Vince Mater Gets Wrist Slapped For Destruction of Evidence in Fullerton Jail House Death Case

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 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.

118 Replies to “Vince Mater Gets Wrist Slapped For Destruction of Evidence in Fullerton Jail House Death Case”

  1. Don’t forget this only got presented to the DA when things at the PD started/were falling apart. Danny boy was content with covering this up for 10months even telling Mater he wouldn’t present it to the DA if he resigned! Then before the statue was almost up and Mater gone “hero Danny” to the rescue and doing what he does best lying/back stabbing presented the case to the DA…. Don’t get me wrong Mater made a huge mistake and needed to go but it’s the shady way in which Danny does it is the reason people outside “his camp” don’t trust him!!!

    1. Thanks for revealing this Truth…
      Boy, the police departments and DAs work on overdrive trying to cover up these bad boy cop crimes.

        1. Oh ye of little faith…

          Page 4 Ronald “Brown Act” Bair
          Page 7 Jay Cicinelli
          Page 11 Hugo “Dualing Derrierre” Garcia
          Page 12 Andrew Goodrich
          Page 12 Kenton Hampton
          Page 17 Kelly Meija
          Page 17 Vincent Mater
          Page 22 Manny Ramos
          Page 22 Vincent Rincon

          This report was submitted by the FPOA to the City Clerk for the Month of October 2012

          1. Mejia..fired
            And they are still contributing. Really!! You are a big joke. Would you contribute to your ex-employer if you were fired..Think about it. Someone is giving you bogus information.

            1. Don’t shoot the messenger JOHN DOE!

              You’ll have to talk with Barry Coffman, President of the FPOA that signed this California state form 460 under penalty of perjury, if you think that this information is bogus JOHN DOE.

              The other person that might be able to help you is Lucinda Williams, who is the City Clerk for the city of Fullerton, whom accepted this document that states how much each of the FPD officers have had deducted from their pay to contibute to the political coffers of the designated candidate that’ll do their bidding.

                1. I’ll confirm they’re still on FPOA’s 460 form. I was always curious that I could never find Wolfe, though.

                  Keep up those denials, John Doe. If you say it enough times, it really will come true.

    1. The video in the cell in Gochenours’ cell was working just fine. It shows as reported by the DA, Gocherour was alone when he committed suicide. Matter destroyed his DAR because he should have taken Gocherours threats of suicide seriously. But as we all know facts here at FFFF are not important.

      1. “The video in the cell in Gochenours’ cell was working just fine.”

        Hmm. Was there really a camera in the cell? Really? Is that the story you want to go with? So who was watching at the other end as a man hanged himself?

  2. In my opinion this is an outrage and it is a glowing flashing extended index finger in the face of the citizens of Fullerton. A man is dead and his custodian destroys evidence. One gets the pine box and the other a walk in the park. How do you explain this to your kids?

    1. Rotten Judicial System…
      How do we not know it was not an ‘assisted suicide’ !
      Judge Munoz should not be a judge for one.

    2. You know what? It’s always been this bad just not as public or well known.

      This public safety mechanism has gone insane from self-generated paranoia. Not too long ago, we all learned that the CIA teamed up with the NYPD to harass Arab-Americans. They broke no law but still are subjected to harassment and humiliation. It all looks new, but it isn’t.

      In the 1960’s, the CIA teamed up with the LAPD and the Long Beach Police Department to harass and humiliate African-Americans. A CIA contractor actually murdered someone. An unarmed black male was gunned down for no reason by a CIA contractor right in front of the police. Right here in California.

      No, really. Go to: and email them. Ask them why they are working with the CIA to deprive Californians of their due process of law and liberty. Ask them why they are so paranoid.

      As for your kids, well, that’s a very good question. You may want to explain that untreated paranoia, psychopathology, and a lack of respect for humanity can turn one into some kind of monster.

    1. Don’t get me wrong on this, but homeless people can be problematic but treating them like crap is not the answer. Ironically, I have had to deal with the homeless while working security and would have loved it if they were all benign like Kelly Thomas.

      While the police treat these people like trash, they fail to reveal that they routinely use the homeless as drug informants. It is very convenient because if they get murdered, no one will miss them or wonder where they are.

      Shame that the police never admit that the homeless are serving their communities in their own way.

      1. You dont know what you are talking about. Did you see the 96 contacts Kelly had with several police departments. Dont talk out of your ass without knowing the facts.

