Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Father of 'Heroes' Actress Pleads No Contest in Assault

The father of "Heroes" actress Hayden Panettiere has pleaded no contest to one count of misdemeanor battery after assaulting his wife on Aug. 11.

Beverly Hills Superior Court Judge Marsha Revel sentenced Alan Lee Panettiere, 49, to 24 months probation, ordered him to complete 52 weeks of domestic violence counseling and ordered him to pay $400 in fines. The judge also issued a protective order requiring that the defendant not harm or annoy the victim.

Panettiere was arrested in August after he allegedly assaulted his wife at their West Hollywood home.

7 Dead in Apparent Murder-Suicide at L.A. Home

Seven bodies were discovered in a Los Angeles home early Tuesday morning, victims of an apparent murder-suicide.

According to authorities, the father, who fatally shot his wife, five children and himself in the Wilmington section of Los Angeles, forwarded a note to KABC-TV noting that the couple had just been fired from a medical center and that the shootings were planned.

The man claimed that prior to the firing, an administrator told the couple they should not have come to work and told them, "You should have blown your brains out," KABC-TV reported.

The note went on to say that the husband and wife worked as medical technicians at Kaiser Permanente West Los Angeles Medical Center.

Police reported that the victims included two sets of twins and an 8-year-old girl.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Prostitution, Marijuana Seen as Possible Money Fixes

Legalizing prostitution and marijuana could be the ticket out to decreasing the state's present $41 billion deficit, according to some financial pros.

According to David Lazarus, a financial writer for the Los Angeles Times, both pot smoking and prostitution are very popular "sins" that, if legalized and taxed, could produce millions or even billions in extra revenue for California.

A number of Lazarus's financial industry colleagues have backed the proposals, though there is more positive energy for the marijuana side than the prostitution side.

In order for these ideas to make progress, they both would have to go before the voters as ballot measures.

Companies Sued Following Naval Accident

Seven companies are being sued by relatives of three sailors who died when a helicopter crashed off the San Diego coast during a Navy training mission. The companies manufactured and sold the aircraft and its parts.

The lawsuit alleges that several parts of the MH-60S helicopter were defective and caused the crash in January 2007, which killed four people in all.

Named in the lawsuit are the helicopter's manufacturer, Sikorsky Aircraft, and other companies that manufactured components for the aircraft: Alcoa, Pacific Scientific, Hi-Shear Corp., Parker-Hannifin Corp. and General Electric.

The helicopter departed for the training exercise Jan. 26, 2007, from the amphibious assault ship Bonhomme Richard, some 50 miles from shore.

The victims were Lt. j.g. Laura J. Mankey of West Hills; Lt. Adam Dyer, 28, of Lafayette, La.; Petty Officer 1st Class Cory Helman, 27, of New Richmond, Wis.; and Petty Officer 2nd Class Christopher Will, 29, of Warren, Mich. They were members of Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron 23 assigned to the North Island Naval Air Station.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Man Tries to Drown Police Dog Before Arrest

Carlsbad police reported Sunday that a drunken-driving suspect who fled on foot into a lagoon refused to surrender and attempted to drown a police dog before being arrested.

Lavar McKiernan, 34, who was to be booked on charges of felony driving under the influence, felony evading causing injuries, and attempting to harm a police dog, was moved to Tri-City Hospital in Oceanside, where he was being held under guard Sunday morning.

According to authorities, just before 1 a.m. Sunday, Carlsbad police Officer Samantha Alexander tried to stop McKiernan at Carlsbad Boulevard and State Street, near the Army and Navy Academy, after his vehicle reportedly nearly crashed into three parked cars

McKiernan drove off with Alexander in pursuit, rear-ended a vehicle and ran into a telephone pole before heading into the Buena Vista Lagoon west of Carlsbad Boulevard, about a half-mile from where the chase started.

Other Carlsbad police officers, assisted by an Oceanside police dog and the San Diego Police Department's Able helicopter, pursued McKiernan to the lagoon, where he was spotted hiding in about 4 feet of water.

