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California murder suspect charged in 2004 cold case killings

Tribune News Service logo Tribune News Service 5/17/2018 Julie Johnson The Press Democrat, Santa Rosa, Calif.

Shaun Michael Gallon was arrested in the killings of Lindsay Cutshall, 22, and her fiance, Jason Allen, 26. © Press Democrat File Photo Shaun Michael Gallon was arrested in the killings of Lindsay Cutshall, 22, and her fiance, Jason Allen, 26. Shaun Michael Gallon, the Forestville, California felon named more than a year ago as the lone suspect in the shooting deaths of a young Midwestern couple on a Jenner beach in 2004, has been charged by Sonoma County prosecutors with the two murders, marking a pivotal moment in a shocking case of violence that vexed sheriff's detectives for years.

Gallon, 39, has been held in Sonoma County Jail since he was arrested in March 2017 in the slaying of his younger brother in their family home. His detention led to jailhouse interviews with investigators in the Jenner case, according to the Sonoma County Sheriff's Office, and just weeks later, in May 2017, then-Sheriff Steve Frietas identified Gallon as the gunman who killed Lindsay Cutshall, 22, and her fiance, Jason Allen, 26,as they lay in sleeping bags at secluded Fish Head Beach.

Gallon, who was known in the Russian River area where he grew up for strange behavior and run-ins with law enforcement, was interviewed by sheriff's officials at the time but never detained in connection with the case.
Sheriff Rob Giordano said the Jenner killings were "horrific" for the Cutshall and Allen families and for Sonoma County -- a cold case that defined careers for many of the hundreds of Sheriff's Office personnel involved in the search for the gunman.

"Unfortunately, there are evil people in our community, not many, but he is one of those people," Giordano said. "I'm just really glad he's off the street now."

On Friday, prosecutors filed documents in Sonoma County Superior Court charging Gallon with killing Cutshall and Allen. He was arraigned on those charges Monday morning in a brief court hearing. Prosecutors also charged him with one count of attempted murder in a separate case dating to 2004, when he is alleged to have left on top of a car a package bomb that exploded, injuring a Monte Rio woman. He did not enter a plea.

Sonoma County Chief Deputy District Attorney Brian Staebell said prosecutors received an essential set of reports from the Sheriff's Office on May 1, including documents from 13 years of investigative work, and after reviewing the files they were able to charge Gallon with the killings.
"It was a very thorough investigation," Staebell said.

Prosecutors, led by Chief Deputy District Attorney Spencer Brady, are still reviewing whether to seek the death penalty in connection with the double murder.

Details in a spate of criminal cases against Gallon dating to 2004 cast him as a darkly troubled man, a self-taught survivalist and weapons fanatic who in 2009 shot a man with a hand-fashioned bow and arrow. In addition to the bombing, Gallon now stands accused of shooting to death three people, including his brother, Shamus Gallon, in their family home in Forestville last year, and Cutshall and Allen on the Jenner beach 14 years ago.

His suspected motives remain unknown.

"There is no question that he suffers from mental illness," Sonoma County Public Defender Kathleen Pozzi said.
Pozzi said she's still not convinced Gallon was involved in the Jenner killings, and she may file a motion requesting the two murder cases and attempted homicide case be handled separately because they are unrelated.
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