2 Charged For Deputy’s Death 30 Years Later

SANTA ANA (AP) — Two men convicted of shooting a Southern California sheriff’s deputy in 1980 have been charged with his murder following his death this year of related injuries.

The Orange County district attorney’s office said Friday that 54-year old David Knick of Yucca Valley and 55-year old Robert Strong of Riverside each have been charged with one count of murder and are being held on $1 million bail.

Prosecutors say the two men served prison time for attempted murder for shooting Deputy Ira Essoe after he approached them in a mall in Orange.

Essoe was paralyzed and eventually had his legs amputated. He died in February of sepsis, which prosecutors say was related to injuries from the 1980 shooting.

Knick and Strong face arraignment Friday.

(© Copyright 2010 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

  • Richard in Castaic

    I remember this case quite clearly, Essoe was off duty, wearing civilian clothes and had been drinking when he accosted two men at a mall, he never identified himself as a Deputy and he shoved one of the “suspects” and used a racial slur. A fight ensued and he was shot. Essoe also had been disciplined twice in the past for what used to be called police brutality and there was an allegation of spousal abuse, however this information was suppressed at trial.

    It’s funny how we forget the details…

    • Amber Surface

      Richard please contact me if you know anything… we need all of the help we can get, and anything helps! Thanks!

      • Aidger

        Amber, I work with several police brutality & exposure campaigns in Los Angeles/So Cal, & we would like to offer our support to your father if you so desire it. Feel free to contact me back at October22.LA@gmail.com

    • Amber Surface

      Thank you so much for posting that comment, Richard. I am his daughter, Amber, and this is just outrageous. My dad has served his time for this crime and it should be considered double jeopardy, but I know there are some fine lines when it comes to that. However, what a coincidence that Officer Essoe has family members, including his own children, that work for Orange County law enforcement agencies. Obviously, this will be an unfair trial, if done in Orange County. My father served his time and has touched many people’s lives since being released. He has been involved in pastoring and involved with churches, and is a loving man of god. He did not only pay for his mistakes with a 16 year sentence, but also was reminded every day of his mistakes while he cared for and ultimately lost his wife of nearly 30 years, (my mother), who became a quadriplegic in a tragic car accident during his incarceration. My father was not a criminal or parolee prior to this, this was his first and last offense. He was a young 23 year old man, and not long prior to this incident had even served in the U.S. Army. He has paid his dues, and showed he is not a criminal for the last twenty years of his freedom. He is a 53 year old man, who helps everyone and puts everyone else before him. He has 3 daughters, 31, 29 & 27, and 4 grandchildren that he means the world to. There is much more to this case than what is being reported, and everything will come out, and he will be found not guilty. I would love to hear more from Richard, if possible. Any help we can get is greatly appreciated. Thanks to everyone who understands that the justice system is corrupt and they abuse their power all the time.

    • ginny25

      Sorry Richard, but you have some of the facts wrong. You chould have checked your details before spouting off. The officiers were on duty in their unmarked car, approached 3 men in a mall parking lot after observing activity they were concerned about and before they were shot at, 1 injured.

    • traci

      you have your facts wrong about my GRANDFATHER.
      he never laid a finger on his wife and he had not been drinking. he sufferend 30 years imprisoned in his own body while the shooters only served ten years, where is the justice in that?

      • Amber Surface


        I am sorry for your loss. I am not saying your grandfather did any of those things. I am sorry if someone is posting lies about him. I am only speaking on behalf of my family and my father, and saying that this was not murder. Otherwise, you would have never known your grandfather. He was alive, and lived for 30 years after the incident. My father made some bad choices that day, and paid for his crime. He was sentenced to 16 years in prison and served ten of them losing out on years of his childrens life. While he was incarcerated, my mother was involved in a car accident which left her paralyzed as well, and he took care of her completely for 15 years after being released, until she passed away at the young age of 44 in 2005. He had to be reminded every day of the pain that he caused to another man, while caring for his quadriplegic wife. He has never been proud of what happened, and has apologized and asked for forgiveness for his actions. He even sent your grandfather a letter from prison years ago. He paid for the bad choices and crimes he committed, and to try and charge him for murder 30 years later is unjustified. Again, no one is excusing the bad choices these men made that day, but they served their time for what they did, and they did not murder anyone.

