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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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 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.

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.

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.

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.”

Mrs. Morales’s flared eye makeup and waterfall of beautiful black hair made her a striking presence in the witness box. She testified over two days during the trial. She said her family moved into the home on Carino Way in late November, after Thanksgiving in 2016. It was she and her husband, three children, and two dogs.

Mrs. Morales said the family got the two huskies when they were small puppies. “The boy dog is Cocuyo and the female Estrella.”

The dogs were littermates, brother and sister. Cocuyo is Spanish for “firefly” or lightning bug and Estrella means “star.” When the family moved, the dogs were over one year old. She said her children played with the dogs. “To me they are not dogs,” she said, “they are like my children.”

Mrs. Morales sniffed and dabbed her eyes with tissues when she remembered all the bad things that happened during the six months they lived in that home.

She recalled there was one morning in December, after the family went out for breakfast, when they returned home and their dogs did not greet them. The dogs acted so strangely, she suspected that someone must have drugged them with marijuana, and she took them to a vet. The dogs seemed to recover from the experience.

In January, February, March, and April of 2017, they found the tires flattened on her car and on her husband’s work trucks. This happened so many times, she couldn’t even guess exactly how many. Eventually, Mrs. Morales started reporting these incidents to Oceanside police.

It was February 8, 2017, when one of her dogs went missing. After she took her children to school, Mrs. Morales returned home and found only the female dog, Estrella. The dogs had been left in the yard that morning. About noon that day, her husband got a phone call from someone at nearby Camp Pendleton. Their dog Cocuyo was mysteriously found on the military base, and because both her dogs are micro-chipped, the owner was identified. Mrs. Morales said her husband was able to retrieve Cocuyo from the Animal Control person on the Marine base after he finished his day’s work.

When Herbert cross-examined Mrs. Morales, he seemed to sneer, “But you didn’t even report that to police? Even though ‘your dogs were like your children?’”

When it was Herbert’s turn to present his evidence, he suggested that Cocuyo could have gotten onto Camp Pendleton by going under a fence, before somewhat bizarrely implicating himself. “But again, I don’t think that’s going to get through here, because again, the DNA was in my car so obviously I took it there.”

Investigators found Cocuyo’s DNA in dog-nose-smudges they observed on the inside of Herbert’s car window. But Herbert pointed out to the jury, “Even though I wasn’t seen going through that back gate where they scan everyone’s IDs. If you check the computer system, I never went on Pendleton because my ID wasn’t scanned. But again, that’s not enough, so why even bother to show you guys anything?”

Herbert made a half-hearted attempt to find a map on his computer, which he intended to present. “Because I see by the look on your faces that you already have your mind made up.”

Police eventually seized Herbert’s car and examined it for evidence. Besides DNA from Cocuyo’s nose smudges, they found blood and DNA from a different dog.

Several times during trial, Herbert seemed to suggest that dogs wandered into his garage, and then into his car. “Now, I told you that my garage door on the side of my home was always open. The dog got in there, got into my car and left its DNA there. Again, it’s not my responsibility to keep people’s pets out of my property, it’s their responsibility to keep it onto theirs.”

Eventually, Herbert did admit that he took that one dog away, to Camp Pendleton.

Mrs. Morales tearfully testified about the harm inflicted on her dogs, two weeks after they got Cocuyo back from Camp Pendleton. She said it was the morning of February 24, 2017, when, “I went to drop off my children at school, then went to the store to buy something for the dogs.”

She had left her dogs outside that day, but when she got home and opened the door to the kitchen, she found both dogs inside. “They were crying, like someone was hitting them.” She remembered it was “like a desperate sound.” The dogs looked wet and she touched one wet place. “My hand started burning and I ran to wash my hand.” She tried to describe it: “It was warm, yes, it would burn you.” She took her dogs to the vet.

Mrs. Morales said that after that, her dogs were no longer trusting. They didn’t want to go outside anymore. And she did not want to leave them outside, because she knew someone was trying to hurt them.

The whole family felt tormented. “Because we are a family that never had any problems before we moved to that house.” She now made a habit of calling the police after each new incident.

