Loading ...
Sorry, an error occurred while loading the content.

Strange twist in CDF OV-10 crash murder/arson criminal case

Expand Messages
  • Mike Whaley
    From today s Aero-News: http://www.aero-news.net/index.cfm?ContentBlockID=23a1e220-09db-4bfb-af6a-17 20a131f759& ... New Evidence Could Delay Murder Trial In
    Message 1 of 3 , Mar 5, 2007
    • 0 Attachment
      From today's Aero-News:
      http://www.aero-news.net/index.cfm?ContentBlockID=23a1e220-09db-4bfb-af6a-17
      20a131f759&

      --------------------------------------------

      New Evidence Could Delay Murder Trial In OV-10 Crash

      Sat, 03 Mar '07

      Defense Attorney Accuses CDF Of Sabotage

      The strange circumstances surrounding the September 6, 2006 loss of a
      California Department of Forestry OV-10 Bronco spotter plane just became a
      lot stranger. The CDF announced to attorneys this week a bottle of alcohol
      and a gun were found amidst the wreckage of the crash, that killed two
      airborne firefighters.

      This discovery was made within a week of the accident, but was not revealed
      until about six months later, according to the Porterville (CA) Recorder.

      As Aero-News reported [Link:
      http://www.aero-news.net/news/genav.cfm?ContentBlockID=bbc58377-a151-408b-ad
      f1-1c5e571d31c3&Dynamic=1 ], CDF Battalion Chief Robert Paul Stone, 36, and
      DynCorp pilot George "Sandy" Willett, 52, were checking on a ground cover
      fire in the early morning hours of September 6, 2006. The plane went down
      around 10 am on a ridge between Frazier Mill campground and Hedrick Pond.

      According to defense attorney John Jackson, investigators found a badly
      burned Glock pistol and a bottle of alcohol at the crash scene. The pistol
      belonged to Willett based on the serial number. Toxicology reports on Stone
      and Willett have not yet been released by the NTSB.

      Prosecuting attorney Tim Ward said he received the information from
      investigators after the February 22 court hearing, and informed Jackson
      Wednesday.

      "This information should have been turned over at the preliminary hearing,"
      Jackson said. "They have a duty to turn over all potentially exculpatory
      evidence well before the eve of the trial."

      Patrick Courtney, 29, had been charged with first degree murder and arson
      [Link:
      http://www.aero-news.net/news/genav.cfm?ContentBlockID=058dfc79-c206-4da3-88
      19-b8d096798d3f&Dynamic=1] as prosecutors allege the deaths were caused by
      fighting the fires that were set illegally by Courtney. Judge James Hollman
      downgraded the charges February 22.

      Courtney's trial is set for March 6. If convicted, he faces life in prison
      as a 'two strike' offender. He's accused of setting a series of fires along
      a drainage area that firefighters were working at the time of the crash.

      "I think it's a fair statement, we have an ethical duty to turn over
      evidence that could potentially assist defense attorneys," Ward said. "What
      we don't know is if the reason it wasn't disclosed was because it was part
      of the NTSB investigation or it was a parallel investigation."

      Information from the CDF Serious Accident Investigation team reports
      findings on serious accidents involving an agency employee, occurring on
      agency property and accidents occurring on an agency incident, CDF deputy
      communication director Michael Jarvis said. It is independent from the
      National Transportation Safety Board, and reports its findings when the NTSB
      issues its final reports.

      "They have been trying to sabotage the case, and handing over evidence right
      before a jury trial is evidence of this fact," Jackson said of the CDF.
      "This could go to the heart of the cause of the crash."

      According to Ward, CDF investigators disclosed the information to him while
      he was collecting information pertaining to an NTSB investigator scheduled
      to testify in the trial. Hollman ordered prosecutors to determine the cause
      of the crash before the case could advance.

      Hollman warned the prosecutor "major sanctions" could be applied if the
      evidence was intentionally withheld. These sanctions could range from a
      reprimand to dismissal of all charges against Courtney.

      According to NTSB's Preliminary Report, the two men perished when their
      Bronco slammed into 125 ft trees on the upslope of a box-like canyon. A
      preliminary report has been issued saying the pilot may have been flying too
      low, noting the CDF prohibits operations below 500 feet AGL unless
      specifically authorized.

