Murder Mountain (2018) s01e05 Episode Script

Breaking Point

1 I never thought I'd find private investigation to be as frustrating as it was.
A lot of times, even if you found the truth for people, or if you found the information they were seeking, you know, it wasn't enough.
Even though private investigators made a great deal of headway on it, uh, incredible progress, pushing the case when law enforcement wouldn't, a family shouldn't have to pay exorbitant amounts of money to see justice for their loved one when there's significant evidence that a crime has been committed.
Garret's case changed my view of my own society and my community.
It changed my view of what it means to pursue justice if another citizen wrongs you.
Uh, and it made me question the lengths that my government would go to protect me.
And it left me with a pretty serious doubt in that regard.
I think that's one of the things that is supposed to make our society different, is the rule of law.
And when that breaks down, what do you have left? You know, there's some cases that get better with time, and there's many more cases that just dissipate into nowhere.
And I felt this was going in that direction.
After Garret's body was found, the sheriff's department didn't seem to be making an effort at all to question what we felt was a full-blown suspect.
Humboldt law enforcement had teased that there might have been DNA evidence against the alleged killer, but as far as I understand, that did not pan out.
There were talks about, "Well, we're gonna go to Indiana, where the suspect's from," or "We're going to do this.
" Finally, it was, "We're going to the Feds.
" The FBI came into my office and took my entire case.
I totally believed that something was going to happen, but nothing did.
We were really hopeful.
You know? We thought, "This is it.
" You know? We envisioned, "In the next six months or so we'll be going to court.
" But I only talked to the FBI twice, I think.
Even though I called constantly, I only got to talk to them twice.
Both times they could not tell me anything.
The FBI got a hold of it.
We had contact with one of its agents.
And he basically said, "I can't answer any questions.
I can't tell you anything, it may put the case in jeopardy.
" And then he just dropped off the radar screen.
We never heard from him again.
And that was really discouraging to me because I felt like, "Well who do I turn to now?" You know? We were never able to know why the FBI specifically got involved.
We speculated that maybe it had something to do with an organized crime connection or interstate trafficking, but, uh based on our understanding at the time, homicide, you know, general homicide, it's not in the FBI's purview.
It kind of would leave me with the impression that they were pursuing an entirely different line of inquiry than we were.
New names, different locations, people out of the country.
And I'm like, "I don't know.
" Seemed like everything we needed was in Alderpoint.
About two months after the Thanksgiving night incident, a sheriff's deputy and an FBI agent rode up my driveway and, uh, wanted to question me.
The FBI agent asked if I would describe the events in detail.
So I told him, "I heard an admission of murder.
We got the truth.
 We got the truth.
And we found the body.
" But that was the last that I heard from any constabulary about the case.
It's a shame that more of the people who were at the Thanksgiving event didn't come forward and tell the story.
But the Alderpoint 8 actually was a misnomer because, other than myself, there were only three that was present to hear the admission.
Scott, Neil, and Bob.
The police want to say that Alderpoint is anti-cops, anti-law.
It's vigilante justice up here and we don't let them help.
After Neil got killed, Scott wanted the police to come and get Matt and have a legal consequence.
He wanted people to see this is not okay.
The police came.
I showed them on my computer, "This is Matt Brown.
This is what he looks like.
I don't know what street he's on.
I can't tell you, 'Go left, go right.
' I'm not familiar-- But I will go with you guys in the car.
I will show you where he's at.
" "Oh, well, we want to do that, but he's got a gun, and he might" "You guys have guns, too.
What are you talking about?" We told 'em right where he was.
They could've gotten him that night.
But they didn't.
For three days, he was in Alderpoint.
My phone rang off the hook.
Everybody in this town called, numerous times.
They said, "He's right here.
He's on a bike.
He's in a car.
" Point by point telling us where he was at.
I'd be like, "Okay, he's here now, he's-- We want to get him, but he's got a gun and this and that's going on.
We're not gonna get him.
" Matt was seen driving around on a motorcycle with a wig.
And he was threatening people that they better not tell or else he was gonna kill them.
And that was very alarming.
Scott was talking to the cops.
He wanted them up here.
He went and talked to them.
They were at his house.
