Former DA Candidate: Arcata Homicide Verdict Brings Accountability


Juan Joseph Ferrer could be sentenced to up to 12 years in prison for the 2013 stabbing death of Douglas Anderson-Jordet, after a jury found him guilty of voluntary manslaughter Monday. The jury acquitted Ferrer of a greater charge of second-degree murder, but also found him guilty of personally using a deadly weapon, which adds a year to his sentence.

Ferrer and two friends were involved in an altercation with Anderson-Jordet early in the morning of Nov. 25, 2013. The three were arrested in early December, and claimed Ferrer had acted in self-defense when he stabbed Anderson-Jordet.

It was a rare Arcata homicide, and also became a sticking point in the 2014 District Attorney race, after candidate and then-prosecutor Elan Firpo reached an agreement with Ferrer where he would plead to involuntary manslaughter and serve two years in jail.

Opposing candidate Arnie Klein took issue with the plea and, following public debate, a judge tossed the deal. Deputy DA Roger Rees, under the leadership of newly elected DA Maggie Fleming, prosecuted the case in a trial that began this year.

Klein, reached by phone Monday, said he opposed the plea deal because he felt “it robbed the community of its voice and hid the facts.” He denied that his self-described representation of Anderson-Jordet’s family, which led to the dismissal of the plea, was politically motivated, and said “I think the message is: When you take a life in Humboldt County, there has to be some accountability.”

Firpo did not return a call seeking comment.

Marek Reavis, Ferrer’s attorney, told the Journal in 2014, following Ferrer’s plea agreement, that he “would have loved” to take the case to trial.

Yesterday, Reavis said via email that he was disappointed in the verdict, “because I sincerely believe that Mr. Ferrer acted entirely in self-defense and defense of [Sophie Buttercup Rocheleau, who was present during the altercation] and that Mr. Anderson-Jordet’s death was a tragic accident brought on by his own intemperance and unexcusable hostility to three strangers walking home in the middle of the night.

“Nonetheless,” Reavis continued, “I’m glad that he won’t spend the rest of his life in prison. It was a huge relief to Mr. Ferrer that the jury found the murder charge unproven.”

Ferrer is scheduled to be sentenced June 15, and he faces a mitigated term of four years, a middle term of seven years, and an aggravated term of twelve years in prison, according to the DA’s office. Judge John Feeney, who presided over the trial (read about the trial in more detail from the Times-Standard’s Will Houston), will hear from both sides at that hearing before handing down a sentence.

From the DA’s office:

On May 18, 2015, in the case of the People of the State of California v. Juan Ferrer, the jury found the defendant guilty of voluntary manslaughter for the November 25, 2013, killing of Douglas Anderson-Jordet. The jury also found that the defendant personally used a deadly weapon, a knife, in the commission of that crime. The jury found the defendant not guilty of second degree murder. Mr. Anderson-Jordet’s family has been notified of this result and they have expressed their gratitude that the case finally has been decided by a jury.

The case was prosecuted by Deputy District Attorney Roger C. Rees, with assistance from District Attorney Investigator Jack Bernstein and Victim/Witness Advocate Marybeth Bian. The defendant was represented throughout the proceedings by Deputy Conflict Counsel Marek Reavis.

The scheduled sentencing date is June 15, 2015. The sentence for the crime of voluntary manslaughter with a deadly weapon has the following range: a mitigated term of four years, a middle term of seven years, and an aggravated term of twelve years in prison.

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