Man Strikes Man With Frying Pan

This is a press release from the Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office. The information has not been proven in a court of law and the individuals described should be presumed innocent until proven guilty:

imageservletdewittOn 05-25-2015, at approximately 10:55 a.m., Sheriff’s Deputies with the Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office were dispatched to a transient camp near the southbound Highway 101 off-ramp in Garberville. Local transients commonly refer to this camp as “Hippy Hill”. The reporting party called 911 and stated that a male victim had been struck in the head with a frying pan.
Upon Deputies arrival, the victim (age 70) stated that he was approached by another transient, Joseph Dewitt (age 37), who was being hostile and aggressive. The victim feared for his safety and armed himself with pepper spray. Dewitt became increasingly violent and the victim thought a physical confrontation was forthcoming. As a result, the victim sprayed Dewitt in the face with the pepper spray. Dewitt allegedly grabbed a frying pan and struck the victim several times in the back of the head.
Dewitt fled the scene prior to law enforcement arrival. The victim was transported via ambulance to a local hospital for medical treatment.
At approximately 11:05 a.m., Sheriff’s Deputies were able to locate Dewitt at the intersection of Locust Street and Conger Street, Garberville. Dewitt was placed under arrest for battery causing serious bodily injury and was transported to the Humboldt County Correctional Facility for booking. Dewitt’s bail was set at $50,000.

Anyone with information for the Sheriffs Office regarding this case or related criminal activity is encouraged to call the Sheriffs Office at 707-445-7251 or the Sheriffs Office Crime Tip line at 707-268-2539



  • Here we go again.
    Transiet crime makes up for 70% of our public service calls.
    All these camps need to be cleared and fenced off immediately.
    These bums are dramatically affecting our tourism industry and future growth as a healthy community.

    • I’m not sure that it matters, but Joey is not a transiet – he grew up in SoHum.

      • I think it does matter because often when we see behavior we don’t like we lump the perpetrators together under the handle transient and then we say how much crime comes from them. But many times the problem comes from other sections of society. Blaming only transients keeps us from coming up with good solutions.

      • Joey is too a transient, it doesn’t matter where he’s from or not from, fact is Joey is a bum, always panhandling g his way through town. This isn’t his first arrest either.
        He is part of the problem and not any solution.

  • Among the rights of humanity, is the right to exist. People have to be somewhere, and chasing them from one spot to another not only denies them this basic right, it simply moves the problem instead of solving it. And for those thinking “Yeah, but NIMBY” consider this: you move them out of Garberville, someone else moves them out of Benbow, Leggett, Laytonville, Redway, Alderpoint, Harris, Briceland, and where do they go? Garberville, of course. Two things are needed: mental health facilities, and housing. We are not providing the first, and we have, in effect, outlawed the second with our zoning and building codes. People are homeless, in part, because we have, through our laws, made cheap housing impossible. Time and again architects come up with very inexpensive housing, easy build, simple to site; only to find that the housing is “illegal” because it is not up to code. I suppose tarps, tents, and vehicles are up to code? You and I are not going to solve this problem. It is systemic and needs to be addressed by government undoing past government actions which have created the homeless problem. I think, short of direct personal aid, lobbying for legal reform will, in the end, be the most effective action we can take, however unsatisfying it may be.

    • With all due respect Ed the people you speak of make up for a very small percentage of those that are participating in this life style and actually need help.
      These “Homeless” people have learned to take advantage of a system that supports their anti-conformist attitude, to the point where they even register their dogs as “service” dogs.
      They believe people who function in society are jokes and suckers, they pride themselves on getting over on the people that support their lifestyle.
      This is a very dark manipulative culture that has grown dramatically since the Occupy Movement spawned these ideals.



    • We don’t have the facilities because we can’t afford them. We can’t even get a full time Sheriff’s deputy in Garberville. I’m not sure what to make of your statement about people getting shuffled around Southern Humboldt and by your logic they end up in Garberville? They should end up in Eureka where the mental health facilities are for the whole county. We don’t have the facilities or the resources for the mentally ill, or for the multitude of transients that we have in Garberville for that matter.

      We should be fencing off public properties where the camps are. We should be holding the private property owners accountable for all the health code violations (syringes, needles, human feces, etc.) that occur on their property within these illegal encampments (daily fines until problems are remedied). The police should be visiting these encampments on a daily basis until the transients understand that they are not welcome here. After a week or so, these people will move on and the police will then only have to visit these areas on an as-needed basis. This is not difficult. It’s not rocket science. It just takes a commitment from the police to do regular sweeps until the transients have moved on.

      Most of these people are not homeless. They are choosing the lifestyle and they know that they can get away with it in Garberville. It doesn’t help that meth and heroin are readily available and super cheap. In my opinion, a homeless person is one who becomes homeless within their own community of origin. When they hit the road and infest other communities, they are transients and are usually unproductive citizens that create problems for the communities they infest.

      As for Joey, I’ve seen him on multiple occasions just screaming at the top of his lungs at no one in particular and acting belligerent crazy to pedestrians on the sidewalks of Garberville. Again, he should be up in Eureka where they can deal with his mental illness. Now that he’s assaulted someone with a frying pan, he should be treated as a danger to society and hopefully the courts will figure out the best course of action for him. Mental illness does not excuse violence, no matter what the circumstances are.

      • I understand what you are saying but, if Joey went to Eureka, by your definition he would be a transient there. That doesn’t seem right to shrug off all our homeless onto other areas.

        • I’m not saying he should go to Eureka as a transient. I’m saying he should go get help with his mental illness from the county mental health facility and presumably they would be able to help him with housing as well.

