A lifelong Cambria resident accused of striking a friend in the face with a hatchet at a local homeless encampment avoided a felony and possible prison time last month through a plea agreement with prosecutors.
Kellen Christopher Trimble — who was initially arrested by the San Luis Obispo County Sheriff’s Office on suspicion of attempted murder in November 2017 — faced charges of felony assault with a deadly weapon, which carried a sentencing enhancement for being a "serious" felony, as well as a misdemeanor charge of brandishing a deadly weapon.
On May 7, Trimble entered a plea of no contest to the assault with a deadly weapon charge in exchange for the charge being lowered to a misdemeanor. The second charge and the enhancement were dismissed.
Trimble, 32, will serve no further jail time after spending six days in County Jail, and Superior Court Judge Craig van Rooyen sentenced him to 18 months of court-supervised probation. He is not allowed within 100 feet of the victim in the case.
Sign Up and Save
Get six months of free digital access to The Tribune
Trimble faced up to four years in state prison.
On Thursday, Trimble's attorney, Ilan Funke-Bilu, said the man maintains his innocence, but given the serious prison sentence he faced should he be convicted by a jury, his client weighed the misdemeanor conviction to the cost and risks of going to trial.
"This was a compromised resolution, and I don't think anyone's really happy with a compromise," Funke-Bilu said. "But Kellen needed to get on with his life."
Trimble was arrested Nov. 4, 2017, after a judge issued an arrest warrant for the reported assault on 35-year-old homeless Cambria resident David Lordan. Following the arrest, his friends and family from across the small North Coast community rallied in support of the well-known jewelry and cairn maker, questioning the findings of the Sheriff's Office's investigation.
According to his testimony at Trimble's preliminary hearing Feb. 7, 2018, Lordan wasn’t seriously injured in the attack and didn’t require medical attention. Lordan testified that he and Trimble have known each other since high school, and both of their families are from Cambria.
Lordan testified that the attack was the result of a love triangle situation, as his girlfriend was also a longtime friend of Trimble’s. Lordan testified he was at the camp with his girlfriend when Trimble came out of nowhere, screamed “I’m gonna kill you,” and struck him in the face, shoulder and leg with the hatchet.
Lordan said he immediately grabbed Trimble in a bear hug and was able to get away and call police from a phone on the side of Highway 1.
“I was scared for my life,” Lordan said.