Archive | July, 2012

Justice Delayed?

Posted on 27 July 2012 by Howard Copelan

Patten Sentencing Postponed For Psych Evaluation

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Convicted killer Kody Patten’s sentencing date was pushed back 24 days this week by District Judge Dan Papez.

The request for a postponement came from Patten’s lawyers who argued for the extra time to complete a psychiatric evaluation of their client.

Two weeks ago Judge Papez accepted their motion to present expert testimony from Reno Psychologist Ted Young.

While it is unknown exactly what Young will testify to, it has been Patten’s attorneys contention all along that their client was little more than a dupe, and that the real mastermind of Mickie Costanzo’s killing was Toni Fratto.

Of the two confessed killers Patten certainly had the longer history of violence. Anecdotes about Patten’s assaults on other children go back to the days he was in day-care, while Fratto has been described as a meek mouse of a girl.

But while Patten has the more violent history of the two, his lawyers have implied that he lacked a motive to kill Mickie Costanzo.

Patten’s lawyers have implied however that beneath that mild front Toni Fratto was seething with hatred and rage toward Costanzo and they claim Fratto’s diaries support their claim.

Some of the most damning entries could be read during Patten’s sentencing. If Patten had gone to trial, it was a certainty that Patten’s attorney would have tried to cast Fratto as the instigator of the brutal killing. But Patten pled guilty to first degree murder while Fratto his girlfriend was allowed to plead to second degree murder.

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Fratto was sentence this April to 18 years to life on one count of second degree murder after striking a plea bargain with the Elko District Attorney office. Originally facing a first degree murder charge like her boyfriend District Attorney Marc Torvinen allowed the 19 year old teen to plead to the lesser charge in exchange for her testimony against Patten. According to Patten’s own attorney John Ohlson of Reno, Fratto’s testimony would have almost assured his client ending up on death row if the case went to trial.

Less than a week after Fratto was sentenced Patten also accepted a deal. In his case however the only thing Torvinen conceded in the deal was to take the death penalty off the table. Patten faces a possible sentence of life without the possibility of parole. For Patten and his attorney anything less than that would be a win and somehow they must convince Judge Dan Papez that sometime in the very far future Kody Patten should have at least the hope of leaving prison.

Toward that end Patten’s attorney’s have booked the entire day to present their case for leniency. Interested observers have likened Patten’s attorneys presumed effort as closing the barn door after the horse has escaped.

‘They can put on a full dog and pony show if they want,” said one attorney. “He still pled guilty to first degree murder.”

Patten’s defense may just argue that their client as evidence by his long history of violent behavior may have been unable to control himself during the commission of the crime and that Fratto used Patten as an attack dog to get rid of a rival. In fact Patten’s attorney could well argue that their client is mentally ill and therefore not deserving of life behind bars.

Currently, there is no standard test for psychopathy in children, but a growing number of psychologists believe that psychopathy, like autism, is a distinct neurological condition — one that can be identified in children as young as 5. Crucial to this diagnosis are callous-unemotional traits, which most researchers now believe distinguish “fledgling psychopaths” from children with ordinary conduct disorder, who are also impulsive and hard to control and exhibit hostile or violent behavior. According to some studies, roughly one-third of children with severe behavioral problems like the aggressive disobedience also test above normal on callous-unemotional traits.

 

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Pyrrhic Victory For Killer’s Dad- Kip Patten?

Posted on 27 July 2012 by Howard Copelan

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Just as Toni Fratto and Kody Patten may be receiving different sentences for essentially the same crime, the treatment of their parents has been as different as day and night.

While Claude and Cassie Fratto have received mostly sympathy, Kip and Dawna Patten are virtual pariahs.

But as blogger on the High Desert Advocate’s website noted it was Kody’s father Kip who not only encouraged his son to confess to the crime and not ‘lawyer up’ but it was also Kip Patten who pressured Fratto to confess as well.

And it may have been the elder Patten’s successful effort to bring his son’s accomplice to justice that accounts for his lack of popularity

According to Kip Patten’s own testimony in both his son’s and Fratto’s preliminary hearings he was soon made aware of Fratto’s involvement in the murder shortly after his son was arrested.

At first reluctant to implicate his girlfriend Kody Patten began to confirm his father’s suspicions via notes and phone screen messages held up to the glass in the Elko County Jail’s visitors area.

The reason for the secrecy may have been simple. Given a clean bill of health by the police Toni Fratto had resumed her life as the quiet shy school girl.

