Sheriff Gore Talks Arpaio, Birthers, News Media and Spreckels Cases

In remarks before a Coronado civic group, Gore criticizes Arizona’s infamous sheriff and the media’s coverage of the deaths of Max Shacknai and Rebecca Zahau.

San Diego County Sheriff Bill Gore took on birthers, Arizona Sheriff Joe Arpaio and the news media Friday as he met with the Coronado Roundtable for its regular current-events discussion.

But the conversation, at the Coronado Public Library, extended far beyond standard political talk as Gore offered an unusually frank discussion for a public official.

He called out Arpaio for the manner in which he houses inmates, flatly rejected one attendee’s contention that President Barack Obama’s birth certificate was fake and criticized a local television station for its coverage of the 2011 deaths at the Spreckels mansion.

Those who would like to see Arpaio’s style of jail management embraced by San Diego County will be disappointed. Arpaio, the sheriff in Arizona’s Maricopa County, is known for his get-tough approach with inmates, from housing them in tents in the desert, offering them green bologna sandwiches and assigning them pink underwear.

“I have a different philosophy, my predecessor had a different philosophy, all the professional people in corrections have a different philosophy,” Gore said. “The job, the punishment is removing them from society.”

He noted that part of his responsibility is to be mindful of recidivism rates and how proper treatment can play a role in keeping inmates from returning to jail after their releases.

“When somebody is doing something right, what’s the highest form of flattery? Impersonation or whatever. You don’t see what he’s doing being copied all over the United States,” Gore said. 

The sheriff also took on Arpaio for his involvement in perpetuating the theory that Obama’s birth certificate is a fake, criticizing him for sending a posse of volunteer investigators to Hawaii, far outside his jurisdiction, to look into the matter. 

He called the situation embarrassing and said of the birthers’ contention: “I ain't buying it.”

“I think it's a gigantic waste of energy,” he said, before noting, “and I’m a Republican.”

Under questioning after he concluded his engagement, Gore noted that well-heeled political backers of conservative causes, such as the Koch brothers, would have been far more likely to turn up evidence of a fraudulent birth certificate than volunteer detectives.

He also stood firmly by his department’s and the Coronado police’s conclusions that Rebecca Zahau committed suicide and Max Shacknai died in an accident in July 2011.

The physical evidence, he said, from toxicology to DNA to footprints, guided investigators. 

“I was convinced beyond any kind of doubt that there was no way that could have been a murder,” he said of Zahau's death.

He is confounded by continued criticism of the departments’ findings in the cases, from both the Zahau family and the Shacknai boy’s mother.

“What is the motive for all of law enforcement to come together and conspire and lie about this case?” Gore asked. “We (are) all getting paid off by somebody? We let the facts and the evidence lead us to conclusions.”

He accused unscrupulous attorneys of manipulating grieving family members into pursuing questions about the cases and the media of drawing undue attention to the mansion deaths.

As an example, Gore cited, without naming the outlet, the television station that ran re-enactments of how Zahau might have bound and hung herself from a mansion balcony. 

Gore said the station's news director, whom he did not name, told him that he believed Zahau killed herself, but only ran the re-enactments and other Spreckels stories because they drew strong ratings. 

“They knew it was all BS, but the ratings went up every time,” he said. “It's a shame.”

The station that offered the re-enactments was KFMB. Dean Elwood, Channel 8's news director, denied Gore’s allegation.

“If he's implying that I said this, that’s not accurate,” Elwood said, adding that he stands by his station’s reporting.

The remainder of the wide-ranging discussion, nearly 90 minutes long, included Gore’s update on the conditions of a detective and deputy shot in Lakeside this week and a breakdown of the ramifications as county officials house more inmates because of state budget cuts.

He also noted that the county wants to greatly improve upon the state's high recidivism rates with prisoners. 

To help achieve that goal officials are building a $30 million dormitory-style facility to offer inmates counseling and other services to prepare them in the months before their releases. 