After being given several opportunities to surrender, police went into the water along with the dog to arrest the suspect.

McKiernan attempted to drown the dog, who was not injured, three times before he was arrested.

Man Arrested After More Than 200 Dead Animals Found

Police in Temecula have arrested a man on suspicion of animal cruelty for allegedly mistreating his dogs and cats. According to authorities, more than 200 of the animals were discovered dead on his property.

Authorities say that Elisao Gilbert Jimenez, 66, was taken into custody Friday after a search of his residence in the 39000 block of Liefer Road showed a number of dogs and cats "in poor health."

Deputies were dispatched to Jimenez's home to assist Department of Animal Services officers with a vicious dog, and when they looked in the back of the suspect's property, they discovered more than 200 dog and cat carcasses.

Animal Control Officers reported discovering 204 dead animals in plastic bags in different stages of decomposition. They also located more than 82 dogs and nearly three dozen ferel cats.

Southern California May be Overdue for Big Quake

According to a new study to be published next week, Southern California may be overdue for a powerful earthquake along the infamous San Andreas fault line.

New research conducted by scientists at the University of California, Irvine, claims large quakes have rumbled along the fault roughly every 137 years over the last 700 years. Previously, scientists had figured major earthquakes occurred on the line every 200 years or so.

Scientists analyzed the Carrizo Plain section of the San Andreas fault, which has not been witness to a massive earthquake since 1857, when one hit at an estimated magnitude of 7.9.

Oceanside Plane Crash Injures 2 People

Two people were injured Saturday morning in Oceanside when a small plane struck a power pole and crashed on the street near Oceanside Municipal Airport. The crash also resulted in a 25,000 gallon raw sewage spill.

The single-engine Cessna Skyhawk crashed at about 10:50 a.m. according to the Federal Aviation Administration, injuring the pilot and his passenger.

Police say the plane was only about 12 feet off the ground when it hit a support pole for overhead power lines about a quarter-mile from the Oceanside Municipal Airport.

The plane sheered off a sewage valve, and 25,000 gallons of sewage were released before it was halted.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Schwarzenegger Presses Obama on Auto Emissions

In only his first full day on the job, President Barack Obama was expecting to hear from a famous governor.

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, who supports regulating greenhouse gas emissions from automobiles, sent a letter Wednesday to Obama requesting he give California and other states permission to implement tough tailpipe-emission standards.

Schwarzenegger believes Obama's backing would help move America toward global leadership on addressing climate change. If granted, the decision would change a 2007 conclusion by the Bush administration.

The letter details the fact that states do not have authority to impose greenhouse gas standards for new cars, pickup trucks and sport utility vehicles.

According to the Bush administration, such goals can only be met by regulating fuel-efficiency standards, something that falls under the auspices of the federal government.

Former Tustin High Athletic Trainer to be Arraigned

A former athletic trainer at Tustin High School was to be arraigned today on charges that could send her to prison for nearly eight years if she's convicted of having a sexual relationship with an underage male student.

According to authorities, Hope Jacoby, 23, was taken into custody on Dec. 19 and released on $100,000 bail in connection with allegations that she had sex with the student last year, when he was between 16 and 17 years old. Authorities reported that Jacoby worked for a company hired by the school to train its athletes in various sports, and that she had submitted a letter of resignation.

Court documents say that Jacoby is charged with eight felony counts: four counts of unlawful sexual intercourse, three counts of oral copulation of a minor and one count of distributing pornography to a minor. She faces up to seven years and eight months in prison, if convicted.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Danville Looks to Welcome Home Sullenberger

Danville officials are hoping to welcome home the world's most famous pilot this weekend, as U.S. Airways pilot Chesley Sullenberger III is scheduled to return to California.

Sullenberger was the pilot who safely landed US Airways Flight #1549 in New York's Hudson River last Thursday with 154 passengers and crew on board after engine failure.

