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Sonoma State Star

The Student News Site of Sonoma State University

Sonoma State Star

The Student News Site of Sonoma State University

Sonoma State Star

    Stabber of Rohnert Park man pleads “open” during sentencing in Humboldt

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    Last Tuesday, Oct. 5, Brian Leiteritz,42, was sentenced in Humboldt County after pleading “open”  to manslaughter in the stabbing of a Rohnert Park man, Dylan Liakos, outside his McKinleyville home in Aug. 2019. 

    After over two years since the initial incident, Leiteritz entered his plea to manslaughter in front of Humboldt County Judge John Feeny on Tuesday. His plea of “open” meant the case would settle out of court without agreeing to a deal offered by the prosecution. 

    “An open plea means our office leaves the sentencing decision to the judge,” Humboldt County District Attorney Maggie Fleming told journalists at the Times Standard. 

    Leiteriz was sentenced by Judge John Feeney, in a Humboldt courtroom Tuesday. 

    After the sentencing DA Fleming released the following statement: “On October 5, 2021, Humboldt County Judge John Feeney sentenced 42-year-old Brian Jon Leiteritz to seven years – execution of sentence suspended – plus five  years of probation and 365 days in jail for voluntary manslaughter with use of a deadly weapon. The sentence means Leiteritz can be sent to prison for seven years if he violates the terms of his probation.” 

    The sentence also means that Leiteritz will serve one year in county jail at some point that has yet to be determined, his suspended sentence of seven years in a federal prison will only be carried out should he violate his 5 year probation. 

    Fleming’s statement continues to include a description of the initial crime that led to Leiteritz arrest. 

    “The conviction stems from a 2019 incident in which Leiteritz killed Dylan Liakos with a kitchen knife in front of Leiteritz’ McKinleyville home, after Leiteritz had called 911 to report that someone had cut his power and was now at his front door. Injuries to the victim included a stab wound to the back; law enforcement officers found the victim on the sidewalk.” 

    The Humboldt County Sheriff original police report from that day, Aug. 10, 2019, reports that they were familiar with Leiteritz house: “Deputies were familiar with the residence and some of the involved individuals, as there have been repeated calls for service at that location in the recent past.”

    Although the report does state that deputies had responded to calls at Leiteritz residence recently, they do not specify the quantity or nature of any of these incidents or whether deputies made contact with Leiteritz. 

    When deputies arrived on scene they “located an unresponsive male on the sidewalk. Lifesaving efforts were started and the subject was transported to the hospital where he was pronounced dead.” 

    Deputies were called to the scene after a 911 call from Leiteritz claiming that unknown persons had cut his power and were attempting to break into his home on Boss Road. 

    He told dispatchers that he was going to confront the  person outside his home, then came back and told dispatchers “I think I stabbed one of them.” 

    It was later discovered that the victim was dating Leiteritz’s ex-girlfriend, who reportedly brought them to the McKinleyville home, but failed to appear in court in 2019 leading to a warrant being sent out for her arrest. 

    In 2019 crime in Humboldt county was down significantly, the above case being on a list of only 10 homicides that year, prompting DA Fleming to call the decreasing crime rate “a blessing” to reporters with a Lake County news source. 

    However, the violent crime statistics in Rohnert Park show an increase in violent crime in 2020, the last year data was available. “The Rohnert Park Department of Public Safety saw a 4.9 percent increase in violent crimes reported in its city, from 267 in 2019 to 280 in 2020.” 

    Citizens of both Humboldt and Sonoma Counties hope that this case will end in justice and that their respective teams of law enforcement can work to reduce violent crime and protect residents.

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