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In Memory of
Jasa 'Haille' Anguillo

So Other Young Women and Girls Don't Die

Haille's Story: Part 1 Part 2 Part 3
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The following is a true story and an educational unit on youth domestic violence, the criminal justice system,
and community action.
In Memory of Jasa 'Haille' Anguillo
Jasa Haille Anguillo
Jasa 'Haille' Anguillo - October 8, 1985  to May 22, 2005

All names have been changed, except those of
ranking public officials and Haille's immediate family

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Please keep in mind that Atticus Reynolds has not been convicted of Haille's murder and, as such, he is innocent until proven guilty. Reynolds has, however, entered a plea of not guilty by reason of insanity. This plea indicates that his primary defense will likely be that there was no criminal intent — and not that he didn't commit the act.

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Part 1
Nectar in a Sieve

Early afternoon on May 22, 2005, Antonio and Lilia pulled into the serene landscapes under the Geyser's overpass; a perfect Sunday-outing-spot made all the sweeter because so few people know about it. But like a nightmare's ambush on a dream, their day was dashed by the site of a young woman battling for her life in a car parked nearby. A man's arm squeezed ferociously on her neck. With the other arm, the man wielded a knife.

Antonio jumped out of his car. The young woman began screaming to him for help. Antonio rushed to their car window, yelling, ordering the man to stop. In a murderous pitch, the man now turned on Antonio, cursing and menacing, threatening with the knife.

Fearing he couldn't prevail, fearing for Lilia and for the child they had with them, Antonio jumped back into his car and sped into town to the Cloverdale Police. No one at the station spoke Spanish. Through a fireman-translator, Antonio urgently told Cloverdale police about the flailing woman begging for help, about the man's murderous rage and strangling grip; the mayhem, the knife in his hand!

What happened next is so heart-stopping it may at first seem inexplicable to any human mind or soul. Cloverdale Police flat out refused to respond. They argued to a stunned Antonio that the location of the incident - (just three cop car minutes up the highway) - was outside their jurisdiction. The excuse for not responding to a murder-in-progress was as lame as it was unthinkable - especially in this rural zone where agencies often cover each other's calls. Instead, Cloverdale police called Sonoma County Sheriff 's Department; though the location, just yards over the Mendocino County line, is out of Sonoma County Sheriff's jurisdiction, too.

According to Sheriff dispatch records, Cloverdale Police called Sonoma County Sheriff at 1:18 pm. Sonoma County Sheriff arrived at the scene ten minutes later at 1:28 pm.

According to Cloverdale records, at 1:29 pm Sonoma County Sheriff called back to Cloverdale Police for assistance. Cloverdale Police arrived on the scene at 1:32 pm. At the very least, Cloverdale's initial refusal to respond cost seven minutes in response time.

When the Sheriff's deputy surveyed the car, he found Haille's dead body inside, and the man still hovering over her in the car. The deputy arrested 27-year-old Atticus Reynolds for the murder of 19-year-old Jasa 'Haille' Anguillo.

Aside from Atticus Reynolds, no one wanted Haille to die! No one! In talking to people following the murder - from officials to passers by, - it was clear that Haille's death, for however brief a time, stirred a troubled oneness in people's hearts; a stunned bewilderment at the awful town-wide concussion from a young person's death, with looks of absolute clarity that the situation should never have gotten that far. It's there, in those shared understandings, no matter how time will once again bury them in daily routines and petty interests, that our courage must be gathered to make the changes so this cannot happen again.

Because make no mistake. Whether or not a proper response from Cloverdale Police on May 22 would have saved Haille's life may never be known. But Cloverdale's refusal to respond to Haille's murder-in-progress is no more mysterious nor inexplicable than the scores of similar failures by other officials that led directly and recklessly to Haille's murder.

The murder of Jasa Haille Anguillo was in-progress and preventable at so many points along the way. And so to is the murder of the next young woman in our community, whose future murder is already a murder-in-progress, well along in the making, if people don't act now.

We and Haille's family have chronicled events leading up to Haille's murder most of all to alert you to this next young women's murder-in-progress, and to what needs to be done to prevent it.

We tell you Haille's story for other reasons, too. From the day Haille was slain to this writing, the Press Democrat has written a total of only 12 sentences about Haille's murder. No 19-year-old murdered in our community can be allowed to be so perfunctorily swept off the stage of human existence. For the press to neglect exploring the significance and circumstances of Haille's life and murder, is, itself, a sinister cornerstone on the path to the next woman's murder. It's a deadly statement of disregard that cannot be allowed to stand.

