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Sunday, May 15, 2005County: Amador
Case Images: 3 files available
» Richard Warren Bohn - Alleged
» Richard Edward Wendell
» Gina May Bohn
Case Updates: 5 update(s) available
Amador County Sheriff's officials and the county SWAT team raided a cock fight on the morning of May 15 at a farm with a 10-foot plastic chicken at the entrance, arresting 22 spectators, seizing 58 cocks prepared to fight and impounding about 750 more birds, the undersheriff said.
As sheriff's and animal control officers entered the 10-acre farm, 30 people fled to surrounding hills, one man threw $4,000 in cash to the ground and was among those arrested on suspicion of viewing a cock fight, Undersheriff Karl Knobelauch said. Some of the 22 also were arrested on suspicion of possessing fighting cocks and cockfighting implements.
Knobelauch said 58 cocks were found with metal slashers on their ankles, and officials confiscated six guns and several thousands of dollars in cash. Seven children were found at the farm; four were released to Amador County Child Protective Services after a parent had been arrested and no other guardian was immediately available.
The farm owner and operator, Richard Warren Bohn, 53, of Fiddletown, was arrested on suspicion of animal cruelty, possession of fighting cocks and training fighting cocks. Knobelauch said 58 birds were removed from the property, and Bohn will be responsible for caring for the rest of the birds, until a judge decides their fate.
Bohn said he knew nothing of any gambling, denied owning fighting cocks, and knows of no one who had large amounts of money.
"There was nothing going on here," Bohn said in a telephone interview with the Associated Press. "It was no big deal. I think they were misled and I think they made a mistake."
"I have chickens. You know why? They taste good," Bohn said.
Authorities involved in the bust don't agree - they claim Bohn was a major player in the cockfighting business.
|Already facing a trial on charges stemming from a huge May 15 cockfight at his ranch, a Fiddletown man was jailed last week after being accused of domestic violence.|
Amador County sheriff's deputies arrested Richard Wayne Bohn, 54, about 9:30 p.m. Sunday (Nov 2) at his Mount Whitney Drive home after a dispute with his estranged wife, Gina May Bohn, 37. The woman is staying in a guest house on the ranch. The man also was charged with corporal injury to a spouse dissuading a witness with a threat from reporting a crime and for receiving an allegedly stolen 12-gauge shotgun.
Wearing a red-and-white-striped jail suit, Richard Bohn pleaded not guilty Nov. 22 in Amador County Superior Court where Judge David S. Richmond set his bail at $200,000. Richmond said the man had been released on his own recognizance pending his trial on the May 15 charges and two charges of perjury stemming from a September hearing in which he allegedly admitted owning 24 fighting roosters even though he denied that he was about to hold a cockfight just before sheriff's deputies raided his ranch.
During the raid, which may have been the largest of its kind in the county, deputies arrested about 30 people while the same number of spectators fled. Gina Bohn, who filed for divorce earlier this month, also was arrested and pleaded no contest Nov. 3 to one count of bringing a minor to a cockfight. About two dozen men have been convicted since May 15 of attending the cockfight.
The judge told Richard Bohn on Nov. 22 that if he posted bail, he was to stay away from his wife's home. But the man told the judge Gina Bohn's home is near the main house on his ranch where she does her laundry. He said if he was ordered to stay away from his home address, he would have no home.
"I have children and animals to care for and a house in the county," Bohn told the judge over a closed-circuit TV hookup between the jail and courtroom. "I'm not going anywhere."
Bohn has run his business, California Game Farm, out of his ranch for more than seven years, according to reports. He lists himself as a "self-employed fighting cock" ranch operator. Sheriff's deputies said Bohn has been staging cockfights there during that time.
Animal control officials said they found some 800 birds and many sharp cockfighting spurs at the Bohn ranch during the raid.
Deputy District Attorney Joseph Scolari has offered Bohn felony probation and dropping the perjury charges if the man pleads guilty to conspiracy to stage a cockfight. Bohn's attorney, Thomas Thomson, said earlier he is considering the offer. However, Bohn said, Thomson is out of the country until Dec. 10.
|Source: Ledger Dispatch - Nov 30, 2005|
Update posted on Dec 4, 2005 - 11:28PM
|After his wife and another co-defendant pleaded guilty to lesser charges, a Fiddletown man Monday denied perjury charges against him in Amador County Superior Court stemming from a May 15 raid on his ranch where a large cockfight allegedly was about to start.|
Richard Wayne Bohn, 54, allegedly perjured himself at a Sept. 9 hearing when the county animal control director attempted to dispose of some of the fowl seized in the raid. Bohn is accused of staging a cockfight with dozens of spectators and 800 animals. He was booked and released Oct. 21 on the perjury charges.
