Frank Mannix

Paul Wellman (file)

Frank Mannix

Murder Inquiry Defended

Santa Barbara assistant police chief Frank Mannix defended his department’s decision to drop the investigation of homeless resident Ross Stiles, who died five weeks ago from massive brain injuries after friends reported he’d been physically assaulted. Police concluded there was not sufficient evidence to conclude Stiles had been murdered, despite that Stiles had told friends that he’d been beaten up and hit on the head with a bottle by two men trying to steal the sleeping bag of another homeless man. Homeless advocates complained city investigators were less than thorough in their inquiry and questioned how the Police Department could drop the inquiry before the coroner had issued a final report. When the matter came up before the city’s Fire and Police Commission last week, Mannix replied that police investigators had been present during Stiles’s post mortem and had been orally briefed that there was no evidence indicating the level of violence needed to conclude a murder had been committed. Mannix said none of the specific indicators of head injury were discovered during the autopsy. Stiles is one of 13 homeless to die on the South Coast in 2009.

To submit a comment on this article, email or visit our Facebook page. To submit information to a reporter, email

event calendar sponsored by:

The Migrant Caravan and Central American History

Understanding the migrant caravan requires an awareness of Central America's recent history, social scientists say.

Procore Technology Valued at $3 Billion

New financing boost of $75 million ups construction software company.

Rescue Mission Plans Annual Feast and Giveaway

December 20 event celebrates the holidays and provides warm clothing.

Volunteers Canvas Montecito’s ‘Red Zones’

Door-to-door outreach delivers storm-readiness info.

Sometime S.B. Resident Ryan Zinke to Step Down

All roads to lead to Santa Barbara — even Trump’s.