You figure after a brutal murder like that, you know, point-blank in somebody else's, you know, bedroom, you know, you'd figure there'd be some kind of police activity, something.
That boy, he premeditated that whole ordeal.
Just everything, how it added up, how he came in on a dirt bike.
He comes into the house with a 12-gauge shotgun loaded, walks up into my dad's bedroom.
The kid, he had something against Neil.
It was looking bad.
And Neil knew it.
Honestly, it's sad but true.
Neil had that coming.
They were acting real runaround and pushed somebody into a corner.
It was perfect self-defense, 'cause Neil Decker was telling everybody that he was gonna kill me.
And self-defense is all based on state of mind.
The Alderpoint 8 shootings played a part in my state of mind and why I was so fearful of Neil.
The outlaw vigilante lifestyle that's up there.
I was frightened.
I was scared to death of him killing me.
When Garret went missing, I felt like people were very alarmed.
And they really wanted to bring justice.
Nobody could condone that.
Like, that's a monster.
Who could kill this guy because he owed 'em some money, right? But I feel like when Neil Decker was murdered, that right there was a breaking point.
I'ma tell you the truth, people were scared from thereon of that situation.
It just got out of hand.
The Humboldt Cure has two farms in the town of Alderpoint.
It is a 27,800-square-foot outdoor.
The production of crops of that size could vary   from anywhere from 500 to 1,500 pounds, or something.
I first started growing when I was 15 years old.
It was a lot of fun.
You know, it's something I really wanted to do.
Growing up up here with family members who were involved with the trade, it gave me a different perspective.
You kind of don't really follow the norms.
You know, kind of make your own way in life.
I moved up to Humboldt when I was four years old with my dad.
One of the first memories I can remember was my dad's friend Scott Johnson.
That was the first place we showed up, was his house.
So this right here is our brand, The Humboldt Cure.
As you can see, we have the triangle made out of emerald, to represent the emerald triangle, where we're at.
This right here is the sun, because we, of course, we all worship the sun here.
Scott was the first person I ever seen to start branding in Humboldt County.
He had a company called Humboldt Honey Crop.
And he wanted to merge into the legal market.
So he kind of was an influence of mine.
Scott, he was down in Alderpoint at the store, and I seen him.
And Neil had just died, so I went up to Scott and I was talking to him.
He explains this story that unfolded.
Scott, he was almost like a zombie, you know? He just kept repeating over and over word for word, the whole story.
He just kept repeating it over and over and over again, 'cause he was just in shock.
You know, something was eating at him.
I didn't like that.
Everybody that was coming in that house, they wanted Scott to tell that story over and over about how Neil died.
Over and over again.
And every time he told it, it took a piece of him.
I begged him, "Just go with me.
Let's go down south.
Let's just go.
" So I left 'cause I'm like, I can't even-- "I don't want to see you doing this.
" He was actually getting into the truck to leave, to come meet me, when our neighbor showed up, and said, "Matt's right down the street.
" We were told that he was hiding in a cabin down the road.
My dad felt like he needed to do something.
Neil was gone, see? That was normally the person that would usually handle something like that.
And Scott was like, "I brought the motherfucker here.
This is my business.
I'm gonna go handle it.
" Me and a few other people were just, you know, trying to calm him down, trying to talk him out of it.
People were saying, "Let the law enforcement" And he's like, "What law enforce--? Where are they?" Like, it's four days and not one cop has shown back up.
That's when we all kind of suited up and we went to go find the kid again.
People knew that Scott wanted police justice for Matt Brown, and Scott was not a hit man.
Scott was not one that was gonna be, like, beating you into submission.
That wasn't Scott's deal, you know? But the only occasion that I know that Scott went out with the boys to go get somebody that had done wrong was going up to find Garret.
The second time was that night that he left the house to go get Matt.
He felt responsible.
He knew that he had brought Matt here to work and that Matt had killed Neil.
I don't know what he was thinking, but he had a hat on and a camo jacket, to go get Matt.
Which just blows my mind, 'cause that was not Scott.
Why would he wear a hat? He never wore a hat before.
Scott said he was just gonna talk to him and ask him why he killed his friend.
He asked me if I'd go with him, and watch his back.
I said sure.
He took two people with him, Redhead Dave and this guy.
