Kettenpom Murders Premeditated?
Kristin Constantino(age 33)-one of the victims. Her memorial page here.
Christopher Sky Richardson (age 26)–one of the victims. His memorial page here
Tomas Pitagoras Gouverneur (age 32)–accused murderer
Tomas Gouverneur intended to kill Christopher “Sky” Richardson and Kristine Constantino of Kettenpom before he even left Oregon suggests The Trinity Journal (sadly by subscription only) . According to the story in today’s online paper, receipts, dated the day before the murders found in Gouverneur’s car, show he purchased “from two adult shops in Oregon” hand cuffs and ankle restraints. Not only were receipts found but to make the evidence even more solid, The Trinity Journal said, “Surveillance systems at the stores also showed him purchasing the items.”
To recap the facts of the brutal attacks, Gouverneur’s fiancee was long time friends with Richardson. Gouverneur had known Richardson and Constantino for awhile and is alleged to have engaged in marijuana business deals with them previously. Richardson and Constantino were in a relationship. They lived not far from neighbors Jim and Norma Gund.
On a late winter day, as storm lashed the Northern California hills, The Trinity County Sheriff’s Office received a call for help. There is some discrepancy but the Trinity Journal points out the court documents “indicate that Constantino’s 911 call for help reached the CHP dispatch center in Humboldt at 3:28 p.m. March 13.” (A Trinity Co. Sheriff’s Press Release stated, “On March 13, 2011 at approximately 4:45 pm the Trinity County Sheriff’s Office Dispatch Center received a phone call from Humboldt CHP Dispatch regarding a female subject who had called 911 asking for help. The 911 call was made from a cell phone so the call went to the Humboldt CHP Dispatch Center.” I believe this was a conflation of a later call made by or on behalf of the injured neighbor, Norma Gund. See timing of her call later.)
The call according to CHP records (see LOCO’s post) came from a rural part of Trinity Co. identified by the caller as the end of the Kettenpom airstrip. The caller, a woman, was “…whispering help, help over and over again…” The CHP dispatcher informed the Trinity Co. Sheriff who were a long distance from the alleged home–various documents state travel time could be as much as 2 1/2 hours. Court documents filed by the Gunds state,
Allegedly a Trinity County Deputy Sheriff tried to dial the number provided by the caller but was unsuccessful. Thereafter, Trinity County Sheriff Corporal Ron Whitman called the Gund’s who resided in a home approximately one quarter mile from the residence where the distress calls had originated.
Allegedly, no recorded copy of the discussion between Corporal Whitman and Norma Gund exists. Claimants have been informed that the call from Corporal Whitman was from a cell phone. The Trinity County Sheriffs Department has advised that no recording of the conversation exists.
The Gunds and the Sheriff’s Dept have differing versions of the events. Court documents filed by the Gunds state,
During said conversation, Corporal Whitman requested that Mr. and Mrs. Gund go to “check on Kristine” Constantino, the individual who resided at the home from where the distress calls originated. Corporal Whitman asked the Gund’s to check on the 911 call since it was “likely a phone malfunction due to the recent inclement weather”. Nothing was said regarding a whispered distress “help me” call.
According to the Redding’s Searchlight, the Trinity Co. Sheriff maintains that the deputy
…told the couple to stay put and merely asked if they could see anything suspicious going on at their neighbors’ place. The deputy knew the Gunds were longtime local residents, and he was under the impression the Gunds could see Constantino’s home, Haney has said.
“At no time, was Mrs. Gund instructed to go to Kristine’s residence,” Haney’s statement said. “Nor would the Trinity County Sheriff’s Office ever send a citizen to perform a deputy’s job.”
Both sides agree however that the Gunds drove together to the Constantino residence in their truck. The Gunds claim against Trinity Co. then states that the Gunds had “no safety concerns. It adds,
Mr. Gund stayed in the truck and Mrs. Gund went up to the residence to contact Kristine. After a short period of time, Mr. Gund heard a commotion coming from the residence. He exited his truck and walked to the residence to check on his wife. As he got near the front door, he could see an unknown male attacking his wife. Mr. Gund could see the suspect holding Mrs Gund down and proceed to cut her throat with a knife. Mr. Gund thereafter ran to the door and entered the house in an attempt to help Mrs. Gund.
As Mr. Gund entered the home, the assailant attacked him. Mrs. Gund was able to get away at that time and was able to drive their vehicle to the Kettenpom store. Mr. Gund was tased by the suspect and punched several times. [He] could see a motionless body on the floor in the living room of the residence with a bag over the head. Mr. Gund believed that the individual he observed was deceased and he suspected that the assailant was going to attempt to kill him.
The assailant placed his knife by Mr. Gund’s throat and managed to cut Mr. Gund, however Mr. Gund was ultimately able to grab the knife with his hand and disarm the suspect.