        1. JOHN DOE

          We both know that your numbers are skewed by the fact that Kelly Thomas was homeless, and as such would’ve been contacted by law enforcement on a regular basis due to residents calling to report a disheveled transient that frightens them solely with his ragged appearance and poor hygiene.

          1. Nope..most of the contacts were for burglary, pissing in public, exposing himself, violent behavior..should I continue. Look it up its in the Orange County Register, Oct. 18, 2012. On the District Attorneys letterhead.
            “Attempted Murder”….a quiet soul?

            1. If this is true, why wasn’t Kelly Thomas secured upon initial contact? They just let this violent offender sit there unattended? Am I understanding you correctly?

              This violent homeless person is just allowed to sit there while the two police officers take their eyes and attention off of him?

        2. Well, if Kelly was a threat why not handcuff him upon contact? The officers had every opportunity to do so but chose not to. Ninety-six contacts you say? Must have been minor.

          You don’t get it both ways. Either Kelly was a threat or he was not. If he was, what’s with the failure to secure him? What’s with the relaxed atmosphere in his presence? The more Kelly Thomas is portrayed as a menacing threat, the worse it makes the police look.

          As far as the attitude, that makes you look bad. When you have some more facts that you want shot down, feel free to reply.

  3. “Probation and sixty days’ community service? Really?”

    No. “Informal probation”, which I take to mean not really even probation.

    1. “informal probation” just means that his term of probation will be supervised by the court rather than by the probation department. This is typical with almost any misdemeanor conviction.

  4. I don’t like this either but I ask “What is the sentencing guideline for this crime?”

    Did he 10% of the guideline, 50%, 80%?

    1. Destroying evidence is punishable by probation or up to 6 months in jail. Vandalism is punishable by probation or up to 1 year in jail.

      As a first offense, it would be virtually unheard of to face actual jail time.

      Mater actually received a 60-day suspended sentence, plus 60 days of community service and 3 years of probation. This is fairly typical, maybe even harsher than what you or I would receive.

  5. 0%
    He was undercharged as a misdemeanor and underinvestigated as it sat for ONE YEAR before being charged. In the meanwhile, who knows how much evidence disappeared? After all, it was investigated originally by FPD including INTERNAL AFFAIRS Sgt. Jason Shone, the man with the bong! A few hits here and there and everything is OK in Acting Chief Danny’s office!

    1. Judge Munoz is a proper judge. She has a reputation for being reasonable and level-headed. Normally, I applaud the way she stands up to overly-aggressive prosecutors. She likes to show mercy and she believes in second chances.

      I like to see cops fry as much as the next guy. I was rooting for a heavy sentence this time. The fact is, he got a standard deal — the same deal you or I would have gotten for vandalism / destruction of evidence.

      Judge Munoz also imposed a 60-day suspended sentence. If Mater misses one day of community service or fails to fully comply with the terms of probation, he’ll be in Theo Lacy.

      It would be improper to recharge him now that his case has been adjudicated. Double jeopardy protections apply to cops, too.

        1. Judge Munoz frustrates police and prosecutors most of the time with the favorable deals that she offers defendants.

          There are a lot of judges in OC who think they’re part of the prosecution team, but Munoz definitely isn’t one of them. She is known to grant reasonable sentences over the objection of the DA, so I don’t believe that she has any political motivations. She is actually retired, but she fills in for a month or two at a time to help fill vacant seats on the bench. She is not concerned with winning re-election and I just don’t see any motive for her to coddle the union bosses.

          1. Another double-dipper?

            Who would want to mess up that retirement scam, and upset the sweet life she’s apparently living in Corona Del Mar?

      1. So… the reason for the light sentence is based on the deal the DA cut with Mater’s attorneys? Munoz simply followed standard guidelines for the charges Mater was brought into her court to answer for.

      2. Gonzo, if I go out and break somebody’s window there’s generally no death and DA investigation involved!

  6. A man enters Fullerton PD on his own feet and he leaves feet first. There is no humor or political opportunity in this highly suspicious “jail suicide” and ex-Fullerton Police Officer Mater’s complicity in this “jail suicide”.
    A man whose only crime was drunk driving is murdered by Pat McKinley’s “culture of corruption” police officers once he finds himself within the confines of Fullerton PD’s jail.
    The horrible question that arises in the wake of the Kelly Thomas murder by Fullerton PD and the highly suspicious “jail suicide” at Fullerton PD does a pattern of beating deaths by Fullerton PD been hidden by Fullerton PD? And how complicit is Fullerton city council members, especially Bankhead and Jones, who gladly accepted into their midst the cause of Fullerton PD’s corruption, retired Fullerton Police Chief and disgraced by recall ex-Fullerton city council member, Pat McKinley.
    I have read intimations on FFFF that the FBI is investigating Fullerton PD for civil rights abuses. Is the FBI investigating the Fullerton PD for a history of beating deaths?
    How could Fullerton PD get away with its numerous crimes for so long without any public outcry or public scrutiny until the blatant kelly thomas murder.
    Who has been covering up these crimes and who is responsible for protecting and promoting fullerton PD’s “culture of corruption” for so long?
    Just my opinion

