One of the Victims Identified in the Kettenpom Double Murders+Photos and Accounts
Photo of accused murderer Tomas “Mas” Pitagoras Gouverneur
UPDATE: Tomas Gouverneur’s toxicology report shows no drug or alcohol use.
This was cropped from one with his fiance and was taken about three weeks ago according to friends. ” How could he have been bearded at the time of the attacks?” they ask.
The double murder in Kettenpom and the brutal attacks on two well respected neighbors have left communities in Trinity, Mendocino, and Humboldt shaken. But, they are not the only ones stumbling to make sense of a world shaken upside down–The family and friends of the accused murderer (Tomas “Mas” Pitagoras Gouverneur pictured above in all the photos) can’t comprehend how the “gentle giant” could have been involved in such a savage attack. His current home paper in Corvallis, Oregon says,
Members of the Corvallis music community are reeling from the news that a Corvallis musician who died in a car crash on Sunday in northern California during a police chase is the suspect in a double homicide.
But it’s the details behind the crash that really have stunned friends of 32-year-old Tomas “Mas” Pitagoras Gouverneur: He was being pursued by police as a possible suspect after someone fatally slashed the throats of two people and wounded two others in California’s rural Trinity County.
A friend of one of the stabbing victims who died identified him late Wednesday night as Christopher Sky Richardson, a Philomath High School graduate who grew up in Summit.
Richardson’s girlfriend also was killed.
Below is Mas as he was known with his fiance in happier times (I have blurred her face.) They are in/on what appears to be the car that was used as the getaway vehicle, a teal sedan with Oregon plates.
This photo of Tomas is from a 2005 Corvallis Gazette Times story about men who knit.
His page is packed with with friends which according to the Gazette-Times are now simultaneously morning his death and “sharing fond memories of hugs, deep conversations and a genuine personality.” He is described as “a bassist and cellist who played frequently with his fiance, Jenna Summer Smith, who reportedly traveled to California upon hearing of his death. Gouverneur also was Smith’s manager and booking agent.”
In the interest of clarity, I’m posting what we know or can be pretty sure about the attack. The following is my summary of the Redding’s Searchlight’s account.
Trinity Sheriff’s Dept. say that at 4:45 yesterday afternoon, 911 received a call from a woman on her cell phone asking for help. In rapid succession they got more calls from the Kettenpom store describing a dramatic scene in which two victims had been stabbed and driven themselves through the hills to the tiny hamlet to get help. As the deputies made the hour long drive to the furthest corners of their county (Kettenpom is over 2 hours from the county seat of Weaverville not far from Mendocino County) they learned that there were two more victims–fatalities–inside a home. The victims were able to describe the murderer’s vehicle (teal green with Oregon license plates) and law enforcement subsequently issued an alert describing a bearded white man possibly carrying a stun gun driving a 4 door Subaru.
Next, here is the story told by the daughter of Jim Gund, a neighbor who responded to trouble at the home of Christopher Sky Richardson (where the double murders occurred).
[T]he Trinity Co. sheriff called my dad and asked him to respond to a 911 call that had come from my dad’s neighbor. My father and his wife drove down to the residence of Christine. The man, Tomas, came out and said she was fine. My dad’s wife, Norma asked to go in and see her. [Tomas] was more than happy to allow it.
As she got in the house, [however] he hit her with a taser gun. She saw Christine and her friend dead on the floor.
My father had heard [the] commotion. [He] ran to check and through the window saw Tomas slitting Norma’s throat. As my father (Jim) went through the door, he was hit in the face with a tazzer gun, and began to fight for his life. His throat, too, was slashed and he was hit over 20 times with a taser gun. Norma managed to escape and drive to the Kettenpom store where she was taken care of by an awesome team of local medics.
As my father continued to fight, he got the knife away from the killer and, it was at that point, that when he looked into his eyes he knew the man had no soul. My father with a huge cut to his throat ran half a mile home, got in his pick up, and went to the store to look for his wife and seek care. In the midst of this, Tomas left in his car, headed out Mina rd., and died in a wreck north of Willits.
My father and Norma were cared for in the Garberville hospital. Jim was transfered to St. Joes and Norma was flown to a Davis hosp. where she had surgery to repair a windpipe that had been cut through. They are both recovering and will be okay…
Next, here is the account of the Kettenpom store co-owner.
