General Crime

Mark Cappello could face death penalty for alleged triple homicide during a marijuana deal in Forestville

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Sonoma County District Attorney Jill Ravitch said she will seek the death penalty for Mark Cappello, the alleged gunman in a triple homicide during a marijuana deal in Forestville last year. “It will be up to a jury of Sonoma County residents to determine whether the death penalty is appropriate in this case involving the alleged execution of three unarmed individuals for the purpose of financial gain,” Ravitch said in a news release late this afternoon.

It’s the first time the Sonoma County District Attorney’s Office has sought the death penalty since Robert Scully was sentenced to death row for the murder of Sonoma County sheriff’s Deputy Frank Trejo in 1995. Cappello, 47, of Central City, Colorado, is charged with the shooting murders of Raleigh Butler, 26, a former Sebastopol resident, Todd Klarkowski, 42, of Boulder, Colorado and Richard Lewin, 46, of Huntington, New York on Feb. 5, 2013. Cappello’s co-defendants Odin Dwyer, 39, of Denver, Colorado, and Odin’s father Francis Dwyer, 66, of Truth or Consequences, New Mexico, also are charged with the murders and being an accessory.

The murder complaint alleges the killings were for financial gain, were committed while lying in wait and involved multiple victims. Investigators believe Klarkowski, Lewin and Cappello traveled separately to California to buy marijuana from Butler, and that Cappello recruited the Dwyers to transport it to Colorado. Cappello allegedly shot Klarkowski, Butler and Lewin in Butler’s mother’s Forestville cabin while the victims were packaging the marijuana for transport.

Then Cappello and Odin Dwyer allegedly left the cabin with 69 pounds of processed marijuana. Cappello and the Dwyers then allegedly split the marijuana into thirds, but Cappello then gave his share to the Dwyers and told them to give him $90,000 when they sold it, according to testimony at Cappello’s preliminary hearing. The Dwyers, who do not face the death penalty, waived their right to a preliminary hearing. All three defendants are scheduled for a trial on May 23.

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