Sacto 9-1-1
November 6, 2013
Roseville police officer injured in shootout released from hospital

By Richard Chang
rchang@sacbee.com

The Roseville police officer who was seriously injured in the Oct. 25 firefight with Sammy Nathan Duran was released from the hospital Tuesday, officials said.

"Initially his condition was listed as serious. He had been shot in the jaw," said Dee Dee Gunther, Roseville police spokeswoman.

In all, six people were injured during the standoff, including five Roseville SWAT officers and a U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agent. Four of the Roseville officers were treated and released shortly after, according to Gunther. The federal agent had been shot in the lower leg, but was released from the hospital the next day, said Virginia Kice, ICE spokeswoman.

The standoff ended with Duran's peaceful surrender Oct. 26.

October 12, 2013
UDPATE: 15-year-old killed in south Sacramento shooting

By Debbie Arrington
darrington@sacbee.com

Police are asking for help from anyone who may have witnessed a fight and shooting that left a 15-year-old boy dead Saturday afternoon in south Sacramento.

According to Sacramento police, a shooting was reported at 1:58 p.m. at a shopping center parking lot in the 4500 block of Mack Road near Franklin Boulevard. The incident started when a physical altercation broke out between several teenagers and another group.

"It escalated into a shooting when one of the persons involved produced a handgun and began firing," said Officer Doug Morse, Sacramento Police spokesman.

September 14, 2013
Parolee arrested after high-speed chase on Highway 50

By Allen Pierleoni
apierleoni@sacbee.com

A high-speed chase along the streets of Sacramento accelerated onto eastbound Highway 50 on Saturday evening, resulting in the capture of a parolee at large with a history of firearms violations, said a Sacramento Police Department spokesman.

The incident began along X Street, when a SPD K-9 Unit officer pulled behind a burgundy-colored pickup truck to make a traffic stop. The driver "took off at a high rate of speed, failed to stop at several intersections, blew through red lights and got onto Highway 50 eastbound," said Sgt. Matt Young. The police cruiser continued the chase at speeds up to 95 mph until the unidentified driver exited on 59th Street.

"He abandoned the vehicle right around that area and started jumping fences," making his way through residential back yards, looking for a place to hide, Young said. Police officers set up a perimeter. The suspect was found within the perimeter and taken into custody without further incident, Young said.

The suspect was arrested on suspicion of felony evading a police officer while in pursuit, possession of a stolen vehicle and for his parole warrants, Young said.

September 14, 2013
Fruitridge Road carjacking foiled; suspect arrested after scuffle

By Allen Pierleoni
apierleoni@sacbee.com

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An attempted carjacking in Sacramento was foiled Friday afternoon, and a Sacramento County Sheriff's Department deputy arrested the suspect.

A woman and her husband were sitting in their parked car, engine running, at 5:19 p.m. in the 5400 block of Fruitridge Road when a man walked up, reached through the open window and snatched the car keys, according to a Sacramento Police Department report.

When the husband reacted, the suspect "punched him multiple times, which resulted in minor injuries," according to the report.

The husband jumped out of the car, wrestled the suspect to the ground and held him until a sheriff's deputy arrived. Delarian Butler, 34, was arrested and arrested on suspicion of attempted carjacking.

August 4, 2013
Father arrested for running across I-5 with 7-year-old son

jeffrey.JPGA father who allegedly ran across an interstate highway with his 7-year-old son was booked into jail today, police said.

Jeffrey Kuykendall, 43, (pictured) was booked into the Sacramento County Jail on a count of child endangerment. Bond was set at $75,000.

At 8:48 a.m., police responded to a call of a man running across I-5, near the 1100 block of Second Street, with a small child. It was found that Kuykendall and his son had run across I-5 to the center divider, waited for a break in the traffic, and continued to the other side of the freeway.

Officials said the father is from Shasta Lake and had been visiting the area.

The boy was taken into protective custody after his father was arrested.

July 20, 2013
Melee erupts early Saturday outside Old Town Auburn bar

By Dale Kasler
dkasler@sacbee.com

Auburn police said they responded to an overnight melee in Old Town that included gunshots fired in the air and a resident being sent to the hospital after getting punched in the face.

The incident occurred at 1:30 a.m. today outside the California Club Bar in Old Town, police reported.

After responding to reports of gunshots, officers arrived on the scene to find a large crowd quickly dispersing. One man, James Vigil, 26, of Auburn, was taken to Sutter Roseville Medical Center after apparently being punched in the face.

Vigil was listed in fair condition this afternoon.

Police said they found no firearms on the scene, but did find bullet casings. They said they were having trouble piecing together what happened, and the people on the scene weren't being forthcoming with information.

February 4, 2013
Katt Williams shuffles court date

Troubled comedian Katt Williams was a no-show for a Sacramento court date today.

Williams was to be arraigned at a 10:30 a.m. appearance in Sacramento Superior Court's Department 8 in connection with a Nov. 25 incident in which Williams was allegedly observed near Capitol Park driving a three-wheeled motorcycle on an L Street sidewalk.

The incident is one of several facing the actor and comedian.

Members of the media were notified Williams had rescheduled his appearance shortly after the court took up the daily docket.

Williams is now set to appear at 10:30 a.m. Wednesday in Department 8.

February 1, 2013
Urgent care robbery in South Sacramento caught on tape

Two men walked into the south Sacramento Calvine Urgent Care with guns drawn and demanded money Wednesday night. Luana Munoz of Fox40 reports.

December 29, 2012
Sacramento police arrest suspect in two indecent exposure incidents

Billy Vang.jpgA 27-year-old man has been arrested for allegedly exposing himself to two female joggers near a North Natomas park last month.

Billy Vang was taken into custody in connection with the two separate incidents near Hummingbird Park, at Duckhorn and Saintsbury drives, according to the Sacramento Police Department.

According to a police news release, a 22-year-old woman was jogging with her dog near the park at 8 a.m. on Nov. 16 when a man pulled up alongside her in a vehicle. The man yelled to get the woman's attention, removed a jacket from his lap and touched himself, police said.

December 29, 2012
DUI crackdown results in 20 arrests throughout Sacramento

Local law enforcement officials arrested 20 drivers Friday on suspicion of driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs.

Those arrests were made throughout Sacramento County between 12:01 a.m. Friday and midnight, according to a news release issued by the Folsom Police Department. The arrests were part of special Avoid the 16 DUI crackdowns and routine traffic stops.

Last year, 18 DUI arrests were made during the same time period.

October 25, 2012
Family of Rancho Cordova murder victims speak out

20121025_HA_HOMICIDE0234.JPGWeary and choked with emotion, the family of the young mother and two toddlers slain in Rancho Cordova spoke for the first time publicly about the victims at a press conference Thursday.

"She cared a lot for me, for all of us, for our parents, for our family," said Denis Bukhantsov, the husband of Alina Bukhantsov, 23, who was brutally killed in their home along with their children, Emmanuela, 3, and Avenir, 2.

His brother, Grigoriy Bukhantsov, a 19-year-old high school dropout, is being held on three counts of murder in the bloody attack.

October 25, 2012
Coroner: Sacramento murder victim died of trauma and asphyxiation

A Sacramento man found dead in his home Monday afternoon died from blunt force trauma and asphyxiation from a plastic bag being placed over his head, according to Sacramento County coroner's reports.

Police arrested a 52-year-old woman on suspicion of murder in connection with the death. Yanqun Tan is in custody at the county jail, where she is ineligible for bail. No court dates have been set in the case.

The victim's name is not being released, pending notification of relatives, but he is described as a male, age 55.

Police discovered the man's body in a home on Emerald Creek Court, near Lemon Hill Avenue and the 65th Street Expressway, after being alerted by a female caller about a possible dead person at the address.

Tan also lives at the house, but police have not said what her relationship is to the man, nor have they speculated about a motive for the killing.

Anyone with information about this case is asked to call Crime Alert at (916) 443-HELP.

October 25, 2012
Memorial fund set up for Folsom crash victim

A memorial fund has been set up to help care for the family of a man killed in an early morning head-on crash in Folsom on Oct. 13.

Meanwhile, the other driver who died in the accident has not yet been positively identified by the county coroner's office.

The family of Steven Schwartz, 28, of Orangevale, has set up an account for his surviving 18-month-old son, also named Steven.

October 25, 2012
Folsom hosts motorcycle police skills competition

Motorcycle cops will display their road-handling skills at the Folsom Police Department's annual Police Motor Skills Challenge on Saturday, Oct. 27, from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. at Palladio and Broadstone parkways in Folsom.

Motorcycle law enforcement officers from California and Nevada will compete against each other in a variety of riding challenges. The event is free, but spectators are encouraged to bring non-perishable canned food items as donations for Folsom's Twin Lakes Food Bank.

Volunteers from the police department and Folsom Lake College's Administration of Justice Club will also be on hand to provide free catalytic converter etching for trucks and SUVs. Catalytic converters are commonly stolen from vehicles, and etching them with identifying information can help police trace the stolen parts.

For more information, contact Folsom police at 916-355-7234.

October 24, 2012
Woman drives car into Sacramento River, swims to safety

During early morning rain, a Walnut Grove woman drove her car into the Sacramento River Wednesday and swam to safety, said the California Highway Patrol.

Maria Lopez, 52, was driving her car northbound on Grand Island Road about 5:35 a.m. when she failed to make the curve in the roadway and drove the car off the road. The car went down an embankment and into the Sacramento River, according to CHP reports.

