[UPDATE 5 p.m.] HSU and Arcata Police Issue Statements Following Release of Kyle Zoellner in the Stabbing Death of David Josiah Lawson

David Josiah Lawson and Kyle Zoellner

David Josiah Lawson and Kyle Zoellner

Today, Humboldt County Superior Court Judge Dale Reinholtsen released Kyle Zoellner in the racially charged case of the tragic stabbing death of a young Humboldt State University student, David Josiah Lawson. The release is controversial with Humboldt State University stating,

Humboldt State University is certainly disappointed by what appears to be a setback in this case. It is difficult to be patient, but sometimes necessary in the pursuit of justice. This is not over. The investigation is continuing, and the University will continue providing assistance to local law enforcement.

The Arcata Police also have released a statement:

After five days of testimony, this afternoon a Superior Court Judge ruled there was insufficient evidence to hold Kyle Zoellner in the death of David Josiah Lawson.  The following are statements from Arcata Vice-Mayor Sofia Pereira and Police Chief Tom Chapman:

Vice-Mayor Pereira: “My thoughts are with the Lawson family, our community and the students at HSU. We continue to grieve and search for answers to this senseless act of violence. The city and the police department’s focus must continue to remain on achieving justice for Josiah. I have been in communication with the Police Chief and I know our officers are continuing their work on this case. Once the investigation is complete the city will also review all aspects of our response to this tragedy. I have confidence in our police department’s dedication to solve this murder and I support their efforts to find the truth.”

Chief Chapman: “The result of the preliminary hearing does not change the vigor in which we will continue to pursue this case. The men and women of the Arcata Police Department are committed to justice for Josiah. As shown by the sworn testimony at the hearing, this case is difficult. However, we will not stop our investigation. Our focus will remain on this investigation and the pursuit of justice.”

UPDATE 5 p.m.: Further Statement issued from the City of Arcata:

After five days of testimony, this afternoon a Superior Court Judge ruled there was insufficient evidence to hold Kyle Zoellner in the death of David Josiah Lawson. The following are statements from Arcata Vice-Mayor Sofia Pereira and Police Chief Tom Chapman:

Vice-Mayor Pereira: “My thoughts are with the Lawson family, our community and the students at HSU. We continue to grieve and search for answers to this senseless act of violence. The city and the police department’s focus must continue to remain on achieving justice for Josiah. I have been in communication with the Police Chief and I know our officers are continuing their work on this case. Once the investigation is complete the city will also review all aspects of our response to this tragedy. I have confidence in our police department’s dedication to solve this murder and I support their efforts to find the truth.”

Chief Chapman: “The result of the preliminary hearing does not change the vigor in which we will continue to pursue this case. The men and women of the Arcata Police Department are committed to justice for Josiah. As shown by the sworn testimony at the hearing, this case is difficult. However, we will not stop our investigation. Our focus will remain on this investigation and the pursuit of justice.”

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18 comments

  • Who made it racially charged? Why is this case different than any other murder? Looks like HSU was hoping for a lynching.

    • I believed you misunderstood. I’m not saying the homicide was the proven result of racial tensions but rather that the subsequent statements made by various people had racial implications. Certainly, the comment section in RHBB alone has been a hive of racially tense statements and that doesn’t count the wider community.

      • My comment was not directed to you. From the very beginning the whole tragic story has been presented as some premeditated, racially fueled hate crime, instead of a sad case of someone being murdered for what amounts to nothing more than a lost cellphone.

        • I’m sorry for misunderstanding.

        • I hope I am misunderstanding HSU’s statement. It reads to me as if they fell the killer has been let go.

          • JustWantToHearTheEndoftheStory

            The tone of the HSU statement is one of disappointment that someone, anyone, had not been held accountable. Let’s hope it’s in our understanding, not their intent (although it is a university in 2017, so….)

          • I agree. The wording is ambiguous enough to suggest HSU believe Kyle is the perpetrator.
            That release should’ve been worded much more clearly.

        • Again, the race part is about the police not taking care of a dying person because they needed to “calm the situation” which was people of color being “frantic”. They waited too long to let the emt’s in and lied on the stand saying they gave medical treatment upon arrival. Not true at all, but again, cop vs young black mans testimony on the stand, cops always win.
          And sorry to say, across the board, if the skin colors were reversed he would still be in jail.

          We have a very serious issue with rascism in humboldt, at least the aryan nation has stopped handing out info at the high schools. But theyre still around.
          Ive had friends of all colors be told they need to move away or they will be harmed. A guy just said that to 2 latina women i know at the gas station a few days ago. There were lynchings in fieldbrook 20-30 years ago.
          Face it folks, its an issue.

          The other raging issue is that 2 of our judges were found guilty by the state of judicial crimes, and theyre still hearing cases. Our DA office is in disarray, of course they couldnt prepare a better case. I would hire private counsel and request a different judge.

    • Right, wtf?!? Why does the race card always gotta be pulled for no reason. Says who the kid that got stabbed was in the right anyhow. We really don’t know. So stop picking sides.

  • Thank God he was released!! Too much evedince pointing towards it either being self defense or someone else entirely. Condolences to the family of deceased. If this case wasn’t self defense then I hope they catch the killer. So happy the assault victim is out of jail.

    • I agree. It was probably someone just defending themselves as obviously these guys were jumping people and assaulting people. That’s not right and the guys doing so should have reprocussions for there actions. Shouldn’t they??

  • Im with you J

  • Remember that justice for Josiah does not include railroading the wrong individual for this murder. Unfortunately, justice usually takes longer than we bystanders would like it to. Be patient as law enforcement does its investigation and pray that the person responsible for Josiah’s death is prosecuted, convicted and sentenced to an appropriate penalty.

    • Law enforcement and DA are inept. The testimony by the police shows how bad they are. How many cold missing person cases are there here?? When there was a local serial killer in the 90’s, they didnt believe him when he turned himself in cuz they knew him as a friend. He had to return with a frozen womans body part before they would do anything. They literally sent him home the first time.
      Theres very little justice left anywhere. Black people are treated differently than whites by police, ive seen it over and over. We with lighter skin cant understand it as its not happening to us,but if you really take the time to look you will see what they are talking about.
      Would you all be saying dont play the race card if kyle was black????

  • Nothing good ever happens after 2 A.M.

  • This case was rushed into the courts by our pathetic society that is so afraid that they are going to hurt some snowflakes feelings that they jumped the gun before looking at all the facts. The college screaming for justice and not facts, accusations that the responding cops and emts did not know how to do their jobs, that only members of the brotherhood knew what to do, accusations of false testimony by both the cops and witnesses, and the lack of answers to a whole lot of questions after this preliminary should make everyone question what happened and why this was rushed to court. The real answer is going to be because of government wanting to be politically correct rather than searching for facts. I say shame on the college, the city of arcata, and the da for not looking at it as a crime rather than a political act. We failed the justice system and played to the snowflake system. Go back and get it right this time…you owe it to the public, to Mr. Lawson, and Mr. Zollner.

  • Veterans friend

    I predict no one will ever be charged. Too many conflicting stories. No evidence. No eye witness.
    Unless someone confesses, it will go unresolved

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