SEPTEMBER 4, 2020
On September 3, 2020, a Humboldt County jury found Zachary Morgan Haggard, age 25, of Kneeland, guilty of two felony counts of assault with a semi-automatic pistol, one felony count of shooting at an inhabited dwelling, one felony count of being a felon in possession of a firearm, and one misdemeanor count of brandishing a firearm. The jury also found true special allegations regarding Mr. Haggard’s use of a firearm in the commission of a felony. The jury could not reach a verdict on a charge of attempted murder.
The case arose from an incident on May 17, 2020. The defendant and two residents had spent the day together at a house on Acacia Drive in Fortuna, drinking and listening to music. After Mr. Haggard displayed a firearm the residents asked him to leave. Mr. Haggard left, but soon returned and began shouting and creating a disturbance in front of the house. When the residents of the house went out to again encourage him to leave, Mr. Haggard pointed a semi-automatic pistol at one person. In order to protect his friend, the second person armed himself with a baseball bat and tried to sneak up on Mr. Haggard. Mr. Haggard responded by firing a shot at the person with the bat; the shot did not hit the person but passed through their clothing. After the two residents retreated back into the house, Mr. Haggard fired another six rounds at the home.
Detective Brian Taylor of the Fortuna Police Department located and arrested Mr. Haggard the day after the shooting and led the investigation of the case. The Humboldt County Sheriff’s Department and California Highway Patrol also participated in the search for the suspect.
Deputy District Attorney Roger C. Rees prosecuted the case with assistance from District Attorney Investigators Marvin Kirkpatrick and Martin Morris. Local attorney Victor Campos was appointed to represent Mr. Haggard. Judge Wilson presided over the two-week-long trial.
Mr. Haggard is scheduled for sentencing on September 23, 2020. He faces up to 27 years in state prison. Mr. Haggard’s offenses qualify as serious or violent under California’s Three Strikes Law, therefore he will be required to serve at least 85% of any sentence imposed.
District Attorney Maggie Fleming commented on the trial, “Once again, the willingness of witnesses to come forward created the opportunity to achieve justice - I appreciate their decision to participate. I also appreciate the exceptional efforts of the jury, the first to serve in Humboldt County under the unique conditions created by the pandemic.”