Bee reporters answer questions about area crime news, trends and other issues.
QUESTION: What happened to the two men who were arrested in connection with the killing the homeless man in the American River Parkway, Michael J. Tinius, in spring 2008?
Submitted by: DHL, Sacramento
ANSWER: J. Douglas Halford and Mark Ray Hernandez were found guilty of second-degree murder in the slaying of 47-year-old Michael Tinius.
Tinius, whose legal name was Michael Lawrence Wentworth but was known on the streets as "Gremlin," was fatally stabbed April 30, 2008, as he came to the aid of another homeless man.
According to stories in The Bee, Halford and Hernandez had been protecting a Basler Street man who had been having trouble with a local street person.
But it was a different person who showed up in front of the man's house on a bicycle April 30, yelling and screaming, upset that Halford and Hernandez had jostled and kicked one of his homeless friends.
The man on the bike eventually left, and Halford and Hernandez followed him up the levee into the tent city, where some homeless people were drinking beer beneath a clump of trees. Halford and Hernandez approached and a fight began. Tinius was fatally stabbed, and another homeless man suffered stab wounds but survived.
Halford received a 15-years-to-life prison term for his second-degree murder conviction and an additional term for attempted murder of the other man, along with enhancements for the use of a knife, for a total term of 24 years to life.
Hernandez received a total term of 21 years to life for his role in Tinius' death and the attempted murder, plus the enhancement.
Halford, now 70 years old, is at the California Medical Facility in Vacaville, and Hernandez, 48, is at Pleasant Valley State Prison in Coalinga.
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