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No Good Deed Goes Unpunished

Late October in Covelo the weather was so pleasant you could almost call it Indian Summerish, but a prolonged dry spell and dangerously low humidity had lent a certain foreboding to the town’s small population as fires broke out all over inland NorCal. Anyway, in this little town, the weather was nice, and it was so late at night that only an occasional car hummed along the quiet streets of Round Valley.

As Ms. Peters arrived home from work, she saw a couple of young men climbing in through the front window of her Lovell Street house, a house she shared with a Ms. Sellar. It was just after three in the morning.

Ms. Peters drove on by, afraid to enter her own home. She called Ms. Sellar, who was still at work, and Ms. Sellar, perhaps a bolder personality than Ms. Peters, or maybe she had some idea who the culprits were, rushed home and marched right in to confront the intruders, discovering Tiny LewWolf Whipple and his trusty sidekick, one Georgie Hoaglin. The two were standing in Ms. Sellar’s bedroom, with money scattered on the floor and some of it stuffed casually in Whipple’s front shirt pocket.

Whipple, Hoaglin

Ms. Sellar knew the two burglars. She’d been kind to them, often giving them rides into Willits or Ukiah.

Is this not abundant proof that no good deed ever goes unpunished?

CUT! CUT! Okay, try it again — “No Good Deed...” take two:

October 20th, early morning, Deputy Woida on patrol in Covelo was dispatched to a burglary in progress on Lovell Street, the home of Sellar and Peters. The latter, arriving home from work, had just seen two males entering through the window. Ms. Peters drove on by, and called Ms. Sellar, who was also at work. Ms. Sellar said she thought she knew who it might be, so she drove home and found the two gents she suspected might be the culprits, Mr. Whipple and Mr. Hoaglin.

Tiny LewWolf Whipple and Mr. Georgie Hoaglin had been mooching rides into Willits and Ukiah from the kindly Ms. Sellar, it appeared, and the two young men, even more apparently, were beginning to feel right at home in the Sellar-Peters home, comfortable enough to let themselves in and find some $800 in ready cash money, yeah, huh. Sellar snatched the money out of Whipple’s pocket, gathered up the rest and put it on the bed, and called 911. Deputy Woida responded, and after taking Ms. Sellar’s statement, he took a picture of the money. Woida went out to have a look at the window where the burglars got in, and Ms. Sellar came out to tell him that she had just found that her semiautomatic pistol was missing.

Mr. Whipple’s lawyer was Patricia Littlefield of the Alternate Public Defender’s Office, so it would appear that Mr. Hoaglin was being represented elsewhere by the Public Defender; in any case, only Whipple was present for this prelim last week.

Ms. Littlefield asked some questions about a folded towel on the shelf of the closet where the pistol had allegedly been kept.

“What condition was the towel in? Had it been recently laundered? Was it neatly folded? How far from the floor was the shelf? Was it honest-to-goodness Egyptian cotton, like you get from the nicer department stores? You say it was white? Was it a bath towel or a hand towel? Were there any other towels in the closet? Did you measure the towel, and if so what were its overall dimensions? Did it have a brand-name label sewn into the seam? [Et cetera]…”

When Littlefield had satisfied her curiosity about the towel, Judge Jeanine Nadel said she thought there was enough evidence to hold the defendant, Tiny LewWolf Whipple, to answer and arraignment on the charge was set for November 21st at 9:00.

It was a slow week in the most deserted halls of justice, Ukiah. Most of the doers of justice were at home or on the road for the Thanksgiving Day holiday. 

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