SANTA ROSA (CBS SF) — Sonoma County District Attorney Jill Ravitch said Thursday she agreed not to seek the death penalty if Shaun Gallon pleaded no contest to three first-degree murder charges, including the shooting of two engaged camp counselors in 2004, his brother’s slaying in 2017, and an attempted bombing murder in 2004.
Gallon, 40, of Forestville was scheduled for a preliminary hearing Friday for the slayings of Lindsay Cutshall, 22, of Ohio and Jason Allen, 26, of Michigan on Aug. 18, 2004, his 36-year-old brother Shamus’ killing in the family’s home in Forestville on March 24, 2017 and the attempted slaying of John Robles, of Monte Rio in Guerneville on June 10, 2004.
The Sonoma County Sheriff’s Office on May 5, 2017, announced Gallon’s arrest for the slayings of the engaged Midwest couple who were shot in their sleeping bags on Fish Head Beach in Jenner.
The couple was on a three-day sightseeing trip to Northern California and had been white water rafting at a Christian camp in El Dorado County. Their killing was under investigation for 13 years.
“It’s especially joyful to get to this point,” Sheriff Steve Freitas said when Gallon was arrested.
The investigation took a turn when Gallon was questioned about the twin slaying after he was arrested for his brother’s murder, the sheriff’s office said in 2017. Gallon reportedly gave information only Cutshall’s and Allen’s killer would have known, according to the sheriff’s office.
The rifle used in the beach killings hasn’t been found.
Outside Sonoma County Superior Court Thursday afternoon, the lead sheriff’s detective in the case Joey Horsman said Gallon was very candid about all three cases against him.
“Getting his admissions and comparing them with our evidence brought all the pieces together and we unequivocally knew. He was very candid about the crimes he committed,” Horsman said.
“He started with the (2004) bombing and he got more brazen. For me it was no surprise. With all the evidence there is no one else who did it. His name never came off the top of the list,” said sheriff’s Lt. Tim Duke who investigated the slayings early in the investigation.
“It’s a win win. The evidence matches his admission and he confessed,” Duke said.
“We are very satisfied as are the families,” Horsman said.
Chief Deputy District Attorney Brian Staebell said Cutshall and Allen’s families are satisfied with the plea agreement. He is unsure if they will attend Gallon’s sentencing on July 15.
Gallon will be sentenced to three consecutive life terms without the possibility of parole, three terms of 25 years to life for the use of a gun and causing great bodily injury and seven years to life for first-degree premeditated attempted murder.
“Not withstanding the heinous nature of the crimes, and the number of victims who fell prey to this defendant, it was necessary to weigh the evidence, the burden carried by the surviving family members and the impact on the public safety of the community in accepting this disposition,” Ravitch said.
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