Uncle of Fatal Stabbing Suspect Writes Letter to the Editor Urging Community Re-examine Public Statements Made in the Case

David Lawson, victim of the stabbing, and mugshot of Kyle Zoellner, suspect in the stabbing.

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My name is Jay Zoellner and I am the uncle of Kyle Zoellner. I am writing this letter to be shared to the Community of Arcata and local news agencies as I am in disbelief of what I have seen take place over this past week regarding the tragic death of Josiah Lawson.

The purpose of this letter is to challenge the public statements that have been presented to the public by the news community that has clearly turned a blind eye to the possibility that Kyle did not commit this crime.

The police must address the following contradictions that are found in these public statements made over the last week that have publicly convicted Kyle of this terrible crime.

Monday April 17th
Mother of victim:  “They told me the suspect might be released because even though they have 13 eyewitnesses, no one saw the suspect with the knife,” Michelle-Charmaine Lawson said of the suspect who was arrested in the fatal stabbing of her son, David Josiah Lawson, of Arcata. (None of the eye witnesses saw Kyle with a knife. These were the key eye witnesses as these were the people the police identified at the scene and brought in immediately, yet not one person saw Kyle with a knife.)

Monday April 17th
Elijah (friend of Josiah) “There was an altercation between some white women and a white boy that were accusing Josiah based off the color of his skin on stealing a phone,” Chandler said. “And they got into an altercation at which time they pepper sprayed him and proceeded to stab Josiah.” (Was this the 1st altercation or the 2nd altercation?)

Monday April 17th
Chandler ( Elijah), an HSU student, said another member of Brothers United, which is a community-based cultural club intended to unite men of color at HSU, disarmed the man and he ran to Lawson’s side under a tree. (There were no eye witnesses yet he says another “member” disarmed Kyle)

Wednesday April 18th
Elijah states “Chandler grabbed Lawson and began to “give him some breath,” administering CPR, he said. At some point he noticed that his face and lips were burning. “Come to find out they had maced him prior [to the stabbing],” Chandler said. “He couldn’t even see before it happened.” (Where was Elijah maced and by whom? He said he saw Josiah being sprayed so one would assume he is close to Kyle and Josiah? Yet he stated that he ran over to Josiah where “he was in the bushes under a tree”. Was Josiah stabbed somewhere else, away from Kyle and Elijah?)

The Community of Arcata must start asking questions as nothing makes sense at this time. This investigation must immediately be restarted with an intense focus on every single component of the actual facts that took place the morning of the stabbing. This must be done for both the families of Josiah and Kyle.

Jay Zoellner

Earlier Chapters:



  • I don’t know if I would have blasted this on a public blog, I would retain a good lawyer and provide them with this info hoping to beat the case at trial with lack of evidence, either way it sucks all around, hug your loved ones and tell them you love them.

    • Brothers united is a race mandated street gang allowed to roam free and prowl our college campus under the guise of a wholesome after school academic program…. Wake up Humboldt b4 this becomes like Oakland or Chi-Raq #keepdaboldthumble

      • So what is the KKK!that is a known hatred filled gang allowed to roam the streets and antagonize people of color. Let’s discuss that fact.

    • CaucasianAmerican

      Im suing brothers united for discrimination for denying my application based on the color of my skin

  • This should be private information you address with your lawyer…… While these may be valid questions, you might be blowing the case. Yikes.

    Going public during an active murder investigation is generally not a great move.

    • Not a lawyer is right.

      It is the age of Youtube. Everyone goes public, even when they are drunk or stoned or throwing themselves off their parents roof. The absurdists would have a field day watching this culture crash and burn.

      The public lynching of a man who is presumed innocent until PROVEN guilty is typical of this absurd behavior. Why would anyone believe what a bunch of drunken revelers say at 3am anyway -??

      I have not seen one thing about whether these kids were drunk or stoned. Was this a non-alcoholic shindig in the middle of the night? Doubtful.

      Yet the BLM folks jump all over this like a race war started in Arcata. The white guilt-ridden “vice mayor” of Arcata cries crocodile tears and the world weeps.

      Absurd, indeed.

    • These are valid accounts that are known due to what has been blasted on the internet. This is no secret!! Yes an attorney needs to use this info but, it is already public knowledge. This guy is just tired of his nephew being drug through the mud. Quite frankly I have been thinking the same damn thing and I am just an outsider looking in.

      • AnonymousHumboldtian

        There’s a kid dead and all indications point to Kyle. I think his name is being “drug through the mud” for a pretty good reason.

    • Tell the truth chandler

      None of the info this uncle spoke about is private, this is all coming from whats being reported. I sure hope that questions are being asked because Chandler guy doesn’t make any sense. If you ask me maybe they should be looking into him….

