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Forestville triple homicide detailed during preliminary hearing

  • 7/26/2013: B3:
    PC: Mark William Cappello appears in Sonoma County Superior Court, Tuesday March 12, 2013, who is the alleged killer in the shooting deaths of Sebastopol native Raleigh Butler, 24, Richard Lewin, 46, of Huntington, N.Y., and Todd Klarkowski, 42, of Boulder, Colo. in a marijuana purchasing deal that went awry Feb. 5, 2013 in Forestville. (Kent Porter / Press Democrat) 2013

Gun in hand, the Colorado man accused of shooting three men in the head execution-style during a Sonoma County marijuana deal gone bad turned to an unsuspecting accomplice and said, "It had to be done," a detective testified Tuesday.

Mark Cappello, 46, of Central City, Colo. was identified to police as the man who fired on his would-be business partners Feb. 5 as they sat on the bedroom floor of a Forestville house and packaged bundles of weed destined for New York.

The bodies of Todd Klarkowski, 43, of Boulder, Colo.; Richard Lewin, 46, of Huntington, N.Y.; and former Sebastopol resident Raleigh Butler, 24, were found in the room, each with a single gunshot wound to the head.

Detective Brandon Cutting of the Sonoma County Sheriff's Office testified Tuesday at Cappello's preliminary hearing that a co-defendant, Odin Dwyer, 38, also of Colorado, provided an account of the killings. He said Dwyer told him he was standing in the kitchen when he heard gunshots.

"He heard three fairly quick shots," Cutting said. "He described it to me. He said it went 'bang, bang, bang.'"

Dwyer told the detective he looked toward the bedroom where the men were preparing the marijuana and saw Cappello standing with his arm extended, holding a gun. Inside the room were three men sprawled on the floor.

That's when Cappello spoke to Dwyer.

"I believe he said, 'It had to be done,'" Cutting said, recounting what Dwyer told him in an interview after his arrest.

Dwyer, who was hired along with father, Francis Dwyer, 66, of New Mexico, to drive the pot to New York, feared he was the next to be shot, Cutting said.

Instead, Dwyer said Cappello unloaded the .45 caliber semi-automatic pistol and instructed Dwyer to pick up the bullet casings.

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