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Five of seven men suspected in the murder of a Laytonville man last fall have made initial court appearances. Six men have been arrested in connection with the death of Jeffrey Settler – five are in custody in Mendocino County, one is awaiting extradition from Virginia and one is still on the loose. The Ukiah Daily reports the five appearing last Thursday to enter pleas were Zachary Wuester, Gary Fitzgerald, Abdirahman Mohamed, Michael Kane, and Jesse Wells. Investigators allege they beat Settler to death at his marijuana farm and then stole from him. No pleas were entered yet, though, as there was some dispute over evidence with the defense claiming the Sheriff’s Office had mislaid it, but the Deputy DA saying it’s video surveillance in an unplayable format that will be provided when it’s made playable. Pleas are now set for April 24th.

The weather is being blamed for a fatal crash on Hwy 1 near Albion Sunday night. The CHP says Dennis Kirwan of Little River was pulling a U-Haul trailer behind a pickup truck in the rain and hail around 9 p.m. when he went into a curve and the truck slid on the ice. The truck veered down the embankment and slammed into a tree. Kirwan was pronounced dead at the scene. His passenger, Beth Kirwan was taken to

Mendocino Coast District Hospital with minor injuries.

Guilty verdicts have been returned on several counts against a Mendocino County woman including aiding in drug manufacturing and child endangerment. Amanda Sizemore was arrested last year by the Mendocino Major Crimes Task Force. The DA says on Friday a jury found her guilty of aiding and abetting the manufacture of controlled substances, specifically butane honey oil, which is a felony. She was also found guilty of possession for methadone, methamphetamine, and marijuana, all of which are misdemeanors. The DA says the child endangerment was also a misdemeanor in this case. She will be sentenced March 30th.

It could take until summer to fix the slide along the ramp onto Highway 101 south out of Willits. Caltrans spokesman Phil Frisbie tells the Willits News crews with backhoes will likely be out on the shoulder working on the slide intermittently for a few months, as the slide will continue to move as they work. Frisbie says you should expect traffic there to occasionally be delayed.

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