Deputy District Attorney Joseph Scolari made a plea bargain offer of felony probation and dropping the perjury charges if Bohn pleads guilty to the conspiracy to stage a cockfight charge. Bohn's attorney, Thomas Thomson, said he is considering the offer.
Bohn is scheduled to appear again in court Dec. 15 for a case review hearing at which the offer may be discussed. Bohn's preliminary examination to see if he will stand trial is scheduled for Jan 18.
During a September court hearing, ownership could not be determined for 24 of the fighting cocks held by animal control. Bohn inspected the birds held at animal control and claimed them as his own.
When asked if he could say why about 50 of his birds were found in temporary carrying cages May 15, Bohn said "no." He also said he was not having a cockfight at his property. Superior Court Judge Don F. Howard ruled against Bohn's ownership claim and ordered the birds of undetermined ownership to be destroyed. The district attorney's office then filed two perjury charges against Bohn.
Bohn, his estranged wife Gina May Bohn, 37, and ranch worker Richard Edward Wendell, 40, initially were charged with conspiracy to engage in cockfighting from September 2003 through May 2005, and three misdemeanor charges related to cockfighting.
However on Nov. 3, Wendell pleaded guilty to conspiracy to stage a cock fight and keeping fighting birds. He was ordered to spend 15 days in the jail work program and placed in 24 months summary probation.
Also Nov. 3, Gina Bohn pleaded guilty to permitting a minor to attend a cock fight. She was ordered into the jail work program and was given 12 months summary probation.
|Source: Amador Ledger Dispatch - Nov 11, 2005|
Update posted on Dec 4, 2005 - 11:26PM
|A Fiddletown man faces perjury charges this month after being accused of staging a cockfight with dozens of spectators and 800 animals earlier this year.|
Amador County sheriff's deputies raided preparations for the fight when they served a search warrant May 15 at the chicken ranch of Richard Warren Bohn, 54 and his wife Gina May Bohn, 37.
In a written statement Friday, Amador County District Attorney Todd Riebe said his office has filed another felony complaint against Richard Bohn charging him with two counts of perjury. The new charges allege Bohn gave false testimony at a hearing on the county animal control director's petition to dispose of some of the fowl seized in the raid. Bohn is scheduled to be arraigned on the new charges Oct. 21.
John Vail, director of Amador County Animal Control, said ownership could not be determined for 24 of the fighting cocks held by his officers. A petition filed by Vail requested that Superior Court order the two dozen birds be humanely destroyed or disposed of. After the petition was filed, Richard Bohn inspected all the birds held at Animal Control and claimed them as his own - a claim Vail disputed.
A Sept. 9 hearing was held on Vail's petition where Bohn testified all of the birds held by animal control were his. However, when asked if he could explain why about 50 of his birds were found in temporary carrying cages May 15, Bohn's only response was "no." Bohn also testified he was not having a cockfight at his property.
Superior Court Judge Don F. Howard ruled against Bohn's ownership claim. The judge said Bohn had no explanation why the birds he claimed ownership of were in temporary carrying cages. The judge granted the petition and ordered the birds of undetermined ownership be disposed of.
Meanwhile, the district attorney filed a petition seeking forfeiture of thousands of dollars in cash seized during the raid. The petition alleges the Bohns were engaged in gambling in connection with cockfights for about seven years and cash seized by sheriff's deputies was part of the proceeds derived from such gambling activity, Riebe said.
Richard Bohn, Gina Bohn and Richard Edward Wendell, 40, are jointly charged with felony conspiracy to engage in cockfighting from September 2003 through May 2005, and three misdemeanor charges related to cockfighting. The Bohns are charged with another felony, maintaining a place for wagering on cockfighting, and three misdemeanor counts of contributing to the delinquency of minors. Richard Bohn also is charged with another felony that he accepted a wager on a cockfight.
Richard Bohn's attorney, Thomas Thomson of West Hollywood, filed a writ in the Third District Court of Appeal challenging the judge's order to destroy the birds. On Sept. 20, the Court of Appeal issued an order staying all proceedings in Bohn's case, which casts doubt on whether an Oct. 21 preliminary hearing will take place. Until the Court of Appeal lifts the stay, the Superior Court is unable to take action in the case, the district attorney said.
