Unlucky home on left, Herbert’s home on right.
  • Unlucky home on left, Herbert’s home on right.
  • Photograph by Eva Knott
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"I didn’t want to go over there in the first place,” David Herbert said. “Before I went over there I spoke with my HOA and contacted law enforcement asking them to help me with the noise situation over there.” But they didn’t do anything about it.

“So I went over there. I knocked on her door, and I asked her, I couldn’t have been any nicer than I was, I asked her, you know, ‘Please, can you please turn the TV down? Can you please stop making all that noise?’”

Mrs. Griffith said it was noise from her son’s room, from his television, that was bothering her neighbor Herbert.

Female retriever, Lala, last seen May 30, 2017.

“The reason I was so sensitive about the noise at that point was, I was studying something in my home to take a licensing exam,” Herbert explained. “So that’s why I really needed to have that peace at the time. So I’m not like a grinch sitting there, you know, ‘I need to have complete silence.’”

Mrs. Griffith and her family moved into their Oceanside home in October 2011. The house on Carino Way stands around the corner from Mission San Luis Rey. Eight months later, on June 1, 2012, Herbert moved into the house next door.

Neighbors who parked near the pool area got their tires deflated.

Photograph by Eva Knott

The day after he spoke to his new neighbor about the television noise, Herbert sent an email to the homeowners association: “Okay, the day after I spoke to them, the window is still open and the noise is still pouring out.” He had lived in the community for only two months, but Herbert already had become a frequent complainer to the homeowners association. “I initially sent you a laundry list of violations, none of which have been addressed,” he wrote. “I’m absolutely requesting a hearing before the board of directors. I intend to fight this via every legal means possible.” And he signed off with, “You will be hearing from me soon again.”

Maria Morales was questioned for two days.

The next day, Mrs. Griffith found all four tires flattened on her red 1998 Ford Explorer. She had parked her car overnight on the street, on the other side of Herbert’s house, in front of the community pool. Mrs. Griffith’s son told her it looked as if someone had poked a hole in each tire.

Judge Carlos Armour, prosecutor Teresa Pham.

“As far as Griffith, as far as she’s concerned, I believe she got what she deserved.” Herbert was speaking plainly by the end of his criminal trial in 2018. He told the jury that if you behave with complete disregard for those around you, and you get your tires slashed, “then I’m sorry, but you’re not getting any sympathy from me, you’re getting none whatsoever.”

In August of 2018, six years after his experience with his first neighbor on Carino Way, Herbert was in court acting as his own attorney, fighting charges of vandalism and felony animal abuse. “When I cross-examined Griffith and I used the word ‘scumbag,' I meant what I said. I don’t take it back. I stand behind it one hundred percent.”

Female husky, Estrella, as she was found in her home with some of one eye missing.

During his closing argument, at the end of a two-week trial, Herbert spoke directly to the jury. “And when I said that the other neighbors that lived there, I called them ‘scumbags’ as well, I stand behind it a hundred percent. I don’t take it back.”

The first family, the Griffith family, did not get the worst of Herbert’s alleged terrorization. A succession of neighbors who rented the home next to Herbert suffered terribly bad luck.

Male husky, Cocuyo: his fur is shaved and shows the chemical burns on his back.

Mrs. Morales and her dogs

“Maria Morales, she was also a scumbag,” Herbert said. “She was the biggest scumbag of all.” It was in the year 2016, he said, “when the first family moved in with the dogs.”

“So I was still living there all the way up to 2016 when Morales and her husband and her family moved in there. I was there. And they moved in with their dogs.”

Herbert made a demo video in which he punctured a tire.

Herbert said Mrs. Morales was a nuisance. “She was loud. She used the animals to continue her obnoxious behavior. She was told by police officers to keep the dogs inside, she was told by myself to stop making noise. And see how things turned out. She ignored both of those warnings and continued her obnoxious behavior.”

Judge ordered Herbert taken into custody immediately after verdict.

Photograph by Eva Knott

Herbert wanted everyone to know his frank opinion. “She wasn’t a good neighbor. And that may sound like I’m giving you a reason to believe that I attacked her, but she wasn’t a good neighbor. And that’s the bottom line. She was noisy and the animals were noisy. And in my opinion, that’s why they were attacked.