And for all of you, young and old, who miss Haille terribly, and who mourn the wrongful loss of her young life, we hope this account can begin to honor Haille and ease the pain.

This report focuses particular attention on the criminal justice system. To be sure, our schools, neighborhoods, churches, families and other institutions have important roles in ending violence against women. But once there is violence or threats of violence, only the criminal justice system has the mission, the power, and the authority needed to put the criminality under control.

We want to thank all of you who put aside personal concerns to talk with us. Because many official documents were closed to public view as part of the open homicide investigation, we couldn't have put this report together without your help.

Lavender and Roses, Jasmine and Geraniums

Like so many times over the last two weeks, 20-year-old Sandra finds herself standing dazed among the late spring blooms surrounding her home. Just six weeks ago she had come home to find her good friend Haille energetically digging and planting the surprise garden. In the weeks that followed, Haille dropped by again and again in her usual unannounced style. Sandra manages a laugh. "Haille wanted to make sure the plants were still alive." she says. Now, every which way Sandra turns, the lavender and roses, the jasmine and geraniums, are all randy and riotous with life. And Haille is dead in her tracks.

The news hit them all with a single, devastating blow. Haille, Sandra, and a couple dozen other Sebastopol youth had forged a tight ring of friendships that they've held together for years, even as they attended different schools, or moved to other towns. The moment one heard the news, they all heard. On May 22, just north of Cloverdale, under the Highway 101 Geysers overpass, Atticus Reynolds strangled Haille to death.

Haille, who "moved when the spirit moved her"! "Nothing could hold her down," Haille. Haille, the most independent and self reliant of the group. Haille, who had just returned from the belly dancing hafla (celebration). Who "always keeps in touch with her friends, no matter where she is". Haille, who "experiments with everything and lands on her feet".

Still, despite the delight her friends always took in Haille's bohemian spirit, more than one of them had told Haille more than once, and in no uncertain terms. "Atticus is no good for you, Haille." "Get away from him!"

"I can handle it," Haille would often reply, "I can handle Atticus." In quieter conversations, however, right from the beginning, Haille was clear and open about why she was with him. Haille wanted to help Atticus with his emotional problems. In fact, in ultimate youthful naiveté, Haille was absolutely sure she could help him.

But by mid-April of this year, as she broke off her two-year relationship with Atticus, even Haille began to realize she was in over her head.

A month before the murder, Haille began trying to protect herself and others from Atticus' escalating rages. Like the day she called her Aunt from the general store where she worked in Cloverdale. "Haille called to warn me that Atticus had come by the store in a rage and was on his way to my house to pick up something he had left here," says her aunt. "Haille told me to put it in a bag, and to leave it down at the end of the driveway."

Haille began protecting herself, too: by moving from one location to another, by hiding from him, by cutting off communication with Atticus, by seeking help from police, by asking people to be at her side. But as so often happens in domestic violence' cruelest irony, it's precisely when the victim does take definitive steps to leave that the abuser escalates to an obsessive, single-minded hunt, and raises the stakes to kill.

It's doubtful any 19 year-old in the world could have navigated an escape from the veritable one man crime wave that was Atticus Reynolds. And it's unlikely that either Haille or any of her friends and family knew the full extent of Atticus' criminality. By his 27th birthday there was hardly a crime category in the penal code that Atticus Reynolds hadn't crossed.

But what no one could have begun to imagine is the dizzying number of police, prosecutors, probation officers, judges, diversion programs, and jurisdictions that had had Atticus firmly in their grasp, and then carelessly let him go; again and again, crime after crime, paving Atticus' murderous path with impunities, all the way up to the barren spot under the Geysers bridge where Haille was strangled to death.

Three weeks before the murder, unaware of most of this, and doomed by all of it, when Haille heard that Atticus had just been jailed for assault with a deadly weapon, she just cried out in anguish to Rhonda, "Why didn't Atticus' mom tell me how crazy, dangerous he was?"

In the Quiet Eye of the Storm

Rhonda is Haille's step mom; "my bonus mom" as Haille called her. Rhonda met Haille's dad, Mike, when Haille was 8-years-old. Together, with their modest income off landscaping, and a deeper commitment than most to the west county ethos of harmony and love, the families merged.

By 13 years of age, Haille was thriving on the nurturance of home. Her bumpy early years seemed behind her. She shared her parents' love of working with plants, and spiced the family's life with her own special flare for words.

