POINT ARENA – MENDOCINO COUNTY – The Garcia River winds through the foothills of southern Mendocino County, and empties into the sea at the famous Point Arena Lighthouse. Along the way it passes the Iverson Rancheria Indian Reservation and the Garcia River Casino, which is on Windy Hollow Road, just inland of Highway 1 and north of the town of Point Arena. It was here next to the casino that a group of people were celebrating a birthday party on Saturday, October 4.
The party was going well into the night, and trouble began shortly after midnight. A fight started, and a call for help went out to Mendocino County Sheriff’s office at 12:51 am, reporting five or six people involved, according to a Sheriff’s press release.
Deputies soon arrived and found a 34-year-old male victim who had suffered major trauma to his head and upper body. He was transported to a nearby hospital, but was able to provide a statement to deputies. He reported being attacked by four men, all of whom had fled the location. He said he casually knew one of them as “Marco”, but did not know who any of the others were.
The Sheriff’s office began an investigation, and identified possible suspects as Marcos Cattarino Escareno and Richie Gabriel Cobarrubia, both 22. Escareno lives in Manchester, the town just north of Point Arena, and Cobarrubia lives on the Iverson Rancheria near the Casino.
Escareno was picked up on Wednesday, October 8 at 4 in the afternoon, and Cobarrubia was located an hour and a half later in Boonville, the small town 35 miles inland along Mountain View Road at Highway 128. Both men were arrested and charged with battery with serious injury, and assault with a deadly weapon. Cobarrubia’s bail was set at $30,000, but Escareno was also charged with parole violation, and $175,000 bail.
Escareno became somewhat famous in 2007 as a 14-year-old boy who was accused of murder after shooting to death his sister’s ex-boyfriend, Enoch Cruz. He was tried as an adult, and ended up pleading guilty to voluntary manslaughter and use of a firearm. His competence to stand trial was also at issue, as he was said to be below normal intelligence and had suffered abuse, foster care, and had used alcohol and marijuana as young as 10 years old. He was convicted of shooting Cruz three times, apparently believing the man was a danger to his sister. After serving eight and a half years, he was released on parole in December.
The Saturday night fight, however, may have stemmed from long running rivalries. Cobarrubia posted what may be a telling message on his Facebook page five months ago, on May 18. “[Deleted] punks can jump me can’t knock me out 3 on 1 haha yeeeeee [deleted] Oscar n he’s boys”. However, it is not clear whether the beating victim in this incident was one of the people who attacked Cobarrubia back in May.
Prior to his arrest, Escareno posted his reaction to the incident on Facebook the next day, on October 5 at 1:04 in the afternoon. He wrote: “All I got to say is that last night was, CRAZY!!! Aye yeee!!!”
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