Mendo’s Slap On The Wrist For A Dangerous Man
by Bruce Anderson, April 26, 2017
Sean Hammon’s mother says her son is no good, “never has been.” She says she is certain that Sean murdered his brother, Bryan Hammon, by running over him. Mom says Sean has promised to kill her, too.
Sean & Bryan Hammon
Bryan probably died on a Friday afternoon in August of 2016 when only the two brothers were on the Willits property where they grew marijuana. A Mexican national was also employed at the site but, police concluded, was not present when the brothers apparently fought and Bryan lost.
The presumed fratricide was not reported until Bryan's girlfriend showed up at the brothers’ Walker Lake Road pot farm three days later where she found Bryan lying dead in the driveway about a hundred yards from the house on the property.
Bryan had been dead for several days.
A pathologist would testify that Bryan’s injuries were “consistent” with having been run over.
The DA, two weeks after Bryan’s murder, filed criminal charges against Sean Hammon for felony hit and run causing death.
Sean Hammon, 56, was located a month after the murder holed up at the Talmage home of his 69-year-old girl friend. The aged girlfriend had called police to complain that Hammon was beating her.
After a lengthy stand-off Hammon, a reputed tough guy with alleged ties to the Hells Angels, surrendered, and was booked into the Mendocino County Jail on numerous charges that included the murder of his brother.
The brothers’ long-suffering mother, who lives out of state, complains that she wasn’t kept informed of developments in the case. “I want Sean locked up for the rest of his life,” she says, expressing the consensus opinion of everyone who knows him.
"I never could learn the dates of the hearings. I thought Sean was being prosecuted for murder, but...."
But the murder case against Hammon was dropped.
Defended by Public Defender Linda Thompson, perhaps the least formidable public defender in the country, the DA’s office, after charging Hammon with the murder he clearly committed, tardily concluded that they didn’t have a case. They didn’t have eyewitnesses, didn’t have hard evidence, didn’t have a video of the crime, didn’t have a confession and, gee, golly, certainly wouldn’t have been able to prove “beyond a reasonable doubt” that Sean Hammon, a career criminal, deliberately ran over his brother and killed him, although Hammon, changing his story at least four times, described a fierce struggle between the two of them as Sean attempted to leave the Willits property that fatal day.
There was a fight between two brothers, one died, one lived.
The brother who lived drove off and left his brother dead in the hills west of Willits.
Bryan Hammon didn’t run over himself.
With everyone who knows Sean Hammon, including his mother, hoping that Sean would at last be locked up for good, Assistant DA Barry Shapiro worked out a plea deal with Public Defender Thompson that got Sean put away for four years.
Because he's a career criminal charged with murder, the DA had no trouble getting Sean to agree to another stay in state prison for a mere four years, which saves the DA the effort of prosecuting a man who presents a clear and present danger to the entire public all the way up to his mother.
Hammon will be out in a couple of years given California's early release policies.
Here’s who we’re talking about, as described by Bruce McEwen in July of 2011:
Sean Bradley Hammon was arraigned on July 7th. Visiting Judge William Lamb refused to set bail on a charge of driving under the influence. Hammon's lawyer, public defender Eric Rennert, was still trying last Thursday, a week later, to get Judge Henderson to set bail so Hammon could get out of jail and, as they say, get on with his life.
Judge Henderson turned to the prosecutor, Deputy DA Matt Hubley, to see if there was any justification for keeping Hammon locked up.
Hubley opened the file and started reading Hammon’s rap sheet.
“There are three DUIs in California, and a 1989 conviction for grand theft. He went to prison in ’89, and when he got out he was on probation for a DUI when he was arrested for grand larceny and DUI in Nevada. In ’91 he got a DUI in Texas. He was arrested for grand larceny in Texas in ’93… Hmmmm… Let’s see here, a felony theft in El Paso in ’95, five years confinement… In ’98 another felony theft in Texas, some jail time, a DUI in El Paso follows that in 2000, an assault charge in ’04 in El Paso, a DUI in Texas… A DUI out of Utah in ’05, as well as a felony theft for receiving stolen property… Currently on bail in Nevada pending trial for a prison term… Let’s see, the three outstanding DUIs in California… That’s about it, judge.”
Public Defender Rennert tried to soften Hammon's impressive legal history.
“He has family here locally, your honor, and he’d be willing to abstain from alcohol while on bail.”
Judge Henderson is not your basic Mendo handholder, not a kumbaya kind of guy. He seemed incredulous. He stared at Rennert as if he were about to lock Rennert up, too.
“I’ll set bail in the amount of $450,000” Judge Henderson said.
Somebody in the courtroom exhaled a low whistle of amazement at such a high bail for a DUI.
Judge Henderson smiled and said, “I think his extensive convictions demonstrate he’s a substantial threat to public safety” — and who could argue?
MRS. YVONNE HAMMON WRITES: Just to clarify, Sean did not threaten to kill me, I have had little or
no communication with him in many years. I tried for years to help him.bail. (I put up my house,) I paid attorneys, I took in his daughter as a baby and adopted her last year, certainly with no help from him. I never withheld my love for him. Bryan was different. He took care of himself, he was kind, trusting and
caring. These are all the same reason he died. There is nothing he would not do for you, if he could, he was very giving to us. I knew my son Bryan loved me, he showed it in hand written notes, spending time with us and on and on, I am very aware that he also had problems, big ones, I never condoned his work and he kept it from me for a very long time. Regardless, he was a human being that was killed and there was no justice.