Pauli Halstead: Requesting an inquest into the suspicious death of John Anderson |

Pauli Halstead: Requesting an inquest into the suspicious death of John Anderson

On the morning of July 29, John Anderson was found dead sitting in the driver’s seat of his car on the property where he was living.

The previous month, in June, John had given a recorded deposition in the case of the shooting death of Gabriel Strickland by two sheriff’s deputies and one Grass Valley police officer. Prior to his death, John had expressed concern for his safety in regards to giving the deposition, which contradicted the narrative and report of the then-assistant district attorney, Chris Walsh.

Patrick Dwyer, the attorney in the civil lawsuit for wrongful death in the Strickland death, filed a Memorandum in Support for Evidentiary Hearing on the Death of John Anderson and the Appointment of a Special Master to Oversee the Autopsy of John Anderson.

It was denied, and the autopsy was subsequently performed in Placer County.

Larry DeMates, a licensed private investigator, also filed a declaration in support of an appointment of a special master to oversee the autopsy.

In the declaration he made the case that the Sheriff’s Office was “shockingly devoid of proper police practices and procedures.” He claimed among the examples:

— No on-scene viewing of the deceased.

— No photos were taken by law enforcement.

— The body was removed from the scene and a tow truck came and towed the deceased vehicle away.

— No collection of prints or DNA or other crime scene processing.

— No collection of the video showing all entries and exits from the property.

— No receipt for anything removed from the property.

— The incident scene was not secured by yellow tape or anything else.

— The Sheriff’s Office did not send any detective or other qualified investigative personnel to the incident scene.

— Removal of the body before crime scene processing was done has certainly caused substantial and irreversible spoliation as to the cause and manner of death.

DeMates states, “It is my opinion that there was no meaningful investigation by the NCSO into the death of John Anderson. Further, no law enforcement officers are so poorly trained or incompetent. Therefore, I must conclude that the NSCO intentionally failed to conduct a meaningful inquiring into the death of John Anderson.”

There was a public records request made for the autopsy results and when it was produced, it raised many questions. First, the autopsy stated that Anderson’s death was accidental, due to an overdose of methamphetamine (1300 mg/dL) causing “Acute Pontine Hemorrhage.”

Those friends who knew John Anderson are certain he was not a meth user. He smoked cannabis. Suspiciously, there was no cannabis detected in the toxicology report. The two people who discovered his body noted small marks on either side of his neck and bruising on his back.

There are more strange discrepancies in the autopsy report. On the Coroner Final Report of Investigation, Anderson is described as being 5’9” and having blonde hair. On page 32 of the Nevada County Sheriff’s Office Autopsy Report, Anderson is described as being 5’6” and having black hair. On page 48, titled Certificate, Anderson’s race is listed as Asian. The coroner’s reports are signed off by the coroner as being correct.

Anderson had brown hair, he was not two different heights, and he was not of Asian descent.

Having supposedly died of a massive overdose of methamphetamine, no drugs or drug paraphernalia (syringe or other evidence) were found in his vehicle or in his RV. Death, after ingesting such a lethal dose, would have been almost immediate rendering the subject unable to move. Anderson’s death was first listed as, “natural” and then changed to “accidental.”

Requests to view photos of his body were denied by the Mike Walsh, assistant county coroner. There is a new request that the photos be shown in the presence of a judge or the district attorney to confirm the body that was autopsied belonged to Anderson.

Currently there is request to the district attorney for a formal inquest into the death of John Anderson. Given the anomalies in the autopsy report, and the suspicious circumstances of Anderson’s death, friends of John Anderson are seeking answers. It is obvious, in addition to the fact that there was no meaningful investigation by Sheriff’s Office of Anderson’s death, there was also no meaningful or accurate conducting of the autopsy and subsequent coroner’s report.

Pauli Halstead lives in Nevada City.



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