“And it wasn’t just the dogs that were making noise; she was actually worse than the dogs, if you can believe that. And I can’t sit here and make the same noises that she was making. Otherwise, I think everyone would get up and leave the room, it was that bad.”

A prosecutor helpfully prompted Herbert, “How bad was it?”

A baseball bat with blood on it was found in Herbert’s home.

Herbert declared,“If it was on a scale of one to a million, it was ten million. It was that bad. If you were there, you would understand. But it’s that bad, trust me, it’s that bad. She was yelling over there.”

The prosecutor asked, “Who was she yelling at?”

Herbert answered, “I don’t know; the dogs, her son, I don’t know.”

A series of neighbors who lived next to David Herbert on Carino Way had their tires deflated.

Herbert wanted the jury to know: “I don’t have anything against any animals. I don’t have anything against cats or dogs or anything.” He insisted, “I have no quarrel with any animal at all.” He just expects animal owners to be considerate. “You have a responsibility to be considerate, you should be considerate of those around you, and that’s my view.

“And the way the homes are set up over there, the homes are really close.” The jury was shown photos of the houses. “So you have to be considerate of the people around you.” He would not waiver, “That’s just how I feel, and I’m standing behind it; if I get crucified for it, I do.”

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thejimmer Nov. 28, 2018 @ 6:27 p.m.

as they say. neighbors from hell are the worst - Hoa board members hands are tied on what can be done - even though a complaint can be filed to board member, the majority of the board are afraid of the backlash especially if they live in the community near the problematic person/s - i know I am a board member and these problematic people roam the community at night creating chaos in people lives - what I have found out is off site owners dump these types of people into the community and then walk away and allow the community deal with the nightmare - we have had to go to court against these types of owners and have a judge actually issue a restraining orders that certain people can not wander the property farther than 50 ft from their own front door when they are on the property - we have fined owners into the thousands but can only collect a dime until the owner tries to do a refinance or sell, then we get paid- its a tough situation in HOA properties. the laws are against HOA's from all we have in-counted - once I sell I will never again buy into a HOA property like this one I live at-


rplm Nov. 29, 2018 @ 9:12 a.m.

In no way do I condone cruelty/abuse to animals. And if he is guilty let him swing. However, this brings up a rampant problem and that is humans disrespect, selfishness and rudeness to other humans. So many examples of this I won't list them all here. Specifically related to this article the community experiences irresponsible pet owners constantly and in numerous ways. One big one - Pick up after your dogs people! Remember there are other people living on this planet other than you. Have some respect and be a responsible thoughtful citizen, please, or, do not have a pet. When the next article appears about pet owners and there unknowing/ignorant abuse of their own pets I'll add more. In the meantime, I will continue to respect others around me as a pet owner.


WTaviz Dec. 3, 2018 @ 1:25 p.m.

This guy is a psycho and should be locked up forever. The way he tortured and killed those poor dogs is heartbreaking. Luckily he didn't murder anyone - yet, this is how serial killers get their start by killing animals. I hope the Griffith and Morales families sue this loser in civil court for everything he has, and, everything he will ever earn. He inflicted permanent emotional damage unto these two families and their children.


Visduh Dec. 5, 2018 @ 11:56 a.m.

There was a strange aspect to this case when the defendant made his $1 million bail by writing a check for that amount. Somehow he had that huge sum available in his credit union checking account. But then, after bailing out, he claimed to be broke, and wanted a public defender. I cannot think of a single time when a defendant made bail with that much cash. Rich folks will use a bail bondsman, or will offer a piece of property in lieu of cash. There's more to this story than any of us will likely ever know.

the jimmer comments about how HOA's are toothless when it comes to enforcement of HOA rules and/or CC&R's. I'd guess that many homeowners would disagree with his general comments, and it would be those who have run afoul of their HOA's. I would agree, on the basis of all the misery that seems associated with HOA's, that buying into an area with a HOA is to be avoided. But in this case, the HOA did not have any sort of major role.


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