    • ........................

      It IS funny how you forget the details, isn’t it?

      Stop stirring up trouble. And you’re just clouding the real facts so the daughter can whine some more.

      Knock it off.

      • Amber Surface


        First, I am aware of the real facts, and No one is whining. I am trying to bring justice for my father. These charges are unjustified. The real crime, of Attempted Murder was committed 30 years ago and they were already tried and convicted and they served their time. They did not choose their sentences, they served what they were given. They have been good law abiding citizens since their release and have proven that they are not criminals. They did not murder anyone. This man lived 30 years, and was clearly quoted many times that he was enjoying his life with his family. He would not have been able to say that if he was murdered 30 years ago. Common sense…

    • PJ

      You have the details wrong…. Thank God for law enforcement…

  • Dennis

    This is insane. They already were punished for the crime. Just because Essoe died 30 years later, doesn’t mean that they are responsible. I thought we had laws to protect us from double jeopardy. Wake up California!!!!!!

    • Saber 1

      There is no stute of limitation murder.

    • Amber Surface

      THANK YOU! I agree completely, Dennis. And they are definitely not responsible for his death. Essoe was a 69 yr old man, and died from sepsis, which was caused by blood clots, which usually results from improper medical care. And obviously, being that he was 69 years old, it’s understandable that he wouldn’t be able to recover as easily from medical problems. It is absolutely insane that they are trying to charge them with murder when Essoe lived 30 years after that incident, and they already served their sentences and have completely changed their lives. These men are not criminals, they are human, and made mistakes, (as EVERYONE in the world does), and they have already paid for them.

  • flip

    essoe was forced at gunpoint to drop his weapon and when he placed it on the ground, the criminals shot him twice in the back. his partner took cover. then the two guys stole the two officers’ weapons, took their unmarked cruiser for a joyride and led chp on a chase.

    details indeed.

    • Lynn

      omg I think you are the one that needs to find the details because I read articles from 1985 and in them it said that Essoe shot first… he had his gun when he got shot because he shot at them and missed.

  • flip

    this is not double jeopardy. double jeopardy protects a defendant from being tried again for the same crime. attempted murder and murder are not the same. do some research.

  • danglingjohnson

    Essoe may have been a jerk, but you don’t shoot a cop…No way.

  • 2958

    Pigs desrved it!!!

  • http://izzysback_72@yahoo.com Michelle Robinson

    The men have already served their time and it is wrong to put them in jail after a man has died 30 years after the fact. This is a total abuse of the justice system and wrongful prosecution.

  • sandman29

    Lets have all the facts that are pertinent to this issue. If the relevant facts warrant a conviction by a jury then I say save taxpayer money and execute them. If there is evidence that the deputy was not acting in accordance with whatever policies that they are bound by then that leaves some other questions that need to answered.

    • James West

      Haha, do you know how much money it costs to execute someone in California? Obviously, you don’t

  • RM

    if they went to jail in the first place why were they let out?? in my view shot a cop stay in jail forever even if the cop lives

  • Tim Knick Jr.

    Obviously the justice system doesn’t know which way is up or down anymore. I’m sorry for the loss and suffering of the Essoe Family, but this crime was tried and brought to justice almost 30 years ago. If Officer Essoe was murdered he would have died 30 years ago thats common sense, and apparently some people haven’t learned what that means from some of the comments i’ve seen on here. My Uncle David Knick and Robert Strong are being charged a second time for a crime they have already done their time for. This is not Homicide this is dieing from natural causes, so lets not be foolish… Thanks to all the family for stepping up, and don’t let anyone or anything get you down.

  • Tom Burks

    2PAC shot two cops and didn’t do any time. But he didn’t injure the officers much. I still think it’s double jeopordy and abuse of the system not to mention total waste of taxpayer money. They already served time.



  • lisa A

    These men have already did their time for this crime. Sounds like neglect to me. Who took care of Essoe? Why are they not behind bars for neglect that did take his life. These 2 men changed their life around. David has became a man of God and has dedicated his life to helping others. He has been dealing with his past choices daily and to retry him is just wrong. Amber lost her mother from an auto accident. Because her mother passed several years later due to the accident should the other driver be charged with murder as well? My prayers go out to all the families of this case.

