PIERCY, MENDOCINO COUNTY – The Town of Piercy is a small community nestled along the Eel River just off of Highway 101 as it winds through inland Mendocino County. It is located south of Garberville amid the redwood forests of coastal northern California. Two brothers, who both live in southern California’s Apple Valley, were with a friend and their father at the family property along the river on Highway 271, were working at a marijuana grow of about 120 plants on the property.
Marijuana growing is seen to be a way of life for several northern California regions, especially in the so called “Emerald Triangle” of Mendocino, Humboldt, and Trinity Counties. While it is said that marijuana cultivation may consist of up to two-thirds of the region’s economy, and that as many as 90% of the area’s residents are in some way tied to it, there are also strict regulations in place. Mendocino County law states that any one parcel is permitted only 25 marijuana plants, and for certified medical use only.
However, what happened in Piercy on Wednesday of this week may have been only tangentially related to the marijuana growing operation. According to the Mendocino Sheriff’s office, Carl and Anthony Fragale were at the property near 78000 Highway 271. During the day, and while they worked together in the marijuana garden, Carl, 28, confronted his brother Anthony, 23, accusing him of being disrespectful toward their father.
The brothers argued, and the dispute became a physical fight between them. Once they split up, Anthony went for a handgun, confronted Carl, and shot him. It was just before 3 o’clock in the afternoon.
Anthony, with his father and friend, then took Carl’s wounded body in their vehicle on the 15 mile drive north up the winding 101 Highway to Garberville. They brought him to Jerold Phelps Community Hospital, but efforts to save him were fruitless, and he was soon pronounced dead of the bullet wound. Reports came to the Sheriff’s office from both one of the party, and the hospital staff. Anthony Lawrence Fragale was arrested at the hospital for the murder of Carl Anthony Fragale. His bail was set at $500,000.00.