By Todd Wels
Triplicate staff writer
Crescent City resident Richard Shine, accused of bludgeoning his 11-month-old baby stepdaughter to death, will face prosecution here.
Del Norte County District Attorney Robert Drossel filed a complaint against Shine Thursday, charging him with murder and assaulting a child with great bodily injury, resulting in death.
Even as Drossel was filing the paperwork to bring Shine back to Del Norte County, a family member defended Shine, stating that the incident in which the victim Kya Thornton was killed was an accident.
Kya Thornton, was the 11-month-old daughter of Shines wife, Melissa.
According to Drossel, the autopsy revealed the cause of death to be blunt trauma, inflicted to the head and stomach.
Drossel said the timetable for Shines return has not yet been set, but that Shine would be back in Del Norte County soon.
I suspect that will be somewhat of an expedited situation, he said.
Shine has been held in Sacramento, where he was arrested by Sacramento police Tuesday, after travelling there with Thornton so she could receive treatment at the University of California, Davis Medical Center.
Upon receipt of the warrant, all charges filed in Sacramento were dropped, according to Sgt. Lance McHenry of the Sacramento Police Departments Homicide Unit.
Currently, there have been no charges filed against Melissa Shine in the case.
He had custody and control at the time of the injury, Drossel said.
Crescent City Police Chief Bob West concurred, saying: Theres nothing we have right now that implicates her in any of this.
Thornton died Monday in Sacramento, which caused some confusion over where the case would be prosecuted.
Its quite clear that the incident causing the death occurred in Del Norte County, said Drossel.
But was that incident an act of violence on the part of Richard Shine?
Despite the fact that the autopsy contends Kya Thornton to be a victim of abuse, the victims grandmother doesnt think so.
Shannon Aten, the mother of Melissa Shine, said the manner in which Thornton received her fatal injuries was an accident, but declined to give specific details as to how that accident might have occurred.
I believe with all my heart that the facts will bear this out, she said.
The facts surrounding Shines criminal history show that this is not the first time he has encountered trouble with the law. The 27-year-old fisheries worker has several criminal convictions.
According to court documents, in 1993, Shine was sentenced to three years in San Quentin for an aggravated felony charge of receiving stolen property.
He also served concurrent sentences for misdemeanor counts of false representation, in which he told police his name was Aaron Barnes, and driving without a license.
Shine was arrested in 1996 for driving without a license again. He pleaded guilty to the misdemeanor offense and paid a $270 fine.
In May, 1997, he pleaded guilty to driving under the influence of intoxicants, failure to pay a fine, violating his probation and two counts of driving without a license.
In November, 1997, he pleaded guilty to trespassing on occupied property, and was sentenced to 10 days in jail and a years probation.
Despite the fact that all of his previous criminal convictions are for non-violent offenses, Shine has garnered a reputation as a brawler.
Family friend Susan Newland said Shine was prone to resorting to violence when he felt his or his familys interests were threatened.
Aten said she doubted that that tendency toward violence extended to Melissa Shine or any of the children living in the home.
I know Melissa and Rick both of them love all three of those children, she said.