A History of Violence

Jason Anthony Warren./Photo courtesy of Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office

By ALLIE HOSTLER, Two Rivers Tribune

Editor’s Note: Jason Anthony Warren has not been charged with any crimes in connection with the killing of Dorothy Ulrich and Suzanne Seemann. He remains a person of interest and is currently in custody on a prior conviction.

Who is Jason Anthony Warren?

Even before the Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office announced last Tuesday, October 2, 2012 that Warren was a person of interest in connection with the brutal killing of Dorothy Ulrich in Hoopa and the hit and run death of Suzanne Seemann in Eureka, the family of Ulrich began to search for information about the 28 year-old male.

Coincidentally, while at the Humboldt County Courthouse researching public records last Monday, Oct. 1, Ulrich’s mother learned that Warren was scheduled for a court appearance after he was arrested on a bench warrant.
She went.

“I wanted to see what this man looked like,” she said.

Warren appeared that day before Superior Court Judge, Timothy Cissna, for what, according to case minutes, appeared to be the seventh time on the same case. He was scheduled for sentencing on Wednesday, Oct. 3 for a violent crime he had already pleaded guilty to in late August.

News Channel Three was allowed to bring camera equipment inside the courtroom, an unusual occurrence and privilege that can, under special circumstances be granted by the judge. And, several reporters from various publications were in the audience taking notes.

The newsworthiness of Warren’s sentencing bumped up a notch due to the circumstances of his warrant arrest on Thursday, Sept. 27.

Although he was wanted for 20 days prior to his arrest, the search for Warren was kicked into high gear following the killing of Ulrich and the fatal hit and run that took Seemann’s life and critically injured two women.

“He should have never been released,” Ulrich’s mother said.

Warren had been released from custody on Aug. 24, 2012 on a Cruz waiver, somewhat of a get-out-of-jail-free arrangement that allows people who agree to return for sentencing and prison commitment to go home and get their affairs in order.

He was charged with second degree robbery, assault with a deadly weapon and being a felon in possession of a firearm in April of 2012 for a crime that occurred on March 28, 2012 in Hoopa. He was incarcerated at Humboldt County Jail for approximately five months until he pleaded guilty and was granted the Cruz waiver on August 24, 2012.

Warren was due back in court on Sept. 7 to be handed down a six-year prison sentence for being a felon in possession of a firearm. Under his agreement, if he abided by the waiver, the other charges would disappear.
According to court documents, normally, the felon in possession of a firearm charge would warrant a three-year sentence, but since Warren already had a strike on his record, the sentence was doubled.

If he did not abide, a sentence of nine years, four months would be handed down, and it was by Cissna, last Wednesday, Oct. 3.

A court transcript of the felony plea and Cruz waiver acceptance was obtained. In the transcript, it is clear that the prosecuting district attorney was given an opportunity to explain on the record his reasons for not opposing Warren’s release under the waiver. The prosecuting district attorney, Zach Curtis declined to do so.

Before proceedings concluded, Cissna clarified the terms and asked Warren if he  understood. Warren responded with a “yes.”

“The Court: Just to make sure you understand: If you abide by the Cruz waiver, the assault with a deadly weapon will go away. If you do not abide by it, you violate it in any respect, then that charge remains; and you are going to receive by agreement nine years four months in prison,” the court transcript reads. “Do you understand and agree to all that? DEFENDANT: Yes.”

Backing up a moment, the incident Warren was sentenced for occurred in Hoopa on March 28, 2012. Warren reportedly robbed a young man at knife point for $20 cash. He also was in possession of a firearm, a handgun. Having been convicted of a felony—attempted murder—in 2001, Warren was forbidden to possess a firearm.

Rewind to 2011

In 2011 Warren was arrested on charges of battery. On July 27, 2011 he was accused of using force and violence upon a young woman. He spent approximately one month in jail before the charges were dropped by the District Attorney’s Office.

The police report to the court stated that the victim said she was struck in the right cheek by Warren.

“She did not have visible traumatic injury,” the report reads. “But, she stated that her cheek was still hurt and swollen.”

The same report noted that Warren was on parole at that time.

Warren pleaded no contest to a charge of disturbing the peace.

Rewind to 2007

According to court documents, on June 10, 2007 Warren was arrested on charges of willfully, unlawfully, feloniously and maliciously discharging a firearm at an inhabited dwelling.

The dwelling happened to be P&J Billiards, a bar located on Highway 299 in Willow Creek.

He was also charged with unlawful firearm activity, the only charge that stuck. Warren was subsequently sentenced to 32 months in state prison, a doubled term because again, the state’s three strikes law requires the standard sentences be doubled.

The police report to the court stated that the responding deputy located three bullet holes upon arrival at P&J Billiards at about 2:30am; one bullet hole in the window and two in the wall.

“HVTP (Hoopa Valley Tribal Police) officers located the suspect vehicle at the Hoopa Vista Point with two .22 caliber rifles (loaded) in the back seat,” the report reads. “Jason Warren, the driver of the car, stated passenger Gary Blacksmith fired the shots. Warren had numerous .22 bullets in his pocket and admitted to firing the gun while hunting. Warren is on parole.”

Rewind to 2001

According to court documents Warren was convicted of attempted murder in April of 2001. He was 16 years old. The conviction, his first strike under the state’s three strikes law landed him a sentence in the California Youth Authority system. He was also convicted of carjacking and force with a deadly weapon that was not a firearm, causing great bodily injury.

Details on Warren’s 2001 arrest and subsequent court proceedings are not as easily obtained due to the fact that they are juvenile records.

A comment from ‘Tra’ on a local web news source, the Lost Coast Outpost reads, “If it’s common practice in Humboldt County to allow people who are pleading guilty to serious violent crimes to roam free…until their sentencing, that practice needs to be changed immediately. If it’s not common practice, but was allowed in this case for some reason, well then I’d like to hear the reason. It had better be good.”

Ulrich’s family shares similar sentiments.

A memorial alter sits positioned in front of a tree at a celebration of life held for Dorothy Ulrich, the 47-year-old who was found killed in her home in Hoopa on Thursday, September 27, 2012./Photo by Allie Hostler, Two Rivers Tribune

Look for continued coverage in the TRT or at www.tworiverstribune.com

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October 11th, 2012

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