Kip Patten may have assumed that if the accusation against Fratto came from his son or even himself it would not have been believed or taken seriously by either police of the District Attorney.

Instead, as Patten told the court, he began what would be a month long effort to persuade Fratto to come forward herself. In weekly or twice weekly drive to the Elko county jail the elder patten first got the girl to admit to her role in the killing to himself and then to his son’s attorneys all the while keeping his efforts secret from detectives.

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Six weeks after the killing in what was supposed to be a routine hearing, John Pohlson, Patten’s lead attorney dropped the bombshell confession from Fratto.

At first the news was met with mostly disbelief. Toni Fratto was making it up or that she had been brainwashed by Kip Patten and her boyfriend’s lawyers to confess to a crime she did not and could not have committed.

Her own court appointed attorneys were quick to point out inconsistencies between her confession and that of Kody Patten’s and suggested in later filings that the girl was merely parrotting lines fed to her.

But once convinced to confess Fratto held firm and despite pleas and entreaties by her family she never withdrew her admission of guilt. If she had and if her attorneys were successful in getting the confession thrown out of court she may have even escaped conviction.

According to David Lockie one of her attorneys there was not single piece of physical evidence linking her to the crime or the crime scene. While granting that detectives weren’t looking her trace evidence at the time of the killing, Fratto’ defense were if not confident at least slightly optimistic of the chances had it not been for her confession.

Working as though it did not exist and perhaps that Fratto would eventually retract it, Fratto’s defense team identified Kip Patten as their biggest problem. And began what would have been a full scale assault on the man’s reputation and his credibility.

Private detectives were hired to ferret out every bit of dirt on him and they quickly found out that Kip Patten did not lack for enemies in Wendover.

Often portrayed as a bully and a trouble maker, some of Patten’s harshest critics came from former teachers of his son who according to some was allowed to remain in school when any other student would have been expelled only because administrators had been intimidated by Kip Patten.

That character assassination was canceled when Fratto took the plea deal offered by District Attorney Marc Torvinen.

Apart from avoiding trial the plea bargain had another result the belief that Toni Fratto had not actually committed the crime evaporated.

First by the plea deal itself and then by the release of her proffer to the court, Fratto dispelled all doubts that she was an innocent.

Later a jail house interview with CNN’s Andersen Cooper, Fratto may have lost all but her family’s support when she insisted that she ‘was kind of forced’ to commit the murder and was also a victim in a sense.

Ironically Kip patten’s successful efforts to win Fratto’s confession and conviction in the murder may not have helped his son.

Until Fratto confessed Patten’s lawyers were preparing a motion that patten should not face the death penalty and perhaps not even a first degree murder charge because according to the boy’s confession the murder was neither premeditated nor was there a kidnapping involved.

Patten told police that killing occurred during a fight between himself and Costanzo just minutes after she accepted a ride from him from West Wendover High School.

In a motion Patten’s Attorney John Ohlson argued that given the spontaneity of the crime, while heinous did not rise to the level of death penalty case and perhaps not even a first degree murder charge.

Fratto’s confession rendered that argument moot.

The murder according to Fratto happened two hours after Patten said it did meaning Patten held their victim against her will, kidnapping. Also Fratto added that she and Patten spent days if not weeks planning the killing.

After reading Fratto’s proffer Ohlson confided that if Patten had gone to trial he would have most certainly been convicted and very likely could have received the death penalty.

Still Kip Patten may have the satisfaction that without him and if Toni Fratto had not confessed she might have gotten away with it while her boyfriend rotted in prison.

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Fire Fighting Pilots Survive Plane Crash

Posted on 27 July 2012 by Howard Copelan

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Tragedy was averted Monday when an pilots of an airplane helping in the fight of a local wildfire escaped without injury after an emergency landing near lee.

Early Monday morning detectives of the Elko County Sheriff’s office were returning from the fire in Lee when they were alerted that the Jiggs Highway near the Ten Mile ranch was blocked due an aircraft making an emergency landing.

When the detectives arrived in the area of the ranch, the aircraft already landed. The pilot, Terry Scott, and Heli Tach Fire Supervisor Eric Hutchins were outside the aircraft, uninjured.

The aircraft suffered minor damage to both wings due to striking signs along the edge of the roadway while landing.

Traffic was diverted around the aircraft and the road was cleared.

The aircraft was eventually pushed approximately ? mile to the entrance to the Landa Ranch and off of the Jiggs Highway.