This guy, I never heard about him before, I never knew anything about him, but now apparently everybody knew him.
This guy is like a hometown kid.
Scott had given him a property to work on.
The guy just got out of jail and Scott was trying to help him out, you know, like he always liked to do.
And that guy was there to help, supposedly.
Scott, Redhead Dave, and this guy they go walking down there to where the cabin is.
And at some point, they split up and went different directions.
We should've never separated.
This guy and I walked down the road.
He went around the cabin, looking for Matt Brown.
He said he looked inside the cabin but they didn't see him, he wasn't in there.
It started getting dark, so I told him, "We should get going back, you know?" We start walking back and he's probably 30 feet or so ahead of me.
I was facing the other direction, watching the cabin, watching our backs.
I was told that Scott came running out.
This guy didn't know that it was Scott.
Scott had put on, like, the hat, you know, specifically a camouflage hat that Matt Brown was wearing.
And that guy was all amped up.
And he shot him.
This guy accidentally shot Scott, thinking it was Matt Brown.
I don't know.
I heard gunshots.
You know, you hear gunshots, you take cover.
And so I ran, down in the woods, on another piece of property.
I just kept going.
I was with Scott Johnson's son.
And we heard some gunshots.
I'm like, "Well, someone's probably just shooting some guns.
" I didn't think nothing happened.
I believe those were the gunshots that, in fact, killed him.
This guy threw Scott in the back of the truck.
I believe Scott was already dead at that moment.
And then he starts hauling ass out of there.
But the road is so crazy that Scott's body ends up falling out of the back of the truck.
And he just left him there.
Yeah, it's fucked up.
We heard that he was shot.
I was like, "He's gonna make it.
If anybody's gonna make it, it's gonna be him.
He's gonna be okay.
" I don't know.
I don't know exactly what all happened.
I wish I was there, 'cause I would have made it to where he didn't go down there.
Neil got killed on Friday.
And Scott got killed on Monday.
After Neil got shot, if the cops would've done their job and went and got Matt Brown, Scott would be alive.
It's just messed up, man.
I didn't hear no gunshots.
I slept through it all.
The SWAT team woke me up at 6:00 in the morning.
That's when they handcuffed me and took me out of there.
When they were walking me up the road is when I seen Scott there laying dead.
That's when they asked me, "Do you know who that is?" And I told 'em, "Yeah, that's Scott Johnson.
" And they said, "How do you know that?" And I said, "Well, he was like my dad.
" How's that make you feel? Um Grateful, for my life, and, I mean, thankful that it wasn't me.
I wish I knew what he was doing down there.
I don't believe that he was coming down there to kill me.
People could take a life lesson from hearing this story.
It captures everything that was wrong with the prohibition era.
Just like, you know, the gangsters from alcohol era.
You know, there's gonna be things that go bad.
You know, you have this vigilante; you have these murders; and this is real life.
I feel that would be something that people could learn from.
This is what's wrong with prohibition.
It's not the weed's fault; it's the fact that it was prohibited which is causing these problems, plain and simple.
The last time I'd seen Scott, at the store, he gives me a hug, and he goes, "And I don't want you to ever get involved with any of this stuff.
If you live by the gun, you're gonna die by the gun.
" And the next day, you know, he's lying dead in the middle of the road.
I'd seen a write-up after Neil and Scott died that said "The Alderpoint 8, two down" or some crap.
I'd seen it just written somewhere, I don't remember.
Like, that pissed me off.
Because they did do the right thing.
They got the killer.
They got witnesses saying he took 'em to the grave.
Are you kidding? They did the right thing for a change.
And nobody else had done the right thing.
If they hadn't taken that person and he hadn't shown him where Garret was buried, to this day, we would not have found Garret.
And I know that.
We would have never known what happened to him.
Some people say it was vigilante justice.
Um That's the best justice there is when you have a sheriff's department like the Humboldt County Sheriff's Department.
We want legitimate law enforcement to come there and take care of the problem.
Unfortunately, we have people in this area that have been outlaws and they've also been vigilantes.
So they've gone and they've taken matters in their own hands.
And when you do that, then you push us out.
And we can't oftentimes remedy that and go back.
