News Coverage


Witnesses describe bloody Lakehead area murder scene

Witnesses describe bloody Lakehead area murder scene

- Record Searchlight
A Shasta County sheriff's deputy took the witness stand in Shasta County Superior Court Tuesday as he described in graphic detail the horrific scene of a September stabbing at a Lakehead area RV park and campground that left a 50-year-old man dead.
"He was covered in blood," said deputy Justin Brewer after finding Michael Douglas Graves lying next to an RV with numerous stab wounds and gasping for breath. "I asked him who stabbed him. He said, Chris, and then lost...

Judge says he’s leaning toward dismissing Benno case

Judge says he’s leaning toward dismissing Benno case

- Record Searchlight
Medical marijuana activist James Benno and his two sons had a pretty good day Friday in Shasta County Superior Court.
So did their lawyers.
That's because they may be one step closer in seeing their long-running criminal case dismissed after it's slowly gone through the court system for nearly four years.
"Everything is looking good," Benno said after court Friday morning.
Benno, who declined to elaborate, made his comment after Superior Court Judge...

Benno and sons acquitted on all but two counts

Benno and sons acquitted on all but two counts

- Record Searchlight
A Shasta County jury acquitted medical marijuana activist James Benno and his two sons Wednesday on all but two felony counts during their trial in Shasta County Superior Court, one of the three defense attorneys involved in the case said.
A mistrial was declared on those two concentrated marijuana-related counts, paving the way for a possible retrial on both of them.
Jurors, who began their deliberations late Tuesday morning, announced early Wednesday afternoon they were...

Benno trial to carry on; mistrial averted

- Record Searchlight
A mistrial was averted in the Shasta County jury trial of medical marijuana activist James Benno and his two sons Tuesday after another Superior Court judge took over the case.
Superior Court Judge Dan Flynn assigned himself as the trial judge after Judge Stephen Baker disqualified himself from continuing to preside over the trial due to an apparent conflict.
In his written Friday order, Baker, who did not explain the reasons for his disqualification, said he would declare...

Benno trial hits roadblock; mistrial may be declared

Benno trial hits roadblock; mistrial may be declared

- Record Searchlight
A Shasta County Superior Court judge presiding over the criminal trial for outspoken medical marijuana activist James Benno and his two sons is expected to declare a mistrial Tuesday after issuing an order Friday afternoon disqualifying himself from the case.
In his order, Superior Court Judge Stephen Baker said he would declare the mistrial and the case would then he sent back to Superior Court Judge Dan Flynn for reassignment to another judge for re-trial.
His order caught the...

Ban on state aid to federal marijuana cops proposed

Ban on state aid to federal marijuana cops proposed

- Record Searchlight
Less than a week before the White House hinted at new operations targeting recreational marijuana Thursday afternoon, several California legislators have already submitted a bill to bar any state or local help to those operations.
White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer's comments on Thursday that "greater enforcement" of federal marijuana laws against recreational marijuana with no elaboration shook the marijuana industry in California, which legalized recreational marijuana in...

Benno trial finally gets underway

Benno trial finally gets underway

- Record Searchlight
Nearly three years after their arrests on illegal marijuana cultivation and weapon charges, the criminal trial for outspoken medical marijuana activist James Benno and his two sons finally got underway Wednesday in Shasta County Superior Court.
During morning opening statements, Senior Deputy District Attorney Ben Hanna led jurors on a verbal tour of their three-bedroom home that was raided in May 2014, saying every room in the the Hopekay Lane house contained processed...

Benno and sons going to trial next week

Benno and sons going to trial next week

- Record Searchlight
After seven earlier postponements, medical marijuana activist James Benno and his two sons are set to begin standing trial next week in Shasta County Superior Court after two judges rejected defense requests Friday to once again delay it.
The 51-year-old Benno and his sons, Jacob, 25, and Logan, 22, are due to start their long-put off jury trial starting Tuesday in Superior Court Judge Stephen Baker's courtroom.
The trial, which is expected to take nine to 12 days, was...

Benno trio face trial over pot plantation protest

Benno trio face trial over pot plantation protest

- Record Searchlight
Three medical-marijuana activists, arrested in a 2014 raid at their 100-plant garden in Happy Valley, will face trial in February, a Shasta County Superior Court judge ruled Monday.
James Michael Benno will stand trial alongside his sons, Jacob Daniel and Logan Wayne Benno, on several charges related to marijuana grows and weapons after the raid on their medical pot garden, which they grew to protest Shasta County’s ban on outdoor grows, Judge Daniel Flynn ruled in response to a...

Benno trio face trial over pot plantation protest

Benno trio face trial over pot plantation protest

- Record Searchlight
Three medical-marijuana activists, arrested in a 2014 raid at their 100-plant garden in Happy Valley, will face trial in February, a Shasta County Superior Court judge ruled Monday.
James Michael Benno will stand trial alongside his sons, Jacob Daniel and Logan Wayne Benno, on several charges related to marijuana grows and weapons after the raid on their medical pot garden, which they grew to protest Shasta County’s ban on outdoor grows, Judge Daniel Flynn ruled in response to a...