Sullenberger, 57, who was invited to and expected to attend President-elect Barack Obama's inauguration in Washington Tuesday, brought the crippled plane to a safe landing some three minutes into the flight after it was reportedly hit by birds after take off from New York's LaGuardia Airport. The reported bird strike took out both engines.

The proposed plan for this weekend is to have the ceremony take place at the Danville Community Center on Front Street.

So.Cal Median Home Price Drops Nearly 35 Percent

The median home price in Southern California fell almost 35 percent in December from a year ago, but home sales rose steadily as buyers snapped up low-cost foreclosures, according to new information released by MDA DataQuick.

According to the company, the median home price in a six-county region of Southern California was $278,000 last month, compared to $425,000 a year ago at that time. The median price for the area peaked at $505,000 in mid-2007.

Foreclosures accounted for 55.7 percent of December's sales in the region.

Koreatown Fourplex Collapse Injures 3 People

At least three people were injured last evening when the front of a two-story fourplex collapsed near Los Angeles' Koreatown.

According to authorities on the scene, four families were impacted by the collapse. Those families were expected to be allowed back into the building today to recover belongings before the building is razed.

The collapse happend around 9 p.m. last night at 1625 S. Westmoreland Ave., near Washington Boulevard.

According to fire officials, approximately 20 to 30 people were inside the building when the front portion collapsed.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Coast Guard Suspends Search for Elderly Couple

Coast Guard officials say they have suspended the search for an elderly couple who are believed to have gone overboard last week during a Carnival Cruise trip between Long Beach and Mexico.

According to authorities, the search ended in the waters off of San Diego County Saturday morning.

The couple, whose names were not released, are believed to be a 90-year-old man and his 79-year-old wife.

Crews searched throughout the night, covering the route of the Carnival Paradise ship, which started in Long Beach and stopped in Santa Catalina Island and Ensenada. The couple were aboard the ship when it left Monday, but they were missing when it returned to port early Friday.

According to ship officials, the couple's cabin door was double-locked from the inside with a "Do Not Disturb" sign on the handle. Their belongings were discovered inside and the door heading from the cabin to the private balcony was unlocked.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Marines, Sailors Need Permission to Visit Mexico

Permission denied?

Marines and sailors in San Diego County looking to make a run south of the border to Mexico must obtain written permission from their superiors as a result of escalating violence in Mexico.

The directive from Lt. Gen. Samuel Helland impacts some 40,000 Marines and sailors from Camp Pendleton's 1st Marine Expeditionary Force, according to The North County Times. The ruling also impacts armed forces stationed at Miramar Marine Corps Air Station.

At least 5,300 people were killed in drug violence in Tijuana last year, and at least 12 have been killed so far this year.

Armed forces wanting permission to visit Mexico must be at least 18 and agree to use the buddy system by traveling with at least one other person who is also 18 or older. They must also carry the telephone numbers of the American Consulate in Tijuana, the border Shore Patrol and their unit command. Finally, before they exit the country, they must register online with the American Consulate in Tijuana.

Brea Search Continues for Missing 82-Year-Old

Searchers will continue working their way through a Brea landfill today in hopes of discovering what happened to an 82-year-old woman who went missing from an assisted care facility in Laguna Niguel.

Authorities were searching a landfill close to the 1900 block of Valencia Avenue late Thursday afternoon, after Sara Mowry was reported missing by her son on Tuesday. The son reportedly went to visit the woman at the facility, but she was not present. The woman's walker, hearing aid, purse and medications were reportedly left behind.

According to authorities, there are some questions regarding the woman's checking account, but police would not elaborate.

Anyone with information in Mowry's disappearance is asked to call (866) TIP-OCSD.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

L.A. County Asst. Fire Chief Pleads Not Guilty in Dog's Death

A plea of not guilty was offered this week by a Los Angeles County assistant fire chief accused of assaulting his neighbor's six-month-old puppy last November to where it had to be put down.

Glynn Johnson, 54, who is free on $100,000 bail, faces an animal cruelty charge, with sentence-enhancing allegations of using a deadly weapon during the commission of a felony in connection with the reported beating.

