Saturday, February 10, 2007

Facts and Claims

Local folks will remember well that on the evening of this past December 1, a local man — Charles Crow — was shot dead on Wisecarver Truck Trail, just off Skyline Truck Trail. This happens to be just over a mile from where I live, so this particular incident struck close to home in both the figurative sense and in the literal sense. Ever since that day, we’ve been trying to figure out exactly what happened, as the meager information we received clearly didn’t tell the whole story.

Yesterday a hearing was held in El Cajon Superior Court, Judge Laura Palmer Hammes presiding, to determine if there was enough evidence to bind the suspect in the case (Jamul electrical contractor Bob Orlosky) over for trial on one charge of murder (of Charles Crow) and two charges of attempted murder (Hector Monget and David Hurley, Jr.), all local residents. The judge ruled that there was sufficient evidence, and has scheduled a hearing for Februrary 22nd to set a trial date. For those of you who do not understand how these proceedings work — this does not mean that the judge believes Orlosky is (or is probably) guilty. It simply means that she has determined that the prosecutor has a sufficient evidence to warrant allowing a jury to hear the case. This is a very low bar…
From the three articles I’ve found on the hearing (here, here, and here), I’ve gleaned these facts:

The three men in the Jeep that day were Charles Crow, David Hurley Jr., and Hector Monget.
The maximum sentence Orlosky faces, if convicted, is life in prison.
A week before the shooting, Orlosky and Grant Nunmaker caught copper thieves on Orlosky’s property and held them at gunpoint until sheriff’s deputies arrived to arrest them.
Crow and Hurley were suspected (by the sheriffs) of stealing copper in the past, but not from Orlosky’s property.
There was no copper in Hurley’s Jeep (the vehicle involved that evening), nor were there any tools that could be used to remove copper from electrical machinery.
Orlosky remains free on $2 million bail.
The defense attorney is Paul Pfingst (former San Diego District Attorney).
The prosecutor is Jeff Dusek, who used to work for Paul Pfingst.

The story alleged by the prosecution:

Hurley says that he and Crow were driving Monget to his home (in Rancho San Diego) on that night. He said that they saw a “For Sale” (real estate) sign as they drove past Wisecarver Road, and decided to check it out. He said they drove up Wisecarver Truck Trail, past a white pickup driving the other way, until they ran into a locked gate. At that point, he said, they turned around, and retraced their route toward Skyline Truck Trail. At some point he said they saw the white pickup parked by the side of the road, slowed down to see if the driver needed help, and at that point Orlosky stepped out from behind the white pickup and started shooting with his rifle held at his waist.

And some other unverifiable information:

Pfingst said that Hurley’s initial testimony to police was that he did not get a good look at the shooter’s face. Hurley said that his memory started coming back to him after the fact.
NBC News is reporting that the defense argument will be that the three men in the jeep were drunk, on drugs, and stealing.

This hearing was all about the prosecutor’s case, so we didn’t get to find out much about the defense’s side of things. From what was presented in the hearing, it sounds like the prosecutor is going to paint a picture of Orlosky as the outraged and out-of-control property owner, wronged in the past, and leaping to unwarranted conclusions in this instance. The fact that there was neither copper nor copper removal tools in the Jeep sounds damaging to Orlosky’s case to me; you’re not going to remove wire from motors or transformers with your bare hands. You might be able to make an argument that Orlosky believed they were on a scouting expedition, or something along those lines, but that would not be a reasonable justification for shooting.
One piece of Hurley’s testimony jumped out at me: that Orlosky held the rifle at his waist while shooting. Why would anyone shoot a rifle like that? If you know anything about guns, you know shooting “from the hip” is guaranteed to be wild, inaccurate fire. I don’t know why, as I wasn’t there, but that sounds to me like desperate, panicked shooting — not deliberate, calculated shooting. Of course, we don’t even know that’s really what happened; this is the just the testimony of one person.
It’s also interesting that Crow and Hurley were suspected in other copper thefts. I wonder if Orlosky knew that? Numerous commenters on previous posts have painted a glowing picture of Crow — they’ve called him a fine, upstanding young man who would never consider doing such a thing. The sheriffs obviously believed otherwise. I wonder what their suspicions were based on?
But to hear the other side, most likely we’re going to have to wait for the trial. We’ll know when that is on February 22nd.
If you’d like some history on this case, and a fair amount of commentary (much of it from local folks), check out my previous posts on the subject (in chronological order) here, here, here, here, here, here, here, and here.


  1. In the old blog, Anonymous said:
    “There was no copper in Hurley’s Jeep (the vehicle involved that evening), nor were there any tools that could be used to remove copper from electrical machinery.” ENOUGH SAID. Absolutely no grounds for Orlowski to kill a man. It doesn’t matter what comes from this case. One thing is certain: Orlowsky is a cold blooded murderer. All we can do is have faith that our system will come through. If not, he will have his day with GOD (Being the “Christian” he claims to be perhaps that will resonate in his brain in that little spot where his conscience used to be).

  2. anything new on this case? I know he was to appear in court today.

  3. So what are these kids doing on his property, other then getting shot at? The sign says 'no trespassing' but it could just as well say 'cliff ahead'. Its a shame that these kids can't read. If they were innocent, and don't know then it would be a shame. But they choose otherwise. And shooting stupid people is fine by me.

  4. They were not Kids! They were 23, 25, 27 I think?? If not they were close to that - so they were men making poor decisions.