Contacted at his home, Bohn referred all questions to his attorney. "If we have a trial, I don't think we can do so until after the first of the year," Thomson said. Bohn's attorney said he plans to be at the Oct. 21 court hearing unless some other agreement is made with the district attorney. "I think we have a defense if we have to go further," Thomson said.
Riebe said he expects to prevail on the writ and is not concerned about the stay. "The Court of Appeal is dealing with issues that are not central to the prosecution of the case," Riebe said. " Whatever decision they render, it will not affect the strength of our case or prevent us from going forward after the stay is lifted."
"Considering the significant amount of investigation and numerous defendants involved, I am very pleased that we have been able to successfully resolve the charges against 22 of the defendants without the need for a single trial," the district attorney said.
Since charges were first filed in June, the District Attorney's Office has convicted 22 defendants for crimes related to regular cockfights that were being held around Fiddletown.
The district attorney filed charges against 30 spectators stopped by deputies. "To date, 22 of the defendants have been convicted of misdemeanor charges related to cockfighting," Riebe said. Penalties included fines ranging from $270 to $1,000 and, in most cases, one to three years of probation with search and seizure conditions. Three defendants were ordered to serve jail sentences because of prior convictions for cockfighting-related offenses, Riebe said.
Arrest warrants were issued for three men who failed to appear: Francisco Larios, 23, and Aldo Naranjo Medina, 22, both believed to reside in San Diego, and Simon Azragoza Orozco, 24, who has addresses in West Sacramento and Oregon. Police are trying to find these men.
Charges are pending against five remaining defendants: Marlin Lee Ford, 43, of Stockton and Daniel Falcon Coyoca, 48, of Groveland, are charged with the misdemeanors of being present during the preparations for a cockfight, possession of fighting birds and possession of cockfighting implements. Ford is charged with resisting police officers and contributing to the delinquency of a minor.
"This is the first major cockfighting prosecution Amador County has seen in at least a decade," Riebe said. "It has brought to our attention the nature of cockfighting as a cruel and brutal activity that masquerades as a sport but in reality is centered around illegal gambling. I believe that our prosecution of this case has sent a strong message that such activity will not be tolerated in Amador County."
|Source: Amador Ledger Dispatch - October 12, 2005|
Update posted on Oct 31, 2005 - 2:12PM
|The roosters seized in an alleged illegal cockfighting ring were to be reunited in Amador County on Thursday after losing their housing location at Placer County Animal Control.|
Amador County Animal Control said that Placer County had grown tired of caring for the nine sometimes aggressive birds that were seized in a multi-jurisdictional raid in Fiddletown in May.
Director of Amador Animal Control John Vail said Wednesday that 58 of the roosters were taken by animal control in the raid. Since then, the bulk of the birds has been kept at the Sutter Hill Animal Control facility. Nine were housed by Placer County Animal Control due to a lack of adequate storing space in Sutter Hill, where they have been since the May 15 raid.
The nine roosters were scheduled to return to Amador County on Thursday.
A hefty grant allowed for the purchase of cages and makeshift chicken coops were assembled with plywood boards found around the facility, a blue plastic tarp and various odds and ends.
The coops include one with a large plywood roof to keep off sun, the other with a large plastic tarp. They both have misting systems to help cool the air.
"The Humane Society of the U.S., a non-profit organization gave Animal Control a $5,000 grant to humanely house the roosters," Vail said. Before the two chicken coops were built, the roosters were kept in dog kennel areas. The lost room led to the building of the coops.
A representative sample of 58 roosters was seized, though 800 of the birds were found in the raid. Of that number, 350 were suspected as being fighting roosters.
|Source: Amador Ledger Dispatch - Aug 8, 2005|
Update posted on Aug 8, 2005 - 10:12AM
|Richard Warren Bohn has officially been charged by the Amador County District Attorney's Office in conjunction with a large cockfighting raid that occurred last month. |
The charges were filed by the DA's office Friday and list Gina May Bohn and Robert Edward Wendell as co-defendants. The trio will be arraigned June 15 in Amador Superior Court.
Richard, Gina and Wendell each face one felony charge of alleged conspiracy to engage in cockfighting, which includes five overt acts. DA Todd Riebe said overt acts are acts that must be completed in order to carry out the conspiracy charge. Those overt acts allege that the three defendants communicated to other persons that an alleged cockfight would be held on the Bohns' property; that payment was allegedly collected from persons seeking admission to the Bohns' property; that alleged fighting birds were brought to the property; that the alleged fighting birds were weighed and tagged with numbered bands; and that the trio allegedly drafted a fighting schedule board that listed the weight and band numbers of the birds.