Johnson, who claims he hit the dog in self-defense, is slated to return to court next month for a felony settlement conference.

According to Johnson, the dog (Karley) got loose from its property and he was returning it to the owner when a confrontation between he and the animal took place.

A local vet informed sheriff's investigators that Karley had a shattered skull and appeared to have suffered a broken jaw.

San Fran Police Make Arrests at Israeli Consulate

Police made several arrests this morning as protestors in San Francisco chained themselves together to block the entrance to the Israeli Consulate on Montgomery Street.

The protestors, whose action had been organized on several Web sites, were demonstrating against Israel's military campaign in Gaza.

In all, four people were arrested for refusing to leave the scene.

Police Search for Possible Westminster Rapist

Police in the Westminster area are following up on a report from a 45-year-old woman who said she was beaten unconscious during an attempted rape.

According to authorities, the alleged incident took place early Wednesday morning on Main Street between Hoover and Olive Streets.

Police, who say the suspect's sketch draws similarities to a sketch of another suspect in two reported assaults on women last summer, report the suspect in this incident kidnapped the woman and threw her into his vehicle. The woman escaped, but was again grabbed and then reportedly attacked in a bushy area.

The attacker is described as a white or Latino man, about 20 to 25 years of age, with a thin build and dark hair.

Anyone with information on these attacks can call Westminster police detectives at (714) 898-3315, ext. 336 or 340.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Former Transit Officer Arrested in Deadly Shooting

A former Bay Area transit police officer who allegedly killed an unarmed man on a train platform has been arrested.

According to authorities, Johannes Mehserle, 27, was in custody Tuesday evening in Nevada under a fugitive warrant issued from California.

Witnesses reported that Mehserle fired into the back of 22-year-old Oscar Grant on Jan. 1 while the man was lying facedown on a train platform at a station in Oakland.

Grant and others had been removed a train after reports of fighting, as New Year's Eve revelers were heading home after midnight celebrations.

Dozens of Taggers Arrested in Police Sweep

Law enforcement arrested dozens of taggers during an early morning sweep today in the San Gabriel Valley and southeast Los Angeles County. Authorities also confiscated weapons, narcotics and tools used for tagging.

In all, 51 people were arrested for a variety of crimes, including weapons and drug possession, while another 36 were detained for probation or parole violations, officials said.

The raids involved more than 300 law enforcement officials and included personnel from the Sheriff’s Department, Immigration and Customs Enforcement, the California Department of Corrections, the California Highway Patrol, the County Police and officers from the cities of Azusa, Downey and Whittier.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Man Allegedly Was to Sell Daughter Into Marriage

A Greenfield man is under arrest after police say he allegedly tried to sell his 14-year-old daughter into marriage in return for $16,000, 100 cases of beer and several cases of meat.

According to police, authorities only got wind of the deal after Marcelino de Jesus Martinez, 36, went to them to get his daughter back because payment wasn't made as promised.

Martinez was arrested on suspicion of human trafficking, while 18-year-old Margarito de Jesus Galindo was in custody on suspicion of statutory rape. Investigators think the daughter went willingly with Galindo, but she's under California's legal age of consent and can't legally marry.

According to police, arranged marriages involving underage girls have become a problem in this small Central Coast farming community.

Murder Trial Witness Dies in San Diego Area

National City police are investigating the death of a man who was a key witness in the murder trial of a Ramona man who strangled his wife and buried her in the backyard.

Sean Turner, 25, was found dead Sunday night at the San Diego area home he shared with his grandmother in National City.

Turner, who is the stepson of defendant Keith Harold Turner, suffered from acute diabetes and had been in the hospital almost once a week for the past year.

Turner testified for the prosecution in the trial of his stepfather, convicted last month of voluntary manslaughter in the death of his wife, Toby Turner, 44. Jurors discredited Sean Turner's testimony, noting his variation of stories and a prior drug history.

The elder Turner is to be sentenced later this month.