  • DD

    When you commit murder, be prepared to face the consequences, whether you kill a deputy or a civilian. It’s that simple.

  • rm

    its very simple if you die today or 30 years from now due to injurys caused by a crime commited against you then its murder this man died if SEPSIS which can and clearly did set in years later as a result of the injuries from the shooting so plain and simple its murder it does not matter that these men may have changed their ways in the last 30 years they did the crime and now they have to do the time. the original time in jail was for attempted murder they did serve that time but now that he died its now murder and they need to now pay for that its a well established precident others have gone to jail WELL after the crime was first commited when the victim finally died. case in point a man was shot years ago laid in a coma since the shooting and finally died his killer went to prison WHEN the man died and that was justice

    • Leala

      The fact that he died is not the point. Sepsis is something that can happen to anyone and is even more likely to happen to an elderly man of 69. As for the man who was shot and in a coma then died, he was in a coma, which may as well have been dead. Although the officer did not deserve to be confined to a wheelchair he was fully alive and participating in life for 30 years after his shooting! What is to say that the sepsis was caused by the shootiing injuries. How can anybody be 100% certain on that? Something like that could have been caused by anything, including a small cut recieve more recently. Many people die naturaully in their 60’s some even sooner, he was old and his time was up. There is no murder in that, uless you wish to accuse god of being a murderer, after all he is the one who set a time limit on life. If only I could be so lucky as to live to 69!

  • Lisa Hall

    I have known David Knick as a Godly, kind and an unselfish man. Who is a loving father that was always with his kids. A loving and a devoted husband who took care of his wife. And he is the type of person that you can count on whenever you needed him. He is a wonderful person who I used to call “Dad” when I was younger. I am not his daughter. But I knew the family well for I am a close friend to his daughter, Amber. David Knick is not a cruel person that people make him out to be. My prayers go out to the Knick family and all families who are related to this. God will work this out.

  • Amber Surface

    What do you not UNDERSTAND??? They did not murder anyone!! They injured someone 30 years ago, and that’s it. He lived 30 years afterwards, and with age comes health issues, naturally… They paid for their crimes committed and they This man was 69 years old and at that age in life all of these health problems are NORMAL!! Sepsis, and blood infections are not rare, and especially in older people. This is ridiculous and you will all see that god will watch over my father and he will be released because this is an injustice to a man that has paid for his crime and been forgiven!

  • Amber Surface

    This man was not in a coma, he lived 30 years of life after the injury! And the condition in which he died from could have been avoided with proper medical care. They did the time for the crime they committed, and justice was already served. This is an abuse of power within our judicial systems.

  • Amber Surface

    ANYONE WHO AGREES THAT THESE CHARGES ARE NOT JUSTIFIED, PLEASE SIGN THIS FOR MY DAD!! He is a great man, and is being unfairly charged for a crime that he already served his time for after 30 years! Thank you so much everyone for your support,


  • rm

    amber if your father turned his life around thats great but he still shot the man and they still have medical proof the man died of complications in areas of his body that were injured when he was shot if your dad is a godly man now then yes god will watch over him but a conversion to christ does not exempt you from payin the earthly price of a sin it mearly takes care of the heavenly price

    • Amber Surface

      They injured the man, they did not murder him. He lived for 30 years people. He died 30 years later, at the age of 69! How can anyone assume or prove that he wouldn’t have died in that last 30 years? This is absolutely ridiculous. And the statue of limitations is being taken out of context in this instance. The statue of limitations would refer to a person that was murdered and the murderer was not found or proven guilty until later, i.e. 30 years later, and of course at that time there would be no statue of limitations. It is not meant to say that if you injure someone, are charged, convicted, serve your sentenced, and then for the rest of their life, until they die there is an open window with no statue of limitations to charge them with murder…. Really people, this is ridiculous! This man was at an age where these are normal medical conditions. You cannot pin the blame on something that happened 30 years ago!!

      • traci

        if you know about the family history of the essoe family, they average life span is 90 years old. his life was cut short the only reason he lived for so long was because he is a strong man that never wanted to leave his family and wife behind. Ramona gave him everything that he needed and he recieved the best car possible.
        we will continue to fight till we see justice

    • James West

      Getting shot in the back doesn’t cause kidney disease or colon cancer.

