Wednesday, November 29, 2023

Jury Finds Willits Cemetery Vandal Guilty

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

Lady Justice mural in the Mendocino County courthouse [Picture by Matt LaFever]

A Mendocino County Superior Court jury returned from its deliberations in less than an hour Wednesday morning to find the trial defendant guilty as charged.

Defendant Raymond Chase Gribaldo, age 25, of Willits, was found guilty of unlawfully and maliciously vandalizing a headstone in the Little Lake Cemetery in Willits marking the grave of the mother of an estranged friend, a felony.

Not only did the defendant remove and break the headstone, he filmed himself doing so, posting video clips of his crime to his Facebook account. He also sent the video clips to the former friend to antagonize her.

When questioned by law enforcement, the defendant, in part, explained that he had an ongoing feud with the daughter of the women interred in the grave. He told the deputy that he felt disrespected by the daughter. Since she was female, the defendant said he could not fight her so he “pissed on her mom’s grave and I stole her mom’s grave.”

After the jury was excused, the defendant was referred to the Mendocino County Adult Probation Department for a background investigation and sentencing recommendation.

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Defendant Gribaldo was ordered to return to the Ukiah courthouse on January 3, 2024 at 9 o’clock in the morning for his formal sentencing hearing.

The law enforcement agency that investigated and gathered the evidence used to convict the defendant was the Mendocino County Sheriff’s Office.

The prosecutor who presented the People’s evidence to the jury and argued for the guilty verdict that was returned by the jury was Deputy District Attorney Jamie Pearl.

Mendocino County Superior Court Judge Patrick Pekin presided over the three-day trial. Judge Pekin will be the sentencing judge in January. See less

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MendoFever Staff
MendoFever Staff
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