  • Was the phone ever found?

  • Traumamanifestsindifferentways

    I feel sorry for you and your family, Sir. Keep in mind this happened at a party where people were on many different levels of not sober. Also this was a violent crime. Whether your relative is guilty or not people who saw it must be traumatized. The fact that no one saw him with the knife could be trauma. I broke up a knife fight recently (not related) and I can’t even remember my screaming to put the knife down and jumping in-between. I completely blacked it out….like it never even happened.

  • Hopefully the whole truth comes out. For both families I’m so sorry,this is the place you’d think your children are safe.

  • With a mugshot like that, all beat up, it is sure easy for Kyle to look guilty, isn’t it? And I fear a lot of people aren’t going to look beyond the headline and the photos side-by-side. Uncle, I hate to tell you, I have no trust in the justice system up here. (I’ve frequently heard it repeated, even among law enforcement, sadly, we have a legal system, not a justice system.) It’s not a race thing. It’s a small-town thing. Please hire a private PI to back up all the evidence and witnesses as fast as you can. I agree –
    everything you say will be used against Kyle at trial. There is no mercy. Best of Wishes to all families. There are no winners here.

  • wherewereyouwhitey

    Usually blacks,kill blacks. Blacks
    Cause a whole lot of ruckus and problems for the rest of us factually.
    Blacks are a small,part of society but make big problems for the rest of society. [Edit] will argue these facts.
    so google it for your own records, let yourself do the research to confirm the numbers.

    • Since society is segregated, it isn’t really surprising that black people tend to kill other black people. The same is true of white people.

      Also, could you cite the source of that poster?

      • JustWantToHearTheEndoftheStory

        Kym, see my reply (I did not put up the poster) below. When reality is denied to promote political agendas, society ends up with Rotherham (google it, you’ll see what I mean)

      • Preach sister 🙌🏼

    • Your racism is showing

    • Indigenous20+yrsOntheNorthCoast

      Be careful with this post/graphic… looks and smells like “alt right” neo Nazi propaganda.. not a good look..

      • sharpen your pencil

        Ah yes, because anything that endangers your safe space is at right propaganda…. You twits need to get your damn heads out of the sand!

        To the uncle of Kyle, you may want to refrain from making such dumbass commentary. The police have to sort through dozens of drunken accounts of this incident. Food for thought, just because no one saw him with a knife doesn’t mean he’s innocent, just means he could be sneaky!

    • You ever live in a neighborhood where the police run free like hyenas taking what they want dropping charges on who they want …. and even beating or shooting whoever they want?

      No you have not.

    • That is not true. The problem there are no statistics on White on Black violence nor white on white crime statistics. So let’s get correct data on that

  • I would like to hope that all the statements that have been made public are not all the statements that have been made. That the public is speculating on the ‘evidence’ they have and that LE has more that we are, and will be kept, unaware of until the trial.
    The court of public opinion is notoriously flawed and the rumor mill ugly. Nothing like social media to emphasize that.
    This event was ugly for all involved. Lives are changed. Families broken. If we are lucky, truth will be found in the fullness of time. Sigh.

  • I believe he’s guilty. If Marci kitchen can get away with murder ( for a while ), He can also.

  • And whats your explanation from his last arrest for choking out a young woman? That incident could have killed her.
    Or the other fights he’s been in?

    Sorry but i find your questions to make no sense. It sounds like you are conjecturing to prove your point. You are not a cop or DA so you dont have the full story, just soundbites from news articles. I havent heard of any other suspects, and they have recovered a knife. They may find it wasnt him, we dont know yet.
    Someone with a history of violence is assumed to continue that pattern. His past arrests will be used in this court case.
    Funny how when people steal and get out of jail over and over everyone complains, but a guy like this who had a few arrests for violence and got thru the revolving door of the jail doesnt evoke the same response?

    My guess is his lawyer will be in touch with you, its not a good idea to put out information publicly during an active investigation. Something that seems minor can end up being used against the accused.

  • Is is too easy to decide the guilt of someone based on what is, typically, one-sided accounts of what may or may not have actually happened, or what the typical media (except RHBB) chooses to publish. Case in point: way back when Rodney King was beaten by the LA cops, NBC (my choice of news at the time) kept showing that portion of the video that showed King being beaten. When the cops were acquitted of the beating, and the rioting started, only then did NBC show what may very well have led up to the beating: King, who was not a small man, charging at the officers. While I ABSOLUTELY don’t agree that he deserved the severity of the use of the nightsticks by the cops, I was disgusted by the lack of ethics by NBC for only showing only the inflammatory parts of the video, until it was too late. Ever since, I ALWAYS QUESTION THE ACCOUNTS OF ANY STORIES UNTIL ALL THE FACTS ARE PRESENTED, RATHER THAN BELIEVE THE STORIES THAT ARE LESS-THAN COMPLETE. More people should follow that mantra.

