Trial set to begin this week in Mount Shasta shooting case

Skye Kinkade
Earl Dodds

Jury selection in the trial of a 67 year old Mount Shasta man accused of fatally shooting his cousin last year is scheduled to Wednesday, Feb. 20, in a Yreka courtroom.

Criminal proceedings against Earl Dodds were reinstated in January after an approximately two month suspension while he underwent a mental health evaluation to ensure he's competent to stand trial, according to online court documents.

Evidence in the involuntary manslaughter case will begin later this week, said Siskiyou County District Attorney Kirk Andrus. Deputy District Attorney Martha Aker is handling the case for the DA's office, Andrus said.

Public Defender Lael Kayfetz will represent Dodds.

Dodds pled not guilty in the Nov. 9, 2012 shooting death of Mount Shasta's Claudia Balassi, 68.

Proceedings were originally suspended during a hearing on Nov. 29 when Kayfetz declared a doubt as to Dodds' ability to understand the proceedings and assist his attorney with his defense.

At that hearing, Mount Shasta Police Department officer Robert Gibson testified that Dodds told officers he communicates with aliens and claimed the television show "My Name is Earl" is based on his life.

Gibson testified that Dodds also told officers Balassi was shot during a struggle as she attempted to take his backpack at her home at the Chateau Shasta Mobile Home Park.

Balassi died of a single gunshot wound to the upper torso at Mercy Medical Center Mt. Shasta, where she was taken after the shooting.

Gibson said a .44 caliber handgun was found at the scene and it was registered in Dodds' name, although he did not have a concealed weapon permit. Dodds was arrested on a charge of involuntary manslaughter and faces a special allegation for the use of a gun.

As of Tuesday afternoon, Dodds is still in custody at the Siskiyou County Jail with bail set at $25,000.