Ann December 01, 2012 at 07:49 PM
I know this is late in asking, but I can't remember from the past posts, did Dina and Nina take polys?
red December 01, 2012 at 08:00 PM
Jessica, I think people focus on AS,NR,JS,GJ,and DS because they are the people with motive, means, and opprotunity. Is it possible that something else happened and a yet unnamed person was involved or responsible, certainly. The sex act with a different partner seems a stretch considering Adam whom Rebecca cared deeply for was in Intensive Care. Eventhough AR and others claim JS and DS were accounted for I am not completely convinced that with a little planning could not have slipped out and back into the hospital.
Its simple December 01, 2012 at 08:12 PM
@jessica, There you go again trying to insinuate bad things about Rebecca Zahau. You have yet to mention the freak that Jonah obviously is just focus on the dead girl that can't defend her self. People like you make me sick. Jonah Shacknai was not completely accounted for. Neither were any of the other principles. IN FACT Adam and Nina were both known to be at the mansion when Rebecca was murdered and Dina could only be alibied via a cell ping, and Jonah.. I am sure he is the clever person you always claim he is and he could have figured out how to be seen on camera and still sneak away especially with a little cash incentive to the right person. On top of that we have Nina's teen son, Rebecca's ex-husband, Howard Luber, Friends of the family and the list goes on.. BUT you want to focus on the possibility of Rebecca being a slut. Shame on you, I hope people talk about you like that when you are dead.
jessica December 01, 2012 at 08:41 PM
@its simple- please read what I wrote to red. I am not focusing on anything from the novel, I was being sarcastic. It is fiction, not evidence. Sure, AR makes some points that make you think twice. Do I think it was a sex game gone wrong? I 100% do not think that. But my point is, many things were written in the book, why just choose to concentrate on what was written about DS,NS and AS? If the book is to be used as some kind of confirmation to what people believe, then it should be used in its entirety, not just bits and pieces which may agree with what your theory is...or it should be seen for what it is, a novel which is loosely based on a true facts. I never claimed JS was a clever person. I think he worked very hard to reach where he did professionally. It's hard work and luck over intelligence and being clever. At least you are exploring all of the people mentioned-N.N., Howard Luber etc. I don't care about RZ's personal history...that has no bearing on what happened. " BUT you want to focus on the possibility of Rebecca being a slut"---nothing i have ever read about RZ has ever made me think this about her. Far from. I don't believe things written or aired for higher ratings-Of course, beauty, money and murder/suicide equals just that. What is lost in all of it, is the person. We all have our theories, but arguements can be made from both sides about what was written in the book. I think that is the point of it.
red December 01, 2012 at 08:43 PM
Jessica, I am open to other possibilities, I just think investigators thought as you do and did not explore any other but failed to explain any of the evidence that suggested murder. You know what they are. They and for that fact you have failed to show that Rebecca had MOTIVE and MEANS the opprotunity can also be argued considering Adam was supposedly less than 20 feet away in your suicide theory. Do you see what I am getting at? It is not by choice people focus on JS,DS,AS,and DS it is just based on the evidence at hand they had more of the MMO than any other.
red December 01, 2012 at 08:52 PM
What was Rebecca's Motive? Prove it.. Where did she learn to tie those knots, know how long to make the rope without going on the balcony, what was the door message about and can it be compared and Matched to anything ever written by her to confirm it was hers, how did she get those cuts on her head, why where there cuts on her back but not on her hands tied behind her back, why didnt her neck break like it was supposed to for a drop that distance, why did the bed just move 7.5 inches and just once? Why didn't Adam hear anything? Why did he supposedly wait to call 911 and cut her down but still cut her down, why isn't his DNA on any of the rope? There are just too many simple questions that require examination and explanation that has yet to be done.
Its simple December 01, 2012 at 09:13 PM
In your above comment you asked the questions. Based on previous comments you have made it appears you wanted to start a discussion about Rebecca's possible sexual history and the possibility she was having some kind of lewd sexual experience when Max was in the hospital. This is not the first time you have wanted to discuss what you would hope to be the ugly side of Rebecca. The problem however is that none of these conversations are based on any kind of evidence of any kind. You and the hit and run poster want to focus as much negative attention on Rebecca possible. Yes, I still recall the comments you made saying Rebecca had smothered Max, and then went and walked the dogs and took her sweet time calling 911. In defending JS and DS you think you must put RZ down. Who does that? She is dead and unable to defend herself, true your comments can not bother her anymore but she still has family and friends that are hurt by your accusations. What if people were to start suggesting those same things about Max. Maybe this all started because of Max's perversions, do you really want that to be a discussion? No, its cruel and disgusting to even suggest it and so is what you continue to do.
