Craig “Pancho Villa” Heiller of Copalis Beach has died, according to the Thurston County Coroner’s Office.
Heiller died in Olympia on July 6. He was born on Sept. 17, 1947, according to voting records.
Heiller is probably best known as a small business owner who put up dozens of hand-made signs on his Copalis Beach building, calling elected officials and others who drew his wrath colorful, sometimes offensive names. He had said he sold art and firewood from his store.
In 2010, he ran for county commissioner under the “Green Revolution Party” against incumbent Al Carter. Heiller lost in the primary, garnering a little more than 7 percent of the vote. His campaign prompted him to bring some of his handmade signs to the rest of the Harbor with slogans such as “Lose the goons,” “For the kids sake, show some guts,” and “Green Party = Economy, Equality, Ecology. Party With Pancho Villa #3.”
Heiller made frequent appearances during the public comment period of the county commissioners meetings. In February, he spent time criticizing the Sheriff’s Office and the Prosecutor’s Office.
In April of 2010, he was extradited to California and arrested on two felony counts of making criminal threats against the mayor of Vista, Calif. In California, he pleaded guilty to a lesser charge and was told by a judge to leave the state for at least three years.
He had several encounters with local elected officials and deputies have had to be called to take police reports over alleged threats he made.