Wes Cole back from Napa, out of jail and ready to stand trial

Kevin L. Hoover
Mad River Union

HUMBOLDT – Charles Wesley Cole has completed his treatment at Napa State Hospital, has returned to Humboldt County where is is free on his own recognizance, and will stand retrial for animal cruelty starting July 30.

Charles Wesley Cole arduously climbs the courthouse stairs for another hearing. KLH | Union

As previously reported, Cole has been involved with the criminal justice system since January 2016, when he allegedly mistreated his former dog, Mr. Know Buddy, on H Street in Arcata.

A trial resulted in a hung jury, prompting an outcry by animal activists for a retrial. Numerous subsequent court hearings involved findings of lack of mental competency to stand for another trial, with treatment ordered at a state mental hospital.

In July of last year, he was admitted to Napa State Hospital with the aim of restoring his sanity adequately enough to hold another trial on the two-year-old felony animal cruelty charges.

Missing mental health reports have resulted in several delays and rescheduled court hearings, an inadvertent tradition which carried on as recently two weeks ago.

On June 11, Cole was certified competent to stand trial, according to Deputy District Attorney Carolyn Schaffer. At a hearing Wednesday in Humboldt County Superior Court, Cole was released on his own recognizance. Schaffer said that decision was over the objections of the DA's Office, which wanted him to remain in custody.

Schaffer said a trial conference is set for July 16, during which the court will assess the status of the case. A jury trail is set to get underway July 30.



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