but Josh was upset with Timmy for not helping?”

Marschok: “I don’t think Tim was there that day.”

Thompson: “Then Timmy’s dogs went missing.”

Marschok: “Yes, and he went out looking for them.”

Thompson: “What kind of vehicle did Timmy have?”

Marschok: “A Chevy, I think it was; a white Chevy Tahoe.”

Thompson: “Did Timmy ever find his dogs?”

Marschok: “I don’t think so.”

Thompson: “Did anyone consume alcohol at the property?”

Marschok: “Yes.”

Thompson: “Did Jack?”

Marschok: “Yes.”

Thompson: “Did Tim?”

Marschok: “Yes.”

Thompson: “Did Josh?”

Marschok: “Yes.”

Thompson: “Did you?”

Marschok: “No.”

Thompson: “Ever see Josh consume methamphetamine?”

Marschok: “No.”

Thompson: “Heroin?”

Marschok: “No.”

Thompson: “Ever see Josh drink to the point of intoxication?”

Marschok: “I saw him drink 12 beers once.”

Thompson: “Did he consume 12 beers that day?”

Marschok: “Yes.”

Thompson: “Had you ever seen Josh with a bat before?”

Marschok: “Yes, a small aluminum bat.”

Thompson: “A Little League bat?”

Marschok: “Yes.”

Thompson: “Had you seen anything unusual occur between Josh and Timmy?”

Marschok: “No.”

Thompson: “Between 11 and 11:30 you went to the kitchen and Timmy was sleeping on the couch — was it well lighted?”

Marschok: “Yes. The light in the kitchen was on and the light on the ceiling fan I think was on.”

Thompson: “So Josh walked in the kitchen with the bat on his shoulder and told you your English muffins would cook better if you flipped ‘em over, then he started talking to Timmy, waking him up, and you remained in the kitchen?’

Marschok: “Correct.”

Thompson: “Could you hear what he was talking about?”

Marschok: “He was talking about not helping find Jack’s dogs.”

Thompson: “Then you heard Timmy say ‘What the fuck?’ ”

Marschok: “Yes.”

Thompson: “Did you see Josh approach the couch?”

Marschok: “Yes.”

Thompson: “Did you ever see Timmy stand up?”

Marschok: “No.”

Thompson: “But he put his arms up?”

Marschok: “Yes.”

Thompson: “You tried to stop Josh?”

Marschok: “Yes.”

Thompson: “You tried to hold his arms?”

Marschok: “That’s correct.”

Thompson: “Did he ever swing at you?”

Marschok: “No.”

Thompson: “So if you were trying to stop Josh from behind, how did you see Timmy?”

Marschok: “From around one side and the other.”

Thompson: “So you got your cell phone and your dogs and left – when did you call Jack?”

Marschok: “On my way out the drive.”

Thompson: “Did you call the police?”

Marschok: “I told Jack to.”

Thompson: “When you left was Timmy still breathing?”

Marschok: “Yes.”

Thompson: “Was he still fighting Josh?”

Marschok: “He never fought with Josh.”

Thompson: “Did he (Josh) still have the bat?”

Marschok: “He tossed it on the tile floor.”

Thompson: “Did you later speak with law enforcement?”

Marschok: “Yes.”

Thompson: “Do you remember how you described Ruoff’s demeanor?”

Marschok: “I described him as attacking Timmy with a baseball bat.”

Thompson: “Did he seem agitated?”


Marschok: “He did.”

Thompson: “All day?”

Marschok: “I don’t know.”

Thompson: “Nothing further.”

Prosecutor Welch: “Could you hear Sweeting breathing when you left?”

Marschok: “He was taking hard, sharp breaths.”

Welch: “Could you hear gurgling?”

Marschok: “Yes.”

That was all the lawyers had time for and the hearing was set to resume on December 20th at 9:00 in Department B.

The other prosecution witnesses are law enforcement investigators who will corroborate what information has already been released by the Sheriff’s Office regarding the case, essentially, how a cadaver dog was used to find the body buried in a shallow grave, and the subsequent tracking down of Ruoff who rented a U-Haul and fled to New Hampshire.

* * *


After Sweeting was reported missing and later discovered in an impromptu gravesite last May, a felony arrest warrant was sought and issued for Ruoff for felonious assault with a deadly weapon, and on May 23 the Mendocino County District Attorney's Office filed charges seeking an arrest warrant for murder against Ruoff.

Also on May 23, the New Hampshire State Police Narcotics and Investigations Unit located and arrested Ruoff in Concord, New Hampshire.

Mendocino County Sheriff's Detectives traveled to New Hampshire and continued investigations for two days with the assistance of the New Hampshire State Police.

Multiple search warrants were served by the New Hampshire State Police at the request of the Sheriff's Detectives.

During the two days in New Hampshire additional evidence was gathered to support the belief Ruoff had murdered Sweeting.

Ruoff was booked into the Merrimack County Jail (Concord, New Hampshire) and held on a no bail status.

The New Hampshire State Police Narcotics Investigations Unit had intercepted marijuana being shipped to Katherine Overend in Francistown, New Hampshire and that the marijuana was being shipped by her son, John Overend of Covelo.

190 growing marijuana plants were located and subsequently eradicated at the site in June. Detectives also seized 5 pounds of processed marijuana, along with shipping materials. Additional evidence of marijuana sales for profit to include a large sum of US currency was also located. There was no evidence that the marijuana was being grown for medicinal purposes. Further investigations revealed Robert Overend and Katherine Overend had purchased the property so their son, John Overend, could operate a commercial marijuana growing operation. The investigation revealed Robert Overend and Katherine Overend had received financial profits from the commercial growing operation. At least one firearm was located at the location. All three subjects were booked into the Mendocino County Jail for cultivation of marijuana, possession of marijuana for sale and for being armed during the commission of a felony and held on $50,000 bail.

Robert, Katherine, John Overend

Sources familiar with the investigation said investigators suspect Ruoff had sent angry text messages about Sweeting to one of the property owners and had even indicated he might attack Sweeting with the suspected murder weapon, a metal Little League-sized baseball bat.


  1. james marmon December 14, 2016

    If Overends have enough money District Attorney Eyster will most likely sell them a misdemeanor. Mendocino Law, not federal law.

    Mendocino County does not recognize federal law.

    • Bruce McEwen Post author | December 14, 2016

      As per your usual, Moron, your comments do not come up to the level of rating any response, other than this terse dismissal: WTHU!

  2. Joseph Elyōn January 20, 2017

    A note to the reporter…”This is the kind of all over the place interrogation typical of Thompson, who seemed, as always, ill prepared” It’s common practice when questioning a witness on stand to in fact be ‘all over the place’. This psychological tactic allows zero time for the individual to think about the questions in which he is answering, decreasing the probability and chance for them to lie. Think about it logically it makes a lot of sense. While you think his questions are I’ll prepared non sense, that whole dialogue is now hard evidence in the case. It will be picked apart and analyzed for truth and accuracy.

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