Lopez was able to get out of the car as it was sinking and started swimming for the shore. She seemed disoriented at first, possibly because of the darkness, and was swimming further out in the river, until a local resident and witness on a nearby shore helped guide her to safety.

October 24, 2012
U.S. Army officer convicted of sex crime in Sacramento

An Army lieutenant colonel was convicted Tuesday by a Sacramento County jury, after a January incident when he propositioned a 13-year-old girl walking to a Land Park school to perform a sexual act.

Lt. Col. Jason Shepard, 41, was found guilty of solicitation of a minor with the intent to commit an act of oral copulation, and of annoying and molesting a child.

Shepard was based at Aberdeen Proving Ground in Maryland and was in Sacramento on military business at the Army Depot on Fruitridge Road at the time of the offense.

October 23, 2012
Attempted carjacking suspect nabbed in Rocklin after abandoning baby in gridlock

A Sacramento man was arrested on suspicion of attempted carjacking and child endangerment in Rocklin Monday afternoon, after leaving a baby in a stalled vehicle in traffic on Sierra College Boulevard.

Alan W. Rose, 26, was booked into Placer County Jail. He reportedly was a passenger in a sedan at Sierra College and Ridge Park Drive, when he grabbed the keys from the ignition, causing the car to stall, and exited the car.

He left behind his girlfriend, the driver of the car, and their infant inside the car, according to Rocklin Police Lt. Lon Milka. Milka said the speed limit along that stretch is 50 miles per hour.

October 23, 2012
Sacramento attempted rape suspect wanted

Johnta Waters.JPGA Sacramento man is suspected of entering a Greenhaven-area home and fondling a woman while she slept earlier this month.

Sacramento police said Johnta Lexus Waters, 20, is wanted on a warrant for attempted rape and burglary in connection with the incident.

On Oct. 12 at about 1:20 a.m., a 36-year-old woman was asleep in her home on Fountain Oaks Circle, when she was awakened by a male stranger groping her. The victim screamed, and the man ran out of the residence.

Officers were later able to identify the suspect as Waters. Police are asking for the public's help in locating him.

Waters is described as African-American, about 5-feet-10-inches tall, weighing about 145 pounds, with black hair and brown eyes. He has ties to the south Sacramento area.

Anyone with information about Waters is asked to contact Crime Alert at 916-443-HELP (4357) or text to 274637 (CRIMES,) enter SACTIP followed by the tip information. Callers can remain anonymous and may be eligible for a reward of up to $1,000.

PHOTO CAPTION: Johnta Lexus Waters, 20

October 23, 2012
Police investigating homicide in south Sacramento

Sacramento police are investigating a homicide of a man found in a home in the 100 block of Emerald Creek Court.

Police said they were dispatched to the house about 4:43 p.m. Monday when a woman with knowledge of the deceased person gave them a tip. Police did a welfare check at the home, and found a dead man inside.

Investigators said the woman who called police also lived at the address where the body was discovered. She is being questioned and investigators are working the case as a homicide. Police said it doesn't appear to be a random act, but no further information was available.

The Sacramento Police Department urges anyone with information on this homicide to contact Crime Alert at 916-443-HELP (4357) or text in a tip to 274637 (CRIMES), enter SACTIP followed by the tip information. Callers can remain anonymous and may be eligible for a reward of up to $1,000.

October 18, 2012
Fourth grade teacher nabs teenage theft suspect

By Diana Lambert
dlambert@sacbee.com

Coach Todd Shadbourne was running with his soccer team in Elk Grove Monday evening when he saw two teenagers on bicycles being chased by people in green smocks.

The Starbucks employees were yelling for the bicyclists to stop.

Shadbourne let the first bicyclist whiz past, but jumped in front of the second teen, grabbed him by the belt loop and wrested him from his bike.

"Obviously, something wasn't right," said Shadbourne, who teaches fourth grade at Foulk's Ranch Elementary.

He was right. The two teens had just rode through the drive-thru of Starbucks at Elk Grove-Florin and Bond roads and snatched the tip jar from the window, according the Elk Grove Police Department.

Their bounty: $10 in bills and change.

October 17, 2012
Former Sacramento teacher gets 18 years for child sex crimes

Thumbnail image for RB Preston Lewis 3.JPGFormer Sacramento teacher Preston Lewis was sentenced Tuesday to 18 years in state prison for child sex crimes.

Lewis, who taught special education students at Sam Brannan Middle School, reached a plea deal last month in which he pleaded no contest to three felonies and a misdemeanor for molesting a 7-year-old boy, sending sexual text messages to 14-year-old student and possessing child pornography.

A Bee investigation last year found Lewis had been accused of inappropriate behavior as a teacher on three occasions, including twice after the state revoked his foster care license in 2007.

The state Department of Social Services barred Lewis in 2007 from being employed, visiting or contacting any facility licensed by the department after he was accused of fondling a boy and showering with another.

Lewis continued to teach in the Sacramento City Unified School district until 2010 when he was accused of communicating with one of his special education students with the intent to commit a sexual offense.

For more on this story, read http://www.sacbee.com/2011/05/08/3610394/high-bar-for-firing-kept-sacramento.html

October 17, 2012
Officer-involved shooting in Stockton wounds man

An officer-involved shooting occurred today in Stockton involving San Joaquin County sheriff's deputies.

A press release from the department states that SWAT deputies were helping narcotics investigators serve a search warrant at a home in the 3700 block of East Miner Street about 6 a.m. when the shooting occurred.

A man armed with a shotgun was shot when entry by deputies was made into the home. The man was transported to a hospital, but his condition has not been released.

No deputies were injured. No additional information was released.

October 14, 2012
I-5 car crash fatality identified

By Anne Gonzales
afgonzales@sacbee.com

The Sacramento coroner's office identified the victim of a Friday morning head-on collision in south Sacramento County as Benjamin Hernandez De La Cruz, 32, of Sacramento.

He was driving south on Interstate 5 near Twin Cities Road about 6:20 a.m. when his car crossed over the center median, spun out of control and in to the path of another car traveling northbound on the freeway, according to the California Highway Patrol.

The driver of the northbound car, a 35-year-old Walnut Grove woman, could not avoid the collision, according to the CHP. Both cars careened off the road and onto the freeway shoulder.

De La Cruz was declared dead at the scene. The other driver was transported to a hospital with minor to moderate injuries.

October 13, 2012
Update: Man killed in Folsom crash had been designated driver

Two men are dead after a BMW SUV crashed head-on into a Honda compact car on the Folsom Lake Crossing shortly after midnight today, police said.

Folsom Police arrived at 12:28 a.m. to find a burning BMW and a totaled Honda, according to police spokesman Sgt. Jason Browning. He said the BMW was traveling at "extremely excessive speeds," when it crossed the double yellow lines and hit the Honda compact. Both drivers died instantly.

Police have identified the Honda driver, but the BMW driver has not yet been identified since his body was badly burned. There were no other people inside the vehicles.

The Honda driver's wife told police Saturday morning that her husband was in Folsom because he was the designated driver and had just finished dropping off his friends, Browning said.

Police are still investigating whether alcohol or drugs were a factor. The crash closed Folsom Lake Crossing for over eight hours, before it was re-opened shortly before 9 a.m. today.

September 23, 2012
Roseville police kill suspect who they say fought with officer during arrest

A Roseville police officer last night shot and killed a suspect who was resisting arrest and fighting with a fellow officer, the department said in a news release today.

According to police spokeswoman Dee Dee Gunther, the incident began shortly before 11 p.m. Sautrday in the 1600 block of Sierra Gardens Drive.

Officers were investigating reports that a "very intoxicated" man who was armed with a baseball bat had pushed a woman in a domestic disturbance. The suspect ran off when police arrived.

September 16, 2012
Placerville's 'Rock Fire' is 60 percent contained, officials say

By Loretta Kalb
lkalb@sacbee.com

A wildfire near the hairpin turn where Highway 193 meets Rock Creek Road has burned 45 acres north of Placerville and is 60 percent contained, a battalion chief for the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection said today.

Battalion Chief Julie Hutchinson said no structures were threatened in the Rock Fire, which started shortly before 5:30 p.m. Saturday and burned in a northerly direction. The fire has burned mainly brush land north of Placerville and the Chili Bar Reservoir and south of Georgetown.

September 14, 2012
Police: Auburn man threatens roommate with chainsaw

An Auburn man allegedly chased his roommate through their home while wielding a chainsaw, according to the Auburn Police Department.

Officers responded to a call near Gold and Virginia streets at 12:15 a.m. Thursday. Marvin Daniels, 63, had reportedly chased his roommate down a hallway and into a bedroom armed with a running chainsaw, police said.

Daniels' roommate stayed in the bedroom until Daniels went outside the home and took the screen off the window to the room in which the roommate was staying, according to a police. Daniels then held his revved-up chainsaw through the open window, police said in a press release.

September 12, 2012
Sacramento Police ask for help catching Del Paso Heights burglar

burglary1.JPGburglary3.jpg
Sacramento police are asking for the public's help in identifying a burglar who hit a Del Paso Heights business last month.

Officer Michele Gigante said the suspected burglar broke into a business on the 2100 block of Grand Avenue shortly before 6 a.m. on Aug. 16. Cameras caught the suspect's image on film, and police hope someone in the public will recognize him, she said.

