March 16, 2022
On March 16, 2022, a Humboldt County jury found 30-year-old Hoopa resident Byron Titus Jr. guilty of all charges brought by the District Attorney. The charges included the attempted premeditated murder of Joshua Salinas and assault with a firearm on Carmelita Ruiz, with the special allegation that Mr. Titus personally used a firearm to commit the crimes. The jury also convicted Mr. Titus of aggravated mayhem, residential burglary, and shooting at an inhabited dwelling.
The case stemmed from an incident on the night of January 6, 2021 at the RV where Mr. Salinas and Ms. Ruiz were living. Testimony revealed that Mr. Titus attempted to enter the RV, but Ms. Ruiz managed to push him outside. At that point Mr. Titus fired one round from a short-barreled shotgun into the RV at Mr. Salinas, striking him in the face. Titus then fled the scene.
Deputy District Attorney Luke Bernthal prosecuted the case, with assistance from District Attorney Investigator Steve Dunn and Victim/Witness Advocate Holly Hensher. Private attorney Zack Curtis represented Mr. Titus, who now faces a sentence of 32 years to life on the attempted murder charge with the special allegation for personal use of a firearm inflicting great bodily injury. Mr. Titus also faces possible additional prison time on the other charges, depending on Judge Elvine-Kreis’ application of California Penal Code section 654, which prohibits multiple punishments for the same act.