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Murder in the Garden: Famous Crimes of Early Fresno County
Scott Morrison  More Info

About the Fresno County Sheriff's Department

The Fresno County Sheriff's Department is a full Service Law Enforcement Agency with a long proud history and tradition of providing professional law enforcement service to the people of Fresno County. The varied law enforcement services include both metropolitan and rural policing. The Fresno County Sheriff’s Deparrtment serves a total population of approximately 195,000 residents, which includes contracted police services for the cities of Mendota, Orange Cove, and San Joaquin. The Fresno County Sheriff’s Department patrols more than 6,000 square miles of central California with a diversity of terrain that varies from open farm lands of the western county to rugged mountain peaks of over 11,000 feet to the east in the Sierra Nevada mountain range.


The Fresno County Sheriff’s Department’s 1000+ employees are dedicated to the investigation, prevention and suppression of criminal offenses. The Fresno County Sheriff Department provides Bailiffs and Court Security to 47 courtrooms in Fresno County. Court Services Personnel move approximately 67,500 inmates to and from the courts on an annual bases. The Fresno County Sheriff’s Department operates four detention facilities that house and care for an average daily population of 2150 inmates. The Sheriff’s Department delivers field services to county residents from four rural substations. Some of the field service programs that the department provides include Patrol, Air Support Unit (helicopters), Mounted Horse Unit, Canine Unit, Bike Unit, and Boating Enforcement Unit. Additionally, the Sheriff’s Department provides numerous community programs through Crime Prevention and Youth Services programs.


The Air Support Unit was created in October of 1996. The unit is located at the Fresno Airport.  The McDonnell Douglas 500E helicopter was selected as our preferred aircraft and two ships were purchased in Arizona to start the program.    The flight crews began patrol operations on May 1, 1997. The McDonnell Douglas 500E helicopter has a turbine engine that has a maximum speed of 175 mph with a maximum ceiling of 16,000 feet.  The helicopter has four seats and always carries a pilot and a flight officer who are both deputies.  Both of the MD500E ships are equipped with Forward Looking Infrared (FLIR) system, color video camera, 50 million candle power "Nightsun" search light, 350 channel radio, and computer system. The patrol helicopters, which are named Eagle-1 and Eagle-2, patrol 7 days a week 365 days a year.


In June 2003, the various units that provide forensic services to the Fresno County Sheriff's Department were consolidated into one unit, the Forensic Laboratory.  The Forensic Laboratory now consists of the following units: Property and Evidence; Crime Scene; Crime Scene Reconstruction ; DNA/Serology; Firearms/Toolmark; Narcotics Analysis


The Director of Forensic Services executes overall supervision of the Forensic Laboratory and reports directly to the Central Field Services Bureau Captain.  Two Senior Identification Technicians supervise the Crime Scene Unit and the Property and Evidence Unit.  The Supervising Criminalist supervises the DNA/Serology, Firearms/Toolmark, and Narcotic Analysis Units.  Crime Scene Reconstruction is a collaborative effort by all sections in the Laboratory, and supervision of these cases will be assigned according to the particular needs of the case.




Scott Morrison is a former detective with the Fresno County Sheriff's Office who served in the homicide, sex crimes, and intelligence units. He is the author of Murder in the Garden: Famous Crimes of Early Fresno County.


According to the book description of Murder in the Garden: Famous Crimes of Early Fresno County “Presenting 15 famous cases from Fresno, California, set in the first part of the 20th century, a long-time detective in the sheriff's office introduces key figures such as a bootlegger, an unfortunate local dubbed Alligator Jack, and a perpetrator known as the Fig Garden Fiend. Featuring local landmarks such as Mussel Slough—the setting for Frank Norris's The Octopus—and offering additional commentary that compares these sensational past cases to current high-profile criminal cases. A consideration of the changing face of crime, this history reveals a modern upswing in child abuse, multiple murders, and kidnapping cases and highlights the extended nature of the current legal process as compared to the open-and-shut character of the early 1900s.”


The Fresno Bee (County Newspaper) remarked about Scott Morrison’s book, “Enough drama runs through the pages to keep a soap opera running at full speed for years. Deceit, romantic revenge, vendettas, greed, and some good old fashioned creeps keep things exciting.”

One reader of Murder in the Garden: Famous Crimes of Early Fresno County said, “I cannot begin to describe how much I enjoyed Scott Morrison's new book, "Murder in the Garden." Who would have guessed, when walking to school as a child near the corner of Cedar and Dakota Avenues, that a grizzly murder had occurred there. Or, riding down Gettysburg Avenue on a family outing passed the site of another murder. Living far away now so many years later, what fun it is to read of events that once shocked Fresno County citizens. Great reading! I hope more stories will follow.”

One reader of Murder in the Garden: Famous Crimes of Early Fresno County said, “This book is of interest to me because I live in the Corcoran, CA area and am impressed with the attention to detail given to these historical crimes. The pictures were superb for being as old as they are and the author worked very hard collecting all this data. I am a fan of mystery/crime novels and was enthralled all the more since it is a true account of actual happenings. Hats off to all who made this publication possible!”

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