Vacaville double-murder trial nears home stretch

By From page A1 | May 29, 2014

Richard R. Calkins

Richard R. Calkins

FAIRFIELD — The double-murder jury trial for a young Vacaville man who shot and killed two friends and wounded a third friend after they all ate psilocybin mushrooms is nearing the home stretch.

Richard R. Calkins was 18 on Nov. 16, 2010, when he killed Richard M. Perez, 20, and Cameron S. Silva, 21, before shooting Sarah J. Berkheimer in the face. She survived.

Calkins’ defense attorney has had two expert witnesses testify that Calkins was unaware of the bloodshed that played out in his William Street apartment where the four friends had been playing video games and watching television up until the shooting starting.

Judge Donna Stashyn said Wednesday she was still undecided about whether or not another young man from Vacaville would be allowed to testify as a defense witness.

The potential witness, Alexander Cervantes, lived a few miles from Calkins’ house and claims to have ingested mushrooms he got from the same drug dealer Calkins used. Two weeks after Calkins’ arrest, Cervantes, then 14, raped, sodomized and repeatedly stabbed a 13-year-old girl and then repeatedly stabbed her baby brother in December 2010.

He was prosecuted as an adult and is serving a 68-years-to-life prison sentence.

Calkins’ attorney has said the mushroom connection between the two heinous crimes further illustrate for jurors how Calkins could not have been responsible for or cognizant of his actions.

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 | 3 comments

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  • General Fadi BasemMay 28, 2014 - 11:45 pm

    I am certain that Obama's decision to allow the NSA to tap into every email and every cell phone transmission within the United States of America will be defended on the basis of his consumption of mushrooms purchased the unnamed mushroom dealer in the Calkins and Cervantes cases.

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  • GemmaMay 29, 2014 - 5:08 am

    IIRC, the "unknown dealer" was allegedly the older brother of the victims in the Cervantes case. He was in juvie by the time Cervantes came over and attacked the victims. Anyway, it's utter BS to blame drugs for an attack, and say the person who willingly chose to do the drugs is therefore "not responsible" for their actions. Without a person ingesting the drugs, the drugs would not have attacked and/or killed anyone, just like how guns don't kill people. Let Cervantes testify. What's the big deal? Blaming the drugs didn't help his case.

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  • dustinMay 29, 2014 - 11:16 am

    Mom should go to jail for driving her son his wife out of a murder scene. come on you know better than that. as for calkins it has been documented he has done mushrooms prior to this so he knows what it does. and what about the gun?! there is no question about it he killed these young men and he should pay for it life sentence. and i wish the world can be different eye for an eye. all these murders getting off of death penalty because of some mental issue or it cruel punishment. Ok but they can murder someone and destroy lifes and thats ok. its been 3 years that calkins sits in county jail rec. hamburger, vistors, phone calls he goes on with his life while the other families are destroyed. and his mom is something else how dare you cry about not knowing where your son is. he is alive right you can talk to him right. think about the other families who will never see their sons marry have children get old. at least you have a granddaughter from you son theses parents will never have that so hold on to your crocodile tears WORST MOM AWARD GOES TO EVA GLORIA

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