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Will the Prosecution Cry ‘Uncle’?

As we predicted from the beginning of the Lake County District Attorney’s shameful and misguided prosecution of Bismarck Dinius for the ’06 boating death of Lynn Thornton, their case is crumbling around them like a sandcastle at high tide. As ABC Channel 7’s I-Team investigator Dan Noyes reported last night, the prosecution turned over 110 pages of discovery that they’d had in their offices for months.

Inside was a report from a private eye hired by Sheriff Chief Russell Perdock, the number two man at the Lake County Sheriff’s Office and the man who slammed his high-octane powerboat into the drifting sailboat on which Dinius and Thornton were passengers on the pitch-black night of April 29, 2006. Everyone aboard the sailboat was hurt, but Thornton died a few days later from her injuries. The report includes statements from several witnesses who say the sailboat’s running lights were on. The basis of the prosecution’s case is their contention that the lights were off and that Dinius, having had his hand on the tiller at the time of the accident, was responsible for turning them on.

The prosecution also confirmed that several witnesses have come forward — including Perdock’s ex-wife Donna — contradicting Perdock’s timeline of his evening. He claims he was home until well after 8 p.m. Donna says 6 p.m. He claims he never set foot at the Konocti Harbor’s outdoor bar that night. Several people say they saw him socializing there with a drink in his hand. One man even claims he and Perdock raced their boats shortly before the accident.

And the final blow to the prosecution came when they admitted that the Lake County Sheriff’s Office conveniently lost the recording of Perdock’s 911 call that night. Lost it!

The judge in the case — J. Michael Byrne — ruled that the personnel records of former Sheriff’s Sergeant Jim Beland be entered into evidence, as it’s claimed that he was fired for testifying that he was ordered not to give Perdock a Breathalyzer at the scene. Byrne also expressed concern over the prosecution’s ridiculous claim that they won’t have enough time to investigate the case fully by the June 30 trial date. A hearing will be held on June 12, at which time the prosecution will hopefully, if they finally come to their senses, dismiss the case against Dinius.

While that would be welcome news, Bismarck Dinius’ life is just as quickly crumbling. His family and friends have rallied around him, and hundreds of generous strangers have donated to his defense fund, but, according to Dan Noyes’ final comments in last night’s broadcast, it appears Bismarck has lost his job. He told us in late April that he was worried about just that. All the time spent working on the case and traveling to Lake County from his Carmichael home meant many missed work days. Add this to a mounting pile of legal bills and Dinius is in for another battle after the trial is over.

We know times are tough for everyone right now, but we’re hoping you’ll find it in your heart to donate — even a small amount — to Bismarck’s legal defense fund. If every person who is outraged by this abortion of justice sent just $5 — the price of a coffee drink at Starbucks — Bismarck would have plenty to cover his expenses. Please send your check made out to Bismarck Dinius, with “Bismarck Dinius Defense Fund” in the memo section, to Sierra Central Credit Union, Attn: Brian Foxworthy, Branch Manager, 306 N. Sunrise Ave., Roseville, CA 95661.

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