By allowing ads to appear on this site, you support the local businesses who, in turn, support great journalism.
Allen trial postponed
Placeholder Image
The trial of accused California Highway Patrol officer killer Columbus Allen Jr. has been postponed until Oct. 14.

Originally Allen was scheduled to go to court on March 4 on charges that he murdered CHP Officer Earl Scott of Hughson during a Feb. 17, 2006 traffic stop on Highway 99 near Hammett Road in the Salida area. Scott, 36, was a Hughson resident and was nearing his fifth anniversary with the CHP.

Allen's defense attorneys were not ready to defend their client thus Stanislaus Superior Court Judge Hurl Johnson postponed the trial until October. Judge Johnson expressed disappointment in delaying the trial but noted that attorneys need more time to line up witnesses in an attempt to show Allen is innocent.

Allen is the lone suspect in the case because mortally wounded Scott was found moments after the shooting clutching onto registration papers of a 1990 Nissan Maxima registered in the name of Allen's wife, Bertera Allen of Stockton.

Allen, 32, has insisted he is innocent, claiming the car was stolen and used by someone else. After his arrest Allen called a Sacramento TV station to deny his involvement in the killing. Prosecutors, however, feel the evidence against him is solid.

Alan Cassidy, a deputy district attorney with Stanislaus County, asserts that Allen shot Scott because he feared going to jail. Allen was driving on a suspended license. Because he was illegally carrying a gun, said Cassidy, Allen was staring at more prison time since he was a felon who was convicted of cocaine transportation in 1998 and auto theft in 1999.

Allen, a Stockton resident who briefly attended Ceres High School in the 1990s, showed up at Stockton Police headquarters less than five hours after the shooting saying his car had been stolen. The car was later found ditched near Lathrop. Authorities believe Allen ditched the car after the shooting and before showing up at the home of friend Christopher Hicks in Stockton.

Shortly after his arrest, swabs were taken from Allen's hands and sweatshirt to check for gunpowder residue. According to the transcripts made public in September, Allen had traces of gunshot residue that are consistent with the firing of a gun toward the right side of the car while being seated behind the wheel. The car's door frame and front passenger seat also contained traces of muzzle powder.

Allen has claimed that he fired the weapon three days later after becoming enraged that he couldn't find his dog.

According to San Leandro forensic scientist Elana Foster who spoke during the preliminary trial, gunpowder residue wears off a person and clothing quickly and that traces from three days prior would have not been detectable. Foster also noted that typically tests for residue are not made by police after four hours of the firing of a weapon.

After Allen turned up to Stockton Police headquarters, officers searched the pickup which Allen rode in and seized his cell phone. Cell phone records linked with the phone showed that Allen was in the Manteca area at 4:42 a.m. on the morning of the shooting. Scott had been shot at approximately 4:40 a.m.

Portia Dagayray, a female friend of Allen's, said the suspect spent the night in her south Modesto home, but claims that he didn't leave until 5 a.m. Allen claims that he wasn't in South Modesto the night before the shooting claiming that he was dealing drugs before ending up at Hick's apartment for the night. Allen told police that he woke up at 6 a.m. and learned that his car was missing. Prosecutors are not buying his claims that he left the keys in the ignitition of the car at a time when he claims to have stashed a pound of marijuana and a .38-caliber revolver.

Duane Hicks, the 17-year-old son of Christopher Hicks, said Allen showed up at 6 a.m. His first interest was in washing mud off his hands and shoes. Allen asked him to trade his sweatshirt for a coat.

Prosecutors plan to show Allen was fully capable of killing an officer. A home computer surrendered by Bertera Allen contained five songs written and recorded by Allen. The lyrics to a rap song talked about killing cops.

Defense attorney Ramon Magana is expected to motion to have the trial moved out of the county on account of extensive media coverage of the case.

Allen was a student at Ceres High School during the 1991-92 and 1992-93 school years before transferring to Franklin High School in Stockton during his senior year.

The records indicate that the shooting was witnessed by Jose Miranda of Ceres, who happened to be passing by the spot on his way to his Stockton job. He saw the patrol stop, heard a popping sound and saw Scott drop. Miranda told the grand jury that he sensed that he should double back and turned off on the Hammett Road offramp, and heading south. He jumped the fence that separated the freeway and frontage road and saw Scott mortally shot in the face. Miranda called 9-1-1 to report the officer down.