The following is a press release issued by the Mendocino County District Attorney’s Office:
Convicted murderer Dino Blackbear Lincoln, age 36, formerly of Covelo, was sentenced Thursday morning in the Mendocino County Superior Court to 76 years to life in the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation.
Defendant Lincoln’s life sentence flows from the unprovoked shooting death of 25-year-old Kenneth Whipple in September 2021.
As background, just before midnight on September 15, 2021, Lincoln and a female cousin left the Buckhorn Bar in Covelo, where they had been drinking into the night. After standing outside of the bar for a short time, the two walked southbound on the sidewalk adjacent to Hwy. 162 towards Greeley Street.
During this time, three vehicles passed the two pedestrians driving south. After passing Greeley Street, the three vehicles all made U-turns and then parked together facing north on the southeast comer of Hwy. 162 and Greeley Street. The headlights of all three vehicles remained on, providing some lighting in an otherwise dark environment.
After defendant Lincoln and his cousin reached Greeley Street, Lincoln pulled out a firearm and fired five rounds in the direction of where the three vehicles had parked, which was across the intersection and catty-corner from his location.
As the defendant fired in the direction of the vehicles, a business surveillance camera caught the victim – standing outside of one of the vehicles talking to others – suddenly fall backwards. It was determined by the evidence and ultimately the jury that Mr. Whipple had been shot dead by defendant Lincoln.
Lincoln was a two-time convicted felon before the murder – both prior convictions being Strikes within the meaning of California’s modified Three Strikes Law — who was prohibited by law from possessing any firearm. He had just been released from parole supervision 43 days prior to this murder.
The law enforcement agencies that developed the evidence underlying the defendant’s convictions were the Mendocino County Sheriff’s Office, the Department of Justice forensic laboratory, the Round Valley Tribal Police Department, and the District Attorney’s own Bureau of Investigations.
Assistant DA Dale P. Trigg was the trial prosecutor and represented the People at Thursday’s sentencing hearing.
Mendocino County Superior Court Judge Keith Faulder presided over the trial and handed down the aforementioned sentence Thursday morning.