Thursday, December 7, 2023

Willits Man Found Guilty of Possessing Illegal Firearm and Molotov Cocktails

The following is a press release issued by the Mendocino County District Attorney:

The stockpile of illegal guns, ammunition, fireworks, incendiary devices, and drugs found at a Willits home [Photograph from the Willits Police Department]

A Mendocino County Superior Court jury returned from its efficient deliberations (lasting just one hour) late on Tuesday afternoon to announce it had found the trial defendant guilty as charged.

Defendant Derek Brendan Cleek, age 45, of Willits, was found guilty by jury verdict of being a convicted felon in unlawful possession of a shotgun, being a convicted felon in unlawful possession of 700 rounds of ammunition, being in malicious possession of three destructive devices (“Molotov cocktails”) in a private residence, and being in unlawful possession of materials to make a destructive device with the specific intent to do so.

After the four guilty verdicts were read into the court record and the jury was excused, the defendant was remanded into the custody of the Mendocino County Sheriff with a no bail hold put in place.

Derek Cleek [Mugshot from the Mendocino County Sheriff’s Office Booking Logs]

The defendant was referred to the Mendocino County Adult Probation Department for a background investigation and a sentencing recommendation based on the four convictions.

Defendant Cleek will be formally sentenced on Tuesday, October 31st in Department A of the Ukiah courthouse at nine o’clock in the morning.

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The law enforcement agencies that developed the evidence used to prove the defendant’s guilt beyond a reasonable doubt at trial were the Willits Police Department (lead agency) and the Mendocino County Sheriff’s Office (assisting agency).

Expert testimony relating to the destructive devices was provided at trial by Battalion Chief Justin Buckingham of the Ukiah Valley Fire Authority.

Special thanks are also extended to the forensic chemists at EFI Global Inc. in Rocklin for their work on analyzing and identifying the flammable liquid used by the defendant in the three destructive devices.

The attorney who presented the evidence to the jury and represented the People’s interests at trial was District Attorney David Eyster.

Mendocino County Superior Court Judge Keith Faulder presided over the two-day trial. Judge Faulder will also be the sentencing judge at the end of the month.

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  1. Whoa, this picture inspires more questions than the article answers. It said a illegal gun is the gun itself illegal or just because he was a felon in possession. What was the length of the shotgun barrel? And the other fire and beneath it what is that? It looks like it has a side loading gate but no tube magazine and no lever? Is that second firearm even functional it looks like it has a intact receiver, which would make it legally a firearm, even if it wasn’t but still, I wish that was spelled out. Then you have a magazine that looks like it was for a pistol or a pistol caliber carbine, AR magazines, and there was no mention of such a guns in the article or pictured which points one or more firearms, possibly being not recovered or stored elsewhere? The picture is fuzzy, but there appears to be boxes of .38 rounds of 9 mm and . 22. It’s possible he just was collecting whatever ammo and parts, he could find some of those rounds look like they were picked up off the ground, but I would not be surprised if they were unrecovered firearms based on the ammunition and magazines pictured again just so many questions.

    • Willits Dude,
      Thank you, your superb and thoughtful inquiry has left me ponderous. I too am now agape with mysteries and wonder. Answers seem futile and I am questioning my own existence with every keystroke.

      • Gun versus the guns there’s a discrepancy in between the wording of the article, and the picture and the charges. Definitely not arguing that the guy wasn’t guilty just saying, understanding the charges, and if one or more of them was plea-bargained away, was more what I was getting that, but I guess it’s just easier not to ask questions when you want everything to be simple. Honestly, with this attitude, I hope you don’t ever serve on a jury.

  2. Willits dude, go to school and become an investigative journalist. Then you can write articles in great detail for other ” enquiring minds” who want to know. 🙏🏻God bless.

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MendoFever Staff
MendoFever Staff
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