A top employee of the Cochise County Superior Court already charged with criminal damage, public nuisance, trespassing, and criminal littering in an ongoing neighborhood dispute was booked into the county jail last week after purportedly “mooning” a neighbor in an incident captured on a home surveillance system.
Lynelle Gae is the judicial administrative assistant to Judge David Thorn, one of Cochise County’s six superior court judges. She was booked into the Cochise County jail June 25 on a harassment charge after Bisbee police officers viewed video which appears to show Gae walking outside and pulling up her clothing “to show her butt to (the neighbor’s) camera,” according to Officer Bradley Nash.
The neighbor, Yolanda Moots, had installed a surveillance system following a long-running dispute between the women, who share a property line.
“After reviewing the video and determining the amount of citations and numerous amount of prior complaints on Lynelle, officers decided to book her into jail,” Nash wrote in his statement of probable cause. He also noted Moots expressed concern with the number of continuous acts of harassment and feared “further and more several problems.”
Following her arrest last Thursday, Gae spent nearly 3.5 hours in the Cochise County jail before being released by a justice of the peace on her own recognizance. The Arizona Daily Independent has obtained public records which confirm Gae, who turns 60 next month, is the subject of at least four criminal cases opened in recent weeks.
On May 22, Gae was cited and released by Bisbee Officer Timothy Defoor, who noted in his report that Moots’ surveillance system captured video of “an individual who appeared to be Lynelle throwing unknown items from her yard into (Moots’) yard and at her house.” Some of the items appear to have been thrown from an upstairs window of Gae’s house.
“The unknown substance had left grease marks everywhere and appeared to have damaged the paint on the residence,” Defoor wrote. “I took photographs of the unknown substance and the house. I also collected some of the unknown substance for evidence.”
Then on June 2, Gae was cited and released for suspected animal cruelty after Bisbee Sgt. Carlos Moreno found an unknown substance “which smelled like chemicals” had been thrown into Moots’ yard from a different neighbor’s property.
According to Moreno’s report, footage captured by Moots’ security system around 12:15 p.m. showed a woman dressed in a black outfit walk toward a fence that borders Moots’ property. Several items are then seen on the video flying into Moots’ yard.
The sergeant described the items found in Moots’ yard as an icy “odd brown substance with what appeared to be oil of some kind.” He noted it “smelled like an odd strong chemical” which irritated his throat.
Moreno also noted in his report that he recognized Gae as the woman in the video and that she seemed to be wearing the same black clothing when he spoke to Gae later that afternoon at the courthouse.
The official police report of the June 2 incident was updated by Moreno to note that a man who owns the property from which the items were thrown asked to pursue a trespassing charge against Gae. And it notes Moreno is searching for a laboratory that can identify the icy substance thrown onto Moots’ property.
Other court records show that on June 2, Gae was named as the defendant in an Injunction Against Harassment issued by the county’s presiding superior court judge. The injunction orders Gae to have “no contact” with Moots for the next year except through attorneys or the legal process and to “not commit any act of harassment” against her neighbor.
However, Moots called Bisbee PD on June 24 to report the first alleged mooning incident captured on her surveillance system. Gae was cited for acting disorderly and released at the scene. But the next morning officers returned to view video of the second incident, and Gae was arrested, handcuffed, and transported to the county jail.
For now, Gae is required to appear in Bisbee Justice Court on Aug. 4 for hearings in the cases stemming from the May 22 and June 2 citations, and her June 25 arrest. It is unclear whether she has already had an initial appearance on the June 24 citation.
Retired superior court Judge Wallace Hoggatt has filed a notice of appearance as Gae’s defense counsel. The Cochise County Attorney’s Office has assigned prosecutor Raymond Haight to the four cases, which currently involve misdemeanor charges but could be recharged.
Haight’s work, however, will not be overseen by his regular supervisor -Chief Deputy County Attorney Lori Zucco- as Zucco is Judge Thorn’s wife.
In 2018, Gae filed a lawsuit seeking permission to remove items Moots had attached or placed around a fence that separates the women’s property. Judge Timothy Dickerson granted Gae judgment against Moots in October 2019 at which time he ordered Moots to “cease and desist” modifying or attaching items to the fence.
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