I co-own the Kettenpom Store with my wife. I was here and yes both of the surviving victims drove to our store. My employee and a local patron were in the store when the first victim arrived at the store and had a huge slit on her throat. The cut had penetrated her airway but had somehow not cut through the major arteries. She was able to vocalize to some extent but it was pretty dramatic to hear her voice coming out of her mouth and the slit in her throat.
I asked her who had done this to her. She told me that he looked normal but that he was “BAD.”
She told me he was going to kill her husband and where they were at. She wrote a note when talking became too much for her.
I called 911 to get help on the way for her.
Then I left the store armed and with a good friend and closest neighbor to see if we could save her husband.
As we made the short drive to their house we saw the second victim pulling out of his driveway. His wounds were more superficial and it was clear his life was not in danger. He told us more what the guy looked like and what he was driving. He went to the store to check on his wife and to receive some treatment himself.
We continued down the road to see if we could find the suspect. Upon pulling partway down the long driveway we could see that the car was not any longer at the residence. We turned around and returned to the store to make sure the suspect didn’t go to the store and to make more calls to try to ensure that this car didn’t make it out of the area.
There are basically three routes of travel out of here. Once it was realized that two out of three routes were covered by people who responded and were looking for the suspect car that really only left the Mina Rd. as the possible escape route.
A Sheriff spotted the suspect car two hours after the attacks which is the right amount of time it would take for the suspect to get to that location.
The car didn’t stop. The man who was driving the car has been positively identified as the attacker by one of the survivors.
The guy they caught is/was THE murderer…. Is he your Mas???? I don’t know… Stolen identity??? Where is your Mas? Has the family of your Mas been notified. Have they identified this body? Did this guy kill your Mas and take his ID, car, ect. I don’t know…
After all of this I am reminded that anything is possible.
I hope that your Mas is alive and well, he sounds like a good person. I hope that you are right and that he didn’t do all of this.
The day that this happened was a terrible stormy day and our community did an amazing job with this extreme situation.
In a further comment the Kettenpom store co-owner said:
Both of the surviving victims were tasered. They had wounds to their face from the hooks lodging into their faces. I saw the wounds myself.
Jim also said he was tasered on his spine. I am not sure if twenty times is an exaggeration or not. I only saw him with his clothes on. But I know he was hit with a Taser multiple times.
The Mendocino County Sheriff Press Release relates this:
On 3-13-2011 at approximately 1820 the Mendocino County Sheriffs Office received an agency assist “be on the look out” bulletin from Trinity County Sheriffs Department regarding a double homicide.
Trinity County Sheriffs Office advised they had an outstanding suspect, who was responsible for a double fatal stabbing, flee Trinity County at approximately 1700 and a possible route of travel would be Mina Road en route to Highway 162 through Covelo,Ca. ….
Deputies left the Willits area en route to Covelo via Highway 162. At approximately 1845 deputies were driving on Highway 162 towards Covelo. At approximately mile post marker ten (10) they parked their car so they could see the roadway and anyone traveling along its path. Soon after parking along the road, they observed the listed suspect, who fit the suspect description as well as the suspect vehicle, pass them and continue driving West on Highway 162.
Deputies initiated their emergency lights in an attempt to make a vehicle stop. The suspect failed to yield and a pursuit was initiated.
Mendocino County Sheriffs Deputies requested the assistance of Willits Police Department and the California Highway Patrol. Deputies followed the suspect at speeds ranging from 60 to 90 miles per hour. The suspect then turned south onto Highway 101 towards Willits,California with a single sheriffs unit continuing the pursuit. At approximately Mile Marker 54 near Appliance Lane,which is north of Willits,California, the suspect lost control of his vehicle and struck a large oak tree.
Deputies responded to the wrecked vehicle along with medical personnel and observed the suspect had succumbed to injuries received from the accident.
The California Highway Patrol conducted the accident investigation and Trinity County is continuing their investigation into the suspect drivers involvement with the double homicide in their county.
Tomas “Mas” Pitagoras Gouverneur has been identified by the survivors as the attacker.
The Times Standard reports that the California Department of Justice were “brought in to help process the crime scene”
Rumors of the suspects’ cremation have been denied by Mendocino Sheriff Tom Allman in a call to me. He explained that the autopsy was done yesterday (March 16th) and Gouverneur’s body was scheduled to be released to his family who may or may not choose to have it cremated. I have also been told that his fiance said yesterday that they were on their way to get his body and have it cremated which may be what caused the confusion.
I hope I have covered the facts. Please point out to me any information that you think needs to be noted.