[UPDATE] Marci Kitchen Unexpectedly Surrendered Herself to the Humboldt County Jail

Marci Kitchen

Marci Kitchen

This article, written by Thadeus Greenson, was posted first in the North Coast Journal last night. It is reprinted here with their kind permission.

Marci Kitchen voluntarily surrendered her bail bond and turned herself into the Humboldt County jail yesterday and, according to her court appointed mitigation specialist, will not contest prosecutors’ efforts to keep her behind bars until she is sentenced later this month on charges of vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated.

Humboldt County jail staff said that Kitchen was booked into the jail on Monday. Reached yesterday evening, Max Hadley, who the court recently appointed to be Kitchen’s mitigation specialist, confirmed that Kitchen had voluntarily surrendered her bond in an effort to “take responsibility.”

Kitchen pleaded guilty as charged in the case Aug. 20, admitting that she was driving drunk when she struck and killed two 14-year-old girls, one of whom was her daughter, on Eel River Drive shortly after dusk July 12, 2016, and fled the scene. She had remained free after posting $750,000 bail in the case but is due in court tomorrow morning for a custody hearing at which prosecutors are expected to argue that she should be held in jail until her sentencing hearing, when she faces a maximum sentence of up to 11 years in state prison, according to prosecutors, but could be released on probation.

Hadley said Kitchen made the decision to voluntarily surrender her bond.

“She decided she was going to do what she has wanted to do all along, which was take responsibility for this and start serving her time now,” Hadley said. “Her lawyers never would let her talk about this case or take responsibility because they felt the case could be litigated, so she was never able to do this because her lawyers advised against it.”

Kiya Kitchen, Kitchen’s daughter, and her friend Faith Tsarnas were both struck from behind while skateboarding on Eel River Drive. Tsarnas died at the Fortuna crash site and Kiya Kitchen died of her injuries a day later at a Bay Area hospital.

After fleeing the scene of the crash, Kitchen surrendered to authorities two months later when — after the California Highway Patrol finished its investigation — prosecutors charged her with two counts of vehicular manslaughter, one count of driving under the influence causing injury and one count of fleeing the scene of an injury crash. She had been free after posting $750,000 following her arrest.

Kitchen had pleaded not guilty in the case — which dragged through the local court system, bogged down by repeated delays, including one that came after her private attorneys stepped away from the case, saying she’d run out of money to pay them. But she surprised everyone last month when she pleaded guilty as charged, admitting each of the four counts and the seven special allegations she faced.

During the change of plea hearing, both Deputy District Attorney Stacey Eads and local attorney Heidi Holmquist-Wells, who was in court representing Kiya Kitchen’s father and brother, asked the court to take Kitchen into custody pending sentencing, noting that she has essentially been convicted, poses a flight risk and that more than 750 days had passed since the girls were killed. Interim Conflict Counsel Meagan O’Connell, who’s representing Kitchen in the case, argued against jailing her client, saying she’d abided by all conditions of her bail and made all her court appearances.

Judge Kaleb Cockrum denied the request from the prosecution for the time being but set a hearing at 8:30 a.m. today for both sides to officially argue the matter. But after Kitchen’s surrender, O’Connell is now expected to inform the court that Kitchen will not contest being held in jail until sentencing, which is scheduled for Sept. 18.

“She’s waiting to be sentenced and will accept whatever that sentence is,” Hadley said.”

We will update with more information from the hearing as soon as possible.

UPDATE 12:20 p.m.: The North Coast Journal attended the hearing and has a report here in which Greenson, who wrote the article above, states that Kitchen is being held in isolation for her own safety.

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56 comments

  • Take responsibility!!!!! Bullshit

  • Yeah is she trying to repair her poor public image so she can feel safe continuing to live here after her sentence is served?

  • Did her street dealers stop selling to her and she figured the Humboldt Hilton has a never ending supply drugs so why not join in on the fun?

  • Hmmm, does this mean she gets the ten percent of the 750k bail returned to her?

  • Her lawyers wouldn’t let her take responsibility? My god, even when confessing she blames others! This woman is devoid of moral character.

  • Its about time,thow some one should get all her money back from the stupid blood suckers & the bond or what ever & give it to the familys left be hind,the lawers and courts just fucked this hole thing up and took all the money for doing so again.her son could maybe get some help to deal with what she put him threw,the other family could maybe get some help to deal with there loss,,but they do the lawyers get to go vacation & courts get fater,. As for her,I dont no if theres help for what she has done,very sad sickening.

