KODIAK — For many years, Kodiak residents knew Jim Jones as the manager of Jackson’s Mobile Home Park.
But the man who was at times an advocate for mobile home owners in Kodiak and checked in on mobile home residents was going by an alias. His real name is Jim Dale Upson, 64, according to law enforcement officials.
He also had a past that caught up with him last month as law enforcement moved in to arrest Upson, who was wanted for skipping out on bail before being sentenced for a felony in California more than 20 years ago.
Kelly Stenmark, a dispatcher at the Mt. Shasta (Calif.) Police Department, remembers the incident 22 years ago like it happened yesterday.
At 12:40 a.m. Oct. 15, 1988, a bullet fired from a deer rifle passed through a side door of the police station, fragmented, and went through a nearby wall and into a closet, passing about six feet from Stenmark. The bullet passed through a box of soap, sending up a cloud that set off a fire alarm in the station.
Shortly thereafter, a call came into the station, evidently from the same person who fired the rifle, threatening to kill someone next time.
“Being a small town,” Cross said, “like five out of the seven officers that listened to the recording recognized Jim.”
Police also traced the call to Upson’s home.
Upson was arrested for firing into an inhabited structure and making a threatening phone call, and was found guilty of the charges in 1989.
Cross said Upson was scheduled to serve five years at a state prison. He was out of jail on a $10,000 bond before the sentencing hearing.
When the sentencing hearing convened in January 1990, Upson didn’t show. A bench warrant was issued for his arrest for failure to appear.
Cross said Upson’s identity began to unravel when he applied for a delayed birth certificate using the name Jim Jones so he could obtain a passport to drive from Alaska to the Lower 48.
Cross said when Upson made the application in Kodiak in July 2009, it sent up red flags and attracted the attention of the Diplomatic Security Service, the office of the U.S. state department charged with enforcement.
When contacted by the Diplomatic Security Service, Upson declined to pursue the application for the passport.
Upson moved to Myrtle Point, Ore., in 2009, Cross said, and “due to fraudulent indicators in Upson’s Alaska Driver’s license and the Jones identity, his license was revoked by Alaska.”
The involvement of the Diplomatic Security Service didn’t end when Upson decided not to pursue the passport application. Working on the assumption that Upson was hiding something, Cross said, the federal agency coordinated with the Coos County Sheriff’s department to make a traffic stop on Upson for driving without a license and obtain his fingerprints to discover his true identity. The traffic stop occurred this past December.
Due to the length of time from the sentencing hearing, the original warrant for Upson’s arrest had to be renewed in 1997. However, it didn’t make it back into the Siskiyou County system.
A special agent from the Diplomatic Security Service made a visit to the small town of Mt. Shasta June 30 searching for evidence of the warrant.
Cross said the agent “showed up out of the blue, chasing this lead down and just by the grace of God we kept a copy of this case. We don’t keep every case this old.”
The original warrant was found on an old microfiche reel. A copy was obtained and signed by the clerk, and with warrant in hand the special agent traveled to Oregon and arrested Upson that evening, Cross said.
Upson was transported to the Siskiyou County Jail last week. He was unavailable to comment for this story due to the jail’s policy of not allowing calls or messages to be relayed to inmates.
Media reports from the Siskiyou Daily News and Mt. Shasta Herald indicate that when sentencing comes up for Upson, the failure to appear charge could add an additional three years. The felony charge for shooting into an occupied building could be doubled under California’s three strikes rule instituted in 1994.
Cross said the case shows the long arm of the law and how multiple law enforcement agencies can come together and assist each other.
“We don’t have the resources in our little town to keep looking for people,” Cross said. “We usually rely on old systems and some cop stumbling upon somebody and one thing leads to another.
“It restores your faith in law enforcement and what we stand for: justice,” Cross said. “There’s plenty of people that escape it, but when you find one after 20 years, justice is finally served.
“Let’s just thank God he didn’t really hurt Kelly in here and we never found this guy. That would really be terrible.”
Contact Mirror writer Wes Hanna at whanna@kodiak