"Poppie, Happy Birthday!" she wrote in a colorful card to her dad that year,

"I hope you're feeling especially young today".

"I'm so very glad I've been able to spend the last couple years with you. I'm looking forward to lots more time with you. Hopefully, it will be at work, or even better on vacation. I'm so excited to get old with my brothers and sisters. Thank you for bringing them into my life. Thank you for all the knowledge and experience you've shared. I wouldn't be where I am now without yours and Rhonda's guidance."

"We all have nothing left to do but get smarter and happier.
The future is bright!!! "

Signed, Haille

Now, in a razor's cut of time, Rhonda finds herself standing here, in the dark shadows of this cement cavern under the freeway. Just to the east, there's no more pristine panorama of California's lion-colored hills. Just to the west, the redwood forest shades the Russian River headwaters a tumble with late Spring rains.

With all the beautiful, quiet turnouts in the area why would anyone stop their car here on this barren patch beneath the freeway, unless with malice in mind? A tall, flower laden cross driven in the hard ground stares back at Rhonda, guarding the answers to a million other questions, why.

By chance, or perhaps by fate of seeking relief in the same silent eye of the storm, a sheriff's deputy pulls into the site. His head down, he greeted Rhonda. "We've been trying to get Atticus for years," he confides. "But we just haven't been very successful at breaking into the crank scene."

It was such a painful mix of genuine and wrong. How, with Atticus having been reported to law enforcement for years for a helter-skelter trail of poaching, drugs, arson, rapes, restraining order violations, death threats, arson threats, assault with a deadly weapon, failure to appear, resisting arrest, auto theft, violations of probation, stalking, harassment, false police reports, and now a homicide so fresh it strangles the air, how could the officer still only see Atticus Reynolds in the myopic lens of a drug case? (see Atticus partial criminal record)

A Whisper in the Wind

Uncovering and exposing the realities of young women's lives is like an archeological excavation in harsh terrain. Centuries of sexist sediment have to be heaved aside, and fragile footprints lifted from sand. Even then, some of the most searing events of women's lives leave no more trace than a whisper in the wind.

Two weeks after the murder, the diner on the edge of town seemed fully reclaimed by normalcy. The waitress engaged in lively chat with a customer, the cook bustled in the kitchen, and in the first split second when I asked the owner if we could talk about Haille, his look was, 'Sorry, sorry, I got business, business'. Then, as quickly, his eyes filled with sorrow and he waved towards a booth in the back.

Haille had just started waitressing at the restaurant, he said. On the morning of May 17, Atticus barged in while Haille was working. He was belligerent, said Mark the owner. He was screaming crazily at Haille, very hyped up, yelling at her that she shouldn't be working here, accusing her of working for the government. Mark said Haille was frightened. He said he couldn't get Atticus to leave, so he called the Cloverdale police. When the police came, he said, they "shooed Atticus away". Mark said he didn't know what happened next, because he'd been feeling sick. So he'd gone in the back to rest before the officer had left the restaurant.

But what did happen next was so upsetting to Haille that she got on her cell phone and called her friend Barbara while the officer was still there. What Haille said on that phone call was so disturbing to Barbara that two weeks later as Barbara talked with us, she was still boiling with the emotion. Barbara said she could hear the officer's voice in the background of Haille's call, and, in fact, she recognized the officer by voice. (The officer's name given us by Barbara matched the dispatch record we obtained later.)

According to Barbara, Haille was extremely upset. She called because she was beside herself that the officer was refusing to help her. Barbara said Haille was begging the officer to write her 'one of those 24 or 72 hour restraining orders' and the officer wouldn't give it to her. (In all likelihood, Haille was referring to what's called an Emergency Protective Order, a short term protective order that police can obtain on the street with a phone call to the on-call judge, a protective order designed precisely the kind of situation Haille was in.) Barbara, herself, was so distraught as she recalled the phone call, she kept angrily repeating, that the officer "shouldn't get away with this."

But there was more than just Atticus' stalking at the restaurant, and the officer's refusal to help, that fueled the urgency for both Barbara and Haille that day. Just days before, Haille had come to Barbara's home shaking. According to Barbara, Haille told her that Atticus had just taken her out to an isolated creek. He had pushed her flat on the ground, pinned her under his knee, and pretended to strangle her. Haille told Barbara that she had struggled in vain against his grip, but couldn't get free. In the course of the struggle, Atticus leaned over and whispered in her ear, 'I'm not going to kill you this time, but I am going to kill you next time'.