On April 10, Maria Morales said she was driving to pick up her kids and something exploded and she almost struck an oncoming vehicle; her littlest son was in the car and started crying. She called 911 and said someone was trying to kill her. “We couldn’t understand how some person had dared to flatten my tires again when we had a camera pointed at my vehicle.”

They had informed the landlord of their troubles after the dog-burning incident and were quickly provided surveillance cameras. One camera was pointed at their driveway, where they parked. When she checked that camera, Mrs. Morales said there was nothing recorded from that morning, nor the previous night. “I mentioned to police that the videos were not there, so I told the police that someone had come in and erased them.”

She knew there should be footage of the person who did it; she looked, “and it wasn’t there.” She believed someone came into her house and erased it. “Yes, of course, obviously.”

“The camera is there, facing the driveway, someone flattened my tires, of course the camera would record that, and it did.”

She found one small tear in one screen of one window. And she realized the kitchen window was opened slightly one day, when she believed she had left it closed. But when police walked around and inspected, they declared “no signs of forced entry.”

Two weeks after that incident, on April 28, 2017, Mrs. Morales dropped off her older kids at school, ran an errand, and then returned home about 10 am. She had left both dogs inside the house. Normally, her dogs howled a greeting to her, “but that day they did not say anything.” She found Cocuyo was wet again, and he was so weak he could barely hold up his head. Liquid was coming out of his mouth. She went looking for Estrella. “When I went up the stairs, I saw she was coming to meet me and I saw she was missing an eye. I saw a lot of blood on the stairs and you could see a lot of blood right here,” Mrs. Morales put her hand to her face, while she was in the witness box. She grabbed her smallest child, “I just saw the blood and I took off running with my son.” She feared the attacker was still inside her house.“I called 911, yes.”

Both Oceanside police and the San Diego Humane Society came to her home.

The Humane Society took her dogs and cared for them. The Morales family abandoned their rented home the same day. Mrs. Morales knew they were not safe. “My children are traumatized. The one who is four years old, he is traumatized, if you ask him, he will tell you exactly what he saw.”

It took about two weeks for her dogs to become strong enough to return to the family. Estrella’s damaged eye was removed. Mrs. Morales tearfully told the jury, “Somebody wanted to hurt them. Somebody wanted us out of there. We don’t understand why.”

When Herbert finally got his chance to cross-examine Maria Morales, he began with: “I guess that everyone has a sob story.”

Herbert demanded that she should “make the same noises that you were making in that yard all day!”

The prosecutor objected. The judge directed Herbert to move on.

The camera in the pool area

Mrs. Morales’ husband found the tires on his Dodge Durango deflated in March 2017. He had parked his vehicle in front of the community pool, on the other side of Herbert’s property. The HOA had recently installed cameras there; they said homeless people were coming over the fence and using the facilities.

Oceanside police officer Tim Pruitt reviewed video from one pool camera and testified about what he saw. At 10:30 am the morning of March 23, the camera recorded a man walking into view, coming from the direction of Herbert’s house. “He was tall and skinny, over 6 foot,” officer Pruitt said. The tall man crouched down next to the Durango. He stooped over at both tires on one side of the vehicle.

When Herbert cross-examined this policeman, he demanded: “Did you see me stick anything in the tire?”

Officer Pruitt carefully answered, “I can’t definitively say it was you that came from that area.”

Herbert seemed to sneer when he said, “I am telling you it is me in the video, so we can stop dancing around that issue.”

But Herbert did want to argue the fine points of deflating a tire. “If I told you I put something in there and it didn’t deflate, would you believe me?” The cop seemed confused by the question. “If I showed you a video of me sticking something into a tire and it stays perfectly inflated, would that surprise you?”

Officer Pruitt answered, “I don’t know.”

Herbert also posed this question, “If someone sticks something into a tire and someone else pulls it out, who deflated the tire?” During this back-and-forth, one juror was seen looking at her fellow jurors and shaking her head.

At different times during his trial, Herbert made statements that seemed contradictory, especially regarding the tire-deflating-accusations. Once he told the jury that “in the video I wan’t slashing a tire, I was looking.” Another time he said that when the Durango was parked near his home,“I saw something there, and my dumb ass went over there and pulled it out. So if you want to punish me for that, then knock yourselves out.”

