Year in review: Top crime, courts and weather stories of 2017


EUREKA – As we approach the end of the year, News Channel 3 takes a look back at some of the stories that shaped 2017.
It’s been an eventful year on the North Coast.
From the unsolved murder of an HSU student to wildfires that devastated the entire state and land slides that crippled transportation.
Starting in Arcata, 19-year-old HSU student David Josiah Lawson was leaving a party on Spear Avenue with a group of friends the night of April 15th.
Two women and a man later identified as Kyle Zoellner of McKinleyville got in to an altercation with the group over a lost cell phone. Lawson was stabbed twice and died from his injuries.
Zoellner was arrested that night for the homicide. After a five-day preliminary hearing a judge found there was not enough evidence to hold Zoellner for trial.
Lawson’s murder remains unsolved and has created a rift between campus leaders, students and the City of Arcata.
Lawson’s family and the city are offering a $55,000 reward for information leading to an arrest.
Arcata Police Department says they continue to actively investigate the crime.
And the trial for Marci Kitchen, the woman accused of killing two 14-year-olds including her own daughter, was delayed over and over again in the Humboldt County court system.
Kitchen allegedly struck Kiya Kitchen and Faith Tsarnas with her Jeep the evening of July 12, 2016 and surrendered to law enforcement in September of that year. She has yet to stand trial and is out of custody on $750,000 bail. The trial is now scheduled for next May.
And another woman was accused of violence against her daughter.
Kimberly Felder of Ferndale was charged with attempting to kill her 11-year-old on Centerville beach in June. Investigators say she was performing an exorcism on the girl when Ferndale resident John Marciel intervened, saving her life.
Faced with an attempted murder charge, the 45-year-old mother of three pled not guilty by reason of insanity in September.
Felder’s trial has been delayed numerous times as doctors work to complete psychological evaluations.
And a former Humboldt County Correctional Deputy is being housed where he used to work after his arrest on nine counts of child sexual abuse.
Cory Jordan Fisher, Sr. is accused of sexually abusing three boys under the age of 15 over a period of 12 years.
A hearing to determine if he will stand trial is scheduled for January 11.
And the North Coast felt the effects of deadly wildfires that ripped across the state.
Local crews covered Calfire stations and served on fire lines from Willits to Santa Barbara.
And community members stepped up to donate food and supplies to thousands of residents who lost everything in the north bay fires. To date a relief fund has raised nearly $29 million. Full recovery is expected to take years.
And local roadways were wrecked by winter weather that had long lasting impacts.
Highway 299 was completely closed by landslides for weeks. Caltrans is still working to fully repair the area near Big French Creek.
And Redway resident Wendy Kornberg captured incredible video of the slide that closed 101 near Legget in April.
What looks like the entire hillside came down on the highway making it inaccessible for more than a week.
When combined with road improvement work on State Route 36 and slides at Last Chance Grade on Highway 101 in Del Norte County, the North Coast was firmly nestled in its spot behind the redwood curtain.
Watch News Channel 3 Thursday night for another look back at 2017.