Apparently recovered from injuries suffered in a motorcycle crash, a Fairfield man arraigned last week on manslaughter charges in the recent death of a Humboldt County investigator faces more proceedings in Solano County Superior Court in Fairfield.
Stephen Duane Chiara, 48 and a former convicted hitman and ex-con, will return to Department 11 for a readiness conference and to set a preliminary hearing at 8:30 a.m. Monday in the Justice Center.
The defendant is facing four counts, including vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated, driving without a license, and DUI causing bodily injury. Three of the counts are felonies. He is being represented by Deputy Public Defender Pamela Boskin.
According to court records, Chiara was headed east on Interstate 80 near Green Valley Road in Fairfield on March 27, when he crashed his Harley-Davidson motorcycle. A California Highway Patrol report stated that “for unknown reasons, the driver was unable to maintain control of the motorcycle and both the driver and the female passenger were ejected from the motorcycle.”
According to the charging documents, Chiara was under the influence of both alcohol and an unspecified drug at the time.
Both Chiara and his passenger, Mary “Max” Hadley, were taken to NorthBay Medical Center in Fairfield with major injuries, and she later died of hers.
Hadley, identified as a resident of both Eureka and Fairfield, worked in the Humboldt County Public Defender’s Office, according to Transparent California.
Chiara was on parole, according to the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR). As part of his recent charges, a petition for the revocation of his parole was filed. The petition, filed by Solano County District Attorney Krishna Abrams, claims he violated the terms of his parole for failing to abstain from alcohol, driving without a license, and failing to “obey all laws.” The petition, dated May 23, notes the court “finds probable cause to support revocation and preliminarily revokes supervision.”
In 1991, Chiara, then 20, was arrested in connection with the death of a Fortuna woman, Mary Kesser, after he was found hiding with a sawed-off shotgun in a closet at a residence close to Kesser’s Fortuna home, according to a Eureka Times-Standard report. Kesser was found “beaten and stabbed with a heavy, sharp object,” the newspaper reported in November of that year. Chiara reportedly was hired by Kesser’s husband, who sought to kill her for insurance money.
Chiara was convicted in January 1993. He was paroled to the San Francisco Bay Area in July 2018, according to the CDCR.
He remains in Solano County Jail custody.