calkins verdict_JS

Richard Calkins, right, consults with his attorney, Chief Deputy Public Defender Oscar Bobrow, shortly after Calkins was found guilty of second-degree murder and attempted murder in Solano County Superior Court, June 19, 2014. (Jess Sullivan/Daily Republic)


Jury convicts Vacaville man who shot friends while high on mushrooms

By From page A1 | June 20, 2014

FAIRFIELD — A monthlong jury trial ended Thursday with a Vacaville man being found guilty of second-degree murder and attempted murder for a 2010 late-night shooting spree in a Vacaville apartment among four friends who were all high on psilocybin mushrooms.

Richard R. Calkins, 22, showed no emotion as the verdicts were read. Several family members of the victims, most who have been at the trial every day, cried. Seated on the opposite side of the courtroom, several of Calkins’ family members also cried.

Calkins and three friends were watching “Family Guy” on television and laughing shortly before 2 a.m. Nov. 16, 2010, after spending the evening drinking and smoking marijuana.

Using a gun he had bought just a few days earlier, Calkins first shot Richard M. Perez, 20, in the head as the two of them stood in the kitchen. Cameron S. Silva, 21, heard the shot from the living room and went to investigate. He was also shot in the head. Silva crawled back to the living room followed by Calkins, who shot Silva’s girlfriend in the face before shooting Silva again. The girlfriend, Sarah Berkheimer, survived her gunshot wound. The shooting lasted about 10 seconds.

Calkins’ defense attorney claimed the mushrooms triggered a paranoid break from reality, a state of unconsciousness, that should have excused Calkins of responsibility.

After the shootings, Calkins walked a few blocks to the Vacaville Police Department on Merchant Street where he shattered windows in the lobby before being arrested. During a struggle with officers, Calkins tumbled down a flight of stairs, fracturing his skull that resulted in a two-week coma.

Jurors deadlocked on the murder charge for Perez’ killing.

Prosecutor Robert Hightower said his office would decide by July 18 whether they would seek a second trial for Perez’ killing.

Reach Jess Sullivan at 427-6919 or [email protected] Follow him on Twitter at www.twitter.com/jsullivandr.

Jess Sullivan

Jess has covered the criminal justice system in Solano County for several years. He was an embedded reporter in Iraq in 2003.

Discussion | 12 comments

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  • 2realJune 20, 2014 - 5:54 am

    2nd degree murder!? What a joke

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  • CD BrooksJune 20, 2014 - 6:00 am

    We used to get high and listen to Cheech and Chong. Never killed anybody. Maybe Family Guy should be banned?

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  • TimporaJune 20, 2014 - 8:38 am

    Dude is a murder plain and simple and tried to blame it on medicinal Fungi pleease let him rott

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  • BJune 20, 2014 - 10:00 am

    Too bad he woke up from that head injury.

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  • omydarling21June 20, 2014 - 4:38 pm

    Ikr?!??! He like "DAYM I wish I didn't wake up" lol

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  • Lola65June 20, 2014 - 11:52 am

    Well...I will take 2nd deg. over invol...any day...but the fact the jury gave opportunity to waste more of my tax $ really pisses me off....it wasn't matter if he did it or not cuz his pubic pretender said he did......just make sure he gets max ...

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  • DavidJune 20, 2014 - 12:04 pm

    No sympathy at all for him or really for the victims. "hey let's get drunk, stoned and trip on mushrooms" natural selection at it's finest

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  • JusticeJune 20, 2014 - 2:02 pm

    Somebody needs to go back to high school and learn what natural selection is maybe u like to be a monkey an could care less of human life because in your past life you survived as a jive turkey ..... Let's be clear the victims family was not in tears feeling bad for the murderer , yesterday would have been another year celebrating Cameron's birthday instead they where in court waiting for justice for there loved one death and as long as this trile has been for the jury to deadlock on a clearly premeditated and we'll thought out disishion to kill Richard Perez was hard to hear knowing they will have to come back and waste more time on this degenerate brought tears to there eyes as for calkins family and loved ones be apeshative you can pick up the phone or open a letter let alone have visits with someone who willfully knowingly killed with no remorse and took that opertunity away for so manny people

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  • JimboJune 20, 2014 - 3:13 pm

    Gun nutters immediately go into blaming everything but their favorite fetish that made this crime possible.

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  • B JJune 20, 2014 - 1:59 pm

    What a pathetic excuse for a person to bad he had to wake up from the coma. Feel sorry for the family members have to go through this, especially the family member of the child that lost his life my heart goes out to you.and to take any drug is wrong especially mushrooms if all things. This p.o.s knew well what he was doing and to think that his attorney can try and get him off is horrible. I like to know why he was carrying a gun in the first place what was he afraid of to have to carry a gun. Just for thrills and to say hey I'm a tough boy I carry a gun pathetic excuse for a human.

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  • JimboJune 20, 2014 - 3:11 pm

    One does not 'blackout' on psilocybin mushrooms. This person sounds like he already had a homicidal disposition and planned these killings when he bought the gun just a few days prior.

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  • Smart GalJune 20, 2014 - 8:12 pm

    The guy made the original decision to get high. And and all subsequent decisions are still his. Moral of the story? If you're going get high, keep away from guns.

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