Tobin James explains how winery was stalked and terrorized by felon
By Tobin James, co-owner of Tobin James Winery
– In light of recent public attention on this issue, I am writing to explain our frustration with the lack of solutions from county officials.
From May 2019 until November 2019 Tobin James Winery, family and employees were stalked and terrorized by a neighbor, Gabe Canaday.
Canaday was under the belief that Tobin James employees had kidnaped his wife and children and they were being held captive and tortured in one of the winery’s buildings and he could hear them screaming. Canaday was on the winery property day and night for 6 months. He would often tell our Harvest Host guests to leave the winery property with one guest pulling a gun on Canaday because of his erratic behavior.
In those six months, Canaday was arrested 18 times, once for threatening to kill a local real estate agent. The sheriff’s department was called out to the winery 43 times in the 6 months.
Canaday’s wife, who was in hiding at the time, informed the winery that Canaday assembled ghost rifles. This was confirmed when the winery received calls from local residents who either bought a rifle from Canaday or were offered to buy one from him. The winery was in fear of a mass shooting in the near future.
San Luis Obispo County officials were well aware of the danger posed to the winery from Canaday.
This is an email sent to the DAs office from Roberta Zimmermann, an administrator in the DAs office: “The winery holds out great hopes that Mr. Canaday would be incarcerated or institutionalized and his reign of terror over the winery and its employees would end. It has not. Mr. Canaday experiences delusions and probably suffers from bipolar disorder or schizophrenia. He is convinced that his wife is held against her will in a dungeon on the Tobin James property. Mr. James and winery employees fear a mass shooting is in their near future if Mr . Canaday is not incarcerated, institutionalized, or controlled via a well-monitored medication program.”
This is another report sent to the DAs office from Paul Kelly, a DA District Attorney Investigator: “Dating back to April of this year, the defendant has continued in an escalating pattern of harassing/threatening behavior toward his wife, Mr. Walker, and the owners and employees of Tobin James. Defendant has no regard for court orders prohibiting his behavior, direct admonishments from judicial officers, or the law in general. This escalating pattern of behavior, culminating with the most recent dangerous evading and resisting/fighting law enforcement suggest the defendant has no intention of curbing that behavior, rather it appears he will continue until somebody is seriously harmed. The defendant’s release from custody jeopardizes the safety of his wife, Mr. Walker, Tobin James owners and employees, law enforcement, and the public at large. I request the court deny bail due to the threat upon the safety of those named herein.”
With county officials knowing all of this and more, they released Canaday the next day after each arrest when Canaday posted bail and he was back to terrorizing not only Tobin James employees but the community at large.
Canaday was just arrested for his 19th time on March 22, 2022, for possession of ammunition and a stun gun by a felon.
Would county officials let Canaday stalk and terrorize a grade school for six months?
We have tried to go through the appropriate channels multiple times to no avail.