    • Don't Drink While Pregnant

      good idea. with the end of cash bond in California, that should mean more money available to pay restitution to victims and their families, instead of just going to a bail bondsman. Sounds good to me.

    • Concerned Citizen

      Do I Get My Money Back After The Case Is Over?
      There are a few exceptions to this but you do not get your premium back that you paid to the bonding office. This fee is what allowed the defendant to get out of jail and is fully earned once the defendant is out of custody. For example if the defendant gets rearrested a week later you get no portion nor a refund of any money. If the bondsman fails to live up to his end of the contract then and only then you may be entitled to a refund of some kind.

  • Awww, see?! She always wanted to admit her guilt and “do the right thing”. It was those lawyers who wouldn’t let her do it! And they took all her money! Oh, except for the $750,000 bail amount. So immediately following a big party on Labor Day weekend she did what she always wanted to do! And she only waited until after the weekend so she wouldn’t be using up jail space that could be used for drunk drivers on the holiday weekend. Because THAT is how much she cares!! How many ways can this thing get spun?

    • Left up to commenters here the number of ways this thing can get spun are endless. You’re already off to a good start.

      • Thanks! I try to do my part! Already wrong about the bond and I’m probably wrong about some other stuff too…that’s why we call it Thunderdome Lite!

  • unbridled philistine

    It is about time Marci was confined to a small space so she can begin the process of dealing with and reflecting on the crime she has committed…. That said I hope the silence is too loud to sleep… Good bye for what? 3 years with good behavior? Sad you only serve one third of your time with good behavior…

    • Never been to the pink house myself, but from what I hear it’s NEVER quiet nor dark. TVs on and full lights on 24/7.

  • This story should be an ad for anti-drunk driving campaigns.
    And potentially a way different case had it been under the new no cash bail rule, which definitely needs some fine tuning that our sheriff says he is in touch with legislators about, kitchen may have been ruled to be a “danger to the community” & kept in jail.
    They ought to look at the ability to pay still but on the flipside, if you have 750,000 for bail then youre probably a flight risk. If you work minimum wage at the gas station youre probably not going very far.
    I wonder if the DUI regs will shift, how many people are sitting in jail cells because they cant afford the 10,000 plus that fines and classes cost? Those folks could be doing community service instead so the space is free for violent offenders.
    On all sides its all about the money $$$$, not the community’s well being.

  • I just don’t understand. This mother kills her daughter and another person cause she was drunk. All she might get is 11 years…..how can this be so????
    She is so lucky she is awhile woman

  • About 2 years too late.

  • Did she want to turn herself in while she was in Mexico? Wow. I guess she is hoping that by showing responsibility in the final hours she might get a lighter sentence?

  • Can you imagine how she must feel? Once she sobered up and realized what happened. Her pain will be a punishment for a lifetime.

    • Don't Drink While Pregnant

      in that case she should have turned herself in when the hangover wore off, not after trying to hide for months.

  • I am not dismissing what this woman did to her own child and friend and that being said she will need to learn to live with herself for the remainder of her days behind bars and out of jail eventually and hopefully one day forgive herself…. having opinions about others is rampant in this community

  • Lawyers definitely want money and say they can litegate anything. Not surprising how the case went. That being said, she should’ve surrendered and plead guilty much sooner than 2 years. She fucked herself and her friends, community, and family!

  • No matter what she does she will be vilified and maybe rightly so, but the lives that have NOT been touched by the horrors of addiction are miniscule in number. Probably near zero. This is not the first, nor will it be the last family , and futures destroyed by alcohol. If only every thoughtless drunk was so shamed maybe we wouldn’t have the DUI’s and other violent and non violent addiction fueled crimes we see in this community everyday . Humboldt looooooves to DRINK and DRIVE. Nary a fundraising event can proceed without buckets of beer and cocktails and no one bats and eye as folks hop in their rigs to leave . One single drink leaves the average person legally “impaired.” Folks act like they are flawless and unfamiliar with the sickness that is addiction and it’s many costs. Yuck . Put down the fucking beer.

    • Maybe, just maybe if beer of alcohol was not allowed to be advertised every 3 minutes on TV people would not be told that drinking is so much fun. “this community everyday”? Every community everyday.

      • So true! It’s basically Satan dragging souls down to hell one at a time , on a national, and global scale! And that there is only puny consequences for driving drunk , and “everybody does it” (to some degree) is why it is so normalized and ignored.

        Resist! Call on Higher Power!

