I always hate it when the stooge press indicates that a “former cop” was convicted of something when the former cop was an active cop when he did what he did to get convicted.
And so I won’t say “former Fullerton cop Vincent Mater plead guilty…” Rather, I will say dirty Fullerton cop Vincent Mater who clearly had something to hide in the wake of the Dean Gochenour Fullerton jail suicide and who demonstrated as much by destroying his DAR plead guilty to day…
Here’s the text of the DAs press release:
FULLERTON – A former Fullerton Police Department (FPD) officer was convicted and sentenced today for destroying evidence by crushing his audio-recorder after an inmate committed suicide in jail following a driving under the influence (DUI) arrest by the defendant. Vincent Thomas Mater, 42, pleaded guilty to a court offer by the Honorable Frances Munoz to one misdemeanor count of destruction of evidence and one misdemeanor count of vandalism. Mater was sentenced to three years of informal probation and 60 days of community service. The People objected to the sentence, arguing for jail time based on the nature of the crime, destruction of evidence possibly related to an inmate’s death, and the defendant’s violation of his position of trust.
At the time of the crime, Mater was a police officer with FPD. At approximately 9:45 p.m. on April 14, 2011, Mater conducted a DUI investigation after making a traffic stop of a vehicle being driven without its lights on in the dark. Mater was in uniform and driving a marked FPD patrol car. Mater arrested the driver, Dean Gochenour, upon determining that Gochenour was under the influence of alcohol.
Mater transported Gochenour in his patrol car to the Fullerton City Jail (FCJ) and turned him over to FPD jailers to be booked upon arrival. Throughout the duration of his contact with Gochenour, Mater wore an FPD-issued Digital Audio Recording device (DAR), which was activated and would have audio-recorded any statements made by Mater or Gochenour.
At approximately 11:30 p.m., inmate Gochenour committed suicide by hanging himself in a cell at FCJ. The Orange County District Attorney’s Office (OCDA) was subsequently contacted to conduct the custodial death investigation.
In the hours after Mater learned of Gochenour’s death, Mater destroyed his DAR by crushing it and removing the mother board and circuit board. The audio captured on Mater’s DAR of the defendant’s interaction with Gochenour could not be recovered as a result of the damage. Mater destroyed the evidence that would have been relevant to the OCDA’s custodial death investigation.
FPD investigated the case against Mater regarding the destruction of evidence and submitted it to the OCDA for criminal prosecution.
To read the OCDA’s full report on the custodial death of Gochenour, visit www.OrangeCountyDA.com and select “OCDA Report Custodial Death Investigation – Inmate Dean Gochenour” from the Investigation Letters tab under the Media Center. The report was issued March 13, 2012.
Deputy District Attorney Brock Zimmon of the Special Prosecutions Unit prosecuted this case.
I don’t know who “the honorable” Frances Munoz is, but I sure want to end up in her court if I ever get busted doing anything naughty. Probation and sixty days’ community service? Really? You or I would be looking at hard time. Oh, well we’ve always know there were rules and regs for us and a get out of jail card for the cops.
Did something fishy happen to Dean Gochenour before or after he was deposited in the FPD jail? Thanks to Mater we shall probably never know.
Oh, and yeah, Mater’s now a former Fullerton cop, although whether he was fired or permitted to walk away we will never know. That shall remain a mystery, too.