Couple Awarded $7 Million 12 Years After Being Sent To Check On 911 Call

A Southwest Trinity County couple has been awarded $7 Million a dozen years after being sent into a life-threatening situation by a Trinity County Sheriff’s Corporal. It happened in 2011 in the tiny Community of Kettenpom, according to this story from the KQMS archives. The Sheriff’s Office got a call one afternoon from a woman asking for help. Corporal Ronald Whitman started the long drive through snow-covered roads toward the remote location and placed a call to the cell phone number from which the 9-1-1 call had come. He learned the phone belonged to a Kristy, which didn’t sound familiar to him, so he called a couple he knew in Kettenpom, James and Norma Gund, to ask if they knew her. Norma told him that 34-year-old Kristine Constantino was their neighbor, so Corporal Whitman asked Norma to see if something was wrong. The county has always maintained that Whitman asked Norma to keep an eye out from her own home, but specifically advised her not to approach the other house. The Gunds have maintained that he asked them to go check in person, which they did. Norma went in first, and James waited outside but he heard a commotion, so he went in and found his wife being attacked by 33-year-old Tomas Gouverneur, who then turned on James. Norma fled and drove to the Kettenpom Store. Meanwhile, James got the knife away from Gouverneur and ran back home before driving to the store. Both Gunds were hospitalized with knife wounds and recovered. Back at the house, Constantino was found dead along with 27-year-old Christopher Richardson. James Gund had given deputies a description of Gouverneur’s car with Oregon plates, and a Mendocino County Sheriff’s Deputy spotted the car on Highway 101 and chased it. The pursuit ended when the suspect vehicle crashed, killing Gouverneur. Evidence found in the car included $11,000 cash, along with packaged Marijuana. Identical packages were found at the Constantino home. He was also identified by Gund as the attacker. The Gund’s claim went all the way to the State Supreme Court and was denied, but after years of appeals the county agreed to pay the Gunds for their trouble.