  7. Obstruction of justice is a felony. The DA crying about the lax sentencing is BS. If you or I had done it we would have gotten a year or two in Theo Lacy.

  8. If you read the full report you will see that Joe Wolfe was called up to Deans cell when they found him.
    Former Officer Joe Wolfe will be in court today for the murder of Kelly Thomas.
    Really Gennaco no culture of Corruption?

    1. Gennaco is part of the problem, that is why fullerton city council, including Mckinley at the time, gladly accepted rusty kennedy’s recommendation of Gennaco.
      just my opinion

    2. i saw Ron Thomas today at court with his posse of 5. Where was Kelly’s Army? Oh yeah, she was there (1)….

          1. It stands to reason that Mater ignored the guy’s threat of suicide. Guy commits suicide. Mater shits pants and then destroys DAR. Real mature guy.

    1. Whoa, now. Two bad apples for sure, but why kill the dude?

      My guess is Mater just coached the Gochenour who was messed up, and later realized he forgot to turn off the DAR.

  9. I was in the courtroom when he was sentenced. His attorney argued that he should be permitted to keep his driver’s license because he is employed in Riverside. Someone should look into this. Is he working as a cop or armed security out there now?

  10. Gonzo, Esq. on November 2, 2012

    I was in the courtroom when he was sentenced. His attorney argued that he should be permitted to keep his driver’s license because he is employed in Riverside. Someone should look into this. Is he working as a cop or armed security out there now?

    Shawn Nelson, why would the court take his drivers license?

  11. Not Shawn, but good guess.

    Normally, a vandalism plea requires the judge to suspend your driver’s license. Thank our illustrious state legislature. In this case, his attorney told the judge that he had a critical need to drive to his place if employment in Riverside.

  12. You break up the nasty mass of pestilence and make the host swallow one tiny bit at a time.

    Unfortunately there is always more rot growing that will have to be consumed.

    Ultimately the cancer overwhelms the body and the host dies.

    Welcome to Floryville.

  13. Wow! A FPD officer covers up his involvment in the death of an inmate and he gets probation.

    Just another example of how police in Orange County are treated with kid gloves no matter what wrongdoing they are found guilty of.

    I am sure there are still many within the Fullerton community who believe all the wrongdoers have been punished and the FPD is clean as a whistle.

    Wake up Fullerton!

  14. Was an explanation ever given as to why or how this could happen? It is just so strange that FPDs reaction seems so nonchalant… It baffles me. Did Mater ever even offer an excuse?

    Is it me, or is the lack of curiosity disconcerting. (i.e., why isn’t the OC Register all over this?).

    1. I read that Mater was supposedly frustrated that his DAR wouldn’t download to the computer, so he threw it against a metal door and it broke.


      Who would like to order a few of these DAR’s and run a test. Throw them all as hard as we can at a metal door and see if the damage is anywhere close to the damage of Mater’s DAR.

  15. Judge Francis Munoz (retired)

    #1 I think this is a guy
    #2 I think he is working part time
    #3 I think he is a worthless creep

    1. Flory, Alvarez, etc. are spending tens of thousands more than Tony. They even have losers holding signs on Harbor & Commonwealth daily at rush hour. Tony is for reform, and nothing else. The only true reform will be KIGER, WHITAKER, & LEVINSON! Fullerton citizens know the truth and will vote for the right people. Let’s show the union puppets that we want our town back! VOTE on Tuesday! Justice for Kelly Thomas!

      1. Richard, no one spends half a million dollars out of the kindness of their heart. Tony merely wants to control the council for his own personal gain. That puppet master is the biggest “special interest” in town. Go educate yourself, and stay away from those little boys.