        **Crunch the math: 720 injuries , and 28 deaths needlessly suffered in the USA EVERY DAY from inebriated driving. If there was any other influence (terrorist or pathogen ) that was causing this kind of havoc people would be all upset . But like heart disease which is responsible for a whopping 1 out of every 4 deaths , ho hum. Business as usual.

    • Don't Drink While Pregnant

      might help if the area had better, later-running public transit. it can take forever to get a taxi and the buses stop running by 9pm. Even if they had later buses running only during special events that would help with traffic and DUIs.

  • So, while driving intoxicated Ms. Kitchen strikes and kills two pedestrians, one of which just happens to be her daughter? Is Eel River drive a serpentine, vegetation obscured, right of way? No it’s, except for one variation, as straight as an arrow and not obscured. On this 2 mile stretch of road we’re to believe Ms. Kitchen lost control of her vehicle and struck two individuals occupying approximately 15 sq. ft. of road or the land parallel with that road at just that moment in time? Highly unlikely. In my opinion, Ms. Kitchen had intent and carried out an act of homicide.

    • Were the two skateboarders in the road when they were hit? Or were they along side the road? Did they determine that during the investigation?

      • They determined she stopped after hitting the girls ,saw her daughter’s friend and left her to die as she hid the jeep

      • yeah I asked this all along. No one responds. WHY WERE THE GIRLS IN THE ROAD?

        I deal with GMOB’s on sidewalks in Eureka every time I go out.

        Skateboarders, too.

        It’s all immature. Arrested adolescence (for the adults, I mean).

        • Okay Marci settle down. The skateboarders were not on the sidewalk because it is illegal to skateboard on the sidewalk.

    • Absolutely agreed!!!

    • Hmm I wasn’t aware that she “ lost control of her vehicle” and that’s odd considering I’ve followed this story since it happened. Somehow I must have missed that important detail.

      • So Divide by Zero, are you a prosecutor now or do you just play one on the internet?

      • Oh Sleepy Alligator, didn’t they report to you personally to tell you all the facts. It must have slipped their minds.

        • I just try my best to keep my comments relative to the story I’m commenting on and I only comment on the ones that interest me. I don’t recall ever reading that Marci Kitchen lost control of her vehicle so I’m just asking if I overlooked that or if it’s just more nonsense that has been made up by some emotional person. Whether you like it or not (who really gives a shit) that would be considered an important detail in the case.

          • Well, when someone runs over a person unintentionally, they’ve lost control of the vehicle.

            But mostly it sounds like repetitive writing really. Like ‘thats how we say this.’

            • Running over someone, drunk or not, is not the same as losing control of a vehicle. Considering the fact that she continued to drive home and asked her son to ram the vehicle into the basketball pole I’d say Marci Kitchen did not lose control of her vehicle.

  • She turned herself in because she’s afraid to be on the streets. But then we knew she was a coward anyway, didn’t we?

  • Before anyone gets too excited about her sentence remember where we are. The land of probation with a “you better not do it again or you’ll be in big trouble” clause.

  • If I happen to remember correctly somehow I believe that she paid all cash Bond. There was some kind of stipulation about that she wasn’t eligible for bail unless it was or something like that at the beginning am I correct Kym? Subsequently, if that’s the case she’s going to get that entire $750,000 back. Which I would suspect she’s going to use to pay off legal fees. Wjen in fact it should go to the victims families.

    • Or if that’s the case and she gets the money back I will assume her boyfriend’s lawyer Dad- Mel Pearlston-will have papers saying she owes it to him for legal fees or such and whittle it down significantly. That’s what lawyers do and he was one of the best at defending drug dealers and their sometimes huge piles of cash. Honestly- back in CAMP days he was the guy you wanted defending you- he was the best (right after Sinoway)

  • “Her lawyers never would let her talk about this case or take responsibility because they felt the case could be litigated, so she was never able to do this because her lawyers advised against it.”

    Her lawyers scamming her for her last dollar. As soon as the money was gone they cut her loose and she had a public defender. Remember this if you ever fuck up and do something idiotic. Don’t trust your lawyer and do the correct thing.

  • I do not want to see that pic of her anymore. It accompanies every article involving her. All who care know what she looks like by now. I appreciate all updates on the case, but I can go the rest of my life without ever seeing that photo again.

  • It haunts my dreams….

  • I don’t care about Marci Kitchen. I care about the people who were killed. I find it deplorable that ‘she wants to take responsibility like she always wanted to do’. Wow. Since when? Good luck to you lady.

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