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VENTURA COUNTY LETTERS

Candidates and Callahan Case

January 20, 2002

Editor's Note: In a Jan. 6 article in The Times, district attorney candidates Ron Bamieh and Greg Totten were questioned about a case in which a crime witness, Bridget Callahan, thought she had been promised immunity for her testimony but is now being prosecuted for murder. In the interview, Totten said he was "not directly involved in that case and had no significant decision-making role."

I have recently read the comments from Mr. Totten regarding the Bridget Callahan case. Mr. Totten supporting the confessed killer of my daughter angers me greatly. I am asking him now publicly to stop jeopardizing my daughter's killer's case for political purposes. Mr. Totten knows that the killers of my daughter would never have been caught without the efforts of Ron Bamieh.

Mr. Totten also knows the truth about the actions of Mr. Bamieh in this case and knows there is no merit to the defense attorney's claims [of prosecutorial misconduct]. Mr. Totten himself approved of Mr. Bamieh's actions prior to the grand jury, and he was well aware of all of the issues in this case in August 2000. He remained silent then, but now Mr. Totten's desperate attempt to become district attorney has led to him trying to gain some political advantage with this case. Mr. Totten is now playing the role of politician, not prosecutor. A real prosecutor would never do this. The people of this county should pay attention to this type of behavior.

I know Ron Bamieh as the prosecutor who helped lead the effort to bring the killers of my daughter to justice. He, along with an investigator with the district attorney's office and some innovative investigators of the Sheriff's Department, worked tirelessly to take these killers off the street. Mr. Bamieh's dedication in bringing my daughter's killers to justice has given me hope that the criminal justice system can work.

I am well aware of the facts and circumstances of the case against Ms. Callahan. I know she confessed her involvement in my daughter's murder, and I also know that everything Ron Bamieh and the investigators in the case did to bring her to justice was legal and ethical. I am grateful for his efforts and know that without them my daughter's killers may have been free to kill another mother's child.

The next district attorney should be a proven crime-fighter and supporter of victims. I know who Ron Bamieh is. What are you, Mr. Totten? Your recent comments in the paper suggest that you are more comfortable supporting criminals than you are supporting victims and fighting crime. Mr. Totten, you should be running for public defender, not district attorney.

Shelly Holland,

mother of Nichole Hendrix

Ventura

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