The suspect is described as a man in his high 20s to early 30s, medium build with short dark hair. He has been seen wearing a camouflage baseball hat, dark shoes, and gray sweatpants.

Anyone with any information regarding the individual is asked to call Crime Alert at (916) 443-HELP (4357) or text in a tip to 274637 (CRIMES). Callers can remain anonymous and may be eligible for a $1,000 reward.

This post was updated by The Bee's Kim Minugh.

September 12, 2012
'Bad Hair Bandit' gets 10 years in prison

badhair.JPGCynthia Lynn Van Holland was sentenced to 10 years in prison today for 21 bank robberies, a Department of Justice press release said. Van Holland must also pay more than $33,000 in restitution, according to United States District Judge Kimberly J. Miller's sentence.

Van Holland, 48, is described as a "transient" from the states of Idaho and Washington. Van Holland robbed banks across California, Washington, Oregon and Montana. The last bank she robbed was a Bank of the West branch in Auburn on Aug. 15, after which a witness saw her flee and reported her license plate number.

During the bank robberies Van Holland wore a variety of "unusual wigs and disguises" the release said, resulting in her 'Bad Hair Bandit' title.

PHOTO CAPTION: Cynthia Van Holland

September 11, 2012
Firefighters climb Sacramento's Renaissance tower to remember 9/11 brethren

RP MEMORIAL STAIR WALKA.jpg

By David Ruiz

druiz@sacbee.com

Close to 400 firefighters, policemen, their family members waited expectantly Tuesday morning in a vacant retail space on the first floor of downtown Sacramento's Renaissance Building. In a few minutes, 343 firefighters would begin a 110-story climb to honor their fallen New York counterparts who died in the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks 11 years ago today.

Last year, for the 10th anniversary of 9/11, firefighters came from Los Angeles and San Diego to make the climb, said coordinator Captain Eric Guida of the Sacramento Fire Department. He said he made the climb for the first event four years ago, but has transitioned to planning it since then.

Tuesday, the firefighters from Sacramento, Woodland, El Dorado, San Jose, and more were present.

Clipped onto each climber's jacket was a deceased firefighter's name, each representing one of the 343 who died on 9/11. At the end of the climb, each firefighter added the name to a memorial and rang a bell.

Before the ascent, a marching crew of eight - equipped with drums and bagpipes - walked through the crowd creating a center aisle.

At the end of the aisle stood guest speaker Captain Mike Dugan of the New York Fire Department who responded to the September 11 attacks. Dugan thanked the volunteers for their compassion and honor.Lining up for the hour and a half task, firefighters were visited by their wives and children who wished them good luck.

To complete 110 stories, firefighters must climb 26 stories three times over and then climb all the way to the roof - 32 stories - on the fourth repetition.

Guida said that firefighters sign up to volunteer in July, and extra names are put on a standby list. Since scheduling conflicts are common, Guida said almost everybody on the standby list gets the opportunity to climb.

On the 26th floor and basement are beverages and snacks for the firefighters when they need to refuel. Guida said that if a climber becomes too tired to continue, another climber on the standby list can finish the climb.

Guida said having separate climbers for the same name doesn't dilute the purpose. "What matters is that those names get to the roof."

Photo caption: Firefighters walk up the steps toward the top of the Renaissance Tower in Sacramento on Tuesday, Sept. 11, 2012 to honor all 343 New York firefighters who lost their lives on Sept. 11, 2001. Photo by Randy Pench / rpench@sacbee.com

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September 11, 2012
Sacramento to observe anniversary of 9/11 attacks

President Barack Obama and first lady Michelle Obama, firefighters, police officers and citizens observed a moment of silence today at 8:46 a.m. EST and later laid a wreath at the Pentagon to mark the 11th anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks. Sacramento memorials begin this morning, too.

At 8 a.m., Sacramento city firefighters will continue the annual tradition of climbing the Renaissance Tower four times over to honor the 343 NYFD firefighters who died during the attack on the World Trade Center. The repeated climb totals 110 stories, the same amount New York firefighters had to climb during the rescue effort after the attacks on Sept. 11, 2001.

John Vinson of West Sacramento has continued his flag memorial located on Jefferson Boulevard and South River Road. The memorial is open to the public.

The Cal Expo 9/11 memorial is once again open and free to the public today. The memorial includes over 125,000 pounds of wreckage from the original site of the attacks along with smaller memorials to flights 93 and 77.

September 8, 2012
UPDATE: Rumsey Canyon fire burns 18,000 acres, is 80 percent contained

By Richard Chang and Phillip Reese
preese@sacbee.com

Firefighters made good progress toward containing a complex of fires in southern Colusa County Sunday, while a separate fire in Lake County grew.

The two fires that comprise the 16 Complex burn four miles apart on Highway 16 in the remote Rumsey Canyon area of Colusa County, near the Yolo County border. By Sunday night, the complex had burned 18,000 acres and was 80 percent contained, according to updates from the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection.

Favorable weather conditions Sunday allowed firefighters to increase containment. Officials don't expect the complex to burn much new ground.

August 21, 2012
Demolition of torched playground begins in McKinley Park

Demolition of burned remains of the McKinley Park playground began today thanks to a Sacramento company.

American Technologies Inc., a firm that handles water, fire and other damage, has volunteered to perform the work for free.

It is expected that the clean-up will take three days. Fire destroyed about one-third of the big, wooden play area in east Sacramento's McKinley Park on July 21.

The demolition work would have cost about $7,500 if American Technologies had not offered to donate their services. Already pledged in-kind and cash donations to rebuild are estimated at $35,000.

Donations include $5,000 from California Senate president pro tem Darrell Steinberg, D-Sacramento, to a 7 year old's lemonade stand profit.

A fun run, raffles and other fundraisers are planned to raise money for the playground, which is a magnet for people from all over Sacramento. The playground is located near a pond, library, basketball courts and swimming pool.

Barry Metcalf, Sacramento branch manager of American Technologies, said it was natural that his firm would want to help.

"My family has been using the playground for years, so the need was right there in front of us," he said in a City of Sacramento press release.

More information is available at www.rebuildmckinley.org.

August 20, 2012
Memorial service set for pedestrian in Carmichael hit-and-run tragedy

By Sam Stanton
sstanton@sacbee.com

A memorial service for Harison Long-Randall, the 21-year-old man who died after being cut down last month by a hit and run driver in Carmichael, will be held Saturday a few miles from the site of the crash.

The service will begin at 1 p.m. at Arcade Church, 3927 Marconi Ave.

Long-Randall died July 29, two weeks after he was struck in a crosswalk at Garfield and Engle Road while walking with his girlfriend, 23-year-old Gemily West, and her four dogs.

August 11, 2012
Rocklin Police investigate 3 shootings from the past 48 hours

By Ravali Reddy
rreddy@sacbee.com

The Rocklin Police Department is currently investigating three incidents from Friday and Saturday in which shots were fired.

At approximately 2:00 a.m. on Friday, police responded to calls reporting the sound of shots being fired near Sunset Blvd. and Fairway Drive. Within minutes, officers received another call alerting them to a vehicle that had been shot by a passing car at Stanford Ranch Road and Park Drive.

The vehicle that was shot had a single bullet hole near the driver's side door. Neither the passenger nor the driver were injured in the shooting. The victims were able to describe the suspect vehicle as a dark colored Ford Crown Victoria, or similar type vehicle.

August 11, 2012
Police search for missing Redding man

missing.jpgBy Ravali Reddy

rreddy@sacbee.com

Redding police officers are asking for the public's help in locating Rob Zane Hansen, 56, of Redding, who has been missing since Thursday night.

Hansen was last seen leaving a family member's house at 10:00 p.m. on Thursday. Relatives went to check in on him Friday afternoon at his residence, but did not find Hansen. His car and personal property have all been accounted for.

Authorities were alerted Friday at 6:47 p.m. and have been unable to locate Hansen, despite having contacted local hospitals as well as family and friends.

Hansen has no known mental health issues and is not a known drug user. Anyone with information is asked to contact the Redding Police Department at (530) 225-4200.

PHOTO CAPTION: Rob Zane Hansen

August 11, 2012
Sacramento police investigate early morning homicide

By Ravali Reddy

rreddy@sacbee.com

The Sacramento Police Department is investigating the shooting death of a 26-year-old male early Saturday morning in old North Sacramento.

At approximately 3:15 a.m., police officers arrived at the 2500 block of Traction Avenue in Old North Sacramento after receiving multiple phone calls that reported the sound of gunshots and that someone had been shot. Upon arrival, police found the victim with a gunshot wound to his upper body. He was transported to a local hospital where he was later pronounced dead.

Investigation is ongoing regarding the circumstances leading to the shooting, and the motive for the incident has not yet been determined.

Anyone with information is asked to call the Sacramento Police dispatch center at (916) 264-5471 orCrime Alert at (916) 443-4357. Tips can also be texted in to 274637 (CRIMES). Enter SACTIP followed by the tip information. Callers can remain anonymous and may qualify for a reward of up to $1,000.

August 8, 2012
Buses cleared in Colorado after Sacramentan allegedly makes bomb threat

By David Ruiz
druiz@sacbee.com

A Colorado bomb squad has cleared a pair of buses en route from Salt Lake City to Denver after a bomb threat was allegedly made by Roland Paul Arel, of Sacramento, according to the Sacramento County Sheriff's Department.

