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3rd suspect in Forestville triple slaying appears in Sonoma County court

The third suspect in a triple homicide near Forestville made his first court appearance Thursday after being extradited from New Mexico.

Francis Dwyer, 65, is charged with three counts of murder in the Feb. 5 slayings that prosecutors said happened during a marijuana deal at a home on Ross Station Road.

He was arrested along with the two co-defendants after allegedly fleeing California. He resisted extradition from Sierra County, N.M.

The balding, gray-bearded man appeared without shackles before Judge Jamie Thistlethwaite, who appointed a lawyer.

Dwyer will return to court Friday with his alleged accomplices, his son, Odin Dwyer, 38, and Mark Cappello, 46, both of Colorado.

He's expected to plead not guilty to the killings of Todd Klarkowski, 42, of Boulder, Colo.; Richard Lewin, 46, of Huntington, N.Y.; and former Sebastopol resident Raleigh Butler, 24.

A preliminary hearing may be set for later this summer.

Prosecutors say Cappello shot the three men when they met at the house to buy marijuana from Butler. The Dwyers were helping him in some way, prosecutors allege.

Francis Dwyer's lawyer, Walter Rubenstein, said the fact that only Cappello is charged with special circumstances shows prosecutors believe his client played a lesser role.

Rubenstein said Francis Dwyer is not believed to have been present at the slayings. "He's not charged with a capital offense and I don't expect that to change," Rubenstein said. "It's an indication of his lesser culpability."

(You can reach Staff Writer Paul Payne at 568-5312 or paul.payne@pressdemocrat.com.)


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