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,
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.”…
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.