General Crime

* Kevin Anthony Payne Jr. and James Larry Lewis Arraigned in Alleged Murder of Elijah Lockhart

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Two men charged in connection with the stabbing death of a Sebastopol man in Guerneville on Wednesday were arraigned this afternoon in Sonoma County Superior Court. Kevin Anthony Payne Jr., 22, a Los Angeles resident, and James Larry Lewis, 35, of Guerneville, delayed entering pleas and will return to court July 15.  Payne is charged with killing 31-year-old Elijah Lockhart and Lewis is charged with being an accessory. Payne is being held without bail in the Sonoma County jail. He has a misdemeanor battery case involving another alleged victim pending in Sonoma County Superior Court, and there were two misdemeanor warrants for his arrest at the time of the slaying, Deputy District Attorney Brian Staebell said.

Judge Ken Gnoss raised Lewis’ bail to $100,000 after Staebell said Lewis provided the knife and concealed it from law enforcement after the stabbing. The knife was recovered at the scene. Lewis also has two prior prison commitments, Staebell said. Lockhart was stabbed in the chest after an altercation with Payne and Lewis on the Guerneville pedestrian bridge, Sonoma County sheriff’s Lt. Tim Duke said. He staggered to the First Street plaza and collapsed. Staebell said the nature of the dispute is under investigation. A sheriff’s deputy from the Russian River sub-station arrived within a minute of the call about the stabbing and gave Lockhart CPR, sheriff’s Lt. Tim Duke said. The Monte Rio Fire Protection District and ambulance crews arrived and prepared to take Lockhart to Santa Rosa Memorial Hospital, but he died in the ambulance, Duke said.

Outside court this afternoon, Lockhart’s mother, Sheila Lockhart, of Sebastopol, questioned whether life-saving measures were quick or adequate enough, and she said wants to file a wrongful death suit against the sheriff’s office and other responders. Monte Rio Fire Protection District Chief Steve Baxman said a sheriff’s deputy started chest compressions on Lockhart immediately. “It couldn’t have been quicker,” Baxman said. Baxman said he took over chest compressions while paramedics gave Lockhart fluids. Baxman said he was driving the ambulance while four paramedics worked on Lockhart, but Lockhart died about halfway to the hospital. “I’m sorry she lost her son, but don’t take it out on the people who tried to save you son’s life,” Baxman said.

I stand by everything we did. We’ve got nothing to be ashamed of,” Baxman said. Sheila Lockhart said her son was going swimming in the Russian River and she and her daughter were in Guerneville to pick him up. She said they were delayed about 20 minutes because they stopped to fix their tires, and when they arrived, her son was laying in a pool of blood in the plaza. “If we hadn’t done that, we would have been there for him,” she said. “The last thing he did was he held out his hand to me and said,  ‘Help mom’,” she said. “He was my first and only son.”

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