Crime

Stanislaus County judge’s son shot at Merced County officers. Now his trial is moving

Law enforcement investigates scene of officer-involved shooting in Snelling

Law enforcement officers investigate the scene of an officer-involved shooting on Snelling Road in Merced County, Calif., on Friday, March 10, 2017. Kevin William Mayhew, 40, of Turlock, fled Thursday while Turlock Police served a search warrant.
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Law enforcement officers investigate the scene of an officer-involved shooting on Snelling Road in Merced County, Calif., on Friday, March 10, 2017. Kevin William Mayhew, 40, of Turlock, fled Thursday while Turlock Police served a search warrant.

The son of a retired Stanislaus County Judge charged with murdering a man in his Turlock home will be brought back to Stanislaus County after spending almost two years in Merced County Jail for allegedly firing at law enforcement there.

Kevin William Mayhew, 41, drove away from his parents’ Turlock home in March 2017 in a car full of firearms shortly after detectives started searching his home a few miles away on North Thor Street, where he shot and killed 30-year-old Juy Anthony Gastelo on Halloween 2016.

Officers tried to pull Mayhew over but he led them on a 44-mile pursuit that lasted just over an hour and ended in Merced. There, he got out and fired a gun at two Merced County Sheriff’s deputies. He also nearly ran over a Merced Police officer who tried to use spike strips to disable his vehicle, according to court documents.

The Merced County District Attorney’s Office on Friday dropped the attempted murder charges against Mayhew because duplicates were filed Wednesday in Stanislaus Superior Court, according to Katie Gates, the Merced County deputy district attorney who was prosecuting the case.

Along with the charges for attempted murder on three officers and evading police, Mayhew also is facing a murder charge in Gastelo’s death and three counts of insurance fraud for falsely reporting firearms were stolen from his home.

Mayhew also faces enhancements for using a firearm against law enforcement and Gastelo, and special circumstances for lying in wait for Gastelo, both of which could add time to a sentence.

Scene from a fatal shooting in Turlock, Calif., on North Thor Street on Oct. 31, 2016. (Jim Silva/jsilva@modbee.com)

On Oct. 25, 2016, Mayhew reported his home on Thor had been burglarized of items including 15 rifles, three handguns and a shotgun. None of the firearms had actually been stolen; all were recovered, most of them from his vehicle following the shootout in Merced.

According to a 25-page arrest affidavit by Turlock Police Detective Jason Tosta, Mayhew was hiding behind a cardboard box with a loaded handgun, “waiting” for the burglar to return on Oct. 31, 2016.

According to the affidavit, Mayhew wrote to friends on Facebook, “I know exactly who it was and I will remedy the situation before Christmas.”

Mayhew hadn’t lived at the home on Thor for six months — he’d been living with his parents and using the home as storage. He went there on Oct. 31 without a vehicle so the home looked vacant. He left the lights off and the blinds drawn, according to the affidavit.

In interviews after the shooting, Mayhew told Tosta he was asleep on a couch when he woke to find Gastelo in his home standing about 10 feet from him holding a fixed blade knife.

Mayhew told Tosta he was in fear for his life so he immediately pulled his firearm from a holster and fired twice at Gastelo. He told Tosta he then tripped over items on the floor, got up and “fired a second volley of shots” at Gastelo as he was leaving the home through a kitchen window.

Gastelo was shot seven times, including four times in the back.

Inconsistent with Mayhew’s statement, expended cartridge casings and bullet impacts were only found in the kitchen, not in the room with the couch.

The knife he described Gastelo as holding was recovered from the scene but only Mayhew’s DNA was found on it, not Gastelo’s, according to the affidavit.

During the pursuit just over four months later, Tosta spoke to Mayhew over the phone. A recording of the phone call was played in a preliminary hearing in Merced Superior Court last month.

In the recording, Mayhew told officers he was prepared to die and that he was armed.

Mayhew fired at least five rounds from an “AR-15 style semi-automatic refile with a bump firing stock” at two deputies after spike strips disabled his car.

Officers and deputies returned fire, striking Mayhew once in the head.

He was treated at a Modesto hospital and made his first court appearance a few weeks later.

Mayhew waived his right to a public defender in August after a doctor said he was mentally competent to stand trial, according to court records.

Mayhew, who has represented himself in the case in Merced, is the son of retired Stanislaus County Judge William Mayhew.

He was held to answer on the charges following the preliminary hearing in Merced last month.

A court date for Kevin Mayhew has not yet been scheduled in Stanislaus Superior Court and he was not listed in custody at the Stanislaus County Jail as of Friday afternoon.

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