      And just because my grandfather lived to be 92, does not mean I will.

      How bout this..instead of making all of us pay for their second incarceration, why don’t you people who think they need to be jailed again pay for it all? Frankly, paying for 2 people for 10 years and paying for 30 years worth of medical bills and disability..I’m a little strapped for cash right now.

  • Don Moody

    I think it’s pretty cut and dry. The actions of two guy’s caused injuries to a man. Those injuries caused that man to be paralyzed, bed ridden, loose both legs and subsequently suffer for thirty years before becoming ill and dying. But I think I read somewhere that they have proven the sepsis came fro, bed sores…Why was he stuck in that bed? Because of the actions of two guys. I find it funny that some people say he was off duty in plain clothes and drinking. How did they steal a police car again… I guess he and his partner just decided to throw on some clothes and joy ride down to the local bar then the mall. How hillarious does that sound? So if a man is shot in the back twice he must have been pushing them both around with his arms behind his back or something.

    Further more if they were convicted by a jury of attempting to murder a police officer and theft of a police car and they were shooting a pursuing officers… Well it sure makes perfect sense to just not charge them.. Matter of fact I think we should all pitch in and buy them a gun and ammo store. Also it’s amazing how this man suffered and was confined to a VERY limited life for 30 years but these two guys together only served half of that time in confinement. They were guilty of attempted murder back then and if he had been ran over and died I would say that they served their time..But since they were guilty of attempted murder and the death is a result of the injuries….I say make the time fit the crime… Definately they deserve credit for time served though.

    My next thought is what if that police man had shot one of those guys in the back I bet the family would be hollering for the electric chair. I feel for the family of the fallen officer and I also feel for the other two families involved. I just hope that they all have found God and all are right with him at this time in their lives.

  • avenged sevenfold

    His bed sores are from improper care! Not caring for bed sores can lead to all kinds of medical injuries. So who is really to blame? I think it sounds like someone who did not give proper medical attention! Bed sheets should be changed at least once a day if not every other day! If they wanted these 2 men away for life why did they not do it in the beginning?!?! It is a waste of taxpayers money. Cops in Cali are crooked anyway, there maybe one or 3 good ones but there’s too many bad apples in the bunch! This is all a crock! These 2 men should be left alone, there are real bad people who are out there who need to be put away.

    • rm

      his bed sores what ever caused by happen because he was shot and hurt in the first place. had he never been shot he would not have been paralyzed or lost his leg or been bed ridden or had sepsis set in so all the things that developed in him over the 30 years were a direct result of what the two men did to him CAUSE AND EFFECT yall. so it all boils down to what they did 30 years ago led to his death now

  • leroybrown

    They look like bums

    • Amber Surface


      that’s just stupid.

  • TJ

    Most of you don’t even know what you are taking about. This was a fisrt time offense for David, and he deeply regrets what happened on that terrible day thirty years ago. He was young, foolish and probably high that day but never set out to attempt to kill someone. He served his time and never had another problem with obeying the law, the seven years he was on probation. He is not a repeat offender, or a career criminal. He is a person that made a very bad choice in his youth, which he regrets, and has paid for that. While he was in prison, he wrote the officer a letter asking him to forgive him for what he had done. This is not about justice, but about bitternice and revenge. We are all deeply sorry for what happened to this family, and would do anything to change it, but we can’t. You can only forgive and release that person to the Lord, anyway he is the Great judge, and all of us will answer to Him one day. Do you know that if you do not forgive others their offences, that God cannot forgive you?

  • Nora

    Seven years ago I lost my husband, he was 52 years old. My four children lost their father, and my grandkids lost their papa. He was in an accident, a 19 year old young man pulled out in front of him, he was on a motorcycle. He died 12 hours later. It never occured to me to charge the young man with manslaughter, it was an accident! David and Robert were on drugs when this incident occured, they did their time, they paid for the crime. Prison life changed them, David was not the same person when he got out. He has never been in trouble again since this incident 30 years ago. Does this sound like a career criminal to you? He made a terrible mistake. When David was released, he took care of his wife who was in a wheelchair for 15 years, until she died in 2005. There has not been a day that has gone by that he has not been reminded of what he was involved in. I otta know, I am David’s sister.

    This is nothing but selfish ambition and revenge!

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