jessica December 01, 2012 at 09:22 PM
@Red- My post was really not meant for people who think and post like you do. Let me state that I am for a reinvestigation into both cases, and I really do appreciate the posters who are writing because of what they believe based on the evidence, and not just to hate on the families. The reason I say Rebecca also had means motive and opportunity is because of the same reason that people say Adam did. She lived there, knew the house inside out, and Maxie was struggling for his life in the I.C.U.- But those are just my thoughts about those abstract things and none of these prove anything. I do see where you are getting at, I always have. I just don't see need for other posters to post about such unimportant things like how a person looks, how much they make, if what they own is an apartment or a condo, things about the way these women and children look. Who cares? There is no point of that at all, except to show hate.What their personal relationships were etc. I am all for discussion about the evidence, and of course I think it should be questioned.
red December 01, 2012 at 09:41 PM
Jessica, I am under the impression there are five groups of people that comment on these cases. 1. People that believe Rebecca is responsible for both deaths and can not believe anyone would defend her. 2. People that believe she was murdered and not responsible for Max's death and can't believe anyone would be defending her killer. 3. People that think she was responsible for Max's death and was killed for it and they don't defend her or those they believe killed her. 4. People who enjoy the argument and comment to get people fired up. 5. People that just want to discuss the evidence and get to the truth. Group #5 may be where many of us want to be but we often get caught up in the other groups maybe because of those in Group #4. We have tried a few times to keep it civil and stick to facts but it always devolves because secretly we are all still part of one of the first three groups. I am glad you agree there needs to be a reinvestigation, that will be the only way all groups except #4 will discover the truth.
jessica December 01, 2012 at 09:46 PM
@its simple- I have NEVER made comments about RZ that were sexual in nature, nor would I. I told you I was being sarcastic when i wrote what I wrote today. It is impossible to make a point on here towards someone without offending other people. I have never even for a moment thought that what happened to Rebecca was sexual, on her part or the part of someone else.I have never thought, written or believed she was having some kind of sexual experience when Max was in the hospital---That is such a crazy thing to write or believe.
red December 01, 2012 at 09:49 PM
I have to add that there is a rumor of a 6th group "the agenda" pushers or the PR people. I don't know if anyone is them but we can't not include the possibility especially considering my own experience. Isn't it interesting that nobody has commented that think law enforcement got it right on both cases? These cases have really rattled many people's faith in the system.
Its simple December 01, 2012 at 10:07 PM
@jessica, Got it.. Perhaps I let some of your previous comments influence how I read into your current ones. I did not take it or read it as a "sarcastic remark" but will give you the befit this time that it was meant that way. True the book partial fiction, some facts but with the authors perspective much like what we read in these comments. Both sides are pushing information in this book, discussing their view of the authors view. My point to you was this; Those seeking justice for Rebecca Zahau do not stoop to saying things about Max. I realize that the other side only has Mary, Xena, and Rebecca. Xena being a minor and Rebecca being dead and Mary not really being involved so Rebecca seems an easy target. For the same reason you would not want bad things being said about Max show the same respect to Rebecca. That's all I will say, I know Rebecca's friends and some in her family read these comments. If you have something that an be proven that's fair but just posting trash talk against someone that has no way of refuting it is disgusting.
red December 01, 2012 at 10:31 PM