Sheriff's spokesman John Schulz reported that at 5 a.m. the Larimer County Sherriff's Office was notified of a bomb threat on two separate charter buses.

The buses were then rerouted to a location called The Ranch, near Loveland, Colo. A total of 96 passengers were evacuated from both buses.

August 8, 2012
South Sacramento fire spreads after brownout impairs response time

By David Ruiz
druiz@sacbee.com

An Oak Park fire spread to adjacent structures today in part because of scheduled fire station brownouts, said Sacramento Fire Department Assistant Chief Niko King.

At 8:21 A.M. firefighters received a call about a fire in the 4600 block of 14th Avenue, King said.

"The fire started in a detached garage that had been converted into a living space and then spread from there," he said.

July 30, 2012
Homicide charges mulled in hit and run death

hitrun.jpgBy Sam Stanton
sstanton@sacbee.com

Sunday's death of Harison Long-Randall has Sacramento District Attorney Jan Scully's office reviewing the possibility of filing homicide charges in the hit and run case.

Scully spokeswoman Shelly Orio said this morning that the office is reviewing "possible homicide charges" but that the degree of a new filing has not been determined.

The suspect, 31-year-old Paul William Walden, originally was charged with nine counts, including driving under the influence, cruelty to animals and hit and run.

July 16, 2012
Truckee man jailed on suspicion of attempted murder in Safeway stabbing

By Barbara Barte Osborn
Bee correspondent

TRUCKEE -- A Truckee man has been arrested and jailed for investigation of attempted murder following the stabbing Sunday of a man inside the town's Safeway supermarket.

Jayson Allen Maglaya, 34, was also booked for parole violations.

The victim, a 33-year-old Truckee resident, was transported to Tahoe Forest Hospital by ambulance following the 5:30 p.m. incident. He had been stabbed twice.

His wounds don't appear to be life threatening at this time, according to a Truckee Police Department report.

July 16, 2012
Third fatality announced in Davis bus crash from last week

By Ravali Reddy
rreddy@sacbee.com

Mercy San Juan Hospital officials confirmed today that a second passenger involved in Wednesday's United Cerebral Palsy (UCP) bus crash died from her injuries on Friday. The driver of the truck that collided into the bus died at the scene.

Laura Sue Weiderholt, 48, of Woodland had been transported to Mercy San Juan Hospital by a California Highway Patrol (CHP) helicopter after the accident. A CHP news release said Weiderhold "suffered from multiple extremity injuries, including broken bones, and head trauma."

The first passenger to die in the crash was Sara Rae Johnson, 35, of Davis. Johnson worked as an assistant for UCP. Her cause of death is being reported as blunt force head, neck, and chest injuries.

July 15, 2012
2,000 firefighters battle Robbers fire in Placer County

By Loretta Kalb
lkalb@sacbee.com

The Robbers fire, which has consumed one home and three outbuildings in Placer County, has grown to 2,250 acres but remains 20 percent contained, the state Department of Forestry and Fire Protection reported today.

Nearly 2,000 firefighters from San Diego to Siskiyou County are battling the blaze, which is burning in areas that are remote, steep and overgrown with heavy brush and timber.

"Every afternoon when the temperatures heat up and get to their peak, the fire becomes very active," Berlant said. "That's when we see it making its run through some of these steep areas."

July 14, 2012
Colfax man arrested after short, high-speed chase in Truckee

By Barbara Barte Osborn
Bee Correspondent

A 21-year-old Colfax man was taken into custody Friday evening after he allegedly stole a vehicle and led officers on a short, high-speed chase in Truckee.

According to a news release from the Truckee Police Department, the man stole a utility truck from within the Coldstream Valley recreation area, which is part of Donner Memorial State Park.

When confronted by state parks police, the man refused to stop and led the parks police, joined by Truckee police units, on a chase, ramming the state parks police vehicle in the process, authorities said.

The suspect then rammed through a large gate at the Coldstream access point and entered Interstate 80.

The chase continued on I-80 for a short distance until the stolen vehicle became disabled -- either from the collision with the gate or spike strips deployed during the chase.

The man, whose name is not yet available, was taken into custody without further incident. The California Highway Patrol is investigating the incident.

July 14, 2012
Update: Robbers Fire burns first home

By Sam Stanton
sstanton@sacbee.com

The Robbers Fire in Placer County continued to grow today, destroying the first structures since it broke out Wednesday.

CalFire officials said the fire had burned one home and three outbuildings, although the could not say immediately where the burned structures had been.

Despite those losses, firefighters were making progress getting a handle on the blaze.
The fire had burned 1,950 acres by tonight and still was threatening 170 homes in areas near Iowa Hill, Foresthill and other communities. But CalFire officials said the fire containment had grown to 20 percent from only 10 percent on Friday night.

June 29, 2012
Butte County resident sentenced in Sacramento court in marijuana-growing conspiracy

By Denny Walsh

dwalsh@sacbee.com

Johnny E. "Jay" Grivette Jr., once a top lieutenant of Lawrence Leland "Lee" Loomis, alleged by the government to be a major fraudster who has yet to be charged, was sentenced Friday in Sacramento federal court to 4 1/2 months in prison and 4 1/2 months of home confinement on his guilty plea to a marijuana-growing conspiracy.

Grivette, 37, a Butte County resident, will remain free for at least the next three months while he continues his assistance in the government's investigation of Loomis, formerly of Granite Bay.

June 24, 2012
Police believe Folsom Lake corpse to be Mariposa County homicide suspect

By Dale Kasler
dkasler@sacbee.com

Folsom police said today they've found the corpse of a man believed to be a suspect connected to a homicide in Mariposa County.

The suspect was found dead in the Negro Bar area of Folsom Lake State Recreation Area following a manhunt that forced law enforcement officials to temporarily close the area.

Police said the body hadn't yet been identified, and it wasn't confirmed if the man was connected to the Mariposa case.

June 10, 2012
Among four killed in south Sacramento house were two Hmong spiritual leaders

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By Jacqueline Sahlberg and Andy Furillo
jsahlberg@sacbee.com and afurillo@sacbee.com

As Sacramento police investigators searched for clues into a shooting that left four dead inside a south Sacramento home late Saturday, many of the victims' relatives gathered a block away Sunday to wait for answers and to grieve.

Among the victims were a 50s couple whom a nephew described a shamans - spiritual elders - in the Hmong community.

More than 25 relatives huddled together in the shade of trees near the 7600 block of 18th Street off Meadowview Road where deputies responded to a fatal shootout around 10:40 p.m. Saturday.

June 7, 2012
Fish and Game investigating report of man trying to sell bear cubs

20120607_HA_CUBS4SALE0072.JPGBy Jacqueline Sahlberg
jsahlberg@sacbee.com

State Fish and Game is investigating a man who was allegedly trying to sell bear cubs at a Nevada County gas station on Wednesday.

After receiving a call on the CalTIP line, Fish and Game responded to a gas station in North San Juan where a caller reported that a man was trying to sell two bear cubs.

The man, who lives in North San Juan, told authorities he had shot the mother bear a couple days before in self-defense. He said he was trying to find a good home for the bear cubs.

April 27, 2012
Sacramento man arrested at Burlingame hotel for human trafficking

A Sacramento man was arrested Wednesday on pimping and human trafficking charges after beating and strangling a prostitute at a South San Francisco motel, police said.

The suspect, Marshaun Spencer Jourdan, allegedly questioned the woman's loyalty to him before attacking her Tuesday at a motel on Airport Boulevard.

Read the San Mateo Times story here.

April 18, 2012
Jury convicts Griffin in 2009 Folsom rape and murder case

By Andy Furillo
afurillo@sacbee.com

A Sacramento Superior Court jury today convicted Sylvester Griffin for the December 2009 asphyxiation murder and rape of Alice Lynn Murphy in her senior-living apartment in Folsom.

Judge Greta Curtis Fall scheduled the sentencing on Griffin, 43, for May 18. He is facing a life term with no chance of parole for the special-circumstance murder conviction.

Murphy, 64, was a long-time Sacramento area resident who spent 30 years in real estate. A friend of hers who was visiting for the holidays found her body the morning of Dec. 21, 2009.

April 17, 2012
Jury acquits one in gang shooting, hangs up on 2nd defendant

A Sacramento Superior Court jury today acquitted one reputed street gang member and failed to reach a verdict on a second in a retrial into an Oct. 12, 2008, shooting at a 65th Street mini-mart in which two rivals were injured.

Xavier Jeremiah Whitfield, 21, was found innocent of attempted murder charges by the panel in the so-called "Killa Mobb II" case in which two other men already have been convicted. But Whitfield was found guilty in another gang beating trial last year and is awaiting sentencing. Whitfield also is awaiting trial in a jail assault case. He was represented at trial by attorney Jon Lippsmeyer.

Jurors split 6-6 in the retrial of co-defendant Antonio Terrell Cornelius, also 21, and Judge Cheryl Chun Meegan declared a mistrial on his matter. Deputy District Attorney Jeff Hightower did not say whether his office intends to put Cornelius on trial a third time. Attorney Pete Kmeto represented Cornelius.

April 16, 2012
Sacramento judge orders release of alleged rape victim/witness

A 17-year-old alleged rape victim who has been held on a material witness warrant since March 23 was ordered released today by a Sacramento judge.

Superior Court Judge Lawrence G. Brown again apologized to the girl who sat and smiled at the attorneys' table today in contrast to the tears she sobbed in her last court appearance a week ago Friday.

