Humboldt Justice With John Chiv: Opening Statements in the Trial of Jason Arreaga for Double Homicide

John Chiv covers the local legal system for his blog. He’ll be sharing his observations on some of the more high profile trials with us in our new Humboldt Justice guest column.

Yesterday, the trial of Jason Arreaga, from Lake County began. Arreaga is charged with the shooting deaths of Angel Tulley and Harley Hammers, Jr. on September 3, 2014 in Fieldbrook. John Chiv covered what he called “two very convincing” opening statements on his blog. He wrote, chiv

After initial jury instructions by Judge Marilyn Miles [yesterday]  morning, the 12 jury members and four alternates got to hear opening arguments in the Jason Arreaga case from Deputy District Attorney Zachary Curtis and Arrega’s attorney, Ms. Heidi Holmquist….

Both sides agree on many of the facts and the basic version leading up to the double homicide; the difference being that the People hope to show that the evidence points to Arreaga as the man who murdered Harley Hammers and Angel Tully but the defense raises questions about other suspects [and] their motives, in particular the People’s first and key witness…, Chavonne Hammers. …

“I am going to tell you a story,” is how Deputy District Attorney Zachary Curtis started his opening argument in the Jason Arreaga jury trial. “Later on today, I am going to bring witnesses. Right now is my opportunity to tell you a story, a narrative. This is my opportunity to tell you what happened from start to finish. This isn’t evidence.”…


Jason Arreaga, age 29

Chiv recounts the rest of the prosecuting attorney’s opening “story” here. The short version of the attorney’s statement to the jury is Angel Tully and Harley Hammers showed up at the home of Hammers’ ex-wife, Chavonne Hammers, where Jason Arreaga was also visiting. They continued an argument begun earlier in the day. When Tully and Harley Hammers advanced towards Arreaga, he shot Tully twice and then shot Hammers. He fled in a car with two women. They were stopped by Eureka police and Arreaga was arrested.

You can read John Chiv’s full observations here.

After recounting the prosecution’s opening statement, Chiv then shared the defense attorney’s.The short version of the defense attorney’s statement to the jury is that Jason Arreaga did not shoot the victims but that Chavonne Hammers had a motive for doing so. “What happened on September 3 was a horrible crime,” the defense attorney  said. “It is up to each of you to decide whether Mr. Arreaga is responsible for this crime.”

You can read the complete post on John’s blog here.

Note: Jason Arreaga was incorrectly identified as John Arreaga several times in previous versions of this article.



  • Were you not at the same trial? I saw you there. Half of this is incorrect! Please get it right before calling yourself a journalist! Stop spreading rumors and hyperbole!

  • Ms. Rhodes, you were only in court today and you have been on my blog and any where I am linked making claims based on what? Notes?

    This is the response I gave you on my blog:

    Ms. Rhodes, today was the first time I saw you in court. I only gave you my card on the request of Ms. Tully’s sister. While I am not perfect, I have been reporting on court cases for a while.

    It has been distracting and difficult to hear at times because of the family talking over witnesses and the attorneys. In no case, has the audience been so vocal. As for getting my facts right, this is an emotional case for you and while I understand that, sometimes family members of either side react as you do. That does not indicate I do not have my facts right.

    Mr. Curtis did say in his opening that Harley collapsed into a pile of debris. I did not state Ms. Michaels and Mr. Hammers went anywhere together. You are confusing Ms Hammers with Mr. Hammers. You were not in court yesterday.

    I will not print anymore comments from you which are bordering on defamatory allegations about me and based on emotional reactions.

  • anybody else totally confused as to who is the author here…and maybe why?

    I have wanted for a long time for Mr Chiv to report on the cases and keep his opinions and arguments on some other blog space…you know, more like a journalist on the court beat.

    and yet here is Mr Chiv arguing with a family member in the trial..

    real newspapers have opinion pages for a very good reason.

  • Pingback: Trial For Suspect in the Homicide of Father Freed Postponed | Redheaded Blackbelt

  • Anthony David Arreaga

    My brother Jason is not guilty, it will be determined in court. To believe he had any motive to commit such a crime is blind to obvious facts being the woman with his as stated in the article. To keep reading things that make my brother look bad is effecting me mentally and emotionally because i know as his younger brother by one year that he would never do something like this. I have been threatened by the deceased family members and have had a drastic change because of all of this but in the end i know my brother will be free.

  • Anthony David Arreaga

    No one has the facts right or they would know what actually happened and my brother would be home instead of the person who had every motive in the world being free and acting like nothing happened! I KNOW

  • Anthony David Arreaga

    Very convincing? Is that why there was a mis trial. Facts people! Evidence proven beyond any reasonable doubt! Remember that.

  • fucked by WATSON

    John Chiv. Interesting, a blog devoid of humanity and compassion….?There has been nothing more telling than his coverage of the Bullock trial……defendants are guilty till proven innocent………he is a scumbag that published a witness’ name in a gang killing………the woman was a victim, not to the extent the 16 yr old that was stabbed, but a victim nonetheless. Why does he not comment on the corruption of these judges–I witness these assholes bending shitting and urinating on the constitution daily when IM in court…..ah but he doesn’t have the balls to take on the real criminals…..I saw Cissna force jurisdiction on someone via threats and intimidation and that doesn’t get reported. I’m being prosecuted for something that 2 EPD officers, one who threatened me with his side arm fabricated– the fact there had been no proper service of an order just swept under the rug–I mean it’s not like they have to follow the law….we need someone with balls to cover the corruption not someone so wed into the cult of Christianity…..

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