Jessica, I think the problem and solution to both cases and don't be angry at me for saying so is Jonah Shacknai. Both the Zahau and Romano families have been fighting and presenting their cases. Both turned down supposedly because the cases were not strong enough. Both families did not put forth the strongest case and the reason for that was most likely financial. Both families need to hire more experts, do more test, film unrefutable reenactments, and pursuade those in positions of power. Neither family has the ability to do that. Jonah Shacknai does but he is absent in the fight. He is remodeling his summer home and destroying the crime scene both families need. Jonah Shacknai is the key, but he wont budge. Which make many question his agenda and responsibility. Aside from him the families have to do all those things i mentioned with the limited resources they have. It will take longer and be harder and all we can do until then is discuss and dig. Maybe it will anger the right people, maybe it will uncover that key piece needed. A civil suite is a smart idea but a one time shot that has to be done right.
red December 01, 2012 at 10:46 PM
Jessica, I agree about the loss of evidence already should warrant the case be re-investigated by another agency. I can relay a story of a friend of mine that was arrested for DUI and taken to the county jail. (Also ran by Gore) My friend went in on a Saturday night and by the time they released him Monday morning had lost all his personal belongings. His wallet, watch, even his shoes were gone and nobody could account for them. They did give him someone else's clothes and my friend was happy to have them just so he could get out of there but, he says he never saw his own property ever again. His story made me wonder how well SDSO really cares about property and evidence. I wonder if anything from these cases can still be found. I have thought a new investigation needs to be handled by someone new. I for one have lost all faith in Gore and SDSO.
Edgewood December 01, 2012 at 11:04 PM
Anyone that has the book check out the picture of the door. Zoom in close and notice the lettering is different on the top line than the bottom. The As, Es, Vs, and Ss are very different. Two people wrote that message.
jessica December 01, 2012 at 11:33 PM
Red, thank you for your response. I was being sarcastic. I don't believe in the sex act gone wrong theory for the same reason I don't believe AS commited this crime. There was absolutely no evidence of this. There were alot of theories explored in the book, many people named but yet the focus remains on JS DS and AS. I appreciate that you believe it was murder but are willing to open your mind to an un named person. That shows that your point in all of this is not to hate on this family. Who is GJ? The book also writes in great detail about NN- but not one person has commented about this. People are using a piece of fiction as a confirmation of the fact that who they believe commited this surely must have commited this. There are many bombshells in the book that support both theories. That make the reader think twice. However, it is a novel written about the thoughts of the author. She is examining the evidence and portraying her ideas about them. From reading the book, I feel she has ideas about both scenarios, and leans towards one, but does not discard the other.
Ann December 02, 2012 at 12:16 AM
Edgewood, Imagine that! The writing was never analyzed by the SDS's investigators, so that could very well be true. Gore has the GAUL to criticize the AZ sheriff, who, IMO, is one of the best in the country and ignores his own uncaring and numerous failings. Hypocrite, deceitful? You bet!
Edgewood December 02, 2012 at 12:48 AM
If Ann Rule has the measurements accurate with wrist bindings it would have been impossible for RZ to do alone. Page 216 needs confirmation.
jack sparrow December 02, 2012 at 03:11 AM
How were her feet muddy but not the carpet? Why were Adam and Jonah's stories not consistent with each other and why didn't detectives call them out on it? It looks like just two detectives and Greg determined to call RZ's death ruling. I would be interested in the group discussion and what the vote if any was of all the investigators. Was this ruling the reason for theany personnel changes that took place shortly after.
SD Deserves Better December 02, 2012 at 06:52 AM
What surprises and angers me is the attitude of the San Diego Sheriff's office and ultimately William Gore. We can all hope he must one day soon experience the pain and loss his own actions and words has caused these two families. With hope he may know what his insensitive and callous behavior feels like. My thoughts & prayers are with the relatives and friends that lost these two vibrant lives. Keep pressing on, keep demanding, keep making noise, never give in less you let them win. San Diego County deserves better than Gore. San Diego County deserve someone that cares about all it's citizens.
Kate December 02, 2012 at 07:03 AM
Maybe Gore doesn't like Sheriff Joe because of his son's run in with the law there, and Sheriff Joe wouldn't look the other way?
SD Deserves Better December 02, 2012 at 07:23 AM
Sheriff Joe doesn't play the "look the other way" game, he is true law enforcement. William Gore is just not honest and as such not believable. There have been too many examples of him hiding behind his position and in many cases deliberate untruths to protect those close to his own interest. Ruby Ridge and 911 are the most obvious but there have already been no fewer than 19 other known situations since he took command of San Diego County Sheriff's Office.
