By Bay City News Service
A Colorado man was ordered to stand trial in Sonoma County Superior Court Tuesday for the shooting murders of three men during a marijuana deal near Forestville in February.
Mark William Cappello, 47, of Central City, Colo., is charged with the murders of Raleigh Butler, 26, a former Sebastopol resident, Todd Klarkowski 42, of Boulder, Colo. and Richard Lewin, 46, of Huntington, N.Y.
Prosecutor Traci Carrillo said Cappello, Lewin and Klarkowski traveled separately to California to buy marijuana from Butler.
Cappello recruited Odin Dwyer, 38, of Denver, Colo. and his father Francis Dwyer, 65, of Truth or Consequences, N.M., to drive in a separate vehicle to California and transport the marijuana back to Colorado. Cappello drove out in his 1995 Ford Bronco, Carrillo said.
Cappello and Klarkowski were acquainted, and they and Lewin met Butler at the Hopmonk Tavern in Sebastopol the day before the Feb. 5 murders, according to Carrillo and testimony at Tuesday's preliminary hearing.
Odin and Francis Dwyer waived their right to a preliminary hearing Tuesday, but Sonoma County sheriff's Detective Brandon Cutting testified at Cappello's hearing Tuesday morning that Odin Dwyer provided information about the murders during two interviews.
Odin Dwyer said his father stayed at a Santa Rosa Best Western inn to watch Cappello's dog on Feb. 5. He said he and Cappello drove in Cappello's Bronco to a cabin on Ross Station Road near Forestville that is owned by Butler's mother.
Cutting testified Dwyer told him Butler, Klarkowski and Lewin were packaging the marijuana and on the bedroom floor of the cabin while he was in the kitchen.
Dwyer said he heard three quick gunshots, and when he looked into the bedroom he saw Cappello with his arm extended and a gun in his hand.
Lewin, Butler and Klarkowski were each shot once in the head with a .45 caliber semi automatic handgun.
Cappello said "it had to be done," Dwyer told Cutting.
Dwyer and Cappello loaded 69 pounds of processed marijuana into plastic tubs and put them in Cappello's white Bronco, then transferred it to the Dwyers' Ford Ranger, Dwyer told Cutting. All three then left Sonoma County.
Both vehicles were captured on a video camera at a St. Helena gas station, the sheriff's office said.
Cutting also testified Dwyer said they split the marijuana into thirds, but Cappello then gave his share to the Dwyers and told them to give him $90,000 when they sold it. Cappello also gave each of the Dwyers $3,000 each, Odin Dwyer told Cutting.
Dwyer told Cutting the gun was dismantled and Cappello ordered him to dispose of it. It was found in a creek near Sonoma State University.
Cappello's clothes, identified by Dwyer, were found off Interstate Highway 80 in Solano County, Cutting said.
Cappello was arrested after a traffic stop of his Bronco in Mobile, Ala. on Feb. 14. The Dwyers were arrested in their home states on March 1.
Cappello's attorney Michael Meehan argued against a holding order.
He told Judge Robert LaForge only the Dwyers realized a financial gain, and Cappello just organized the transfer of the pot to Colorado.
The judge held Cappello to answer to the three murders, burglary and conspiracy.
He faces the death penalty for lying in wait, committing multiple murders, murder for financial gain and committing a murder during a burglary.
The Dwyers are charged with the murders, burglary, conspiracy and being an accessory. They face 50 years to life in prison, Carrillo said.
All three defendants are scheduled to re-enter pleas to the charges on Oct. 10.
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