Crime

Former Atascadero mayoral candidate in custody on domestic violence charges

Charles John Scovell II, 37, of Atascadero was arrested Friday, Jan. 15, 2016, on suspicion of corporal injury on spouse or cohabitant, felony assault with a deadly weapon, committing a felony while on bail or recognizance and contempt of court.
Charles John Scovell II, 37, of Atascadero was arrested Friday, Jan. 15, 2016, on suspicion of corporal injury on spouse or cohabitant, felony assault with a deadly weapon, committing a felony while on bail or recognizance and contempt of court. Courtesy of the San Luis Obispo County Sheriff's Office

Updated at 3:30 p.m.

A 2014 Atascadero mayoral candidate was arrested Friday night on suspicion of felony domestic violence, assault with a deadly weapon and other charges after a four-hour standoff with police.

Charles John Scovell II remained in San Luis Obispo County Jail on Saturday in lieu of $500,000 bail.

The incident began about 4:37 p.m. Friday when Atascadero police went to Scovell’s home after someone reported seeing Scovell throwing beer bottles and physically assaulting a woman outside, Atascadero police Sgt. Robert Molle said. The witness also said the incident allegedly began while Scovell and the victim were driving in a car on Highway 101.

When the first officer arrived at the home in the 1500 block of El Camino Real, the victim was on the ground and Scovell was seen running inside the house, police say. Scovell refused to come out when police surrounded the home and contacted him by phone, Molle said. The woman told police that Scovell might be armed.

Scovell’s mother was also inside the home and was either unwilling or unable to cooperate with police, he said.

Concerned about possible weapons in the house and unable to determine whether the mother was safe, police closed El Camino Real and Carrizo Road near the house and called in a sheriff’s SWAT team (called a Special Enforcement Team), Molle said.

Police also talked by phone with Scovell’s attorney, Ilan Funke-Bilu, who went to the scene and persuaded his client to come out about 8:15 p.m., Molle said.

Scovell was booked into County Jail on suspicion of felony corporal injury on spouse or cohabitant, felony assault with a deadly weapon, committing a felony while on bail or recognizance and contempt of court.

Scovell had previously been arrested in March on suspicion of felony DUI and felony hit-and-run when he crashed his car into a tree, injuring his passenger, and then tried to leave the scene before being taken into custody, according to Tribune archives.

Scovell, 37, who works as an arborist, ran unsuccessfully for mayor in the November 2014 general election against incumbent Tom O’Malley, securing more than 40 percent of the vote to O’Malley’s 59 percent.

Scovell’s DUI arrest in March was not his first run-in with the law, and his history of arrests became a campaign issue. His criminal record at San Luis Obispo Superior Court includes a series of minor offenses in his late teens and early 20s, ranging from possessing alcohol as a minor in 1998 to reckless driving in 2000. Some of the offenses were dismissed or were later expunged from his record.

Janet Lavelle: 805-781-7931, @janet_lavelle

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