Jarhead James December 02, 2012 at 08:48 AM
He saved him, you save her. The "S" and "can" were added later. He caught her off guard in the hallway as she exited the bathroom. She made a run for it but they caught up with her by the guesthouse. She fought and screamed and then tried to reason with her attacker, she never thought they would kill her or I am certain Becky would have fought harder.
Jarhead James December 02, 2012 at 08:54 AM
Law enforcement never found any other biological evidence in that room because nothing happened in that room.
Fatal Friends review December 02, 2012 at 01:46 PM
Finished reading Ann's book after skimming it the first time. It's obvious she feels Rebecca was tortured (marks on the back under the tied arms) then strangled to death (no damage to back of neck). It's also obvious Ann doesn't believe she was ever hanging and that the close relationship between Gore and Paul Pfingst (Jonah's attorney)prevented a proper investigation and prosecution. The knots, judged to be nautical by experts, weren't simple, so all signs point to Adam. On the manicured estate, mud for her feet could only have come from the plant area surrounding the back porch. In summation, the book indicates murder, and possibly several people. It places Dina at the scene too by eyewitness, not Nina, who looks really scary in the book picture. So do Adam and Jonah. And Jonah had two men accompany him to the funeral. Ann guessed bodyguards. Why if he is so innocent?
Fatal Friends review December 02, 2012 at 02:13 PM
Ann's exploration of Rebecca's background was excellent. She was in a no-win situation in that household. Neil was a real flake, and the fact he kept in touch even after the divorce was downright creepy. After reading the book, it seemed impossible to envy any of these wealthy people, and equally impossible to pity them. Their lives will be forever haunted by her murder, and the shameful situation Maxie had to endure, being bounced between contentious households, could predictably have led to this outcome.
serial mug December 02, 2012 at 06:12 PM
Kitties over at LHK think Jonah is a jerk to have dated Becky and let her into the family. Gotta wonder who those idiot supporters are. With "friends" like those, who needs enemies? BTW, what's up with the Jonah/Cat Lady look. That picture in Fatal Friends is really bizarre. He looks like a serial killer.
jus-sayin December 03, 2012 at 11:07 PM
MysteryHistory December 07, 2012 at 08:43 AM
Wow, if I was going to "impersonate" another person's nic...I would have to pick INTHEDARK! After reading Ann Rule's info, I got a sad feeling RZ was feeling "increasing isolation & anxiety" about where her life was heading. Praying to be a "good caretaker (?)" for JS's children...wondering if she had made the right decision in leaving her ex-husband? Writing that she had "given up so much" to be with JS and not feeling appreciated and cherished....ugh...it broke my heart. I found myself thinking, "These could be the words of a person becoming increasingly depressed, struggling and conflicted with her situation." I found myself wondering if the injury/accident of the precious, young child (MS) might have been the catalyst for enough self-doubt to commit suicide? I have been able to explain away the question of why there was mud/dirt on her feet and not the bedroom. (Easy if anyone wants me to elaborate.) But, I have not been able to "fathom, explain, reconcile" the screams for help, heard by the neighbor at around 11:30PM. The screams were heard PRIOR to Rebecca's reported time of death. (So how could LE discount the significance?) It is the major reason I question suicide. Why did AS search the "large kitchen for a knife" and NOT grab a chair from the kitchen at the same time? (Chaos & confusion?) Why tie/bind herself with unbelievably long and unnecessary lengths of rope? (Really weird when the same thing could have been accomplished with a strip of bedsheet.)
Salem January 25, 2013 at 03:58 AM
SHAME ON YOU, GORE! You should have been as conscientious and ethical as Philadelphia homicide unit Capt. James Clark. He and his team of investigators have apprehended the murderer, Jason Smith, for binding a young woman's hands and feet behind her back, strangling her, and staging the crime scene! They had no DNA evidence either, but they managed to catch the killer. Why couldn't you do the same for Rebecca Zahau? She was also a beautiful young woman with a promising life ahead of her. You could have caught Rebecca's murderers if you only acted as a professional instead of having your hands in someone's pockets. Now all you have are murderers running loose in CA and AZ. SHAME ON YOU. Listen to Capt. Clark on camera. Hear his professionalism and respect for human life and adherence to duty and honor to justice. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/01/24/melissa-ketunuti-jason-smith-arrested_n_2542500.html


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