  • My guess is that if the real truth is ever proven, and the real guilty person/persons are identified; we are all going to be saying “Wow”. More to this story than has been let on. Just my take on it.

  • No matter what, Josiah is dead, likely murdered.
    I understand the Uncle’s desire to ‘balance the PR record’ against his nephew. His info should definitely be shared with Kyle’s attorney, and a PI if needed. Where social media/’the internet’ has gone with this, I know not.
    I disagree with LocalYocal. I think the mugshot lends itself to the idea that Kyle was acting in self defense. (How’d he get that black eye?). Yet, with his ‘record’, one tends to think he is guilty.
    (It seems) There are lot’s of unanswered questions.
    Let’s let the process play out. And keep in mind that there is pain all around, including for Jay and the Zoellner family.
    May all find healing, truth, and redemption.

    • I believe that the black eye occurred as he was attempting to leave the scene of the crime. There was an aggressive effort to keep him from leaving. We all have our opinions and convictions on this tragedy..but I believe he and the two female companions with him who maced the victim and others are guilty of this crime.

      • Sounds reasonable. May the truth will out!

      • No One truly knows

        Oh, and you were there? That’s how you got your information? The simple fact that it was a drunken party at 3 AM in the morning I don’t believe that anybody is going to have much memory about what really happened and if there is memory it’s all going to be distorted the fact is there’s two families are very broken. I’m sorry for them both

  • Looking at the kids bloody face I would lean towards self-defense…

  • His past encounters with law enforcement says a lot. He went too far. No doubt he deserves everything he gets.

  • Appreciate hearing others views on this tragic event. Reminded me a little of what happened in Sacramento, when Spencer Stone (French Train Hero) was stabbed. It is definitely a chaotic scene: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=muBE4-Wzqwc

  • I don’t think Elijah was maced; after he came in contact with the victim while giving rescue breaths, he came interacted with the residue on Josiah face. That’s when he realized Josiah got pepper sprayed and that Josiah couldn’t even see the attacker coming at him with the knife.

  • Thank you sir for your well written piece just another example of the far reaching and devastating corruption of our local men in blue as well as others God Bless you ,never stop your search for truth!

  • RIP to the man that died.

    …..but I agree. Reading through these stories since it happened, there are some things that just don’t add up.

    • The ‘racial’ stuff is BS.

      He was at a Brothers United gathering. Regardless of who he was fighting, he was going to be accused of being racist.

      Brings up another point. If true, how dumb is a kid who goes looking for a fight at a Brothers United Party?

      Brothers United already willingly segregated itself by even having the ‘club’. Crying racism is ironic.

      Whities United. For the empowerment of Whites. ……..yeah……..not racist….at all…..GTFO

  • When a suspect is actually charged with the crime and brought to trial the autopsy report will most likely be presented.

    Other evidence from the crime scene, the defendant’s toxicology screen, and investigator reports will be used to prove the state’s case.

    Witness statements from the parties involved will also be used with discretion.

    The trial may or may not occur here in Humboldt county.

    And if the defendant’s family has the funds they will hire an excellent attorney to keep their loved one out of prison or may decide to plea out to a lesser charge.

    The justice system is skewed all over our nation. And if you have funds for an excellent attorney you are a higher advantage than one without the funds.

    For those of us sitting on the sidelines it is always easy to come up with our own ideas of what did or did not happen.

    For a jury, they are directed to look at the facts presented in a case.

    And as such they must assure themselves and the court they will be impartial.

    That is why serving on a jury is so important.

    The death of a loved one is traumatic to their family and friends and also to the family and friends of the accused.

    It is not a journey anyone wants to walk on.

    My hope is that the investigation goes well in that the true facts of the case are determined and that a fair trial eventually happens.

    My heart breaks for all involved and as others posted above, the family of the accused needs to avail of themselves an attorney’s advice before using the media to make a case for their loved one.

  • The point I attempted to make was that those with funds usually have superior attorney representation.

    I have no clue what Kyle’s family has or does not have.

  • Can you imagine an all white club, we need to stop with groups that are race based. This small minded town still needs help with racism. The two girls that wish him dead need to be looked at closer. Heart breaking. RIP

  • Sad to see my fellow Humboltians are still backward and racist as ever! Does not surprise me the killer is from mc”clan”leyville!! Wake up or get woke up! Real talk.

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