The Union Democrat

Jamestown man accused of murder in death at storage unit

- By GUY MCCARTHY Contact Guy Mccarthy at gmccarthy@uniondemoc­ or (209) 770-0405. Follow him on Twitter at @Guymccarth­y.

A 49-year-old man who’s had multiple brushes with Tuolumne County law enforcemen­t has been arrested on suspicion of murdering Craig Arthur Hale, 76, of Twain Harte, whose body was discovered Oct. 7 inside a unit at Purely Storage on Eagle Ridge Road in East Sonora.

Steven Mathew Berrigan, the most-wanted suspect in the county more than 11 years ago, was arrested early Sunday by a contingent of special weapons and tactics deputies at a home in Twin Pines Mobile Home Park in Jamestown.

Berrigan’s arrest was announced by the Sheriff’s Office on Sunday. His charges in connection with Hale’s death were announced Wednesday. He is also charged with stealing Hale’s vehicle and identity theft.

Berrigan, of the 10700 block of Wigwam Road in Jamestown, remained in custody Wednesday at Dambacher Detention Center in Sonora and was being held without bail. He also faces additional charges unrelated to Hale’s death.

Hale’s body was discovered in early October in the midst of a missing person investigat­ion. Sheriff’s detectives got a warrant to search at Purely Storage and found a body in a unit, which was later identified as Hale.

Several weeks of investigat­ing led detectives to identify Barrigan as the suspect in Hale’s death, the Sheriff’s Office said.

Berrigan evaded deputies in Tuolumne in early November. Earlier this year, before Hale’s death was discovered, he was arrested in June on suspicion of selling and transporti­ng methamphet­amine and resisting arrest.

There were active felony warrants for Berrigan in connection with both incidents in November and June. He is also the suspect in a criminal threats case and a felony domestic battery case, which were both reported in the past 10 days.

When Tuolumne County Sheriff’s SWAT deputies went to the home in Twin Pines Mobile Home Park early Sunday, they had a warrant and believed Berrigan had a homemade explosive device that he planned to use against law enforcemen­t.

Berrigan was arrested and charged on his warrants Sunday.

In January 2011, Berrigan was named the Tuolumne County Sheriff’s most-wanted suspect of the week in connection with a felony warrant for spousal abuse, false imprisonme­nt and battery.

Anyone who has more informatio­n about Hale’s death, or Berrigan and other crimes Berrigan is accused of, is urged to call sheriff’s Detective J. Lee at (209) 694-2955.

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