        1. The public employee unions are the biggest special interest group in town and they have owned this town lock stock and barrel for far too long just like in all the other cities. Now the emperor has no clothes and has been gettin’ carried away lately. Till Tuesday-

        2. many of the first followers of Jesus originally did so because they wanted to believe he was the messiah who would overthrow Roman rule of Judea. Pure politics, not spirituality drove many of Jesus’ followers. Then they saw this movement was not about politics but restoring good where evil had taken root in the Pharisees.
          what started out as a political struggle became a struggle of good against evil.

      2. B.L. I call you on the half million. Provide proof of that. You know you can’t. As for your hatred, everyone here knows the FPOA trolls spew the hatred, including you. The citizens of Fullerton will show that Tuesday. Can’t wait until KIGER, WHITAKER, & LEVINSON are elected, because FPD will finally pay for your bullshit.

        1. It’s in the observer. It says how much your hero Tony has spent. They have to report all money they have and contributions. If you can’t read, have someone read it to you.

            1. The Fullerton Observer newspaper that you get pick-up for free at the grocery store, has all of the hard hitting news and editorial content that you’d find in a high school newspaper located in the bible belt.

              You get what you pay for.

              1. The Fullerton observer is a spin-off of rusty kennedy and his Orange County human relations commission that boasted “culture of corruption” disgraced Fullerton city council person and retired Fullerton police chief pat McKinley.
                It is not surprise fullerton observer bashes social,justicemwarrior tony bushala

            2. The Observer (Sharon Kennedy) is, like the vindictive Jan Flory, still fighting the last war – the 1994 Recall. They can’t get it out of their psyches. They are blind to theft and abuse, murder, sex assaults, illegal taxes, and graft.

              All they care about is protecting the bureaucracy in City Hall and having the “right” kind of people rubber stamping furiously on the dais – people just like them – old, mean, self-righteous, self-important fools.

              1. The slanted editorials I’ve seen written of late in the “Fullerton Obfuscator”, have all read like propoganda pieces and personal attacks which contain a certain resentful, passive-aggressive tone to them, much like the “Fullerton Obfuscator’s” long time supporter and FPOA endorsed candidate for City Council, Jan Flory.

    1. It should be noted that candidate Jay Chen’s office is within 25 feet of the front entrance to Fullerton Police Department.

      Didn’t see that part in the Times or the Register did you?

      Welcome to what 52 drinking establishments buys for the residents and businesses that live and try to run a business in Downtown Fullerton.

      Rascist attacks?

  16. I would think that the actions of this officer would warrant a second look at the actual cause of death. What am I missing here?

    1. It always seems to be that the misfortune falls on those on the margins in society who by no choice of their own are poorly represented. I wonder if that in custody death involving the DUI suspect was a child, spouse or relative of a Fullerton teacher or a police officer what would the outcome have been?

  17. JOHN DOE :F/L..Prove it!

    Mr Alvarez, at city council thanked them for their support and finance, that good enough for you? The proverbial HORSES mouth, gawsh I love it when its true. Your wrong, again.

  18. Mickey Haller :i saw Ron Thomas today at court with his posse of 5. Where was Kelly’s Army? Oh yeah, she was there (1)….

    I was in court a well. He had 3 people, get it straight, A pill popper with a transvaginal mesh and a burnt face due to oxycotin and a heating pad incident, then there is the greasy haired freak that cant seem to get her brain to work right,and then the whore from Anaslime,Lorri Galloway’s whore, so yep that is who supports ron, but I did see several people from the community and ones I have seen at city council,not sitting with Ron Thomas.

  19. I believe there is a shift going on with the “old way” and “new way” of law enforcement, mostly in part to the video camera. Law enforcement is being exposed in Orange County and nationally of lies, cover-ups, abuse etc. So, law enforcement must shift to a more educated, diplomatic approach (because EVERYBODY is now watching/videotaping) but that mentality goes against all the egos and bravado that is law enforcement. This is where we have the divide. We see it with Fullerton with Kelly Thomas. No one in their educated or just common sense right mind can look at the K.T incident and call it JUST. However, the boys in blue live by a different code. There must be a shift in the way law enforcement is conducted or there will be revolt if abuse of power continues to be exposed. This militaristic, scare tactic, yada yada, “we are going to place fear in people,” is complete bullshit. We don’t live in a uncivilized community, so let’s not police as if we do.

  20. Every Cop in Fullerton should be outraged by the actions of a few bad cops, and the cover-ups that follow.

    1. They have all drank the Kool Aid. Only the guy with the shades that left Jonestown with the loot is off the radar but not off the hook. The silence of the rank and file so called “good officers” on the FPD on this issue and the murder of Kelly Thomas alone is absolutely deplorable. Maybe they really don’t believe in the Bill of Rights as evidenced by their lack of understanding of the First Amendment. I can’t figure it out.