Herbert created a video demonstration, which he showed to the jury. In the video he stuck an ice pick into a tire and demonstrated that the tire did not deflate until he removed the ice pick. During his closing argument, at the end of his trial, Herbert told the jury, “I already said that something was in the tire; when something is in there, it wouldn’t necessarily deflate.”

And he offered into evidence a large ice pick.

What happened to LaLa

After the Morales family abandoned their rented home, another family moved in a month later on May 28, 2017. That family had two dogs. They lasted exactly two days.

The morning of May 30, 2017, the surveillance camera in the pool area showed Herbert backing his car out of his driveway. The face of a small, brown dog can be seen looking out of the rear side window of his car. The little brown dog owned by the new neighbors — her name was Lala — has never been seen again.

Herbert explained to the jury, “The brown dog that was in my car, he was in my garage.” He said the neighbors’ dogs commonly got into his yard because their shared fence was faulty. He did not want the dogs in his backyard, so he left his side gate open for them to get out onto the street. Herbert said the little brown dog got into his garage because he left the side door to his garage open.“I tried to pick him up, but he wouldn’t let me pick him up.” He said the dog showed its teeth. Herbert said the dog “put itself” into his car.

He did admit, “You saw a video of me driving and the dog looking out of the window. The dog was in the car. So I had to leave that morning. So you know, I figured I was going to take the dog, there is a Humane Society shelter about five miles from where I live. I’m not saying that my intentions were noble, but I didn’t want it there, I didn’t want it in my yard. So I decided to take it over there. And so I got it in the car, and I decided to take it over there.”

Herbert said on the way, he pulled into a parking lot and pulled a latch that popped open the back hatch of his car. But when he walked back, “The dog had already gotten out of the car.” He never saw any blood on the inside of the hatch, because that hatch was raised up. He claimed that when the dog was running away from him he saw no blood on the dog, “Because the dog’s back was turned to me when it got out of the car.”

He showed a map of the grounds around Mission San Luis Rey to the jury; he described it as a park area, and said that was where the dog disappeared.

He said he looked for the dog, “I think I made an honest effort. I was gone for a whole hour that morning. I was looking for a whole hour. I mean, I don’t know what more you want from me, but I did go look. I just couldn’t find it.”

He did admit, “I knew that when I took that dog to the shelter, they were just going to bring it back anyway. So if you want honesty, well, I viewed it as a blessing (that the dog ran away). I didn’t want it to come back.”

Herbert said at one point, “And I guess someone could argue I put the dog in the car, took it somewhere, and then beat it to death. But then I would have to put it back in the car.”

When prosecutor Teresa Pham cross-examined Herbert, she asked, “How did LaLa get into your car?” He replied, “I put her there.”

The prosecutor sought further clarity. “So your trunk to your car was open then, right?”

Herbert: “Yes.”

Pham: “And then you took LaLa and put LaLa into the trunk area of your car?”

Herbert: “I did.”

And then he closed his trunk, and got in his car, and drove away.

Pham: “And that’s what we see in that surveillance footage, is that correct?” Herbert: “Yes.”

The prosecutor asked him: if you were scared that you were going to get bit or whatever, then why did you put the dog in the car? He explained, “Well, I was wearing leather gloves, and I picked the dog up so I wasn’t scared it would bite me.”

Herbert said he had two lightweight plastic bins, which he got from the post office, in the back of his car. “There were two of those things, like I said when I testified,” Herbert explained, “I told you that I brought two of them in there because I was going to put one on top of the other and tie them both together and put the dog inside.”

Blood and DNA found

Investigators found blood inside Herbert’s car, on the inside of the back hatch. It was DNA matched to the missing dog, LaLa. She has not been seen since the day she was captured on video in Herbert’s car.

Herbert claimed that the dog’s blood must have gotten in his car because trash he had in the back of his car, used printer parts, must have fallen on Lala. “You probably heard the lady in here talking about how I drive fast all the time,” Herbert said. “I kind of stomped on my gas, and everything that was on the one side of the car came over to the other side of the car, and whether it wounded him or not I don’t know.”

Investigators found a baseball bat in Herbert’s home which had a drop of Lala’s blood on it.

