23 Mar 19
Legal proceedings continued Friday in the following felony cases heard in Solano County Superior Court in Fairfield:
JOSEPH M. FINOCCHIO
A judge scheduled more court dates for an ex-con from Vacaville accused of attempted murder in early 2018.
His arms heavily tattooed and wearing a black-and-gray-striped jail jumpsuit, Joseph Michael Finocchio, 46, appeared in Department 1 for more proceedings. Judge Jeffrey C. Kauffman, after statements from attorneys in the case, scheduled a readiness conference and preliminary trial setting for 8:30 a.m. Wednesday in Department 4, Judge E. Bradley Nelson’s courtroom.
Well-known Fairfield criminal defense attorney Denis Honeychurch represents Finocchio, who allegedly shot another man during a confrontation at a home in Vacaville’s North Village subdivision.
Besides attempted murder, Finocchio is charged with possession of a controlled substance, and also was booked on an out-of-county, no-bail warrant citing excessive speed on a highway and driving without a license. He has pleaded not guilty to the charges and faces a life sentence, if convicted. His bail was set at $1 million.
Vacaville police records indicate that, shortly after 10 p.m. Jan. 21, 2018, after receiving several reports of gunshots in the 400 block of Twilight Street, officers arrived at the home and found evidence of a shooting and an unoccupied vehicle with bullet holes.
Before the shooting, Finocchio reportedly got into a confrontation with the male victim and a woman he knew. The victim was transported to an area hospital with a gunshot wound to his chest and survived.
Finocchio later burrowed himself in a residence in the 1000 block of North Station Drive, where officers surrounded the home and negotiated with him until he was finally arrested.
Deputy District Attorney Bill Ainsworth leads the prosecution.
BRYAN K. NEAL
For the second time in as many court appearances, legal proceedings were delayed for a retired Vacaville police officer arrested in December on suspicion of recording intimate images of a woman without her consent, dissuading a witness, and bribery of a witness.
Bryan Kent Neal, 52, appeared in Department 1 for a readiness conference and to set a preliminary hearing, but Judge Jeffrey C. Kauffman postponed them until 8:30 a.m. April 17 in the Justice Center in Fairfield.
Neal, who retired in 2016 after serving 22 years with the Vacaville Police Department, was arrested at his home on Dec. 14. He was booked into Solano County Jail on the charges. They include three counts of dissuading a witness from reporting a crime, three counts of bribing a witness and one count of disorderly conduct by distributing a private intimate image causing emotional harm. Bail was set at $20,000, and he posted bond on Dec. 17.
It’s alleged that a woman and man known to Neal house-sat for him while he was on vacation in June and July.
A camera reportedly was set up in the bedroom the couple was using. Footage found later reportedly showed the woman in various states of undress and the couple having sex.
Following Neal’s return, the woman used a shared laptop at the home, police said, and found the file with the private images.
The woman called police, an investigation was opened and a forensic analysis was performed on the laptop and a cell phone.
Incriminating evidence was found on both, police said, and the matter was referred to the Solano County District Attorney’s Office for review.
In late October, police were re-contacted by the victim’s mother. Neal allegedly had attempted to dissuade three people from pursuing criminal charges.
At that point, a warrant was issued for his arrest and he was taken into custody without incident.
JAMES L. PACKER
A Solano County Superior Court judge ordered a man previously convicted of child molestation to face more proceedings on charges of indecent exposure last fall in a Vacaville parking lot.
Judge William J. Pendergast, during a further arraignment hearing, told James Leland Packer, 61, to return at 8:30 a.m. April 25 in Department 11 in the Justice Center in Fairfield.
The judge’s order follows a March 8 preliminary hearing, during which Solano County Deputy District Attorney Luke Leichty called one witness to the stand, a man who testified that he saw Packer standing completely nude next to his car, the door ajar, and masturbating in a Nut Tree parking lot.
The witness told Leichty that he was able to determine what Packer was doing, describing the defendant’s appearance and actions in great detail, because he was within 100 feet of Packer as he pulled into the lot during early morning hours.
The witness said Packer, after they made eye contact, got back into his car and proceeded to drive away. The witness said he followed the defendant in his own vehicle and called 911.
According to court records, it appeared Packer was arrested by Vacaville police on Sept. 23, 2018, with bail set at $25,000 the next day.
The DA’s Office filed its complaint on Oct. 12, and Packer was booked into Solano County Jail the same day.
Packer, who was previously convicted of child molestation on Feb. 25, 2005, posted the bail bond on Oct. 16 and was released.
Court records indicate his defense attorney, Thomas Maas of Fairfield, wanted to negotiate a resolution to the case on Dec. 18, but legal proceedings continued into the new year.
During the preliminary hearing, Leichty told Pendergast that Packer was not eligible for a county jail sentence because of his prior conviction. Thus, if convicted of the new charge, Packer may face a state prison term.