Woman Puts Her Virginity Up for Sale

Just how much is a woman's virginity worth these days? For one San Diego woman, she hopes the answer is many dollars.

A 22-year old woman is putting her virginity on the auction block to pay for college.

Natalie Dylan, which is not her real name, already has a degree in women's studies. Now, however, the woman hopes to pay for an advanced degree in family and marriage therapy with the proceeds from the auction. According to the most recent bid, one man is willing to pay $3.7 million for a night with 'Natalie.'

Dylan said she got the idea from her sister who paid for her college education by prostituting herself for three weeks, according to the London Telegraph.

"I think me and the person I do it with will both profit greatly from the deal," Dylan informed the paper.

Friday, January 9, 2009

State Offices Closing Twice a Month Starting in February

Many state offices will be closed on the first and third Fridays of each month, beginning in February, as a money-saving move to help ease California's growing budget deficit, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger told state agencies Friday.

The announced closures come after Schwarzenegger's executive order last month that state workers must take two unpaid days off each month between February and the end of June 2010.

Mandatory furloughs are part of Schwarzenegger's demands to help correct the state's estimated $40 billion budget deficit over the next year and a half.

State services requiring 24-hour operation, such as prisons and hospitals, will remain open, but employees there will be required take unpaid time off on other days.

Man Nabbed for Bringing Guns to LAX

Bringing guns to the airport proved a no-no for a local man on Friday as he was arrested without incident.

According to the police, the man was stopped on his way to LAX with an SUV loaded with handguns, rifles and loaded ammunition magazines.

Airport Police officers halted the vehicle shortly before 11 a.m. at a checkpoint on westbound Century Boulevard at Sepulveda Boulevard. In all, police intially reported there were three dozen guns in the vehicle.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

San Diego Mom Admits Stealing from Girl Scouts

A former volunteer bookkeeper with the Girl Scouts did more than just see how cookie sales were going.

Janet Daily, 36, of Rancho Santa Fe, pleaded guilty Thursday in a San Diego court to a felony embezzlement charge for stealing some $10,000 over an 18-month period from troops in North County. She faces the maximum of a year in jail when she is sentenced in March.

Daily, the mother of two young girls and a Girl Scouts volunteer for the last seven years, was charged with two felony grand theft counts by an employee.

After investigators began to question some missing money in the Girl Scouts accounts, Daily admitted to them that she had taken the money over the past year and a half because her family was having financial problems.

Moderate Quake Hits Southern California

A moderate earthquake hit Thursday evening at 7:49 p.m. in San Bernardino, with shaking noted from Los Angeles 55 miles to the west and south to Orange County.

There were no immediate reports of damage or injuries, with the quake initially being reported as a 4.5-magnitude quake. The U.S. Geological Survey initially reported it at 4.9, then 5.0.

According to the USGS, the quake struck near the San Jacinto fault, which is part of the San Andreas Fault system.

State May Issue IOUs Instead of Tax Rebates

As if California's budget crisis is not bad enough, now comes this little tidbit from the state.

State officials say they are bracing for the possibility of delaying tax refunds to millions of Californians, along with student grants and payments to vendors, as the latest round of budget negotiations between Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and Democratic legislators fell apart.

With a budget gap reported at just under $42 billion, State Controller John Chiang has said that as early as Feb. 1, his office may begin issuing promissory notes if lawmakers have not resolved the budget crisis. California has done this only once before since the Great Depression -- in 1992.

According to California's Constitution, schools and bondholders get first rights to any cash in the state's coffers. The initial folks to receive IOUs instead of payments would be business and individual taxpayers who are expecting refunds, local governments and recipients of grants from the California Student Aid Commission.

Last year, more than 10 million taxpayers obtained state refunds totaling $8 billion.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

El Monte Police Search for Pair who Abducted Woman

The search is on for a pair who reportedly tried to con a female shopper at a local mall in El Monte, then abducted her and required her to withdraw money from an ATM when that did not work.

According to police, the female suspect may be wanted for countless crimes in both Los Angeles and Orange counties.

