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Crazy Drifters

Sometimes it’s worthwhile to step back and let the boggling wash over your dome, reflecting on all the types who have somehow found their way to Humboldt County. How do they find us? Why do they find us? We exercise a magnetic pull on all the nation’s rebels, rejects and runaways.

Take the case of Roderick Rightmire, who was booked into the Humboldt County Jail Friday morning on a federal warrant. It was three weeks to the day after he was released from a Mesa, Arizona mental health facility, and ten days after a federal grand jury out of that state indicted him on charges of threatening to murder the Arizona Attorney General and several prosecutors working for Maricopa County.

According to a complaint filed by a postal inspector earlier this month, Rightmire was charged with and convicted of stalking a prosecutor from the city of Scottsdale back in 2010. He spent two years in jail on that charge. But while he was in jail, the complaint alleges, Rightmire made use of his time by sending death-o-grams to the prosecutors who put him in jail on the stalking charge. For this purpose, he is said to have used plain postcards sent through the US Mail and signed with his own name.

“What your [sic] doing Tom & Not doing is illegal & it’s justifiable grounds for me to shoot you & your Maricopa DA B. Montgomery Dead!” read one sent to state Attorney General Tom Horne on Aug. 25, 2011.

“You fuck w/my life & liberty anymore here Jay & I’ll hold you personally accountable And I’ll prove 2 Jury why it was I shot and killed you Justifiably that you involved in ruining my life when you had No legal right or cause to do … You better get smart real soon Jay ok?” queried another, sent a few weeks later, to Maricopa County prosecutor Jay Radenmacher.

“Because I’m gonna prove to 12 Jury members why I legally mortality shot you for Violating my Constitutional Rights … I’m not gonna kill you,” read one sent to Maricopa County’s Bill Montgomery in July of this year. “I’m gonna make you wish your dead … You got no case on me & thats why I shot your Ass!”

Late last month, according to the complaint, a state court judge found Rightmire mentally incompetent to stand trial. (Presumably on charges relating to these postcards, though the complaint itself does not specify.) He was sent to a mental health care facility, which kept him for a little over two weeks and then released him. While federal charges were filed, the suspect somehow made his way to Eureka.

What is to be done? If the judgment of the Arizona courts is to be believed, the man is insane and unfit for trial. Yet between the 2010 stalking case, the current allegations and — bonus — a 1990 case in which he was convicted of sending veiled threats to a Washington state judge, it does seem imprudent to simply laugh off the murderous fantasies he stands accused of indulging.

One Comment

  1. humbilly August 9, 2012

    Hank, Humboldt is too well known by all/everywhere as the open air mental health ward. Take a tour of the Arcata Plaza and environs, Old Town, S. Broadway, any gulch or greenbelt you name it they are there and more are coming. What is to be done?
    You tell me because last time I checked we were the magnet for the mentally ill, desparate, homeless, drug addicted to visit. Mayor Gavin Newsome endorsed Greyhound bus tix to anywhere out of SF for the menacing hordes on Market and Mission, a whole slew came north to Eureka/Arcata, can we ship them to Crescent City or Portland?

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