Brown ordered that the girl be equipped with a global position system device to ensure that she appears at the scheduled April 23 trial for accused rapist Frank William Rackley Sr., 37.

April 12, 2012
Priest enters not guilty plea to molestation counts

Ojeda-thumbnail.jpegThe Rev. Uriel Ojeda, the Catholic priest accused of molesting girl when he worked at parishes in Woodland and Redding, entered a not guilty plea today in Sacramento Superior Court.

Judge John P. Winn then scheduled Ojeda's preliminary hearing for June 8. The hearing will determine whether Ojeda, 32, will stand trial on the seven molestation counts.

The complaint against Ojeda charges that he molested the girl, who was under the age of 14 at the time of all of the allegations, three times in Sacramento County and four times in Shasta County.

The alleged incidents occurred between June 29, 2007, and Aug. 30, 2009, while Ojeda was working at the Holy Rosary Parish in Woodland and at Our Lady of Mercy Parish in Redding.l

April 11, 2012
Judge gives dismemberment killer 50 to life

Sacramento Superior Court Judge Lloyd G. Connelly today sentenced Arthur Charles Carnes to 50 years to life in prison for the Nov. 18, 2007, shooting and dismemberment murder of Matthew Alan Seybert.

A jury convicted Carnes last month after a trial in which some of the key evidence against the defendant was a camera police found in his possession when he was arrested in Canada that contained pictures of Seybert's decapitated torso.

Authorities said Carnes killed Seybert because the 41-year-old victim was moving away from a ranch he had rented near Galt and where he was allowing Carnes to stay in a shed. Deputy District Attorney Kevin Greene argued that the move was going to leave Carnes homeless.

April 11, 2012
Robber killed pharmacy clerk from point blank range, DA says

A gunman on trial for murder shot and killed a North Highlands drug store clerk at nearly point blank range in a Sept. 2, 2010, during a robbery that exploded into a shootout with the son of the store owner, a prosecutor said today.

Kelvin Arnell Peterson, 43, is on trial for murder and other charges along with co-defendant Bernard Krungerrun Reed, 35, in the robbery and shooting that killed Tania Gurskiy, 27.

Deputy District Attorney Scott Triplett said Gurskiy and another employee ducked behind a counter when Derrick Okimoto, the son of the owner of the Rexall store on Watt Avenue and A Street in North Highlands, attempted to thwart the robbery attempt by pulling a gun on one of the men who had entered the pharmacy. The note demanded money and all of the pharmacy's OxyContin supply, Triplett said.

April 10, 2012
Firefighter testifies, 'I saw the skin on my hands was falling off'

Four Sacramento city firefighters testified today about smelling heavy gas and then being blown off their feet by an explosion prosecutors say was ignited by an Oak Park man who was upset with a neighbor over a billing dispute.

Three of the four firefighters wound up in the hospital with extensive burns to their hands and face with injuries they described as excruciatingly painful and that took weeks to heal.

"You could smell gas all the way up the street," firefighter Jeffrey Coats testified about the odor he and his fellow crew members whiffed when they drove up to the reported leak in the 3800 block of 25th Avenue the morning of July 5, 2010.

April 9, 2012
Trial under way in arson explosion that injured city firefighters

Testimony got under way in Sacramento Superior Court today in the trial of a man who is accused of setting his next door neighbor's house on fire in a suspected case of arson in which four city firefighters were injured.

Robert Durst, 46, is accused of arson, burglary, receiving stolen property and being an ex-con in possession of a gun in the July 5, 2010, fire and explosion on 25th Avenue in Oak Park. Authorities say Durst lit a candle and placed it next to a natural gas valve he had opened to full blast. They said he wanted to destroy the house because he performed some work for its owner but never got paid.

The trial is taking place in front of Judge Marjorie Koller.

April 2, 2012
2nd defendant in videotaped attack sentenced to year in jail

By Andy Furillo
afurillo@sacbee.com

The second of two defendants who assaulted a woman and posted a videotape of the attack on a hip-hop website was sentenced today to a year in county jail and five years probation.

Donnell Damone Wade, 19, who had pled guilty to committing a gang crime, will not be able to apply for an alternative sentencing program as a result of the term handed down to him by Sacramento Superior Court Judge Kevin J. McCormick.

Wade and co-defendant Rasaan Ali Zawadi, 21, slapped and punched the woman last Oct. 1 outside Eric's Donuts on Mack Road. Zawadi had previously been sentenced by McCormick to 240 days in jail and five years probation.

March 23, 2012
Gang associate who killed two at quinceanera in Galt gets 80-to-life

A gang associate who shot and killed two men at a quinceanera celebration in Galt three years ago was sentenced today to 80 years to life in prison.

Alfredo Daniel Tafoya, 21, received the term from Sacramento Superior Court Judge Greta Curtis Fall for the Nov. 28, 2009, killings of Carlos Montes, 24, and Efrain Zambrano, 20.

Taylor shot the men after a friend of his got involved in a disturbance at the party. The District Attorney's Office initially had filed two first-degree murder counts, but jurors could not reach a decision in their deliberations until after prosecutors reduced the charges to second-degree.

March 23, 2012
Judge lays stiff terms on convicted gang murderers

Two men convicted in the gang murder of an innocent south Sacramento teenager who was walking to his bus stop on Mack Road to go to school were sentenced today to stiff prison terms.

Sacramento Superior Court Judge Russell L. Hom imposed a life sentence with no chance of parole on Robert Maurice Hunt, 20, the gunman convicted of first-degree in the March 17, 2010 shooting death of Marque Alexander Johnson, 17. Hunt also received an additional 25-to-life term for use of the gun.

Hom sentenced co-defendant Kalief Raheem Taylor, also 20, who was convicted of second-degree murder, to a 40-to-life term. The sentencing on third defendant Marquice Devon Wallace was continued to April 13.

March 21, 2012
Opening statements delivered in Sierra Oaks molest trial

A prosecutor said today that six boys who were students at Sierra Oaks Elementary School will testify that former teacher Shane Adair Vicars molested them.

In her opening statements in the trial that got under way today in Sacramento Superior Court, Deputy District Attorney Shauna Franklin described the victims as "six little boys who loved and admired their teacher and their friend, Shane Vicars."

Vicars, 27, is charged with 22 counts of child molestation.

March 21, 2012
Jury awards $4 million to girls in molest case against SCUSD

A Sacramento Superior Court jury today awarded more than $4 million to the guardians of two girls who say they were sexually molested by a Sacramento City Unified School District physical education teacher.

Judge Alan G. Perkins immediately issued a stay on the entry of judgment until April 13, pending post-verdict motions expected to be filed with the close of the civil trial. Attorneys for the school district argued that the molestations never took place and that if they did, the district was not responsible.

The older of the two girls, identified in court papers as Jane Doe, was awarded $3.625 million. She said she was molested four times by P.E. teacher Abdol Hossein Mehrdadi at John H. Still K-8 School in the Meadowview area.

March 20, 2012
Doctor describes injuries suffered by rape-murder victim

A former forensic pathologist described in court today the injuries a 64-year-old woman suffered three years ago when she was raped and murdered in her senior-living apartment in Folsom.

Alice Lynn Murphy (pictured) died of "homicidal asphyxia," Dr. Elizabeth Albers testified, either from being smothered with her pillow or other bedding, or possibly from a chest compression. Murphy sustained two broken ribs in the fatal attack, as well as substantial bruising on her face, head, arms, legs, abdomen and on her side, Albers told a Sacramento Superior Court jury.

Albers testified in the second day of trial for Sylvester Griffin, 43, who is accused of murder, rape and burglary in the killing of Murphy, a one-time Sacramento County real estate agent. Murphy's body was found Dec. 21, 2009, in her residence at the Creekview Manor apartments in the 1700 block of Creekside Drive, near Mercy Hospital, in Folsom. Albers said Murphy could have been dead for as long as 36 hours.

March 16, 2012
Prison guard pleads no contest to phone smuggling conspiracy

A state correctional officer who took bribes from prisoners to smuggle cellphones into them at California State Prison, Sacramento, pleaded no contest Thursday to conspiracy charges.

Robert Chaiyarat was immediately sentenced by Sacramento Superior Court Judge Kevin J. McCormick to 90 days in county jail, $8,641 in restitution -- the amount of bribe money he took from the inmates -- and three years probation.

McCormick gave Chaiyarat the option of applying for the sheriff's electronic monitoring program as a sentencing option.

Chaiyarat said he needed the money because of a costly divorce, according to the District Attorney's Office. He has since resigned from the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation.

March 14, 2012
Whistleblower tentatively settles with Library; terms not disclosed

The whistleblower who uncovered the billing scandal at the Sacramento Public Library Authority that led to the criminal convictions of three people apparently has settled a retaliation lawsuit she filed against the agency.

Diane Boerman's case had been scheduled for trial Tuesday in Sacramento Superior Court. But the date was vacated, officials said, and the case was tentatively settled later in the day.

"Diane of course is very happy this is behind her," her attorney, Anthony J. Poidmire, of Roseville, said today. "It's been very stressful, even now."

March 12, 2012
Jury convicts Carnes in dismemberment murder

A Sacramento Superior Court jury today convicted Arthur Carnes IV of first-degree murder in the Nov. 18, 2007, shooting and dismemberment death of Matthew Alan Seybert.

It took the panel less than three hours of deliberations to convict Carnes, 40, who represented himself at trial.

