‘Reckless Statements’ Were Made by Tom Parker, and Lawson Attorney, Shelley Mack, Writes Uncle of Kyle Zoellner in Letter to the Editor
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Letter to the Editor
First and foremost, before I present a narrative that I hope will be processed by all who truly want justice for Josiah, I need the Lawson family, especially Charmaine to truly understand that the Zoellner family has and continues to have complete empathy for all of the Lawson family. I believe that Charmaine has every right to continue to fight for justice for her son and I have incredible respect for her strength and determination to make sure justice prevails in the loss of her son.
As the racial sensitivity regarding this case is extreme and because I am fully aware of this, I need to share a little bit of my background so hopefully my motives for writing this do not get cast into the racial debate. I have worked in the inner city (Oakland and San Francisco) for many years as a volunteer counselor. I have worked with many men of all ages (African American, Hispanic, Asian and White) that are homeless and are consumed with unhealthy addictions. I do understand the inner city; the issues and struggles that take place every day. It is something most people will never understand, many of the kids that grow up in the inner city never get a chance to accomplish so many things that most of us take for granted. It is sad and it breaks my heart.Recently the police chief of APD (Tom Chapman) resigned and the private investigator (Tom Parker) who was hired by the City of Arcata to help the APD on this case also resigned.
When Tom Parker resigned he purposely made some reckless statements to rile up the community of Arcata so he could get support to continue his self- serving mission. Along with his comments, local attorney Shelley Mack in support of Tom Parker also made the same type of reckless statements.
Parker stated he believes that when the department had the initial suspect, Kyle Zoellner, in custody, they were holding the right suspect. He specifically stated that “The arrest that they made the night of the homicide was based on substantial probable cause,”[and] “There is no other explanation for any other perpetrator.“
Shellie Mack stated that Lawson’s death wasn’t a “whodunnit” but the result of an altercation where one person walks away, the other person dies of multiple stab wounds.”
These statements are clearly stating without stating it directly, that they believe my nephew (Kyle Zoellner) was the person who stabbed and killed Josiah Lawson.
However, there is a question everyone who is concerned about this case should be asking themselves right now, if the above statements are true why has the evidence and eye witnesses contradicted the above opinions? If the above was true and it was as simple as Kyle getting into a fight with Josiah and then stabbing him, this case would have been settled in a week and Kyle would be in jail,(Keep in mind there was no lack of eye witnesses and there was no lack of evidence regarding this case) yet as of today the APD cannot provide any evidence that Kyle stabbed Josiah except their opinion that is no other “explanation”.
The problem was and still is, contrary to Tom Parker’s view, there is another explanation and this explanation is supported by the actual evidence and eye witnesses. This explanation is that Kyle did not stab Josiah. Think about it again, if Kyle did not stab Josiah then it is obvious that the APD and Tom Parker would end up at a dead end like they have. It is my view that it is no coincidence that the case blew up last week because the investigation is at the same place where it was at the preliminary hearing; Kyle is the only suspect yet there is no evidence to support that Kyle stabbed Josiah.
Facts from case that support that there is another “explanation”:
1) No witnesses saw Kyle with a knife. Contrary to Shelley Mack’s version, Kyle and Josiah did not meet in an alley alone where there could be no other explanation regarding who stabbed Josiah. However, the truth is that there were numerous people involved in more than one altercation at the time Josiah was stabbed. There were many eye witnesses (most friends of Josiah) that stated they witnessed Kyle being beaten by numerous men until he was knocked unconscious and none of the eye witnesses testified that they ever saw Kyle with a knife. This was a 10 inch knife and it would be almost impossible not to see. (Friends of Josiah also testified that Kyle was cordial and nice when he approached them, yet they still assaulted him and beat him unconscious.
2) The murder weapon (Knife) had only one distinguishable finger print on it and the knife was sent to the lab for testing. The finger print did not match Kyle’s nor did any of the fibers match Kyle’s clothes. (From the hearing: “attorneys agreed to stipulate today that the one distinguishable fingerprint on the knife was not Zoellner’s. Fibers found on the knife did not match fibers from Zoellner’s clothing”)
Based on the above known facts I would question anybody that would make a blanket statement that there could be no other “explanation” than Kyle stabbing Josiah as the above evidence clearly contradicts this view.
In regard to fact #1 (that there was no eye witnesses that saw Kyle with the 10 inch knife); I question still today why the most credible witness that went up to the police after the stabbing was not called to testify. At the hearing officer McKenzie testified that after Lawson was taken to the hospital in an ambulance and everyone was leaving the party, he was approached by Angelica McFarland, a friend of Zoellner’s girlfriend who went to the party with the Ortega and Wilkins. According to Officer McKenzie’s testimony, Mcfarland said she wanted to tell the officer something. “She informed me that it was not Kyle [Zoellner], and that Kyle never had a knife,” the officer said.
I find it odd that the DA called all the other girls to testify but not the one girl that witnessed Kyle’s beating, sprayed mace at the attackers to try to protect Kyle, and then had the awareness to tell the police that Kyle did not stab Josiah. I cannot believe that under the circumstances, she would lie about this immediately after the stabbing especially when she was really not even a friend of Kyle’s. Making a statement like this, if it turned out to be a false statement, would bring serious legal consequences to her.
I also know firsthand that Angelica came over with her mom to Kyle’s father’s house that same morning to share what she witnessed, that Kyle did not stab Josiah. Again, not knowing Kyle very well I believe that the only reason she would do this is because she knew the truth about what happened and wanted to do what was right.
So why was Angelica not called to testify at the hearing by the DA, was it because she was the most credible eye witness that would testify that Kyle did not stab Josiah?
Everyone involved in this case that truly wants justice must see that there is another “explanation” based on the evidence, this explanation is that Kyle did not stab Josiah. I know it will be hard for many to actually believe that there was someone else besides Kyle that stabbed Josiah but again, if Kyle did stab Josiah, this case would have been over in a week.
If we take a second and ask ourselves how this case can be solved, the clear answer is there must be parallel investigations that look at other potential suspects. However, a parallel investigation will be met with the racial head wind that is present in the City of Arcata. Could the police actually start a new investigation to look into other suspects without a racial backlash? After what I have seen I believe that an honest parallel investigation would be unfortunately turned into a racial issue and all motives would be challenged. This is a sad reality because deep down inside everyone really wants the same thing, the truth to come out.
I truly want justice for Josiah’s family and believe that Kyle did not stab their son but without another investigation or at least a parallel investigation looking at other suspects I believe we will be at the same place in a year and both the Lawson family and the Zoellner family will have no peace.
Can we at least start by asking the APD whose finger print was found on the knife? One would think that if there is another person’s finger print on the knife then there likely is another person’s DNA on the knife. We now know that the APD and now Tom Parker never performed a parallel investigation to identify any other potential suspects despite knowing the only distinguishable finger print on the knife was not Kyles.
I believe that if this finger print is matched to an individual no matter who it is, male or female, the APD will be able to solve this case quickly.
We will continue to pray for the Lawson family that God can somehow bring them peace during this trial.
Jay Zoellner, uncle to Kyle Zoellner