A youthful adventurer raised in Sonoma County. A Colorado entrepreneur. A former stockbroker from New York.
The three men, who were killed in February during a suspected pot robbery in Forestville, are among at least 18 people who have died since 2006 in Sonoma and Mendocino counties under circumstances involving the sale and cultivation of marijuana.
Last week, three men accused of killing the trio were ordered to stand trial in Sonoma County Superior Court. The preliminary hearing cast a spotlight on the outsized role that marijuana plays in violence on the North Coast.
“Homicides are very uncommon, but homicides involving marijuana are common,” Sonoma County Sheriff Steve Freitas said.
Nine of the 18 people were killed during apparent robberies, including the three Forestville victims: Sonoma County native Raleigh Butler, 24; Todd Klarkowski, 42, of Boulder, Colo.; and Richard Lewin, 46, of Huntington, N.Y.
On Oct. 6, 2011, four men planned to buy about 20 pounds of pot from Jose Manuel DeJesus, 33, of Santa Rosa outside a Todd Road market. Instead, the men shot DeJesus dead and took the drugs.
Police said Andre Grant, 31, was shot and killed April 10, 2006, over 25 marijuana plants he tended in his Santa Rosa garage, which at the time were valued at about $21,000. Grant was a medical marijuana patient and police have not publicly identified a suspect in the case.
Celso Madueno, 23, was shot and killed Oct. 19, 2012, when he interrupted intruders who broke into a Redwood Valley home north of Ukiah. Detectives suspect the still-unidentified intruders were drawn to the home by marijuana being grown on the property.
At least three suspected robbers were killed when they allegedly broke into homes to steal marijuana, according to law enforcement accounts.
In 2007, 300 pounds of processed marijuana were at stake when three armed men barged into a Santa Rosa apartment. Maximiliano Izquierdo Martinez, 20, of Windsor was among the robbers who confronted residents at the Beech Avenue apartment. He was shot and killed in the fracas.