By allowing ads to appear on this site, you support the local businesses who, in turn, support great journalism.
Another delay of justice
Columbus Allen Jr., the man accused of murdering California Highway Patrol officer Earl Scott in 2006, won't stand trial until July 26. The suspect won his fifth delay last week.

The trial was to start Monday in Sacramento County Superior Court. Allen previously won a change of venue due to the publicity surrounding the case.

The trial could take until October until a verdict.

The latest postponement was requested by defense attorney John R. Grele of San Francisco who saw more time is needed to get Stanislaus County to pay for the defense. Grele said Stanislaus County has refused to pay for paralegal help and for a second attorney to travel to court. County Counsel John Doering defended the county's position, saying the county can only issue payment for bills authorized by a court order. He also noted that the process of making payments requires several reviews over a period of weeks.

Officer Scott, a 36-year-old resident of Hughson, was shot to death during a Feb. 17, 2006 traffic stop on Highway 99 near Hammett Road in the Salida area.

Allen, 34, insists he didn't kill Scott but evidence - including inconsistent alibis - suggests otherwise, say prosecutors.

Alan Cassidy, a deputy district attorney with Stanislaus County, asserts that Allen shot Scott because was driving with 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.

Mortally wounded Scott was found holding registration papers of a 1990 Nissan Maxima registered in the name of Allen's wife, Bertera Allen. Allen, a Stockton resident who attended Ceres High School in the 1990s, showed up at Stockton Police headquarters less than five hours after the shooting claiming that his car had been stolen. The car was later found ditched near Lathrop.

Authorities believe Allen ditched the car after the shooting before appearing at the home of friend Christopher Hicks in Stockton.

Shortly after his arrest, swabs were taken from Allen's hands and sweatshirt to determine if there was any gunpowder residue. According to the transcripts, Allen did have traces of gunshot residue that is consistent with firing 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 claims that he fired the gun three days earlier after becoming enraged that he couldn't find his dog.

Police seized Allen's cell phone and records which 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, said Allen spent the night in her south Modesto home, but that he didn't leave until 5 a.m. Allen said he spent Feb. 16 dealing drugs before ending up at Hick's residence for the night. Allen told detectives that he woke up at 6 a.m. to learn that his car was missing. Detectives said the story is implausible since Allen claims he left the keys in the ignitition of the car, where he claimed that have stashed a pound of marijuana and a .38-caliber revolver.

Duane Hicks, the son of Christopher Hicks, said Allen showed up at 6 a.m. He was intent on washing mud off his hands and shoes. Allen asked Hicks to trade his sweatshirt for a coat.

Prosecutors say that a computer used by Allen contained five songs written and recorded by Allen. The lyrics to the rap song talked about killing cops.

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

Scott was nearing his fifth anniversary with the CHP upon his death. He had been assigned to the Modesto division of the CHP for three years after starting out in the Santa Cruz area. Scott previously worked for the California Department of Corrections at the Sierra Conservation Center near Jamestown. From June 1996 to August 2000 he was a reserve officer with the Modesto Police Department. At that time Scott, who never married, lived with his best friend and fellow officer Robert Hart on Soda Canyon Drive in Ceres.