Friday, April 18, 2014
YOLO COUNTY NEWS
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Two men convicted of Dunnigan murder attempt

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From page A3 | January 09, 2014 | 6 Comments

Two Kern County men face spending the rest of their lives in prison following their convictions on attempted murder and other charges, according to the Yolo County District Attorney’s Office.

Separate juries found Danny Joe Stearman of Shafter and David Earl Bristow of Bakersfield guilty of the murder attempt, conspiracy to commit murder, assault with a firearm and assault with a deadly weapon after a monthlong joint trial in Yolo Superior Court.

Bristow, 55, was convicted on Friday, while the 65-year-old Stearman’s conviction was handed down Monday, District Attorney Jeff Reisig said in a news release. Bristow, described by prosecutors as a “hired hit man,” also was found to have personally used a firearm during the crime, while Stearman was cleared of multiple weapon enhancements.

Both men were accused of ambushing the victim — the ex-husband of Stearman’s niece — on Oct. 1, 2012, in Dunnigan while the victim was en route to work in Arbuckle.

“After exiting his car, the victim was shot in the back of the head, stabbed, sliced in the face, and run down with his own vehicle,” the news release said. “The defendants then left the victim on the side of the road to die.”

The victim survived, however, after phoning a co-worker while lying gravely injured along County Line Road. Prosecutors say he immediately named Stearman as one of his attackers, while Bristow was identified via cell phone records.

Reisig lauded the jurors and the investigators in the case, as well as the victim, who spent multiple days testifying on the witness stand.

“The courage of the victim in this case is amazing,” he said. “Not only did he survive a brutal attempt to take his life, but he then had the strength to confront his attackers in open court and testify about their failed attempt to kill him. Because of his perseverance, these violent men should spend the rest of their life in prison.”

Defense attorney Steven Sabbadini, who represented Stearman, said while he was disappointed with the trial’s outcome, “the jury’s finding of ‘not true’ on seven of the weapon enhancements suggest that they believed that Mr. Stearman’s role in actually attacking the alleged victim was minimal,” he said in an email.

“This was a difficult case, but we believe that we exposed serious credibility issues with non-law enforcement prosecution witnesses, and that there was certainly a reasonable doubt as to Mr. Stearman’s culpability,” Sabbadini added.

Bristow’s attorney, Deputy Public Defender Richard Van Zandt, declined to comment on the verdicts Tuesday.

Stearman is scheduled to be sentenced Feb. 14 by Judge Stephen Mock. Bristow’s sentencing date has not yet been set.

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Discussion | 6 comments

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  • Alan MillerJanuary 09, 2014 - 11:18 am

    If he's a 'hired hit man', what is the status of the person who hired him?

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • Lauren KeeneJanuary 10, 2014 - 2:01 pm

    That would be Mr. Stearman.

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • nealMarch 25, 2014 - 4:45 pm

    Mr. Stearman hiring a hit man; is this hear say? I only ask because I know he is guilty but who hired Danny being he had nothing to gain however Doyle Stearman did being his daughter Deana is terminally ill. Cullen in is his every right does not have or want anything to do with the Stearman family simply put she dies they will never see their grandkids again.

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • January 19, 2014 - 6:11 am

    Violent? So then you know him? His never ending love for his dying wife then the passing of his mom and dad at the funeral mark kept calling and harassing them and then he babysat cullens little girl who threw a fit at 1 years old when cullen came to pick her up sometimes just sometimes there are things you will never know so learn from me things aren't always what they seem so do what i can't shut up! I at least am sorry for the things i said about cullen instead I will pray for him and know it all reporters who must go a step further by blessings us with their opinions that just prolong our misery thanks!

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • Hope is always thereFebruary 24, 2014 - 12:40 am

    Cullen is Psyco bipolar lying multiple personality and wife beater. He's known for his history of violence and child abuse. They put the wrong men in jail. Look at Danny stearmans history of a loving man and father and son. Served in service for our country. And that piece of crap Cullen got away with domestic violence and child abuse. He's a liar and disgusting person everything will always come out in the end.

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • Judy HarrisApril 01, 2014 - 3:57 pm

    okay the way I see the chain of events. Doyle Stearman had his brother go there to babysit. That way Doyle had a alibi. Then when hDoyle returned and nothing happened while he was gone. Someone hired Bristow Danny went home, then contacted Danny to help him move. Danny went back up there. And found himself in the middle of a nightmare. No Danny is not the one guilty. every line points to another one of the Stearman family should have been on trial. The 1 that stood to gain. The TRUTH WILL COME OUT

    Reply | Report abusive comment
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