      Witnesses reported seeing the Bronco between 400 and 600 feet above the tree
      line as it flew north. One witness claims he heard revving engines just
      before impact.

      [CDF OV-10 PHOTO]

      CDF Battalion Chief Rick Moore told the Recorder the CDF has a fleet of 14
      OV-10 aircraft and that maintenance is "ongoing." CDF has owned and operated
      the Bronco fleet for more than 25 years.

      "I know for a fact that when you land, a mechanic... is asking how the
      flight was, if you had any problems," Moore said.

      Jackson said he will seek to have second-degree murder and reckless
      fire-setting charges dropped.

      (ANN thanks David Atkinson for his photograph of a Department of Forestry
      OV-10, shown above -- Ed)

      FMI: www.fire.ca.gov, www.ntsb.gov

      --------------------------------------------

      Mike Whaley merlin@...
      Webmaster, OV-10 Bronco Association
      http://www.ov-10bronco.net/
    • Michael Syiek
      http://www.defensetech.org/archives/003340.html Check Your Tomcat...Make Sure It s Legal F_14s_seized.jpg
      Message 2 of 3 , Mar 9, 2007
      • 0 Attachment
         

        Check Your Tomcat...Make Sure It's Legal

        F_14s_seized.jpg

        Gotta love the Tomcat - it just won't give up the limelight! As Glenn Close says in Fatal Attraction, "I will not be ignored, Dan!"

        --Pinch Paisley

        Feds Seize Old Privately-Owned F-14s

        (AP)-- Federal agents seized four retired F-14 fighter jets that authorities said were improperly transferred from the Navy to two air museums and the company that produced the TV show "JAG."

        The Tomcats were not properly demilitarized before being transferred to private parties, according to a statement issued Tuesday by the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, which worked with the Defense Criminal Investigative Service and the Naval Criminal Investigative Service in a 17-month investigation.

        Under the rigorous demilitarization process, navigation, radar and other sensitive equipment are disabled so they can no longer perform military functions, said Cmdr. Dave Werner, a U.S. Navy spokesman.

        "In this case, it seems (the jets) didn't formally undergo the process," Werner said.

        Two of the jets were at the Yanks Air Museum in Chino, California, another was at the Planes of Fame Museum in Chino, and the fourth, which was acquired by Paramount Pictures, then resold to a scrap dealer, had been stored at a facility operated by Southern California Aviation at the Southern California Logistics Airport in Victorville, California.

        None of the jets were currently flyable, but one in Chino still has its engines and was at least superficially in very good condition, said ICE spokeswoman Virginia Kice. The other three do not have engines but were otherwise essentially whole, she said.

        There was no indication any of the hardware fell into the wrong hands "but it does present a vulnerability," Kice said.

        After-hours calls to curators at the Yanks Air and Planes of Fame museums were not immediately returned Tuesday. Efforts to reach Mark Thomson, the scrap dealer who bought the F-14 from the producer of "JAG," were unsuccessful.

        The Navy added F-14s to the fleet in 1972 and retired the last of them in 2006.

        Iran, which acquired F-14s in the 1970s when it was an ally of the United States, is the only country trying to keep the jets in the air.

        With little ability to produce parts on its own, Iran is aggressively pursuing several avenues to obtain U.S. spares, including contacting American aerospace supply companies or using U.S-based "front companies" to broker deals, according to an affidavit filed in support of the F-14 seizures.

        "The aircraft, therefore, present an extreme safety hazard to the public, with potential liability on the part of the United States Department of Navy," ICE special agent Joshua Barnett wrote in the affidavit.

        The four seized jets were retired from active service at the Naval Air Station at Point Mugu, California in the late 1990s. A former Naval Chief Warrant Officer told investigators he sold the F-14s to a scrap dealer without verifying they were properly demilitarized and expected the fighter jets to be destroyed, the affidavit said.

        "The same thing that makes these planes a source of interest for aircraft enthusiasts, their relatively pristine condition, also makes them desirable for those with less innocent motives," Robert Schoch, special agent in charge for the ICE office of investigations in Los Angeles, said in a statement.