After Scott had been killed, the police interviewed the person that shot Scott a couple times.
And they know that he did it.
And he knows that they know that he did it, but I gave the cops my statement.
And I just told them, you know, what I saw and what I heard.
And I didn't see that guy shoot him.
But I heard the gunshots, and I know that there was only two other people out there besides me.
The police told me they needed the murder weapon.
So I put out a $5,000 reward for the murder weapon.
And somebody turned the gun in.
The police got the gun, and they told me it was the gun that had killed Scott.
But that wasn't enough, 'cause there was no fingerprints or-- we needed somebody to say they saw him with the gun.
And now Scott's a cold case.
Bob always thought that he had to make himself look tough.
He was one of the people that was caught up in the outlaw vigilante thing.
He was there the night that Neil went up to confront the person that had allegedly shot Garret.
Neil was just, like, yelling, "What did you do with Garret?" Bob comes out, you know, pistol-whips him.
The gun ends up going off.
Shot his ear.
He did things that were not cool, but he did things that were.
But he did-- He was intrigued by the whole outlaw mentality up here.
It's hard to say what happened.
It happened in Alderpoint, so you're gonna have 50 different versions of it.
Zach Harrison, he's a kid that, like, grew up in Alderpoint.
The thing that happened with him and Bob, it started over something so stupid.
These guys start bragging on each other.
Like, "Oh, yeah, I've done this and I've done that.
" And fuckin', "I've done this and I've done that.
" So they're building each other up to each other, you know? Bob, he thought that he intimidated people because he was a big guy, and he would pull his gun out whenever he felt the need to.
He's even said to a lot of people, "I'm too old to fight, you know? If somebody wants to fight me, I'll take out my gun and shoot 'em.
" And so Zach hears all this stuff.
Zach goes up to Bob, saying, "I'm a bad motherfucker.
" And then Bob took it offensively and was like, "Fuck you.
I'll rape you in your ass" or something, he told the guy.
Zach had confided in me that he was touched when he was a kid.
Like, somebody had sexually abused him.
And so I think that hit home with him, you know? It was just like when he told Zach that, it triggered something in Zach that was like, "Okay.
" And that's when he grabbed his rifle.
Bob saw him with the rifle and reacted.
And so it was, like, Zach saw him reaching for a weapon and Zach just ran up and shot at him, you know? Zach killed him, and it's sad.
I heard the bullets.
I ran to the street and seen him standing there, with the gun and the car, and, of course, could see who was the shooter.
And after the shooting, Zach acted like nothing ever happened and went to the end of the street and talked to some other people, and said, "Come on, let's go party.
" And that's pretty crazy when stuff like that happens right here in the middle of town.
Right in broad daylight.
Saturday, it was a terrifying scene for the people of Alderpoint.
Robert James Holtsclaw shot to death, and the shooter is nowhere to be found.
And the suspect, 27-year-old Zachary Cordell Harrison, deputies tell us that Harrison is believed to have been last seen driving in the Alderpoint area in a black Ford F-250 with Oregon plates.
Deputies say this homicide is currently under investigation.
They also say if you see Harrison, call 911 right away.
He is considered armed and dangerous.
It's okay, buddy.
The Rancho used to be family oriented.
This used to be a family mountain.
- Yeah.
- It's not anymore.
It's nothing anymore.
I could sit on the road, if I'd seen any cars, I knew everybody that went by.
Back when everything was good, like, the paradise era, everyone was just happy, everyone was just growing cannabis.
There wasn't all these murders.
You didn't want law enforcement around, 'cause what good could happen-- Nobody was hurting each other.
There was no harm.
It was peaceful.
We never locked our doors, we didn't even close our doors at night.
We'd go to town, we'd leave everything open.
Our kids could walk down the street at night.
We didn't worry about 'em.
Which, God knows, it's not like that anymore.
It's a good community and the people that are good people don't want to be about the "Murder Mountain" thing.
This area's been portrayed as an area of these outlaws and these murderers and stuff, when, in fact, it's just these guys that want to make a living.
They want to pass something on to their children.
They want to do a family tradition.
I believe legalization is the key.
I feel like that whole thing where people don't want the police around no more, nowadays, it's all changing.
We need more cops.
Those guys are way overwhelmed.
