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Shaun Gallon, suspect in 2004 Jenner beach killings, pleads not guilty

Shaun Michael Gallon, a 39-year-old Forestville man charged with the 2004 killings of a Midwestern couple on a beach near Jenner on the Sonoma Coast, pleaded not guilty Thursday in Sonoma County ?Superior Court.

Gallon also pleaded not guilty to an unrelated attempted murder charge in another 2004 case, where he’s accused of leaving a package bomb on top of a car. The package exploded, injuring a Monte Rio woman.

Clad in blue jail clothing with a slicked-back ponytail and a full beard, Gallon at first spoke softly when Judge Robert LaForge asked for his plea to the charges, and the judge asked him to speak up and reiterate his answer.

“Do you plead not guilty?” LaForge said.

“Yeah, I do,” Gallon said.

One year ago, Sonoma County sheriff’s officials named Gallon as the lone gunman who killed Lindsay Cutshall, 22, and her fiance, Jason Allen, 26, as they lay in sleeping bags at secluded Fish Head Beach. Unsolved for more than a dozen years, the case was one of the department’s most vexing whodunit homicide investigations.

The case broke open after Gallon was arrested in March 2017 on suspicion of killing his brother, Shamus Gallon, in a shooting at their family home in Forestville. Gallon pleaded not guilty to his brother’s slaying in April 2017.

While jailed in his brother’s case, detectives told Gallon they wanted to speak with him about the Jenner killings. Gallon responded several weeks later with a note saying he was ready to talk, according to sources knowledgeable about the case.

Gallon’s attorney, Deputy Public Defender Jeff Mitchell, said in court Thursday he has received more than 3,000 pages of investigative documents from prosecutors pertaining to the charges against his client.

District Attorney Jill Ravitch is still considering whether to seek the death penalty, according to Chief Deputy District Attorney Spencer Brady, who is leading the prosecution team. That decision will be made before they begin the jury selection process.

LaForge scheduled a preliminary hearing in the case for Dec. 7, a hearing for the prosecution to provide the foundational evidence and witness testimony in the case so the judge can determine whether there is enough evidence against Gallon for a trial. Brady said he estimated the preliminary hearing could take three days.

You can reach Staff Writer Julie Johnson at 707-521-5220 or julie.johnson@pressdemocrat.com. On Twitter @jjpressdem.

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