Covelo Six Charged with First Degree Murder, Kidnapping, and Torture of Traci Bland and Kyle McCartney
Six Round Valley residents face grisly charges in the November 19 killings of Traci Bland and Kyle McCartney, according to a criminal complaint filed by the Mendocino County District Attorney’s Office. Those charges include murder in the first degree, kidnapping, carjacking, and torture.
The Covelo Six include Joseph Joshua Hoaglen, Samson Musellini Little Bear Joaquin, Joaquina Patrice Joaquin, Britton Leonard Azbill, Sr., David Joaquin, Jr., and Janet Faye Azbill. The criminal complaint makes clear they are the purported perpetrators of the November 19 kidnapping and subsequent murders of Traci Bland and Kyle McCartney
Regarding the two counts of murder in the first degree, the Covelo Six are accused of killing Traci Bland and Kyle McCartney “with deliberation and premeditation.”
Two special circumstances levied at the accused–involving kidnapping and carjacking–provide insight into the act of killing Bland and McCartney.
All six of the accused face charges of participating in a criminal conspiracy to “forcibly, and by any of the means of instilling fear, steal, take, hold, detain, or arrest” both Bland and McCartney.
Perhaps the most troubling detail revealed in the charging document is count six and seven asserting the Covelo Six “willfully, unlawfully, with the intent to cause cruel and extreme pain and suffering for the purpose of revenge, extortion, persuasion and/or for sadistic purpose” inflicted great bodily injury on both Bland and McCartney.
The charging documents reveal strike allegations against three members of the Covelo Six. A strike allegation is a previous felony conviction that will inform subsequent sentencing.
In September 2016, Joaquina Patricia Joaquin was convicted of felony Assault with a Deadly Weapon in Tulare County.
In September of this year, Britton Leonard Azbill Senior was convicted of felony Assault With a Deadly Weapon in Mendocino County.
David Lee Joaquin also faces a strike offense stemming from a 2017 felony conviction of Burglary in the first degree.
Also, Joaquin was arrested by Mendocino County Sheriff’s Office on November 23, 2020 for possession of a dagger and drug intoxication.
Outside of the criminal complaint’s scope, the other members of the Covelo Six, Joseph Hoaglen, Samson Joaquin, and Janet Faye Azbill, have an extensive criminal past.
In December 2018, the Mendocino County Sheriff’s Office featured Hoaglen in their “Warrant Wednesday” post describing him as being wanted for assault with a deadly weapon and making criminal threats.
In January 2018, Hoaglen faced charges of robbery and vehicle theft.
In March of 2017, Hoaglen was stopped by MCSO deputies while driving in Round Valley, and a record check indicated he had outstanding warrants for second-degree robbery and use of a firearm during the commission of a crime.
Samson Joaquin’s criminal past includes where he was arrested and charged with domestic violence battery after allegedly attempting to choke and hit his pregnant partner.
In 2006, Janet Faye Azbill was booked into the Mendocino County jail on suspicion of driving under the influence, driving with suspended privileges and probation violations.
As per the criminal complaint, in upcoming days the defendants will present any witness statements, physical/mental exams, scientific tests, or evidence they intend to use at trial to the Mendocino County District Attorney’s Office.