People's Park tree-sitter released from jail Monday

Related Articles »





  • Printer Friendly Printer Friendly
  • Comments Comments (0)

People's Park tree-sitter Matthew Dodt, who was arrested in January after allegedly cutting a man's hand while attempting to slash his throat, was released from Santa Rita Jail in Dublin Monday after his remaining charges were dismissed in a preliminary examination.

Dodt - also known as "Midnight Matt" - was in custody for 61 days after allegedly attempting to cut the neck of Austin White, who had attempted to climb up the tree in the park that Dodt had been sitting in for 89 days. Dodt was initially booked Jan. 28 on charges of attempted murder, assault with a deadly weapon and disorderly conduct.

The attempted murder and disorderly conduct charges have since been dropped, while an additional charge of possession of stolen property - a police helmet that was found in Dodt's tree following his arrest - was added to the case.

Though White was served a subpoena, he did not show up at the hearing Monday and never testified in court, according to Zadik Shapiro, Dodt's lawyer.

"The case got weaker as time went on," Shapiro said. "I think it was blown out of proportion to begin with."

According to Shapiro, the preliminary examination was held at the latest date possible, as defendants must be brought to trial within 60 days of their arraignment under the California penal code.

"They put it off as long as they could to keep him in jail as long as they could, I guess," Shapiro said.

Zachary RunningWolf, a local activist and homeless advocate who said he organized the park tree-sit, said he believes the charges against Dodt had something to do with the university wanting the park for development purposes.

"Attempted murder with no victim? That kind of shows you that the university wants it," RunningWolf said.

He added that he plans to continue organizing a tree-sit in the park and that Dodt will "probably not be the direct person in the tree" in the future.

Mark Hawthorne, a park frequenter who is also known as the "Hate Man," said he does not think the park is being threatened, adding that he likes the fact that UC Berkeley has jurisdiction over the park.

"I just so much disapprove of the whole tree-sit thing ... but I'm glad it ended," he said.

In a separate case, Dodt is being charged with a misdemeanor for pointing a laser beam at a police officer a couple weeks before the incident in the park and will testify in another hearing April 18.

Tags: PEOPLE'S PARK, ALAMEDA COUNTY SUPERIOR COURT, BERKELEY POLICE DEPARTMENT, MIDNIGHT MATT






Comments (0) »

Comment Policy
The Daily Cal encourages readers to voice their opinions respectfully in regards to both the readers and writers of The Daily Californian. Comments are not pre-moderated, but may be removed if deemed to be in violation of this policy. Comments should remain on topic, concerning the article or blog post to which they are connected. Brevity is encouraged. Posting under a pseudonym is discouraged, but permitted. Click here to read the full comment policy.
White space
Left Arrow
Courts
Image Co-Op Community Discusses Drug Policies
Amid concerns about drug use in the Berkeley Student Cooperative and the im...Read More»
Courts
Image 'The Play' Photographer Sues For Copyright Infring...
Four seconds of clock time, five laterals and 55 yards after...Read More»
Courts
Image Trial Begins for Feb. 26 Protesters
The hearing for two protesters arrested during a Feb. 26 riot on Southside ...Read More»
Courts
Image Southside Resident Seeks Settlement With Two Frate...
Tensions between UC Berkeley fraternities and residents of...Read More»
Courts
Image Jury Convicts Mehserle of Involuntary Manslaughter
OAKLAND - Following the verdict convicting former BART police Off...Read More»
Courts
Image Blog Entry Introduced as Character Evidence in Fat...
OAKLAND-As the case for the 2008 fatal stabbing o...Read More»
Right Arrow




Job Postings

White Space