Police report the most recent crime took place five days before Christmas at the Valley Mall, when a male suspect dropped a bag containing a gold chain, and the female suspect then told the victim to retrieve it so they could sell it. The victim reportedly refused to get involved.

When the woman would not comply, the female suspect reportedly pulled out a knife and forced the victim into a white Ford Explorer, where she was driven to her home, ordered pick up her bank card, then driven to a Bank of America in nearby San Gabriel. The woman withdrew $400 dollars from an ATM and passed it on to the female suspect.

According to police, the female suspect in the crime is Hispanic, approximately 45 years of age, 5' 8" tall, and weighs over 200 pounds.

Anyone with more information is asked to contact police at (626) 705-1981.

State Notes Settlement with Blue Shield

California Insurance Commissioner Steve Poizner announced that the California Department of Insurance (CDI) has reached an agreement with Blue Shield of California Life & Health Insurance Company to offer new health insurance to 678 consumers whose policies were rescinded between Jan. 1, 2004 and May 31, 2008, reimbursing them for out-of-pocket medical expenses and implement significant changes in its underwriting and claims practices.

Under the terms of the settlement covering allegations of unfair claims handling and improper rescission practices, Blue Shield will immediately offer coverage to 678 consumers whose individual, family, or short-term health policies were previously terminated without subjecting them to medical underwriting or exclusions for pre-existing conditions. Any medical expenses that would have been covered under the rescinded policies that are not covered by another source will be reimbursed or paid by Blue Shield. An expedited independent arbitration process has been established to resolve any disputes regarding these expenses.

As part of the settlement, Blue Shield has agreed to make significant changes to its application forms, underwriting process, agent/broker training, notification to consumers and providers of an investigation regarding information in the application and oversight of its claims handling. It has also agreed to establish an independent third party review process for rescissions going forward. Blue Shield is subject to up to a $5 million penalty if corrective actions are not implemented in the prescribed timeline.

For details about eligibility under this settlement, call Blue Shield at 888-575-3439.

Bell Gardens Councilman Offers Guilty Plea

A Bell Gardens Councilman accused of embezzling campaign funds has pleaded guilty to multiple counts, the District Attorney’s Office announced.

Deputy District Attorney Max Huntsman of the Public Integrity Division said Mario Beltran, 31, pleaded to four misdemeanor counts including failing to file campaign disclosure forms and failing to deposit cash contributions, all violations of the Political Reform Act.

The charges stem from the defendant’s reported failure to report to authorities how he was spending campaign funds entrusted to him and his failure to deposit and account for cash given to him.

Los Angeles Superior Court Judge George Lomeli ordered Beltran back for sentencing on Feb. 12. The defendant must resign from office prior to sentencing.

Beltran is expected to receive four years of probation during which time he may not hold elected or appointed office and may not seek elected office or lobby. Seven counts of grand theft, one count of perjury and one count of failing to deposit cash will be dismissed at sentencing as part of a negotiated plea agreement.

In a previous prosecution in 2007, the defendant was convicted by a Downey jury of a misdemeanor charge of filing a false police report.

The current indictment came after a hearing in which political and business leaders testified before the grand jury that Beltran told contributors that he was using the money he was raising for his re-election when, in fact, he used it to pay for his legal defense. The defendant also reportedly used campaign funds to pay for a cell phone under another person’s name and failed to report it, prosecutors said.

Friday, January 2, 2009

Locklear Gets 3 Years Probation

Actress Heather Locklear had a DUI charge dismissed today after pleading no contest to a lesser charge of wreckless driving..

Under the terms of the plea deal with prosecutors, Locklear, 47, will serve three years' informal probation, pay $700 and complete a 12-hour DMB road safety class.

Locklear, who has starred in such shows as T.J. Hooker, Dynasty and Melrose Place, was charged with driving under the influence of drugs in November after her September arrest.

According to the California Highway Patrol, Locklear at the time of her arrest showed "obvious impairment" when an officer spotted her car parked on a highway and blocking a lane in Montecito.