        "The strict regulations governing the transfer of military aircraft are designed to reduce the likelihood that sensitive equipment and technology might fall into the hands of individuals or countries seeking to do us or our allies harm," Schoch said.

        The jets will be partially dismantled and taken to the military's Aerospace Maintenance and Regeneration Center in Tucson, Arizona, for storage and final demilitarization.

        Latest Comments

        What is the NCIS doing in investigating aircrafts? To my lest knowledge, they were mainly interested in finding homosexuals in the Navy. WOW, they have came a long way since I have retired.

        Posted by: Steve at March 9, 2007 01:57 PM


        Specifically, cav"hero", you're not getting the point, nor do I believe you have all the facts. Desperate times in Iran call for desperate measures. It's the only thing they have left that can fight in the air (if they had competent crews to do it with). They will put forth great effort and resources to make them airworthy. Your friends at NCIS, AFOSI and USACIDC thank you for your cooperation.

        Posted by: CI 4life at March 9, 2007 01:27 PM


        I wonder if anyone has checked with Hertz?

        You know Hertz Rent A Jet?

        Posted by: Art Waucht at March 9, 2007 01:22 PM


        Cavhero, having a bad attack of "sour grapes" are we? What a shame that your livelyhood is being disrupted in the interests of national security...NOT!. Those investigators that work for NCIS that you refer to as "mall cops" are well trained professionals who get the job done. I'll even bet they caught you doing something you weren't suppose to do, which is why you're such a sourpuss. Wake up, Cavhero. Our government's surplus system was not created to serve you. Find another line of work if you don't like the security changes. Perhaps flipping burgers is more your forte'.

        Outlaw2niner.......OUT!

        Posted by: Outlaw2niner at March 9, 2007 01:11 PM


        The F-14 is a system that has an immediate mission available...DARPA is looking at using a combination of the F-15 and and the Patriot Missile as a solution to CONUS cruise missile defense. Why not look to the 100+ F-14D's as a better soltuion? The F-14D,coupled with the already proven AIM-54C,are a far better solution,which could be covering CONUS within 90 days of the decision to proceed. We have NAVAIR facilities on all three coasts, trained crews still available, and a mission that is looking at the wrong solution. Is anyone thinking about this solution, or is it too easy, and too readily available?

        Posted by: Charles at March 9, 2007 12:45 PM

      • Jim Hodgson
        Thanks Mike, Saw this but we are solid. Jim _____ From: ov-10fans@yahoogroups.com [mailto:ov-10fans@yahoogroups.com] On Behalf Of Michael Syiek Sent: Friday,
        Message 3 of 3 , Mar 9, 2007
        • 0 Attachment
          Thanks Mike,
           
              Saw this but we are solid.
           
          Jim


          From: ov-10fans@yahoogroups.com [mailto:ov-10fans@yahoogroups.com] On Behalf Of Michael Syiek
          Sent: Friday, March 09, 2007 1:33 PM
          To: 'Mike Whaley'; 'OV-10 Fans List'; 'OV-10 Bronco List'
          Subject: [ov-10fans] F-14 Seizures

           

          Check Your Tomcat...Make Sure It's Legal

          F_14s_seized.jpg

          Gotta love the Tomcat - it just won't give up the limelight! As Glenn Close says in Fatal Attraction, "I will not be ignored, Dan!"

          --Pinch Paisley

          Feds Seize Old Privately-Owned F-14s

          (AP)-- Federal agents seized four retired F-14 fighter jets that authorities said were improperly transferred from the Navy to two air museums and the company that produced the TV show "JAG."

          The Tomcats were not properly demilitarized before being transferred to private parties, according to a statement issued Tuesday by the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, which worked with the Defense Criminal Investigative Service and the Naval Criminal Investigative Service in a 17-month investigation.

          Under the rigorous demilitarization process, navigation, radar and other sensitive equipment are disabled so they can no longer perform military functions, said Cmdr. Dave Werner, a U.S. Navy spokesman.

          "In this case, it seems (the jets) didn't formally undergo the process," Werner said.

          Two of the jets were at the Yanks Air Museum in Chino, California, another was at the Planes of Fame Museum in Chino, and the fourth, which was acquired by Paramount Pictures, then resold to a scrap dealer, had been stored at a facility operated by Southern California Aviation at the Southern California Logistics Airport in Victorville, California.

