Humboldt Father and Son Sentenced for Marijuana Related Murder in Federal Court; Mother of One Victim Speaks Out

Rodney and Vincent Ortiz

Judith Surber is exhausted. Yesterday, the men accused of shooting her son and killing another man, Daniel Peter “Johnson” Colegrove, near Hoopa were sentenced to prison. “It has been 2 years and 5 months to the day,” she said when we spoke to her about 7 p.m. last night. “And I’m just tired.

The two men, Rodney and Vincent Ortiz, father and son, were sentenced to 20 and 15 years respectively, Surber said. She sat in the courtroom as the sentences were handed down.

Her family’s ordeal began March 21, 2015 when Vincent Ortiz and Johnson Colegrove had a transaction involving a pound of marijuana. Vincent complained that the pound was underweight four ounces and Vincent went to Colegrove’s house to settle the issue. He brought his father, three-time felon, Rodney Ortiz. And Rodney brought a gun.

Inside Colegrove’s house were a number of people, including Judy Surber’s son Roger Suber, his wife, Ethel and their 7-month-old son.

Rodney Ortiz and Colegrove began to argue. Ortiz eventually shot Colegrove. He turned to leave, but Judy said that Roger heard Vincent yell to his father something like “Shoot em all dead; you got to kill ’em all.”

Rodney then returned, said Judith. “He came back and shot my son twice.”

Meanwhile, Ethel was holding the baby nearby, Surber said. “My little grandson was within a foot of all of this.” Another man was also shot. The rest “all dove out the window,” Surber said. The Ortizes left in a vehicle.

Another man, Francis Colegrove, was also shot. Francis and the rest “all dove out the window,” Surber said. The Ortizes left in a vehicle.

When Ethel Surber saw her wounded husband, she knew she had to get help, Surber said. Ethel carried her baby while running to a neighboring home. “It was a long ways,” Judith said. “She called me screaming, “Roger’s been shot– been shot in the head.”

Judith says she called 911 and then hurried to her son’s side in the remote area west of Hoopa. “We waited an hour and 40 minutes and no one showed up,” she said. “I called [911] so many times screaming….Watching the blood pour out of my son. That was crazy.”

To make things worse, medical help was there but they needed to wait for a deputy to arrive before they could enter the crime scene in order to protect them in case the shooter was still on the scene.

“The medical couldn’t come in,” Judith said adding that she was frightened for her son’s life. “I knew the first hour was critical with wounds like his.” She watched as time ticked on and her son continued to bleed.

Finally, Roger Surber, Johnson Colegrove, and another man were medevacked to a hospital. There Colegrove age 73 died. Roger Surber survived. And the other man, who received only a minor wound, was released from the hospital the same day.

Man in the back seat of a Police vehicle

Rodney Ortiz when he was arrested in the Eureka Winco parking lot.[Photo by Mark McKenna]

Rodney and Vincent Ortiz tried to hide out from law enforcement. But Rodney was arrested in Eureka the next day and Vincent was arrested in Willow Creek on the 25th.

In November 2016, the two pled guilty.

“I feel like I can finally talk about it,” Judith said last night. While she wishes the sentences for the defendants could have been longer, she explained, “We were okay with the sentencing…I think for the moment it is kind of a relief…It is really nice to see some kind of justice.”

Judith said the trial has been hard on everyone. She feels bad for Vincent’s mother. “That’s her only child,” she said. “I would hate to be setting on that side of it…It has destroyed all the families.”

Earlier Chapters:

  1. THREE INJURED IN HOOPA SHOOTING
  2. TWO SUSPECTS IN HOOPA SHOOTING SPOTTED IN EUREKA
  3. HOOPA SUSPECTS’ VEHICLE FOUND IN EUREKA
  4. ONE SUSPECT IN HOOPA SHOOTING ARRESTED, PHOTOS
  5. SHERIFF’S OFFICE RELEASES TIMELINE OF SATURDAY’S SHOOTING NEAR HOOPA
  6. ONE OF VICTIMS IN HOOPA SHOOTING DEAD, LAW ENFORCEMENT SEARCHES FOR SUSPECT AT RED LION HOTEL
  7. SECOND MAN WANTED IN CONNECTION WITH HOOPA SHOOTINGS ARRESTED
  8. 2ND HOOPA SHOOTING SUSPECT CHARGED WITH MURDER
  9. FATHER AND SON PLEAD GUILTY TO FATAL SHOOTING WHICH OCCURRED DURING AN ARGUMENT OVER WEIGHT OF ONE POUND OF MARIJUANA

 

 

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23 comments

  • A three time felon gets 20 years for murder?? What a fucking tragedy. Humboldt needs a new DA.

  • Wondering why this case went Federal.

    • Sleepy Alligator

      I’m guessing it’s because it happened within reservation boundaries.

    • The case went federal because it’s in Indian Land. The sentences are light because it’s on Indian Land involving Indians. Racismo muchacho

  • What a screwed up system we have

  • Sleepy Alligator

    The pound was 4oz. light and the guy couldn’t tell by looking at it? Must have been his first one or something. Had one of these people gone down to the Tentman and bought a scale this could have all been avoided.

  • Miscarrage of justice. At least Rodney Ortiz should have received life in prison without parole.

  • So they were mad that they were going to have 4 less ounces to smoke and decide to murder the guy? Or was it the monetary value of the weed? “Marijuana” related or money related?

  • The system fails again, neither of these sorry excuses for a human being should ever breathe a breath of freedom. If ever anyone deserves the chair it’s for something like this. Ride the lightning.

    • Aquaman knows the answers

      Case went federal, she had no role.

    • amimissingsomething

      The case was Federal and that means Maggie Fleming had nothing to do as far as the prosecution (other than info about the crime). Federal Court with Federal Prosecutors tried the case. Maggie has been doing a great job cleaning up the mess left by the previous DA. She is good at her job!

  • Both should be sentenced to a death penalty. This is why our prisons are full. They didn’t care about human life, why should anyone care about theirs!

  • Really?!! Three- time felon shoots a guy dead in cold blood in a drug-related murder with multiple witnesses and only gets 20 years?!!! He should be executed. This is some bullshit!

  • If you choose this lifestyle (growing/ distributing) this is often the element that you will be dealing with.

  • 5 years for every ounce yha
    Thats about 66 days per gram

  • Wow the baby’s mom put her child right in the middle of all that.yikes

  • I read all the comments. I do believe the Ortiz’s got a good sentencing. The dad is already older and will probably never see freedom. The son may see freedom, but then again he’s in prison and anything can happen in there. Johnson led a life of crime forever. He was dealing and the pot being under weight could’ve been just an excuse to be there and take care of business for the Ortiz’s. Why do you think the house was full of people? Because that’s the way the dealer’s houses are and Johnson had a past full of prison terms too. Maybe, just maybe that’s where they all met in the first place.

  • Believe me people my brother and sister n law did not go there that day knowing any of this was going to happen. Especially knowing that it put my nephew in danger also. They knew nothing about or had never heard of the Ortizes prior to this day. He tried leaving with his son during the arguement but they wouldn’t let anyone leave… Know your facts before talking shit.

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