          • That sounds ideal. However, I’m not seeing Mental Health being able to provide that level of support. I sure wish there was some but so far, nothing.

  • This is incredibly sad. I love Joey and have watched his mental health decline in horror. I cannot help but remember him 20 years ago when he was a leader of his age group. He was working at Benbow in the kitchen. He wanted to be a chef. I helped him out in 1996, when he was organizing a fundraiser for local youth projects. He has so much potential to do good, even now.

    • Drugs will do weird things to people. I tend not to lump mental illness in with drug addicts. The root of the problem is drug use. These people need to get sober, only then we can evaluate their true mental status.

  • Keep him in jail and throw away the keys. He’s one of the reasons I go to eureka to do most of my shopping. I’m tired of him and his type asking me for money. Get a job loser.

    • 10-4 on the keys! Roger that!
      Let’s not forget Joey is the perfect example of someone who did a bit too much acid and mushrooms let alone the other heavy drugs he surely dabbled with. I mean who the hell would hire a guy like that to begin with?
      Not like Joey is looking for employment anyways, just saying, would you trust him at the end of the day with the cash register? I didn’t think so. It wasn’t too long ago he got roughed up by the cops in eureka and was rambling about million dollar law suits,… then again it wasn’t long ago he said he had a million dollars in a pickle barrel and was buying his own piece and start his own show,.. all talk…crazy talk!

  • Joey is truly a royal pain in the ass but what he and many others need is a place in town to receive care and nourishment. If that undertaking had been been part of the sales tax increase proposal I would have voted for it. But no, people want to feed the illusion that all is groovy and we just need more police to protect our precious, often ill-gained property.

  • mostly harmless he sometimes freaks out and starts raving about various subjects, and i understand, not easy living in the weeds…

  • I have known Joey since I was a small child. His family and mine were friends. He has always been a good person. Even through the BS he’s been through. The way he was dropped, and forgotten by his family disturbs me every time I see him. He is a good person! Made bad choices…but wasn’t raised very far from bad choices. And when he chose to live the life that his parents showed him… He was abandoned.

  • Many people register there dogs as “service animals”, for a variety of reasons. Even rich yuppies carry their animals with them wherever they go, even in the grocery store, and No one complains. But if a homeless person has a service animal they are looked at as taking advantage of the system. This is ridiculous. In fact most of the time people have a certified service animal because mass transit is one of the only ways to travel as a poor person. When they have no home to leave them, they take them everywhere they go. But they’ll still leave them out of the grocery store, out of respect. If no other option is available for travel other than by owning your own car than what choice do they have. It’s the laws that create the illegality of animals to be on “private” property. And it’s certainly no crime to be poor, just as it’s no crime to be rich. No matter what, everyone has the right to exist, to travel when and where they like, and to bring whatever they want with them. In Humboldt, Many people bring their dogs wherever they go. But if they have a car or truck to leave them behind in it’s somehow better?

    Actually almost any animal can be certified if it is deemed appropriate that the persons health and well-being (including mental health), will be enhanced by the presence of their animal being with them at all times. And who are we to take that right away? Dogs have been a part of humans lives for 30,000 years. Think of all those perfect pairs of humans and dogs. It’s just as much their world as it is ours. BTW Garberville was once called Dogtown!

    Joey even had a pup a few months back. He seemed happier then, and kept the puppy warm in his coat. We could argue on treatment of animals but without social service and medical programs who’s going to follow up on people to see what works and what doesn’t in helping them heal and move towards being contributing members of society. And if they don’t want that, they certainly have the right to live on the fringe.

    • Wow, you really go out of your way to try and convince people of this victim bull shit.
      These bum losers choose drugs, alcohol and handouts over responsibilities. It’s that simple.
      You’re right, it’s not illegal to be a bum loser but, almost everything they do on a daily basis is illegal and they need to be held accountable.
      Drinking in public, loitering, shitting on the streets, drugs, animal abuse, violence, illegal camping, littering, selling drugs to kids, the list goes on and on.
      Every dog needs to be taken away from them, they’re too irresponsible to take care of themselves let alone a dog. Not to mention they’ve infested our towns with parvo.
      Your world views are warm and fuzzy but then there is the hard truth called reality and the reality is these people have created this culture and lifestyle to get over on society for whatever childish reasons and people like you are enabling it to grow.
      This is not about being “homeless” this is about being helpless, lazy and minipulitive and a flat out burden.
      Sure, being those things aren’t illegal either but I do not support our beautiful small towns that have limited resources taken over by these bums with that mentality.
      If you care about these bums, help them find their way to a large metropolitan that can support their “needs”.

      • If all of the transients left our area, we would still have Joey. We would still have the local people in need of assistance. And if our society was as interested in funding treatment facilities as we are in funding prisons, our crime rates would be much lower. It would cost us less. 2) when I read this story, what occurred to me was that the “victim” started this by pepper-spraying Joey. Joey defended himself. Who’s to say what led up to the fight?

  • To the people who say just get a job I ask……
    How are the Joey’s of the wold supposed to do that?
    Are you willing to hire someone with a mental illness, or a drug problem?
    How about someone with nowhere to bathe or just take a sh*t.
    Someone just out of jail for driving without a license?
    Would you hire him even for a day a little yard work maybe?

    What love ( a necessity of life ) do these people have or get to give unless it’s to a
    unfortunate animal?

    If we can create tent cities for refugees in other counties why can’t we at least do that for our own? And provide services and police in the tented communities?

    One day it could be your family….son, daughter, sister, brother, grandchild!

  • Saw this coming, surprised it took this long!

  • Joey is the man obviously the man had it coming he’s never violent you can only be pushed so far before you jump

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