Crime, Fire + Courts

Second suspect charged in Dunnigan murder attempt

By From page A3 | July 25, 2013

A second man has been indicted by the Yolo County grand jury in connection with a shooting and stabbing incident last fall in Dunnigan.

David Earl Bristow, 55, of Bakersfield, already had three stints in state prison under his belt when the grand jury handed down the June 14 indictment charging him with attempted murder, conspiracy to commit murder, assault with a firearm and assault with a deadly weapon.

Bristow and another man, 65-year-old Danny Joe Stearman of Shafter, are accused of trying to kill Arbuckle resident Mark Cullen while he was on his way to work on Oct. 1, 2012. Prosecutors say the defendants blocked Cullen’s vehicle with their own car on County Line Road in Dunnigan, forced the victim out of his car, then stabbed him multiple times and shot him through the back of the head, according to the seven-page indictment.

Authorities say the 49-year-old Cullen was left for dead on the rural roadway but survived his wounds after being rescued by a coworker, who had called the victim on his cell phone when he failed to show up for his midnight shift at a Colusa County vegetable oil plant.

Cullen “was able to answer his cell phone and told the coworker he was dying … on County Line Road,” Yolo County sheriff’s Sgt. Lance Faille said in the days following the incident. The coworker drove Cullen’s usual route to work and found the injured man on the side of the road.

Other details in the case, including the connection among the three men and why Stearman and Bristow allegedly targeted Cullen, remain unclear. Transcripts of the two grand jury proceedings have been sealed “due to the ongoing investigation,” according to court documents. Deputy District Attorney Jennifer Davis, who is prosecuting the case, declined to elaborate on the charges.

Stearman was indicted on similar charges on Oct. 27, 2012, before Bristow was identified as a suspect in the case. Both men are due back in court Aug. 12 for a status conference, with trial proceedings set to begin Sept. 23.

Their defense attorneys — Steven Sabbadini, who represents Stearman, and Deputy Public Defender Richard Van Zandt, who represents Bristow — declined to comment on the pending case.

The indictment indicates that Bristow has served three prior prison terms, all of which were for drug-related convictions out of Kern County, said Bill Sessa, spokesman for the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation.

Stearman and Bristow both remain in custody at the Yolo County Jail, where they are being held on more than $1.1 million bail apiece.

— Reach Lauren Keene at [email protected] or 530-747-8048. Follow her on Twitter at @laurenkeene

Lauren Keene

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