Prosecutor: Doctor refuses to testify about autopsies in double-homicide case

By From page A5 | January 15, 2014

Richard R. Calkins

Richard R. Calkins

FAIRFIELD — A double-murder jury trial scheduled to get underway this week was derailed Monday after the prosecutor revealed the doctor who performed the autopsies on the victims in 2010 refuses to testify.

Richard R. Calkins of Vacaville is accused of fatally shooting Richard M. Perez, 20, and Cameron S. Silva, 21, before wounding Sarah Berkheimer on Nov. 16, 2010.

Berkheimer testified at a probable cause hearing that she and the three men spent the night at Calkins’ apartment on William Street in Vacaville, eating psilocybin mushrooms, watching “Family Guy” on television and laughing until the shooting started at 2 a.m. Calkins was arrested a short time later at the police station after he allegedly vandalized the public lobby.

Calkins was in court with his defense attorney Monday morning when the prosecutor overseeing the case revealed that Dr. Susan Hogan said last week that she would rather go to jail than take the witness stand during the jury trial. Hogan, who in previous court appearances on unrelated murder hearings has been subjected to hours of intense cross-examination about other autopsy results, retired from the Solano County Sheriff/Coroner’s Office in December, according to a Sheriff’s Office official.

While the autopsy results in the Perez and Silva killings are largely undisputed, the testimony is an essential piece of the prosecution case.

Judge Donna Stashyn canceled the upcoming jury trial, a trial that has been often postponed, and ordered Calkins back to court Jan. 21 when prosecutors will announce how they want to move forward with the case.

Calkins, who has pleaded not guilty, is in jail without bail.

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 | 8 comments

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  • Dr NOJanuary 13, 2014 - 8:39 pm

    Then put the good Dr Hogan in jail... until she testifies

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  • isabelle mitchellJanuary 13, 2014 - 9:55 pm

    that was my little brother that got murdered and for you susan hogan to be so selfish and curl and say you rather go to jail then for justice to be served for the two family's "Perez & Silva" you deserve to go to jail!!!!!!!!

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  • Cliff GenesonJanuary 14, 2014 - 1:44 am

    She should testify. What needs to happen is competent judges shutting down attorneys who waste time on minute details which have nothing to do with the case. Both sides will try and numb a jury to get the decision they desire.

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  • my2centsJanuary 14, 2014 - 6:25 am

    The doctor should not have performed autopsies if she has an aversion to the rigors of testifying in court. She is obstructing justice. If she prefers jail to doing her duty, then she should get jail. She is not above the law.

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  • JimboJanuary 14, 2014 - 10:55 am

    The good Doctor had absolutely nothing to do with the murders. She wrote up a complete report on each person she examined as that is what her job requires. Everything that the defense lawyers, who couldn't care less about dragging the innocent thru the mud until they want to scream, needs to know is in the report. The defense lawyers just want to put on a "show" and see if the autopsy could in any possible way, be questionable, as if the bullet holes, stab holes, or strangulation damage is not self evident. That's why they drag your personal life into question in a public forum, they will dissect the doctor's personal life on the stand, because maybe she had a argument with her spouse, or maybe she had a drink the night before and mistook a bullet hole for the navel! Her job description says nothing about having her personal life spayed open for everyone to see every time she does her job, and some nut case kills his friends! How would you like to have to take the stand every time you did your job!!!

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  • Dr NOJanuary 14, 2014 - 7:50 pm

    Jimbo, Then the good doctor should not have done autopsies on murder victims. It is that simple! If she was not willing to take the stand and testify, she should have recused herself. But it is criminal what she is doing now, and horribly cruel what she is doing to the victims families.

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  • Blanca BotwinJanuary 15, 2014 - 6:03 am

    Correct me if I'm wrong, but isn't part of the job description of someone who performs autopsies to TESTIFY IN COURT ABOUT THEIR FINDINGS?!?!?! Something else is going on here. Witnesses in crimes aren't allowed to say they'd rather go to court than testify WITHOUT BEING SUBPOENAD. WHY is this person being given a pass? Oh, I know, it's Donna Delay Delay Delay Stashyn' way. After reading about the 13 yo murder victim' autopsy findings, and now this, I'm even more surprised than I was before that ANYONE ever gets convicted of anything in this county. What a joke. RIP to the victims. I mean no disrespect toward them.

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  • Dionne DeCaro CreelJanuary 15, 2014 - 11:52 am

    PLEASE PLEASE Dr Hogan please testify!!! We lost our boys 3 years ago. Enough is enough, we need this trial to be over with, until it is over all of the loved ones of Richard and Cameron have to keep reliving Nov 17th 2010 which changed our families forever! Please empathize, put yourself in our shoes if it was your loved one your son your brother the love of your life wouldnt you want justice and to be able to move on with all the loving memories!!!! Please Testify and help us have peace in our lives!

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