Deputy District Attorney Kevin Greene said in his closing arguments that Carnes murdered Seybert, 41, when the victim was about to move from the rural property they were living on near Galt, which was going to leave the defendant homeless. Greene also said Carnes stole Seybert's ATM card.

Judge Lloyd G. Connelly scheduled Carnes' sentencing for April 11.

March 12, 2012
Woman gets 5 years for text-messaging in vehicular manslaughter case

A driver who caused a fatal traffic collision when she was text messaging behind the wheel on the freeway last year was sentenced today to five years in state prison.

Sequoia Monay Jones, 22, received the term for the Oct. 24 crash that knocked Robert Wilson, 64, of North Highlands, off his motorcycle and led to his death on the northbound Capital City Freeway near El Camino Avenue.

"Much has been said in recent years about the dangers of text messaging while driving," Sacramento Superior Court Judge Lawrence G. Brown told Jones at her sentencing. "And yet it persists. This case serves as a tragic precautionary tale. The defendant engaged in reckless and senseless behavior.

March 11, 2012
Man sought in domestic violence case

Woodland Police asked Sunday for help in finding 23-year-old Luis Eduardo Castellanos. He was being investigated in a domestic violence case in which he allegedly chased a 34-year-old woman, hitting her with a 2 X 4 board.

Police said the attack occurred shortly after 4 a.m. on Saturday. The woman's injuries were not life-threatening. Castellanos fled before police arrived.

Police Sgt. Steve Sexton said that during a search of the home where the two reside, authorities found a marijuana growing operation.

March 11, 2012
Woodland cops nab four suspects in cabbie beating case

By Loretta Kalb
lkalb@sacbee.com

Four teenagers were arrested early today and another suspect was sought in the early morning assault on a Woodland taxi cab driver.

Woodland Police said cab driver James Mooney, 46, picked up five people at 4:21 a.m. today from the 100 block of W. Elliot Street and drove them to the 2600 block of Garrett Way in Woodland.

When it came time to pay, Mooney told police, one of the five passengers grabbed a metal flashlight from the cab and struck him in the face with it. Mooney reported that all five individuals ran to a nearby residence.

March 9, 2012
Sacramento break-in killer gets 16-to-life

A man convicted of second-degree murder for stabbing a retired hairdresser to death three years ago was sentenced today to 16-years-to life in prison.

Robert Neal-Anderson, 25, received the term from Sacramento Superior Court Judge Michael A. Savage for the Oct. 2, 2009, killing of 60-year-old David Maxey,

According to evidence at trial, Anderson broke into Maxey's house and stabbed him in the carotid artery during what prosecutors believe was an attempt to steal the victim's hyrdrocodone pills.

March 9, 2012
Jury convicts woman of murder for setting up party shooting

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A Sacramento Superior Court jury today convicted Tamara Nicole Bassett of first-degree murder in her retrial for the the April 19, 2009, shooting death of Alison Joelle Freeseha at a party in Elk Grove.

The jury also convicted Bassett, who is now 26, on three additional attempted murder counts for the shootings of three men who attended the party in the early morning hours on Paseo Del Sol Way.

A jury last year failed to reach a verdict on Bassett's role in the shootings. The same jury convicted her boyfriend, Raymond Thomas Vigel, 23, of first-degree murder in the death of Freeseha, 25, and one attempted murder count. That panel could not reach verdicts on two other attempted murder counts against Vigel. He was convicted today on those charges.

March 8, 2012
Jury convicts man of murder in stabbing death of his grandfather

A Sacramento Superior Court jury today convicted Arondrei Abel-Bey of first-degree murder in the Jan. 18, 2011, stabbing death of his 83-year-old grandfather, Isaac Williams.

Abel-Bey, 34, had initially reported to police that his grandfather was killed during a burglary of the victim's home near 64th Avenue and Amherst Street. Abel-Bey testified in his own defense he had been under the influence of methamphetamine when he choked and stabbed his grandfather.

Judge Helena R. Gweon scheduled Abel-Bey's sentencing for April 13.

March 8, 2012
Mother and son theft suspects are nabbed in driverless getaway car

Yolo County Sheriff's deputies arrested a mother and son suspected of burglary after their driver bolted on foot, leaving them stranded in the back seat of a car at a West Sacramento auto parts store, authorities said.

The incident began at about 4:20 p.m. Monday when deputies responded to a report of car break-in near the Sacramento Weir on Old River Road, the sheriff's department said in a press release.

While deputies were en route, the woman whose car had been burglarized received a text message from her bank saying her ATM card was being used at a Shell station on West Capitol Avenue. The suspects had left the gas station by the time a deputy arrived, Sgt. Lance Faille wrote in the press release.

March 2, 2012
Judge sentences pastor to 158 years to life in molestation case

JV_030212_DANIELS 056A.jpgRio Linda Baptist Church Pastor Tommy Gene Daniels was sentenced to 158 years to life in prison today for molesting five little girls in a respite and child-care operation his family ran out of his Citrus Heights home.

In handing down the term to the 49-year-old Daniels, Sacramento Superior Court Judge Trena H. Burger-Plavan told the pastor he "took advantage of his position of trust and confidence with very young victims."

Daniels, exhibiting facial grimaces throughout the sentencing hearing, made no comment. He has continued to maintain his innocence. His attorney, Michael L. Chastaine, filed a motion for a new trial that the judge rejected. Chastaine said afterwards he intends to appeal the Dec. 8 verdict handed down by the Sacramento jury.

The five victims in the case were between the ages of 5 and 13 when Daniels touched them inappropriately while they were in his family's care in his Wapiti Place residence. The molestations took place in his house between December 2002 and August 2007.

One of Daniels' victims, who is now 12, began to read her victim's impact statement in the courtroom. She said the molestation "changed me forever." When the girl began to cry, her mother finished the statement where the young victim said she is "terrified of the dark" and has a recurring vision of a "blurred face with a creepy smile" where Daniels' "points at me as if to say, 'I'm coming for you.'"

"I've tried to forget what happened, but I have not been able to and probably will never be able to," the girl's statement said.

Photo caption: Tommy Lee Daniels listens as he is sentenced for the conviction of molesting five girls in his Citrus Heights home between 2003 and 2005 Sacramento, Calif. Photo by Jose Luis Villegas / jvillegas@sacbee.com

March 2, 2012
Prosecutors will not seek death penalty in slaying of baby, dad

A prosecutor announced in court today that the District Attorney's Office will not seek the death penalty against three defendants accused in a shooting in which a young father and his 7-month-old son were killed.

Deputy District Attorney Eric Kindall told Sacramento Superior Court Judge John P. Winn of the decision during a brief hearing for one of the defendants, Richard Noguera, 34. Noguera is the accused gunman in the Sept. 14, 2007 south area shooting that killed Sean Paul Aquitania, 21, and his 7-month-old son, Sean Aquitania Jr.

DA's officials were not immediately available earlier today to explain the decision.

March 1, 2012
Man arrested second time in two days after alleged threats at business

Collins Image.jpgA 37-year-old state correctional officer has been arrested for the second time in two days, accused of threatening employees at an Arden Arcade business.

Taurus Collins (pictured) was initially arrested Tuesday morning after Sacramento County sheriff's deputies received a call from an employee at West Coast Car Audio in the 2400 block of Arden Way. The caller reported that a customer was engaged in an argument with employees and had pulled gun and pointed it at them, said Deputy Jason Ramos, sheriff's spokesman

Deputies found Collins at the business in possession of a loaded firearm that was registered to someone else, Ramos said. Collins was arrested on suspicion of making threats to commit a crime that could result in death or great bodily injury and carrying a loaded firearm registered to someone else.

March 1, 2012
Judge sentences defendant in videotaped Sacramento beating

The man who slugged a mentally ill woman while mugging for a pal shooting a videotape in south Sacramento last year was sentenced today to 240 days in county jail and five years probation.

Sacramento Superior Court Judge Kevin J. McCormick imposed the term on Rasaan Ali Zawadi, 21, for the defendant's Feb. 9 plea to a single count of felony assault.

Zawadi, who is no longer in custody, had served 120 days after his arrest for the Oct. 1 filmed assault. McCormick gave him credit for 120 additional days.

McCormick also ordered Zawadi to stay three miles away from Eric's Donuts on Mack Road at Center Parkway. It was the site where he and co-defendant Donnell Damone Wade attacked the woman.

The judge gave Zawadi an additional 60 days on electronic monitoring for a separate case in which he was charged with possession of marijuana for sale.

Wade, 19, is scheduled to be sentenced by McCormick on March 23.


February 24, 2012
Appellate court schedules arguments over juror's Facebook posts

Nearly a year after it was ordered to revisit the matter, the California 3rd District Court of Appeal has scheduled oral arguments for next month on whether a juror has to turn over to a Sacramento court the Facebook postings he wrote about a case during the trial.

Presiding Judge Vance W. Raye Thursday issued the notice to the lawyers in the case, directing them to appear at the arguments he scheduled for March 23 in Sacramento.

February 23, 2012
Prosecution wrapping up retrial over Elk Grove party death

The prosecution is expected to rest its case today in the retrial of a 25-year-old woman accused of murder in the April 19, 2009, shooting death of Alison Joelle Freeseha at a party in Elk Grove.

A Sacramento Superior Court jury in January 2011 failed to reach a verdict in its deliberations in the case of Tamara NIcole Bassett. Her retrial is now under way in front of Judge Ernest W. Sawtelle.

