Saturday, April 29, 2017

Facts and differing views on Arcata stabbing; Humboldt’s last week of news


In the latest episode of Humboldt Last Week: HSU student David Josiah Lawson tragically lost his life after he was stabbed to death at an off-campus house party. 23 year old Kyle Zoellner was arrested for the crime and plead not guilty to murder with bail set at $1 million. The story begins at 8:00.

“There was definitely an argument that occurred involving several people, Zoellner included,” said Arcata Police Chief Tom Chapman. “...The knife that was recovered at the scene is being processed for evidence. It was submitted to the (forensic lab)… If there are fingerprints, it’s something that would be brought up in the court process.”

The Times Standard reported the suspect admitted to fighting with the victim.

Zoellner has a preliminary hearing tentatively set for May 1 at the Humboldt County Courthouse.

Unproven speculation

A friend of the victim told North Coast News he believes the crime was racially motivated -- the victim was black and the suspect is white. He also said a friend of the victim disarmed the suspect.

A friend of the suspect told his family he was knocked out at the time of the stabbing and there’s no way he could have committed to crime. They say the suspect is not racist and they hope the real murderer is found.

People can’t seem to agree on how the fighting started, when and why mace was used, the words that were exchanged, whether the suspect had a knife, and whether or not the suspect was conscious at the time of the stabbing.

The friend of the victim also accused police and medical responders of not helping as much due to racism. The top public comment on that Mad River Union article post reads “... I get his friend was murdered and I feel for him and everyone else (affected) by this tragedy however his accusations that (everyone) is racist shows his own vision is clouded.” Another top comment referring to a first-hand experience outside of Arcata partially reads “don't doubt for a second that these first responders react to people (of) color differently than white people.”

In the podcast, comments made by an Arcata City Councilwoman, another friend of the suspect, and the father of the victim are also shared.

“...The focus is justice and the focus is the criminal investigation,” Chapman said. “A lot of rocks are being thrown at the APD but at the end of the day there’s a mom that is mourning the loss of her son. There’s a 19 year old who’s been murdered and we have to stay committed to them.”

Remember David Josiah Lawson

KHSU host Lorna Bryant sat down with those close to the victim, including his mother.

“...Growing up DJ played soccer, tee-ball, he was just energetic -- he was full of life, he didn’t like staying inside,” said Charmaine Lawson. “...One of the brothers from Brothers United (his fraternity) said you know you lost your son, but you just gained 15 more sons. And right there I was just overjoyed when they said that. It made me feel really good that he spent time with these young men and they were doing positive things. I cannot tell you I’m not sad and broken… I love you guys so very much and I appreciate everything you’ve done for DJ -- for Josiah like you guys call him.”

Also covered

Humboldt’s unemployment rate versus neighbors, a minivan with the bear necessities, a question about transporting weed by air, the “Finding Bigfoot” finale, tsunami preparedness, a guide for Arcata students on the move looking donate or recycle, an airborne car, a movie-star ship, a workplace tragedy, and more.


David Josiah Lawson and Kyle Zoellner