The aircraft was one of the spotter planes involved in fighting the Chimney Fire near Lee.

The Ten Mile ranch is located approximately three miles south of the Lamoille Highway intersection in Spring Creek on the Jiggs Highway.

Last month two pilots fighting a blaze in White Pine County lost their lives in a crash.

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Wendover As Art

Posted on 27 July 2012 by Howard Copelan

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Wendover inspired art is now being exhibited on the airbase at the Center for Land Use and Interpretation.

Created by Patrick Kikut , Shelby Shadwell and David Jones “Goldmines” is an artistic record of the three Wyoming artists of the year they spent in Wendover.

The show opened last week with a small reception and will be open for the rest of the summer.

Visitors will however be met with a locked door and a small sign on the building that instructs aficionados to call 310-839-5722 to be given an access code to the exhibit.

“I have to say, after a huge week or extremely demanding work for the three of us, the exhibition looks just great.  We really appreciate the opportunity to express our creative research in this location above all others.” Shadwell wrote in his blog.  “We would like to provide you with an idea of how the show came together for the opening in this post and remind you that the exhibit will remain up for some time if you are passing through the Great American West on I-80 this summer.  The goat roast for our opening did not turn out as delicious as anticipated but was mostly symbolic in the first place (the Ghosts of Wendover must be fed).”

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A Fire Bell In The Night

Posted on 27 July 2012 by Howard Copelan

Every once in while we come across someone or rather he comes across us and wants to put a letter in our newspaper.

We pretty much have an open door about that.

As long as there is no profanity we usually publish them.

We do that for two reasons:

1) It is only fair we give another even if opposing view and

2) It sells newspapers

We do have a problem with a demand.

It is our newspaper after all and the only right anyone else has is to read it.

Most people get that because while most people don’t have a newspaper most people have jobs or businesses of their own.

They have the understanding of what is theirs and what is not theirs.

Since we started our web page we have run into it more.

Some would be bloggers have gotten quite nasty and threatened to sue us for abridging their right to freely express themselves on our website.

Just as we pay for the printing of our newspaper we pay for our website too.

Still a lot of people don’t get it.

Maybe its a generational thing.

Most of our paper readers are over 30 and most of our web readers are under 30.

Which brings us to Barry “You didn’t build that” Obama.

The scariest part of that whole speech was not what the neighborhood organiser in chief said but the loud amens from the crowd.

Fired up those folks heartily agreed that just because someone else got something through brains or hard work or even hook or crook, what they had really wasn’t theirs because a lot of other people had brains and were hard workers and got nothing.

Their anger was palpable and their envy of other people’s accomplishments was at the same time nauseating and frightening.

It was the first time we had ever been frightened while listening to a speech by a president.

Where will this pied piper of despair lead us should he win another term?

Whose stuff will he go after or send the mob to Occupy?

And here is an even scarier thought.

If he loses, as he well should, what will his mob do?

Will they go home peaceably and prepare to fight for another day or will they vent their wrath on the rest of us.

Will the cities burn?

 

One of the best cultural events is happening this weekend in Ely– the Shoshone Fandango.

Go for the food or the fun but also for a greater understanding of our neighbors- those of the First Nations.

We immigrants often speak of the places we came before. The special connection we hold for the land of our fathers even though many of us have never been back.

The Shoshone hold the same kind of reverence for this country- their country.

To see Nevada through their eyes is the same as seeing England though the eyes Londoner, Rome to an Italian or Jerusalem to a Jew.

It is a quiet kind of reverence that once shared can never be forgotten.

 

Once again we found ourselves taking child to the airport.

We have made this journey more times than we can count.

We leave with an excited talkative offspring and come back alone with only the radio for company.

Most of the time we drive back in silence, mulling over what adventures they will have and thinking about the time when there will be a last trip to the airport.

We have done that with children before and with the fourth being the last one we know that our days of chauffeuring children to the far grander, far wider world are numbered as well they should be.

Part of growing up is growing apart. It is bittersweet to see them bound out of the car schlepping luggage to the check-in and then remembering to look back and wave good bye. The wave is mostly done for our benefit we know that foremost in his mind is the grand adventure ahead of him.

We know that because once it was us who rode in the passenger seat with our luggage in the trunk.

And then he is off.

We wish him well.

