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Western Railroad Discussion > Conviction in John Finley Scott murder tiral

Date: 10/24/07 10:13
Conviction in John Finley Scott murder tiral
Author: gobbl3gook

Closure and justice in the murder of Davis, CA railfan John Finley Scott


Man found guilty of killing former UCD professor

By Hudson Sangree - hsangree@sacbee.com
Published 12:00 am PDT Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Yolo County jurors on Tuesday convicted a handyman with a criminal past
in the death of John Finley Scott, a retired UC Davis sociology
professor credited with inventing the mountain bike.

Charles Kevin Cunningham, 48, was found guilty of first-degree murder
and grand theft and now faces a sentence of 32 years to life, said
Deputy District Attorney David Akulian.

In the hallway of Woodland's historic courthouse, Scott's sister, Jane
Chamberlain, said she was grateful for the jury's verdict.

"I am incredibly relieved," she said. "It's been a sad, sad time."

The 72-year-old Scott's body was never found, though his disappearance
in June 2006 and the bloody scene in his home convinced jurors he had
been killed.

District Attorney Jeff Reisig called it a "tremendous verdict" and said
the case was the first no-body homicide prosecution in Yolo County that
anyone in his office could remember in 30 years.

There was little forensic evidence connecting Cunningham with Scott's
death, but Akulian told jurors during closing arguments last week that
the defendant had a motive to kill.

Scott had found Cunningham was forging his signature on checks and
confronted the man he'd hired to trim trees.

Cunningham, who had served time for theft and weapons charges, was on
parole at the time and did not want to return to prison, Akulian told

Jurors deliberated for more than four days before reaching their

After the verdict, they said Cunningham's changing statements to police
during videotaped interviews had convinced them he was guilty.

"We felt the defendant's interviews were very damaging to him," said
juror Wanda Montgomery.

Deputy Public Defender Richard Van Zandt said jurors had worked hard to
reach their verdicts.

"They thought about this for four days," he said. "You can't ask for any
more than that."

Scott, known to his friends as Finley, lived alone in a cluttered ranch
house on the outskirts of Davis. He was regarded as a cantankerous
eccentric but was also much beloved by his friends and family.

"He broke the mold," said niece Cathy Clark, of Hawaii. "He was a real

Clark said her uncle had built his prototype mountain bike in 1953 after
he broke his ankle and was unable to hike.

"He wanted a way to still get up into the mountains," she said.

The bicycle had straight handle bars and fat tires. Scott called it his
"woodsie" bike.

Those who knew Scott said he will not soon be forgotten.

"He truly was a brilliant visionary who left us all an amazing legacy,"
his longtime friend Cynthia Sprock wrote in an e-mail.

She attached a sketch that Scott had made when he first conceived of an
off-road bicycle. Sprock said Scott will be nominated for admission to
the Mountain Bike Hall of Fame later this year.

Cunningham is scheduled to be sentenced on Dec. 3.

Reisig said he hopes the man will reveal the location of Scott's body.

Date: 10/24/07 10:20
Re: Conviction in John Finley Scott murder tiral
Author: Top_bullfrog

Good to finally know what happened about that. The Professor was always an interesting person to be around, whether you liked him or not, his antics always proved entertaining. Thanks for the update.

Sacramento, CA

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