The way I see law enforcement, you know, it's all about perspective.
You have these guys that would never talk to cops and they hate cops and all this stuff.
You know, and now and all of a sudden, they're calling the police all the time.
It's like, "Well, why would we come help you guys? You guys have never wanted anything to do with us.
Now all of a sudden" It's just a lot of trust issues that both sides are gonna have to get over.
And I think once that happens, you're gonna see an end to all this violence.
And that's what needs to happen.
It is primary election day.
There's a few local races on the ballot, uh, including Humboldt County Sheriff, although he's running unopposed.
I recognize this job carries a lot of responsibility and community trust.
This is a job that's not 9:00 to 5:00, Monday through Friday.
It's a job that's 24/7.
I am gonna continue to prioritize investigations that involve violence, child abuse, drugs, and felons with firearms.
And we are gonna continuously pursue those and make sure those people are held accountable.
I appreciate all your support.
And don't forget to vote.
Thank you very much.
If there's nobody else running, I guess I could write somebody in.
But I don't have any idea who I would want to be sheriff that would want to also be sheriff, you know? So he's apparently the only guy that wants the job.
So it must be pretty challenging.
- He's got a tough job.
- Yeah.
I wouldn't want to do it.
I think Honsal's done a great job since he's been in.
And how do you feel about the way Honsal has handled, uh, marijuana eradication? It's gonna be a tough one to overcome in the years, you know, to get everyone to be legit and pay taxes.
I think there's always gonna be a black market for that.
I don't think the county has the resources in the sheriff's department to manage it.
Any thoughts about how the sheriff's office has been handling-- -The wild west? -Yeah, the wild west, Humboldt County? I spend a lot of time out in the rural areas, hunting, fishing, spending time in the outdoors, and it's crazy out there.
-How so? - You know what they're up there doing.
Coming across things you don't want to come across.
It's an ongoing process, really, and it's not something that'll be fixed overnight or in the next four years.
-You know? It's gonna take a while.
Developing tonight: the Humboldt County Sheriff's Office still hunting for homicide suspect Zachary Harrison.
Deputies say Harrison is wanted on murder charges in connection to the September death of 58-year-old Robert Holtsclaw.
Right after the Bob situation, Zach ends up going toward Oregon.
He has property up there.
He spent ten days with no food at all.
When I actually saw Zach, you know, like, when he popped in for the first time, and I saw him, I remember opening the door to the trailer, and he's just standing there.
I thought I was, like, hallucinating or something.
I'm just like, "What-- Zach?" And he was like, "Yeah, man, what's up?" And I'm just like, "Wow.
Good to see you".
Gave him a hug, you know.
Zach started making appearances in town.
You know, there's definitely people that saw him that reported him, you know? And that's what led to the cops being back on his trail.
Last week, we got a tip that one homicide suspect was in Alderpoint.
Myself and a team of deputies were able to locate Mr.
He was in a stolen vehicle, fled from the vehicle.
We had a search team on-scene.
He was able to scale down a steep cliff.
Didn't actually see him enter the water, but found his clothing nearby.
We had assumed that he had entered the water.
Fuckin', he runs off down to the river, tears his clothes off, jumps in the river.
They had the helicopters flying up there.
That kid though? He's from here.
The reason he stripped his clothes off, 'cause he knows about that thermal shit.
He coats himself in mud, fuckin' turns into a fuckin' Sasquatch and dips on 'em.
It's his nature.
When they were looking for Zach and they came and spent the night up here, that was a first.
They've never ever come up here and stayed the night.
By the time I left on Thursday, it was getting below 34 degrees.
Naked and wet, I mean, he just crossed a river.
So it lowers the probability of finding that person or finding them alive.
Hey, I just wanted to-- I don't need a microphone.
I got a big, loud voice, my kids can attest to that, and my wife.
But anyway, I want to just thank every one of you for being here tonight.
Uh, this is a great night.
I'm gonna go ahead and claim victory now.
This is I know the polls close in a half hour, but I really appreciate-- -You're safe.
-Yeah, I'm safe.
Uh, but one thing that I just want to reaffirm with all of you, that it's not just my job here, it's all of our jobs to make sure that we live in a town that's safe and that's prosperous, and that we have a future in Humboldt County.
