Feb. 17, 2006: Scott’s last shift
With one hour left on his shift, officer Earl Scott drops his partner off at the Modesto CHP station to complete some paperwork, then returns to patrol the roads alone.
Investigators believe Scott stopped a speeding vehicle around 4:30 a.m. south of the Hammett Road exit on northbound Highway 99. His Camaro was not equipped with a video camera, and Scott did not call in the car’s license plate number.
The first officer on the scene, John Chituras, will tell the county’s criminal grand jury he heard a dispatcher’s emergency call, saw another motorist frantically waving him down and found Scott dead on the side of the road.
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“Officer down,” Chituras radioed to dispatch. “Summon the world.”
Scott is found holding a registration card for a 1990 maroon Nissan Maxima. The CHP activates a statewide Amber Alert looking for the car, and hundreds of local, state and federal law enforcement officers converge on Salida.
Around 8:40 a.m., Allen walks into the Stockton Police Department to report the Nissan stolen. Seven hours later, he’s under arrest, and investigators seem confident they have their man.
“I didn’t do it,” Allen tells a television news crew as he’s ushered into an unmarked police car. “They know I didn’t do it.”
February 23, 2006: Mourning a loss
Scott’s funeral procession stretches for miles down Highway 99, making its way to Modesto’s First Baptist Church where officers from around the nation and from every county in California gather.
The sanctuary is packed by 1,600, while the rest watch the service on a large projection screen from an overflow room in another of the church’s buildings.
“He was a guy you wanted your sister to find and to love,” CHP officer Brandon Rioux said of Scott.
“Every forensic resource and prosecutorial resource needed to do justice will be used,” then-Attorney General Bill Lockyer promised Scott’s father, a former CHP sergeant.
Scott is buried at a private ceremony.
March 13, 2006: “It’s a whole bunch of lies.”
Allen calls The Bee from the downtown jail, denies killing Scott and points to alleged witnesses who tell police they saw a Latino man while driving past the crime scene.
But Allen doesn’t disclose where he was at the time authorities believe Scott was killed — “the only way that information is going to come out is if I’m on the stand,” Allen says — but tells reporters he was in south Modesto the night before the shooting and in Stockton the morning after.
Allen says he called his wife from music producer Christopher Hicks’ house in Stockton to tell her his car had been stolen because he often leaves his keys in the car.
Allen says it was at Hicks’ house when he first saw television coverage of Scott’s death and realized authorities were looking for his car. Allen had a feeling he would be arrested when he went to the Stockton police station because of his criminal past.
“I feel confident I’ll be acquitted,” Allen says. “But at the same time, I see the possibility I could get railroaded.”
June 20, 2007: Allen indicted for murder
Prosecutors made their case against Allen in front of the county’s criminal grand jury during three days of closed-door testimony.
Allen’s attorney characterized the move — which allowed prosecutors to present evidence without the presence of Allen or his attorneys — as “frat-boy shenanigans.”
More than two dozen witnesses took the stand as prosecutors argued Allen, a convicted felon, killed Scott to avoid possible prison time for driving on a suspended license and having a gun.
The grand jury says Allen must stand trial on capital murder charges in connection with Scott’s death.
October 15, 2009: No fair trial for Allen in Modesto
A judge says he will move Allen’s trial from Modesto to Sacramento because of “pervasive publicity” about the case. It’s the first such motion granted in Stanislaus County since Scott Peterson’s 2004 trial was moved to Redwood City.
A jury consultant testifies two-thirds of survey respondents in Stanislaus County already think Allen is guilty.
“The case is burned into the psyche of the community,” the expert says.
A week later, Sacramento Judge Patrick Marlette is picked to preside over the trial, after Stanislaus County Superior Court Judge Hurl Johnson said in court he would not follow the case to the capital city for personal reasons.
June 26, 2010: Headed to a jury?
Prosecutors and defense attorneys are expected to begin haggling over a variety of issues before Marlette, including how to pick a jury and what evidence they will hear. Testimony likely won’t begin until September.
Aug. 2, 2010: 'I shot officer Scott ...'
In a shocking move, Allen admits in court that he killed Scott and pleads guilty to the crime.
"I shot officer Scott with the intent to kill," Allen tells a silent courtroom filled with law enforcement officers and Scott's family.
Allen is sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole. By pleading guilty, he avoids the death sentence and can't appeal his conviction.
— Merrill Balassone