  21. Cover-ups? Cover-alls, the cover-alls you are going to receive when they lead you from the courtroom and throw your ass in prison where you belong. Don’t worry, it’s one size fits all.

    1. Like always you avoid the question. Ok I will ask you one more time..what cover up? Stop being a follower and speak what you think, cause that is all it is..speculation. Or made up stories.

      1. If you are interested in finding out about what cover-ups, why don’t you do a little “investigative” work of your own and go back and re-read some of the previous threads, you won’t have to go back to far to find some malfeasance that FPD was involved in. As for your interrogation tactics “Ok I will ask you one more time”…. That shit don”t fly here, you’re just spinning your wheels until you are led in chains from the courtroom.

        1. Yes..FPD had a year of bad. But before that, I can’t account for anything, only the petty shit that all PD’s have. So were is the cover up..again.

  22. The DA did his usual thing once again. Undercharged Vince Mater and then plea bargained it down to a misdemeanor and the part time judge accepted the plea with the proviso, no formal probation. A few hours of community service. Thats what is given to high school and college kids for drunk and disorderly! In this case though, a man is dead. And no one knows nothing! Good job DA Tony R.

  23. Agreed Tuco.

    I wonder if the Judge would have felt the same casual way about what Vincent Mater did if Dean Gochenour were her own Father?

  24. There is much talk about the “Bad” cops are ruining things for the “Good” cops. Has anybody seen a good cop yet come out and say anything? I’m sure we all “know” a good cop or two, but, where are they? Where are they in the community? All I’m seeing is lies, cheating, deceit, and cover-ups from law enforcement. I’m starting to believe that this layer of corruption and incompetent police work is not just surface level. I believe the level of corruption is so deep that we cannot even fathom what is going on. I’m seeing more negative actions by police officers these days and it is quite disturbing. It’s disturbing that it is these same disturbing personalities that are in charge of the safety of the community, representatives of the city and people, and so-called “heroes”/role models. So, where are all the “Good” cops? If they are so afraid to come out of hiding, then there is something extremely wrong with law enforcement. When did PEACE OFFICERS turn into fear loathing juiced up soldiers with A.R 15’s, camos, tanks, and God knows what else. Are we in a war that I am unaware of? There needs to be an oversight committee where the absolute power is taken out of the department’s hands and into the hands of EDUCATED, UN-BIAS, COMMUNITY REPRESENTATIVES that holds ACCOUNTABILITY to those who abuse the power of being a police officer and abuse the public trust. It is obviously apparent that there is no accountability to the crimes get swept under the rug when issues are kept in-house. Also, maybe we need to look at how police officer are trained and get away from this nonsense of self-entitlement, pompous, arrogant attitudes. Quick fact less than 15 percent of police officers have a Bachelor’s Degree. As much responsibility that this career demands, this is disturbing I know. So, I ask one more time, where are all the “Good” cops? Because I have yet to see one. I’ll leave you with this quote by Abraham Lincoln- “Nearly all men can stand adversity, but if you want to test a man’s character, give him power.”
    Apparently in law enforcement these days, character is not needed.

  25. re: Good cops. I know a number of them, but they are all retired! They raise funds for charities and have good parties! The several that I asked all privately say the 6 Fullerton cops went over the top and they frankly do not like the negative publicity for cops that it has caused.
    If you were a good cop surrounded by a certain percentage of “bad” cops would you rat them out in the newspapers or on blogs or would you go through the chain of command? They choose the chain of command and if nothing happens, it is due to lack of ethics and control by the person on top! Thus it was a very good decision to not appoint 29 year veteran Acting Chief as the new Chief. There is no indication of any change at Fullerton PD other than those charged with actual criminal offenses being kicked out! In fact, the promotion of Andy Goodrich to Lieutenant speaks for the “new improved” model of policing. Goodrich spoke the party line over and over in the K. Thomas case and despite his many misleading public comments as the PIO, he was promoted. Not a promising system for correcting excesses!

  26. Fullerton Lover :
    So your telling us that this document that I found on the city of Fullerton website the other day is a pack of lies?
    How so?
    Please be specific as to which page or what part of the document that I linked is a mis-representation of the truth.

    The only reason they might still be contributing..maybe they are gonna get rehired…all depends on the out come of the on going charges.

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