Acquitted In 17 Minutes
January 10, 2014 by Joe Snook
Gold Hill, Ore. — Harassed, assaulted, hospitalized and arrested are just a few words used to describe what Daniel Young has endured — all while trying to protect his family on their own property. On Feb. 21, almost seven years after disputes with neighbors arose over the use of an easement, Young was accused of “menacing and recklessly endangering” his neighbor, Kevin Mayfield. Proclaiming his innocence, Young and his family spent the next 10 months under severe stress, wondering: “Will Dan be locked up?”
Describing why his neighbor would make false allegations against him, Young stated that he has asked neighbors to refrain from using recreational vehicles (ATVs, dirt bikes, etc.) on the easement, which is also part of Young’s property. According to Young, some neighbors create hazards for his family and others when they turn blind corners at unsafe speeds, tearing up the driveway and creating “large amounts of dust.”
The charges against Young alleged that he attempted several times to run over his neighbor with his vehicle while his neighbor was jogging. Mayfield stated that Young called him a “f*****g p***y” while attempting to run him over. Mayfield stated that he sustained “multiple injuries,” which included many scratches from having to “jump into blackberry bushes” and an “injured knee.”
Several deputies responded to the scene, including Jackson County Deputy Ettinger, who testified: “No photos were taken of Kevin’s injuries.” Ettinger also stated that he “didn’t visit” the alleged crime scene. Ettinger didn’t take any photos whatsoever. According to testimony, Ettinger didn’t even include all of Mayfield’s alleged injuries in his report. Ettinger couldn’t recall seeing any scratches, torn clothing or anything else that would suggest that Mayfield “jumped into blackberry bushes,” to avoid being struck by Young’s vehicle.
Shortly after speaking with Mayfield, Ettinger went to the Young home and informed Young’s daughter that he was there to “arrest Dan.” All the deputy apparently needed was an accusation.
Disputes regarding Young and his property, which has an easement, have often led to what Young described as a “deliberate disregard for his rights, as well as wrongful arrests by Jackson County Sheriffs.” Instead of doing what hasn’t worked in the past, Young found the US~Observer and sought our help. We investigated and published on the case prior to Young’s trial. We did what mainstream media should do, but rarely do: a full investigation.
The facts of this case were simple, but not simple enough for the district attorney’s office to realize that prosecuting Young was not only an injustice, but a major waste of tax dollars. Instead, the prosecution relied on one man’s testimony versus another.
On Dec. 11, Young faced his accuser in court. Young’s attorney, Jamie Hazlett, was very direct. Hazlett tactfully exposed the mistakes by the Sheriff’s Department. She also did exceptionally well while questioning Mayfield. As Young testified, some jurors showed body language that suggested they could tell what really happened. After several hours, the defense and prosecution rested. The jury deliberated for about 17 minutes before Young was informed that a verdict had been reached.
Judge Kelly Ravassipour, who was appointed in September by Governor John Kitzhaber announced “not guilty” on both counts.
After exiting the courthouse, one juror stated, “It didn’t take much to read between the lines.”
Mayfield is still Young’s neighbor; and from what has been reported, this dispute is likely to continue.
Young and his wife Susan stated that “gunshots” have been “blasted” toward their home from the direction of Mayfield’s house. Susan Mayfield said, “I can hear the bullets whistling through the trees at night.”
Due to their lost faith in law enforcement, the Young family now carries video recording devices every time they travel on their own property to protect themselves from false allegations.
Numerous attempts to communicate with Mayfield were unsuccessful — until trial. Mayfield insisted that Young was “crazy,” as he signaled with his finger in a circular motion next to his head. Mayfield did say that he “could understand” Young’s fear for safety when people are using off-road vehicles on the easement at unsafe speeds. Mayfield has not yet contacted this reporter post-trial.
Young recently retired and will enjoy this new year as a free man without the stress of jail hanging over his head.
To read our previous article regarding this incident, please visit usobserver.com and search for Dan Young or Kevin Mayfield in the “Yahoo! search tab.”