Soon after Shaun Gallon was jailed as a suspect in the March killing of his brother, detectives told him they wanted to talk about another crime — the killing 13 years earlier of a young Midwestern couple camping at a Jenner beach.
Gallon, 38, didn’t talk then. But weeks later, the Forestville man handed a Sonoma County jail guard a note, according to sources knowledgeable about the case.
The note set in motion a series of interviews between Gallon and detectives about the 2004 shooting deaths of Lindsay Cutshall, 22, and her fiancé, Jason Allen, 26, as they slept on the sand at Fish Head Beach.
What had been a stalled investigation shifted into high gear. On May 1, a team of search-and-rescue volunteers began searching a dense thicket off a west Sonoma County road, eventually finding evidence linked to the killings, just as Gallon said they would, sources said.
By May 5, Sonoma County Sheriff Steve Freitas was behind a lectern announcing Gallon “had information about the killings that no other person could have known and we have located evidence that corroborated his statement.
“We feel confident we have Jason’s and Lindsay’s killer in custody,” Freitas said.
Gallon has yet to be charged with the killings, despite strong statements by Freitas and other sheriff’s officials pointing to him as the shooter. It likely will take months before detectives finish their investigation and seek formal charges, said Lt. Tim Duke, who oversees the sheriff’s violent crime investigations unit.
There is no legal pressure to move faster.
Gallon was already being held without bail. He’s charged in the shooting death of his younger brother, Shamus Gallon, 36, in March in a spate of gunfire at their mother’s Forestville home.
Public Defender Kathleen Pozzi said Gallon is being housed in a special jail unit for inmates with mental health issues. He may have been too distraught over his brother’s death to give accurate statements to detectives, she said.
“Perhaps he’s given them information that is simply untrue,” Pozzi said.
What is known is that Allen and Cutshall were camping on the Sonoma Coast beach during a break from their work as counselors at a Christian adventure camp in the Sierra Nevada.
They were found dead Aug. 18, 2004, in their separate sleeping bags from gunshot wounds to their heads. They had been shot at close range with a .45-caliber rifle.
Early on, Gallon was on a list of suspects in the double murder.
But as other suspects came and went over the next 13 years amid a changing cast of detectives, Gallon’s name remained a constant.
Gallon had grown up along the Russian River and quickly caught the attention of detectives in the Jenner case. He was arrested six days after the deaths on weapons and stolen property charges, which later were dropped. Over the years, he’d been arrested and crossed paths with deputies 13 times, been to jail and had a stint in prison for a 2010 conviction for firing an arrow into an occupied car. His continuing criminal exploits helped keep him on the suspect list.
More than 10 suspects were on that list, Duke said. Alibis and other information helped eliminate some. But not Gallon.