And that means I am all about community and community engagement.
If there's issues in the community, I expect you to tell me.
And then I expect you also to come onboard and help us with addressing these issues.
It's gonna take all of us to get together to try and fix the problem before it becomes a problem.
So I need all your help on that.
Zach Harrison is a guy that's been on the run for a while.
And we don't know if he's alive or dead out there in the middle of nowhere.
So we have search teams, both ground and air, looking for him, and, still, we have not yet located him.
It's a huge challenge, tracking these kind of guys down in the vast expanses of a rural county like Humboldt County.
Zachary Harrison kind of developed a reputation as an evil Jason Bourne.
Numerous escapes from law enforcement, some of them dramatic, crossing rivers with dogs and helicopters involved.
How can I help you? Hi, I was curious if you guys have found Zachary Harrison yet.
I just saw somebody that kind of looks like him.
It was in that parking lot at the end of Truesdale.
That truck guy too-- Okay, not a problem.
Thank you.
Checking behind the mall.
As I approached the Walmart parking lot, I saw two males.
I started walking up to them and asked one of them what his name was.
He told me his name was John and he took a step towards me.
And I knew at that point that it was Zach Harrison.
All the thoughts running through my head, like, how he's escaped before, and was he gonna run? Was he gonna fight? He got close enough to me to where I was able to grab his right arm and detain him.
I got the cuffs on him pretty quickly.
He didn't try to resist.
He didn't try to run.
Lie to me about your name? You think I'm dumb? -No.
-Spread your feet.
I asked him how he survived in the woods for so long, and he just said it was hard.
-I've been on the run.
For a long time now.
'Cause You guys have been chasing me.
We have, you're right.
One of the most wanted people in Humboldt County is finally in custody and he's finally being held to answer for the actions that he's being accused of committing.
I think the tip from the community was of utmost importance to capturing him.
It shows that if citizens feel like their safety's at risk and they call us, then we can do something about it.
Our biggest challenge, I believe, is the drugs here in Humboldt County.
People say, "Why do you worry about marijuana? Why you wasting so much manpower on marijuana?" Because when you look at our stats, marijuana and other drugs are associated with the majority of our homicides.
Organized crime is alive and well.
And a lot of that brings in people that have violent tendencies and violent acts.
They don't want to call the police when they have a problem with someone.
They want to take it in their own hands, and kill people, hold people hostage.
So we're looking at stopping that.
We're looking at being proactive.
And to try to make sure and make people aware that we're out there and we're not going away.
Despite the fact that it's legal now, if you're on the outside, we're still coming after you.
What do you need to get a conviction in the Garret Rodriguez case? We need evidence.
We need a murder weapon.
We need something that ties to someone that committed that crime.
And that could be a statement.
If someone was there that viewed the homicide, if someone was there that viewed a confession that wasn't coerced, or knows where a piece of evidence is that ties the victim and the suspect together, those are the things that we need.
Someone has to come forward and talk to law enforcement, and make it clear that they have information that's reliable and that can be acted upon.
The night that Garret disappeared, the rumor went that someone did help the alleged person bury the body.
The alleged murderer, he looked at this guy and told him, "You work here? Get this shit cleaned up.
" Of course, it was a bloody boy that he was getting cleaned up.
The alleged witness was a friend of the person in question that killed Garret.
The information that we got is that a witness had told somebody that the individual shot Garret, and he helped bury the body.
He was the person-- I felt that this guy was the most critical person to interview.
I mean, there's no other witnesses.
But as far as I know, he has not been interviewed.
No one seemed to have any idea where this person disappeared to.
There was reason to believe that this guy might have left the country after this happened, so I know there were individuals that were looking for him that could not find him.
I look at social media a lot.
We've been keeping an eye on this person.
And most recently, all the databases were pointing to San Diego.
But on his main page, this is-- I know this bar.
This is Humboldt.
Definitely local river bar.
Southern Humboldt.
The Grow-- a grow in Humboldt.
Founders' Grove, that's in Humboldt.
He's not as far away as I thought.
Here's the Avenue of the Giants.
Rock slide.
He's pretty bold, this guy.
He's in Humboldt County.
He knows what happened to Garret.