Herbert stated, “I did not hit the dog with a bat, I swear.” He said to the jury, “I’ll look you in the eye and tell you, I did not hit the dog with a bat.” He made this declaration more than ten times during his trial.

How much antifreeze will kill a dog?

The last chance that attorneys get to speak to a jury is during their closing arguments. While Herbert was giving his closing argument, he leafed through a list of Internet searches that investigators had found on his computer; the prosecutor showed these to the jury. Herbert leaned his head on one hand, while seated at his defense table, and he leafed through a notebook of evidence. He almost seemed to mumble to himself, “Some searches here about a crowbar, a crowbar, a crowbar, a crowbar, and how to break into a house.” And, “Best bar to pry open a window. Best bar to pry open a house….”

He searched “hydrofluoric acid.” He searched “ethylene glycol.”

“How to get a dog to drink antifreeze,” and “How much antifreeze will kill a dog?”

“Why do cats and dogs drink antifreeze and how does it kill them?”

Some final comments from Herbert to jury

Before he concluded his ill-advised self-defense, Herbert gave the jury a few more tidbits: “I know I’m not trying to insult anyone’s intelligence. I know everyone here is smart.

“I don’t know how to sit here and charm you or get you to like me. I’m not someone that’s going to charm anybody. I don’t try to be that type of person.

“I may have seemed confrontational while I was here, but I’m really not like this all the time. I’m really a quiet person. I would rather not open my mouth if I don’t have to, to be honest. But I don’t like to say negative things about anyone.

“If I’m going to prison, then I might as well just speak my mind while I’m at it. No sense going to jail with all this crap on my chest.

“And I’m done showing exhibits. I’m not trying to prove anything to anyone. If you believe me, you believe me, if you don’t, you don’t. I really don’t care anymore.

“So again, I stand behind my words. And as long as I know in my heart that I’m a good person, I’ve never used anyone. If anyone asks me for anything, I give it to them. So long as I know in my heart I’m a good person, I really don’t care what you people think about me.”

Judge Carlos Armour

In legal terminology, defendant Herbert was acting in propia persona. That is, he was acting as his own attorney. And so Herbert helped select his own jury of seven men and five women. This took about one day of his two-week trial.

San Diego Superior court judge Carlos Armour tried to keep order. Sometimes it happened that while Herbert was questioning a witness, he continued even after the prosecutor made an objection. At one point judge Armour struggled for his attention, “Mister Herbert! Mister Herbert! Mister Herbert! When I sustain an objection listen to me! I said, ‘Irrelevant!’”

During the second week of trial, the judge excused the jury early for lunch break. While they were out, judge Armour spoke to Herbert, “You are being sarcastic, abusive, disrespectful to witnesses. I have warned you about that before, that’s all I have to say.”

The jury deliberated for about four hours before declaring Herbert guilty of all charges: six felony animal abuse charges, one felony burglary charge, plus four misdemeanor vandalisms for tire damage.

Victims are expected to speak to the judge before sentencing, now scheduled for December 14, 2018, at 9:00 am, before Honorable judge Carlos Armour, the same judge who heard the trial, in San Diego’s North County Superior Courthouse in Vista.

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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.


Eva Knott Dec. 14, 2018 @ 1:03 p.m.

This morning December 14, 2018, sentencing for David Herbert was delayed again. This so that his new attorney, a public defender, could finish reading all the transcripts of the trial. Sentencing has been pushed out until February of 2019 — although the public defender suggested the sentencing date could be delayed yet again, from that month. The defense attorney, James Weintre, today did ask the judge to release identifying information and contact information about each of the trial jurors, this so the attorney could “explore if there was any juror misconduct during deliberations.” Honorable judge Carlos Armour replied that would be considered a “fishing expedition” because defense did not offer any specific, objective reason to believe there was any misconduct; judge Armour denied the request.


Eva Knott Dec. 15, 2018 @ 5:19 a.m.