The incident so terrified Haille, that in the days that followed she would recount this story to one friend after another. Others put the date of that event at May 13. But like so many teenage young adults bent on making it on their own, Haille never told anyone in her family

It's unknown if Haille told the officer about Atticus' threats to kill her or his mock killing attack, or if the officer had even gave Haille half a chance to tell him. As it was, even without any information from Haille at all, the officer had ample cause to arrest Atticus. Atticus was on probation* for two other crimes, so he was arrestable just on that basis alone, or the officer could have arrested Atticus for trespassing, or for driving without a license.

But, can there be any doubt? If the officer had given even the most minimal attention to Haille's frightened pleas for help, if he had asked Haille even the simplest question about what was wrong, or about why she was asking for protection, Haille would have given the officer all the information needed for the officer to put it all together and nail Atticus on much more serious charges of domestic violence (for the May 13 attack) and/or stalking and/or terrorist threats - or most appropriately, on all three.

The officer even had unusual advantages in the case. He had the restaurant owner as eye witness to corroborate key elements of Atticus' menacing behavior and Haille's level of fear. And he would have had 'outcry witnesses', i.e. the friends Haille had told about the attack and threats to kill.

But, instead, and in direct violation of long-standing state law (Penal Code Section 13730) which requires that police write a report on "all domestic violence-related calls", the officer wrote nothing at all.

It's at this point in the story, or at the same point in hundreds of similar stories we've recounted of police dismissal of domestic violence, that people stop us in disbelief. Why, they ask, would police ignore a visibly frightened women's pleas for help, especially when the suspect is a local guy with such a bad history? Especially when the guy is right there where they can grab him with ease? There are many layers to the answer, all of which have to be remedied in order to save women's lives. But since we're just beginning Haille's story, here's an answer in brief.

Because, by not asking questions and turning their backs on the first hint of domestic violence, police can save themselves the trouble of writing the report and of making a trip to the jail. Because for many police, their least favorite task is listening to what they view as 'emotional females carrying on against hapless males'. Because law enforcement remains a locked down enclave of male dominated culture and sexist beliefs. Because by ignoring domestic violence the officer can get right back on the streets to deal with 'real crime'.

Because ignoring domestic violence is invisible. No report, no record, no muss, no fuss, no trace, no tracks, no domestic violence, no accountability. Because the officer also knows, these victims are so vulnerable, they're very unlikely to find an effective way to protest their mistreatment by a cop. If it hadn't been for Haille's own sense of justice, and her calling a friend to protest the officer's response in the officer's presence, Haille's pleas, like the voices of so many other women and girls, would have been as lost as a whisper in the wind.

People tend to see law enforcement abuse of power only in the over-exercise of that power; such as excessive-use-of force, planting evidence, or overcharging a case. What so many fail to see is that there's as much oppression and harm done when police systematically fail to implement their powers. When police refuse to act, as they do so often in crimes of violence against women, there is nowhere else women can turn for protection. It's because police turning away from domestic violence is so widespread, and the resulting harm so great, that California enacted the specific law mandating that police write reports on all domestic violence related incidents.

It didn't surprise us to find police disregard as a prelude to Haille's homicide. We've found it in the path leading up to domestic violence homicides of every women's case we've probed. And we see it daily in our work with victims of violence against women, without much improvement for years.

What was a surprise was seeing the extent to which critical public safety programs, in just the last couple years, have been gutted from within, contributing not only to Haille's death, but compromising the safety of the entire community, as the following will show.


Being on probation means that you have already been convicted of a crime, but instead of going to jail you've been deemed eligible for a chance to be out and about.- pending good conduct, pending obeying all laws, pending a host of other conditions the judge may place on your behavior. Being on probation also means you can be arrested at any time for the most minimal infraction and placed in jail on a no bail hold - because you've already been convicted and you've blown your chance.

Atticus Reynolds has been perpetually on court probation for one crime or another for the last five years. (Court probation is probation monitored by the courts instead of by a probation officer.) For the last five months right up to the day of Haille's murder, Atticus was on two court probations for two separate crimes, one for criminal conspiracy in Sonoma County and one for auto theft in Mendocino county. At any time, Atticus could have been arrested for mere misconduct, booked on a violation of probation, and held in jail on a no bail hold. Though this option was available to police over the last five years, police never used even this most obvious tack to ensnare Atticus.

Haille's Story Part 2


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