Mr. Gund left the scene and had to run to his house through the woods to get to his vehicle. As he was running to his house, he saw the assailant flee the scene.
Meanwhile, Mrs. Gund made it to the Kettenpom store. A the owner related his impressions on this blog,
My employee and a local patron were in the store when the first victim arrived at the store and had a huge slit on her throat. The cut had penetrated her airway but had somehow not cut through the major arteries. She was able to vocalize to some extent but it was pretty dramatic to hear her voice coming out of her mouth and the slit in her throat.
I asked her who had done this to her. She told me that he looked normal but that he was “BAD.”
She told me he was going to kill her husband and where they were at. She wrote a note when talking became too much for her. I called 911 to get help on the way for her.
Records show that the call was made at 4:48 pm.
Then I left the store armed and with a good friend and closest neighbor to see if we could save her husband. As we made the short drive to their house we saw the second victim pulling out of his driveway. His wounds were more superficial and it was clear his life was not in danger. He told us more what the guy looked like and what he was driving. He went to the store to check on his wife and to receive some treatment himself….Both of the surviving victims were tasered. They had wounds to their face from the hooks lodging into their faces. I saw the wounds myself.
Jim also said he was tasered on his spine…. I know he was hit with a Taser multiple times.
Records show that a second call was made minutes later.
We continued down the road to see if we could find the suspect. Upon pulling partway down the long driveway we could see that the car was not any longer at the residence. We turned around and returned to the store to make sure the suspect didn’t go to the store and to make more calls to try to ensure that this car didn’t make it out of the area. There are basically three routes of travel out of here. Once it was realized that two out of three routes were covered by people who responded and were looking for the suspect car that really only left the Mina Rd. as the possible escape route.
According to the Trinity Co. Journal, the first officers did not arrive at the scene until 5:43 pm. The same article also states,
The cause of death for Constantino was determined to be strangulation, the affidavit by Det. Bryan Ward states. The cause of death for Richardson was strangulation with blunt force trauma to the head.
The documents indicate the victims were tortured. Their bodies were found in the Constantino residence with their hands bound with handcuffs. Richardson had a plastic bag over his head secured with tape around his neck. Their legs were bound with rope and they were tied to a staircase. Richardson also had a rope and electrical cord wrapped around his neck. The rope went from his neck to a double pulley hanging from an eyebolt screwed into one of the ceiling rafters, according to the affidavits.
The Mendocino Co. Sheriff Dept. stated that they had been alerted to look out for the suspect’s vehicle at 6:20 pm. Their press release stated,
Trinity County Sheriffs Office advised they had an outstanding suspect, who was responsible for a double fatal stabbing, flee Trinity County at approximately 1700 and a possible route of travel would be Mina Road en route to Highway 162 through Covelo,Ca. ….
Deputies left the Willits area en route to Covelo via Highway 162. At approximately 1845 deputies were driving on Highway 162 towards Covelo. At approximately mile post marker ten (10) they parked their car so they could see the roadway and anyone traveling along its path. Soon after parking along the road, they observed the listed suspect, who fit the suspect description as well as the suspect vehicle, pass them and continue driving West on Highway 162.
Deputies initiated their emergency lights in an attempt to make a vehicle stop. The suspect failed to yield and a pursuit was initiated.
Mendocino County Sheriffs Deputies requested the assistance of Willits Police Department and the California Highway Patrol. Deputies followed the suspect at speeds ranging from 60 to 90 miles per hour. The suspect then turned south onto Highway 101 towards Willits,California with a single sheriffs unit continuing the pursuit. At approximately Mile Marker 54 near Appliance Lane,which is north of Willits,California, the suspect lost control of his vehicle and struck a large oak tree.
Deputies responded to the wrecked vehicle along with medical personnel and observed the suspect had succumbed to injuries received from the accident.
According to the article in the Trinity Co. Journal,
…The search of the vehicle … resulted in seizure of eight bags of processed marijuana and a glass jar with marijuana, a tote bag with marijuana and $11,000 in a duffle bag with marijuana. Another $1,000 in cash was found in a separate duffle bag.
Trinity Co. alleges that the money “proceeds from drug sales or money meant to buy drugs.” They are attempting to seize the money but family members of both Tomas Gouverneur and, his alleged victim, Kristin Constantino, have opposed the forfeiture. The victim’s family presumably because they are alleging it was stolen by Gouverneur from Constantino.
While Detectives, Deputies and the California Department of Justice were processing the scene of the Constantino residence they discovered evidence of a marijuana operation.
Further points that should be noted in this terrible tragedy.
A $10 million dollar law suit has been filed by the Gunds against Trinity Co.
Thank you to Scott Flowers for pointing The Trinity Co. Journal’s story out in a comment on another post.