Ex- Cal Fire of­fi­cial killed fi­ancee

For­mer bat­tal­ion chief faces 15 years to life in prison for fa­tal 2014 stab­bing.

Los Angeles Times - - THE STATE - By Matt Hamil­ton matt.hamil­ton@latimes.com

A for­mer Cal Fire bat­tal­ion chief was con­victed Wed­nes­day of sec­ond- de­gree mur­der for stab­bing his fi­ancee to death.

Fol­low­ing three days of de­lib­er­a­tions, a Sacra­mento jury found Orville Flem­ing guilty of killing 26- year- old Sarah June Dou­glas, ac­cord­ing to Sacra­mento County dis­trict at­tor­ney spokes­woman Shelly Orio.

On May 1, 2014, Dou­glas’ sis­ter found her body in the home Dou­glas shared with Flem­ing. She had been stabbed more than a dozen times, of­fi­cials said.

Author­i­ties launched a statewide man­hunt for Flem­ing, then a bat­tal­ion chief with the Cal­i­for­nia Depart­ment of Forestry and Fire Pro­tec­tion and an in­struc­tor at the agency’s f ire academy in Ione, about 35 miles south­east of Sacra­mento.

On the lam, Flem­ing hid in heavy brush in a Sacra­mento sub­urb, and man­aged to pur­chase food and a new set of clothes. He was cap­tured af­ter a 16- day search.

Dur­ing the trial, Flem­ing, 56, tes­ti­fied that he and Dou­glas had a volatile re­la­tion­ship and a heated ar­gu­ment pre­cip­i­tated the killing, the Sacra­mento Bee re­ported.

“I felt like a zom­bie. I went to the kitchen, got that knife, went back to the bed­room and stabbed her right here,” Flem­ing tes­ti­fied.

His at­tor­ney, Peter Kmeto, sought a man­slaugh­ter con­vic­tion, ar­gu­ing that Flem­ing, a de­voted public ser­vant, was pro­voked by Dou­glas’ pro­fan­ity- laced tirade, the Bee re­ported.

Af­ter Dou­glas was slain, a scan­dal un­rav­eled at the fire academy in Ione, with Flem­ing’s es­tranged wife al­leg­ing that fire­fight­ers were hav­ing sex with pros­ti­tutes and had made a sex tape.

The Cal­i­for­nia High­way Pa­trol in­ves­ti­gated the al­le­ga­tions and de­ter­mined the sex tape and pros­ti­tu­tion claims were base­less. But the ethics in­ves­ti­ga­tion re­vealed un­re­lated vi­o­la­tions of agency pol­icy, in­clud­ing mis­use of state prop­erty, mis­use of state time and re­sources, and dis­hon­esty.

Of the 16 em­ploy­ees in­ves­ti­gated by the CHP, two state f ire­fight­ers were f ired, one re­signed and 13 em­ploy­ees were is­sued such dis­ci­plinary ac­tion as sus­pen­sions or de­mo­tions, Cal Fire spokesman Daniel Ber­lant said.

Flem­ing is sched­uled to be sen­tenced July 31. He faces 15 years to life in state prison, with an ad­di­tional year be­cause the killing in­volved a knife.

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