The next date for David Herbert is February 8, 2019, at 1:30 p.m. in department 21 of the San Diego Superior Courthouse in Vista, California. We might hear victims' impact statements and sentencing on that date, or sentencing could get delayed again. Here is an evidence photo, a still shot from surveillance video showing Herbert backing his car out of his driveway, with the neighbor's little brown dog looking out the back window. Herbert admitted this was him, in his car, with the neighbor's dog inside, while he acted as his own attorney. There is speculation that his victims will file civil suits and pursue the cool $1 million cash he posted as bail, so he could stay at liberty after his first arrest. And public records show Herbert bought his home for $376,000 in 2012 and sold it for $553,000 in October 2017. San Diego County might want Herbert to reimburse the public defender's office for the attorney that is currently assisting him.


Eva Knott Feb. 9, 2019 @ 6:35 a.m.

Sentencing for David Herbert has been delayed again, on defense request. The new date for sentencing is March 15, 2019, at 8:30 a.m., before Honorable judge Carlos Armour, in San Diego's North County Superior Courthouse in Vista, California.


Eva Knott March 19, 2019 @ 1:34 p.m.

David Herbert, 37, was sentenced to 9 years 8 months in California State prison by the same judge who heard the trial, Honorable Carlos Armour. The judge spoke directly to Herbert during his sentencing hearing on March 14, 2019 and said he found this case “particularly shocking” even though he has been in the judicial system for 43 years and has adjudicated murders and the most serious cases.

Judge Armour remarked on Herbert’s careful planning to bring pain to his neighbors through the suffering of their pets, which he found “so cruel and sadistic.” After listening to both defense and prosecution attorneys, plus statements from Herbert’s former neighbors, judge Armour said, “This does not call for any kind of mercy from the court.”

Herbert acted as his own attorney during his trial, but accepted help from the public defender’s office for his sentencing. Defense attorney James Weintre pleaded with the court to direct Herbert into a “diversion” program instead of sending him to prison. But judge Armour responded that this case “is totally unsuitable for diversion” and “is unique for a number of very ugly reasons.” The judge said, “The level of harm, injury, misery and pain that the defendant brought about makes him too dangerous and risky to have him go to a mental health practitioner for a year or so, and then have his case dismissed as if it never happened.”

Mrs. Maria Morales, the former neighbor whose dogs suffered acid burns and other horrific abuse by Herbert, cried when she spoke to the judge. Some of her statements included: “I am here to ask for justice for my family… People ask why I never moved from there — I didn’t want to give up my dogs, it was difficult to find another home where I could take my dogs….My four-year-old son looks at Estrella all the time, and asks when her eyes are going to come back. …It is hard to explain how a human can be like that.”

Prosecutor Teresa Pham asked the court for the maximum sentence, which she said was 15 years. “He has earned every single one of those years, based on his conduct.”

Herbert spoke briefly before he heard his sentence. “Your Honor, I am sorry that any of this happened. God knows, I’m sorry.” And, “God knows I never wanted to be a convicted felon. As far as the victims go, I apologize to them.” And, “Unfortunately things like this happen, it should never happen, I get worked up really easily, especially if I feel I am fighting for a righteous cause.”

Herbert will be back before the same judge for a restitution hearing on April 5 at 8:30 a.m. He reportedly posted $1 million bail in cash after his arrest in 2017.


Eva Knott April 9, 2019 @ 10:10 a.m.

A restitution hearing has been scheduled for May 3, 2019, at 9 a.m., before the Honorable judge Carlos Armour. Convicted dog abuser and scary neighbor David Herbert is expected to be present, while the judge and attorneys discuss what dollar amounts Herbert owes as restitution to his victims. This hearing will be on the third floor of the San Diego's North County Superior Courthouse in Vista, California.


Eva Knott July 22, 2019 @ 9:42 a.m.

The restitution hearing for David Herbert continues to be delayed. His victims have their own attorneys and are trying to attach that $1 million cash that Herbert posted for his bail, and is still being held on judge Armour's order. The next hearing for Herbert, currently held in local custody, is now set for this Friday, July 26, at 1:30 pm before Honorable judge Carlos Armour in the Vista courthouse.


Eva Knott Nov. 10, 2019 @ 11:04 a.m.

Convicted dog abuser and scary neighbor David Herbert was sent to California State Prison on September 11, 2019. He is now 38 years old, and he will be eligible for parole in three years, in December of 2022. The State Prison website shows that he is held at the Sierra Conservation Center in Jamestown, California. That is about 100 miles due East of San Francisco, near the border of Yosemite National Park.


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