North Bay News

Third defendant in triple murder near Forestvilel pleads not guilty

Friday, May 24, 2013
Scene of triple homicide in Forestville

A third defendant accused of the allegedly drug-related slaying of three men in the Forestville area of Sonoma County in February pleaded not guilty to murder charges Friday morning.

Francis Dwyer, 65, of Truth or Consequences, N.M., pleaded not guilty in Sonoma County Superior Court today to three counts of murder and one count each of burglary, conspiracy to possess marijuana for sale and conspiracy to sell or transport marijuana.

Dwyer fought extradition from New Mexico but arrived in Sonoma County earlier this week.

His son Odin Dwyer, 38, of the Denver area, and Mark William Cappello, 46, of Central City, Colo., are the other two defendants and have pleaded not guilty to similar charges.

The Dwyers also are charged with being an accessory to burglary and murder by allegedly helping Cappello escape arrest, trial and prosecution.

Cappello, the alleged shooter, faces the death penalty because the slayings allegedly were for financial gain, committed while lying in wait and committed during a burglary. He also is charged with personally and intentionally discharging a .45 caliber semi-automatic handgun.

The Sonoma County Sheriff's Office initially said Raleigh Butler, 26, a former Sonoma County resident who recently was living in Truckee, Richard Lewin, 46, of Huntington, N.Y. and Todd Klarkowski, 42, of Boulder, Colo., were at Butler's mother's cabin near Forestville to buy marijuana on Feb. 5.

Their bodies were found by Butler's brother at the cabin on Ross Station Road. An autopsy determined they died of gunshot wounds.

But in a criminal complaint filed by prosecutors, Butler was allegedly selling the marijuana to the three murder suspects.

According to the complaint, Cappello and the Dwyers made arrangements in Colorado to obtain marijuana in California, and one of them obtained plastic bins to transport it.

The three men drove in two vehicles from Colorado to California, and Cappello met Butler, Klarkowski and Lewin in Sebastopol on Feb. 4 to view a sample of the marijuana for purchase, according to the complaint.

It is alleged that Cappello armed himself with a .45-caliber pistol and drove with Odin Dwyer to Sebastopol on Feb. 5 to meet with Klarkowski and Lewin.

Cappello and Odin Dwyer followed Klarkowski and Lewin to the cabin in Forestville to buy marijuana from Butler, and at some point, Cappello allegedly shot the three men.

Cappello and Odin Dwyer put the packaged marijuana inside Cappello's Ford Bronco for transportation, and Cappello and Odin Dwyer met Francis Dwyer in Santa Rosa to discuss transferring the marijuana out of California, the complaint states.

Cappello and the Dwyers then drove to Colorado and New Mexico with the pot obtained in Forestville, according to the complaint.

Cappello was arrested in Mobile, Ala., after a traffic stop on Feb. 14, and the Dwyers were arrested in Colorado and New Mexico on March 1.

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Tags:
murder, crime, shooting, sonoma county, marijuana, drugs, violence, death penalty, north bay news
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