The same jury last year convicted Bassett's co-defendant, Raymond Thomas Vigel, now 22, of first-degree murder. But it failed to reach verdicts on two attempted murder counts filed against him, and he also is being retried on those charges.

February 21, 2012
Sacramento woman to stand trial in baby's microwave death

A judge today ordered a woman to stand trial for murder on charges she burned her two-month-old baby to death by placing her in a microwave oven.

Sacramento Superior Court Judge Eugene Balonon also found evidence to support the special allegation filed by prosecutors that Ka Yang also tortured the baby. The allegation would guarantee Yang a life term in prison with no chance of parole if she is convicted. Prosecutors earlier agreed to not pursue the death penalty because Yang has no prior criminal record.

Yang, 30, is accused in the March 17 burning death of her infant daughter, Mirabelle Thao-Lo, in their home on Rood Avenue in the Robla neighborhood on the city's north side.

February 19, 2012
Sacramento police seek hit-and-run driver who struck pedestrian in crosswalk

A 45-year-old man was in critical condition in the hospital Sunday after he was struck in the crosswalk by a hit-and-run motorist at Stockton Boulevard this morning, the Sacramento Police Department reported.

Police said the incident occurred before 7 a.m. at Stockton Boulevard and Dias Avenue.

Investigators reported the car that hit the pedestrian was a newer model charcoal gray sedan, possibly a Honda., and that the driver is an Asian mail, 36-42 years old, medium build with "scruffy facial hair."

February 18, 2012
Missing Sacramento woman returns home

A Sacramento woman reported missing Friday has returned home, the Sacramento County Sheriff's Department said.

Donna Delgadillo, 43, left her home Friday afternoon and had been considered at risk because of her mental and emotional state.

Delgadillo "has returned home and is OK," said Deputy Jason Ramos, in a Sheriff's Department release.

No other details were provided.

February 17, 2012
Judge orders pair to stand trial in triple gang killing

Two reputed street gang members were ordered today to stand trial for murder in last year's shooting deaths of three bicyclists in Rancho Cordova.

Saul Isidro-Aucencio, 25, and Francisco Ignacio Delgado, 21, were held over by Sacramento Superior Court Judge Michael A. Savage for the Feb. 13, 2011, killings of Robert Corpos, 20, Richard Ward, 16, and Jamir Miller, 15.

The judge scheduled their trial for April 10.

February 17, 2012
Convicted murderer in 1991 Sacramento killings gets two life terms

A one-time Sacramento street gang member was sentenced to two life terms with no chance of parole today for the 1991 double killing of two men who were standing outside a club on Stockton Boulevard.

Sacramento Superior Court Judge Timothy M. Frawley imposed the term on Ricky Tran, 39, for the Oct. 25, 1991, drive-by shootings of Huy "Joey" Nguyen, 23, and Quon Anh Tran, 23, outside the Craven Club.

Tran was not arrested until January 2010 in Pennsylvania when his two children reported him to police for a domestic attack on their mother. Fingerprints taken from Tran in that arrest identified him as the suspect in the 1991 killing of the two innocent bystanders.

February 17, 2012
Judge sentences sex killer to life without parole

A man who murdered a woman in Rancho Cordova during a sexual assault last year was sentenced today to life in prison with no chance of parole.

Thumbnail image for rajneet.jpgDemetrius Shaffer, 33, also was sentenced to seven additional 15-to-life terms by Sacramento Superior Court Judge Maryanne G. Gilliard for another sexual attack on a second female victim.

"Mr. Shaffer has lived a predatory, perverted life," Gilliard said from the bench in sentencing Shaffer. "For that, he will spend the rest of his life behind bars."

Jurors last month convicted Shaffer for the sex killing of Rajneet Kor Singh, 37 (pictured). According to testimony at trial, he had met up with her in the early morning hours of Jan. 1, 2011, and the two of them then went to the Rancho's Club Casino on Folsom Boulevard.

Singh's body was discovered the same day about a block from the casino.

February 16, 2012
Update: Highway 99 crash south of Yuba City kills woman, 53

By Bill Lindelof

blindelof@sacbee.com

A 53-year-old woman died this morning in a head-on crash south of Yuba City.

A California Highway Patrol press release said that a 20-year-old woman was driving northbound on Highway 99 north of Messick Road about 6 a.m. when she fell asleep at the wheel and drifted toward the southbound lanes.

A car driven by the 53 year old woman traveling in the opposite direction tried to take evasive action and veered to the left into the center two-way left turn lane to avoid a crash. She was unable to avoid a collision and the two cars crashed head on.

An oncoming northbound car was unable avoid the collision and struck the crashed vehicles. Another car, heading southbound, also was unsuccessful in stopping and struck the car of the 20-year-old woman.

The woman initially hit head-on by the dozing driver died at the scene, according to the CHP.

The 20 year old, identified as Angela Elizabeth Mah, 20, of Concord, suffered a broken leg.

The drivers of the other two cars did not suffer major injuries.

February 16, 2012
Second man pleads no contest in videotaped attack

A second defendant pleaded no contest today to the videotaped attack on a mentally ill woman outside a south Sacramento donut shop.

Donnell Damone Wade, 19, entered his plea in front of Sacramento Superior Court Judge Timothy M. Frawley to a single count of participating in a gang-related event.

Under the terms of a plea deal, Wade will be placed on three years probation and can be sentenced to no more than a year in county jail. He has been in custody since Nov. 13. Wade is scheduled to be sentenced March 23 by Judge Kevin J. McCormick.

Another defendant in the case, Rasaan Ali Zawadi, 21, entered his no contest plea last week. Zawadi will be sentenced on March 1. Under the terms of his plea deal, Zawadi is expected to be placed on probation, ordered to stay away from the site of the attack and directed to obtain services for himself from the Alta Regional Center for the developmentally disabled. Zawadi also is expected to be sentenced to the four months he's already served in jail plus 60 more days of electronic monitoring.

February 16, 2012
Juries convict three of murder in 'Jack Day' killings

Two Sacramento Superior Court juries have found three defendants guilty of murder in the March 17, 2010, shooting death of Marque Alexander Johnson while he was walking to a bus stop in south Sacramento to go to school.

One of the juries came back today with a first-degree murder verdict against Robert Maurice Hunt, 20, and a second-degree conviction against Khalief Raheem Taylor, 19. The panel concluded that Hunt was the shooter in the killing of the 17-year-old Johnson.

On Tuesday, another jury found a third defendant, Marquice Devon Wallace, 20, guilty of first-degree murder. The panel also convicted Wallace of arson for setting fire to a street memorial put together by friends and relatives of Johnson at the site of his killing on Summersdale Avenue just south of Mack Road.

February 15, 2012
Sacramento jury returns second-degree verdict in quinceanera murders

A Sacramento Superior Court jury today convicted Alfredo Daniel Tafoya on two counts of second-degree murder in the shooting deaths of Carlos Montes and Efrain Zambrano at a Nov. 28, 2009, quinceanera celebration in Galt.

The jury had deliberated for four days and appeared unable to reach a verdict until Deputy District Attorney Eric Kindall announced this morning that prosecutors had amended the complaint against Tafoya to dismiss the first-degree murder charges as well as a special-circumstance allegation of multiple murders.

Tafoya, 20, faces a potential term of 80 years to life in prison at his scheduled March 23 sentencing in front of Judge Greta Curtis Fall. Defense attorney Pete Harned said after the verdict he will ask the judge to sentence Tafoya to a concurrent term of 40-to-life on the two second-degree murder convictions.

February 14, 2012
Standoff ends with arrest in Sacramento's Woodbine area

A standoff in the Woodbine area that started with a traffic stop and ended with a suspect holed up in a house concluded with the man surrendering peacefully to officers this evening.

The situation began at about 1 p.m. when Sacramento County Sheriff's deputies attempted to pull over a driver for a traffic violation near Meadowview Road and Amherst Street in the Meadowview area, authorities said.

They spotted what appeared to be a rifle or shotgun in his car. The man fled, leading pursuers on a chase for more than two miles. Near 24th Street and Yreka Avenue, he abandoned his car and fled. He holed up inside the house of a friend or relative, said Officer Laura Peck, Sacramento police spokeswoman.

February 14, 2012
Witnesses say alcohol involved in fatal Woodland crash

Witnesses have told Woodland Police that a woman involved in a single-car collision in Woodland had been drinking alcohol shortly before the crash that killed her Monday afternoon.

The driver, Vanessa Del Toro, 20, of Woodland, was driving a 1999 Range Rover through a residential area at speeds of about 80 mph, when police gave chase, authorities said.

The SUV struck a tree in front of a house in the 1600 block of College Street just after 4 p.m. Photos from the scene show the SUV partially wrapped around the large tree, its wheels lifted off the ground.

The Yolo County Coroner's office is awaiting the results of toxicology tests to determine Del Toro's blood alcohol level, police said in a news release.

Woodland police and the California Highway Patrol's Major Accident Investigation Team are investigating the accident.

Anyone with information is asked to call the Woodland Police Department at (530) 666-2411.

February 14, 2012
Defendant pleads no contest in videotaped assault on woman

One of two men arrested last year in the videotaped assault on a mentally ill woman outside a south Sacramento doughnut shop has pleaded no contest in the case.

Rasaan Ali Zawadi Jr., 21, entered his plea last Thursday on the date of his scheduled preliminary hearing.