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Elko District Court July 23, 2012 Judge Nancy Porter Presiding

Posted on 26 July 2012 by Howard Copelan

part 1

FOURTH JUDICIAL DISTRICT COURT 

 DEPARTMENT 1

COURT SCHEDULE

LAW & MOTION CALENDAR

 

July 23, 2012

 

   CR-FP-12-265 Green, James Kyle (DA/Lee) Arraignment (Attempted Possession of a Schedule I or Schedule II Controlled Substance)

   CR-FP-11-1597 Tucker, Mark Matthew (DA/Lockie) Arraignment (Possession of a Controlled Substance)

   CR-FP-11-343 Olson, Nicholas Michael (DA/Macfarlan) Arraignment (Possession of a Schedule I or Schedule II Controlled Substance for the Purpose of Sale/Possession of a Controlled Substance)

   CR-FP-04-17 Chavez, Samuel (DA/Stewart) Mandatory Appearance/Status Hearing

   CR-FP-11-395 Pimentel, Manuel E Baez (DA/Stewart) Sentencing (Conspiracy to Commit Possession of a Controlled Substance)

   CR-FP-11-1534 Boutin, Monika Monique (DA/Gearhart) Arraignment (Possession of a Controlled Substance)

   CR-FP-10-1549 Brown, Amy Marie (DA/Gearhart) Probation Violation Allegation Hearing

   CR-FO-11-1109 Senrud, William Pyle (Kilpatrick) Sentencing (Burglary) (Uttering of a Forged Instrument)

   CR-FO-08-2220 Pohlabel, Kevin Michael (DA/Kilpatrick) Arraignment/Status Hearing (Ex-Felon in Possession of a Firearm)

 

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part 2

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White Pine District Court July 23, 2012

Posted on 26 July 2012 by Howard Copelan

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Haley Lingle Sentencing

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Daniel Vincent Shurtleff Arraignment

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Rick Cammarata Probation Revocation

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Chadd Whaley Change of plea

part 1

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part 2

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part 3

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Elizabeth Gonzalez Sentencing

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White Pine District Court July 16, 2012

Posted on 26 July 2012 by Howard Copelan

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Anthony Terry Arraignment

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Al Fisher Arraignment

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Chad Egge Arraignment

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D.J. Mitchell Seely Arraignment

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Roy Cazier Arraignment

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White Pine District Court July 9, 2012

Posted on 26 July 2012 by Howard Copelan

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Gerald Herline Probation Revocation

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Ricky James Lewis Arraignment

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Eddie Morales Arraignment

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Rick L. Houston Arraignment

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Mario Gonzalez Change of Plea

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Shrooming While Driving Ends In Major Drug Bust

Posted on 20 July 2012 by Howard Copelan


A Minnesota man sits in the Elko County Jail on a $105,00 bond after allegedly shrooming while driving in Wendover.

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Responding to reports of a car accident Tuesday on a dirt road five miles west of two police and emergency crews raced to the seen only to find the car but no accident and its driver Joseph Ferdig, 36, of Blackduck, Minnesota laying on the road obviously intoxicated on something.

Police called for Teke the local drug sniffing dog and when the pup went ballistic they requested a search warrant. Meanwhile Ferdig was allowed to leave the scene. After the warrant arrived police recovered six one pound bags of marijuana with an estimated street value of $6000.00 and tucked away in a back pack 15 grams of psilocybin mushrooms.

Also known as shrooms or magic mushrooms, the fungi have been called nature’s LSD and like the manufactured drug produce hallucinations. Noticeable changes to the audio, visual, and tactile senses may become apparent around thirty minutes to an hour after ingestion. These shifts in perception visually include enhancement and contrasting of colors, strange light phenomena (such as auras or “halos” around light sources), increased visual acuity, surfaces that seem to ripple, shimmer, or breathe; complex open and closed eye visuals of form constants or images, objects that warp, morph, or change solid colors; a sense of melting into the environment, and trails behind moving objects. Sounds seem to be heard with increased clarity; music, for example, can often take on a profound sense of cadence and depth. Some users experience synesthesia, wherein they perceive, for example, a visualization of color upon hearing a particular sound.

As with other psychedelics such as LSD, the experience, or “trip,” is strongly dependent upon set and setting. A negative environment could likely induce a bad trip, whereas a comfortable and familiar environment would allow for a pleasant experience.

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Police later located Ferdig in West Wendover and place him under arrest.

In the department’s press release WWPD Chief credited the arrest to “keen investigative skill” and added that there may be other arrests in West Wendover connected to the incident.

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