Additionally, the Bohns and Wendell are charged with misdemeanor possession or training of fighting animals, possession of cockfighting implements and possession of a bird or animal for fighting.
The Bohns are further charged with felony maintaining a place for wagering and three counts of contributing to the delinquency of a minor.
Richard is also charged with felony accepting a wager.
The charges are the result of a raid conducted May 15 by the Amador County Sheriff's Office SWAT Team, Investigations Division and Patrol Division and are the result of at least a year's worth of surveillance and investigation.
According to information released after the raid by the Amador County Sheriff's Office, the original warrant for the Bohns' residence was secured in order to search for evidence of ongoing cockfighting, cockfighting paraphernalia and implements and evidence of animal cruelty.
"We have known for a couple of years that Mr. Bohn was running what he called a chicken ranch," Amador County Undersheriff Karl Knobelauch said in May. "But he didn't appear to have any poultry production operation." Knobelauch added that neighbors to the property tipped off the ACSO that cockfighting may have been occurring at the residence.
Knobelauch said the warrant was served just prior to an alleged major cockfight occurring. He said between 55 and 60 people were at the residence. No additional fowl were injured due to the timing of the warrant's execution.
"These animals were clearly prepared for fighting," ACSO Capt. James Wegner said in May. "They were already weighed, were numbered and lined up in their fight sequences. They were set to fight."
Once ACSO deputies and the county's SWAT team served the warrant, 22 subjects were detained and subsequently arrested, while approximately 30 others fled into the surrounding hillsides. All those who were arrested have been charged with attending an animal fight and some were charged with possession of fighting cocks and possession of cockfighting implements, the ACSO said.
Upon conducting further searches of the scene, five of the alleged cockfighting participants who fled were located. While these people were not arrested at the scene, charges are pending, the ACSO said.
Several other subjects were subsequently identified and additional arrests are expected in the ongoing investigation.
Several children were located at the scene as well. Four of those children were released to Amador County Child Protective Services.
In addition, six firearms were seized during the raid - three of which were possessed by participants allegedly attending the cockfight.
Several thousand dollars worth of alleged cockfighting implements were located and seized as well, according to the ACSO. "These implements consisted of small metal knives - 1 1/2 inch to 3 inches in length - commonly referred to as 'slashers,' which are affixed to the cock's spurs to inflict greater trauma on the opposing fowl," the ACSO reported. Wegner said some of these knives were found in Bohn's house.
Additionally, several thousand dollars in cash was also seized, as was evidence of gambling. Attendees of the alleged fights told law enforcement they had been charged an admission fee as well.
Wegner said in May that Richard had an alleged fighting pit set up on the property that had lines marking the fighting area. "The actual pit is about 15 feet by 12 feet and is oval shaped," he said. "There was blood on the sides of the pit walls. There were also two other pits that were not being used but had blood stains on the carpets that were covering them."
The ACSO reported that approximately 800 fowl were located on the property, with 350 of those being fighting cocks. Approximately 58 fowl were seized as they were being prepared to fight and as a representative sample of those being confiscated. The remaining fighting cocks were seized and impounded on the property.
Wegner said the birds were left on the property because of the sheer number of them. "The animal control officers photographed, tagged and documented each fighting cock," he said in May. "There are so many birds that we simply do not have the ability to humanely care for them. So they are impounded and Bohn has to care for them." Wegner said that if any of the impounded birds get sick or die, Bohn must notify the ACSO and animal control. Animal control would then check the bird to ascertain why it was sick and if it is determined it was used for fighting, Richard would be arrested.
"There were also two piles of dead birds, but because they were so badly decomposed animal control could not determine the cause of death," Wegner added.
According to the ACSO, the fowl were seized and documented by members of the Amador County Animal Control, the Humane Society of the United States, Galt Police and animal control from Stanislaus, El Dorado, Placer, Merced, Yolo, Tehama and Sacramento counties, as well as animal control from the cities of Sacramento and Lathrop.
|Source: Ledger-Dispatch - June 8, 2005|
Update posted on Jun 12, 2005 - 1:07AM
- The Sacramento Bee - May 16, 2005
- Fox40 - May 17, 2005
- Amador Ledger Dispatch - June 8, 2005
- Amador Ledger Dispatch - May 18, 2005
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