          None of the jets were currently flyable, but one in Chino still has its engines and was at least superficially in very good condition, said ICE spokeswoman Virginia Kice. The other three do not have engines but were otherwise essentially whole, she said.

          There was no indication any of the hardware fell into the wrong hands "but it does present a vulnerability, " Kice said.

          After-hours calls to curators at the Yanks Air and Planes of Fame museums were not immediately returned Tuesday. Efforts to reach Mark Thomson, the scrap dealer who bought the F-14 from the producer of "JAG," were unsuccessful.

          The Navy added F-14s to the fleet in 1972 and retired the last of them in 2006.

          Iran, which acquired F-14s in the 1970s when it was an ally of the United States, is the only country trying to keep the jets in the air.

          With little ability to produce parts on its own, Iran is aggressively pursuing several avenues to obtain U.S. spares, including contacting American aerospace supply companies or using U.S-based "front companies" to broker deals, according to an affidavit filed in support of the F-14 seizures.

          "The aircraft, therefore, present an extreme safety hazard to the public, with potential liability on the part of the United States Department of Navy," ICE special agent Joshua Barnett wrote in the affidavit.

          The four seized jets were retired from active service at the Naval Air Station at Point Mugu, California in the late 1990s. A former Naval Chief Warrant Officer told investigators he sold the F-14s to a scrap dealer without verifying they were properly demilitarized and expected the fighter jets to be destroyed, the affidavit said.

          "The same thing that makes these planes a source of interest for aircraft enthusiasts, their relatively pristine condition, also makes them desirable for those with less innocent motives," Robert Schoch, special agent in charge for the ICE office of investigations in Los Angeles, said in a statement.

          "The strict regulations governing the transfer of military aircraft are designed to reduce the likelihood that sensitive equipment and technology might fall into the hands of individuals or countries seeking to do us or our allies harm," Schoch said.

          The jets will be partially dismantled and taken to the military's Aerospace Maintenance and Regeneration Center in Tucson, Arizona, for storage and final demilitarization.

          Latest Comments

          What is the NCIS doing in investigating aircrafts? To my lest knowledge, they were mainly interested in finding homosexuals in the Navy. WOW, they have came a long way since I have retired.

          Posted by: Steve at March 9, 2007 01:57 PM


          Specifically, cav"hero", you're not getting the point, nor do I believe you have all the facts. Desperate times in Iran call for desperate measures. It's the only thing they have left that can fight in the air (if they had competent crews to do it with). They will put forth great effort and resources to make them airworthy. Your friends at NCIS, AFOSI and USACIDC thank you for your cooperation.

          Posted by: CI 4life at March 9, 2007 01:27 PM


          I wonder if anyone has checked with Hertz?

          You know Hertz Rent A Jet?

          Posted by: Art Waucht at March 9, 2007 01:22 PM


          Cavhero, having a bad attack of "sour grapes" are we? What a shame that your livelyhood is being disrupted in the interests of national security...NOT! . Those investigators that work for NCIS that you refer to as "mall cops" are well trained professionals who get the job done. I'll even bet they caught you doing something you weren't suppose to do, which is why you're such a sourpuss. Wake up, Cavhero. Our government's surplus system was not created to serve you. Find another line of work if you don't like the security changes. Perhaps flipping burgers is more your forte'.

          Outlaw2niner. ......OUT!

          Posted by: Outlaw2niner at March 9, 2007 01:11 PM


          The F-14 is a system that has an immediate mission available... DARPA is looking at using a combination of the F-15 and and the Patriot Missile as a solution to CONUS cruise missile defense. Why not look to the 100+ F-14D's as a better soltuion? The F-14D,coupled with the already proven AIM-54C,are a far better solution,which could be covering CONUS within 90 days of the decision to proceed. We have NAVAIR facilities on all three coasts, trained crews still available, and a mission that is looking at the wrong solution. Is anyone thinking about this solution, or is it too easy, and too readily available?

          Posted by: Charles at March 9, 2007 12:45 PM

        Your message has been successfully submitted and would be delivered to recipients shortly.