A second suspect, Donnell Damone Wade, 19, remains in custody in lieu of $100,000 bail. Wade's preliminary hearing is scheduled for this Thursday.

The video was apparently filmed Oct. 1 by friends of Zawadi and Wade. It went viral a couple weeks later when it was posted on a hip-hop website.

The film depicts a man Sacramento police identified as Zawadi laughing while the camera shows the woman walking slowly back and forth in front of Eric's Donuts, which authorities have described as a some-time gang hangout on Mack Road at Center Parkway.

Zawadi is then shown slapping the woman once before running away while she gave chase.

The camera then picks up a man authorities identified as the 5-foot-9, 216-pound Wade, who hauls off with a left hook and knocks the woman to the pavement.

February 14, 2012
Charred body found by bicyclist at Discovery Park

Bill Lindelof

blindelof@sacbee.com

A charred body was found after a passing bicyclist summoned authorities this morning to Discovery Park.

The bicyclist initially thought the smoke he was seeing near the archery range off the Garden Highway was simply burning leaves.

He contacted authorities to put out the fire. Sacramento firefighters arrived and discovered the badly burned body, according to Officer Laura Peck, Sacramento Police spokeswoman. Police were called at about 6:30 a.m. to investigate.

The body could possibly be that of a woman, according to Peck.

February 10, 2012
Hearing delayed in south Sacramento barbershop killings; 7th suspect arrested

The preliminary hearing of six defendants accused of murder in the death of an innocent woman who was killed by a stray bullett during a shootout at a south area barbershop was delayed today due to a conflict on the part of one of the defense lawyers.

Meanwhile, it was disclosed in Sacramento Superior Court today that a seventh defendant has been arrested in the case. He is Ernest Burton Stoute, 28. According to jail and court records, Stoute was arrested Jan. 6 and charged three days later. His case is expected at some point to be joined with the other six defendants, attorneys said court today.

Deputy District Attorney Scott Triplett did not say what role Stoute might have played in the Dec. 14, 2010, shootout in which a stray bullet killed Monique Nelson, 30, as she wrapped her body across her 2-year-old son to protect him when the gunfire erupted. The boy had been strapped in his security seat in her sports utility vehicle.

February 9, 2012
Hung jury in Sacramento murder trial

A Sacramento Superior Court jury failed to reach a verdict today on three defendants accused of murder in the shooting death of a man who prosecutors say was targeted over a $16,000 win he had scored at a local Indian casino.

Judge Roland L. Candee then declared a mistrial in the case of Genneledward Miles Jr., 29, Derrick Dwayne Sam, 33, and Shannon Shorter, 35.

The jury, which deliberated for six days before it hung, had voted 11-1 for conviction.

The case against the three men was scheduled for a hearing on Feb. 17. Deputy District Attorney Andrew Smith said prosecutors will retry the case.


February 9, 2012
Judge holds to March 19 trial date in Davis 'sweethearts' case

In what could be a watershed moment in the Davis "sweethearts" murder trial, a judge today denied a motion by defense lawyers to delay the case to mid-June.

Jury selection is currently scheduled to begin on March 19 for defendant Richard Hirschfield, who is accused in the Dec. 20, 1980, stabbing deaths of UC Davis students John Riggins and Sabrina Gonsalves.

Defense attorneys Linda Parisi and Ken Schaller asked Sacramento Superior Court Judge Michael W. Sweet to move the case back to give them more time to nail down a commitment from a mitigation expert they intend to hire if the Hirschfield case proceeds to the death penalty phase.

February 9, 2012
Wire theft suspects nabbed by CHP along I-80

California Highway Patrol officers have arrested three suspects parked in an area near Cisco Grove that had been the site of wire thefts and equipment vandalism.

The suspects, all from North Highlands, were in possession of stolen copper wire and tools used for taking the wire.

Officers Schuyler Bell and Chris Crabtree found the trio early Tuesday morning in an area where several Caltrans electrical boxes for message signs had been vandalized.

February 7, 2012
Judge's reasons for imposing death penalty on Topete in deputy killing case

RP TOPETE FACE.jpgBy Hundson Sangree
hsangree@sacbee.com

A Yolo County judge sentenced Marco Antonio Topete to death this morning for the June 2008 assault-rifle slaying of Sheriff's Deputy Jose Antonio Diaz.

Yolo Superior Court Judge Paul K. Richardson called the weight of the aggravating circumstances in the case "simply enormous."

Topete, wanted on suspicion of DUI, led Diaz on a high speed chase with his infant daughter in the car. He stopped on an isolated dirt road, grabbed an assault rifie and took cover behind a house. Then he fired on the deputy, who had gone to check on the girl instead of pursuing Topete.

February 7, 2012
Yolo County Superior judge to sentence convicted cop killer today

By Hundson Sangree
hsangree@sacbee.com

A Yolo County judge is scheduled to sentence Marco Antonio Topete this morning for the assault-rifle slaying of sheriff's Deputy Jose Antonio Diaz in June 2008.

Jurors in the case recommended that Topete receive a death sentence. Judge Paul K. Richardson will decide whether to follow that recommendation, after ruling on yet another motion for a new trial by defense attorneys.

The hearing begins at 8:30 a.m. in Dept. 4 at the Woodland courthouse.

February 7, 2012
Jackknifed big rig cleared from I-5 near Elk Grove

Carlos Alcala

calcala@sacbee.com

A jackknifed semi truck has been cleared from where it was blocking northbound traffic on Interstate 5 near Laguna Boulevard, the California Highway Patrol reports

The truck driver lost control in the rain about a mile north of Laguna Boulevard at about 6:20 a.m., said Officer Rich Wetzel, CHP spokesman.

All lanes are now open, though the backup had stretched back into San Joaquin County, so it may take time for the traffic jam to clear.

No injuries or spilled cargo was reported.

February 7, 2012
Pickup hits, kills bicyclist on Highway 70 at Lake Oroville

Carlos Alcala

calcala@sacbee.com

A bicyclist riding on Highway 70 at Lake Oroville was killed Monday when he was hit by a pickup truck, California Highway Patrol officials reported.

The 22-year-old cyclist, who has not been identified, was crossing the West Branch Bridge over an arm of the lake in darkness at about 7:25 p.m.

According to witnesses, he was in a lane of traffic and not equipped with lights or reflectors.

The cyclist was struck by a 2012 Ford F350 driven by a motorist from Grants Pass, Ore.

The victim was pronounced dead at the scene.

February 7, 2012
RT bus crash on Watt Avenue blocking southbound lanes

Carlos Alcala

calcala@sacbee.com

A crash involving a Regional Transit bus is blocking southbound lanes on Watt Avenue at Winona Way in North Highlands.

The collision involved a Dodge Durango and Chevrolet HHR in addition to the bus.

Minor injuries are reported and the California Highway Patrol is on scene.

Drivers are advised to use alternate routes, including Roseville Road, to avoid the area of the accident.

February 3, 2012
No capital punishment in baby's microwave death

Sacramento prosecutors have decided not to seek the death penalty against a woman charged with murdering her 6-week-old daughter by putting her in a microwave oven.

Deputy District Attorney Chris Ore disclosed his office's decision at a brief hearing today for defendant Ka Yang in Sacramento Superior Court.

Ore, in an emailed statement, cited Yang's lack of criminal background among the factors that went into the office's decision against pursuing capital punishment.

February 3, 2012
Body found in American River is Oregon man

A body found in the American River beneath the Foresthilll Bridge has been identified as an Oregon man.

The Placer County coroner's office identified the man today as Peter Matthew Wynters, 30, of Newport, Ore. An autopsy revealed that Wynters died of injuries from jumping off the bridge, the coroner said in a written statement.

Wynters was found Tuesday by a hiker who reported seeing a body floating in the American River directly under the bridge, officials said.

February 3, 2012
Elk Grove running store burglarized

An Elk Grove running store was burglarized early this morning in the second break-in since November, a co-owner said.

Elk Grove police responded to an alarm at about 1:15 a.m. at The Running Zone, 8470 Elk Grove Blvd., Officer Christopher Trim said. Police found the front glass door smashed by a rock and the cash register stolen, he said.

"It appears to be a smash-and-go," Trim said.

The register had "less than $100," store co-owner Mimi Veiga said. Nothing else was taken, she added.

The Running Zone, at 8470 Elk Grove Blvd., suffered a similar burglary in late November, Veiga said. Owners plan to install video surveillance equipment, she added.

February 3, 2012
Redding parolee with toddler arrested in hit-and-run

Robert Davila

rdavila@sacbee.com
A parolee has been arrested in Redding after allegedly crashing his car into another vehicle and then fleeing with his toddler, who was riding with him, police said.

James Richard Atkinson Jr., 39, of Redding initially gave a false name when he was arrested Thursday, according to a written statement from the Redding Police Department. After learning his true identity, he was found to be on active state parole, officials said.

Officers also found his 2-year-old daughter in the vehicle with him, along with suspected methamphetamine and drug paraphernalia, the statement said. He was arrested on suspicion of felony child abuse, parole violation and hit and run.

Police said officers heading to a report of a reckless driver around 11 a.m. Thursday received another call about a vehicle that was hit by a car that failed to stop near Park Marina Drive and South Street in Redding.

The hit-and-run victim followed but lost sight of the suspect vehicle, a 2001 Suzuki Esteem, near Lake Boulevard and Boulder Drive. Officers found the vehicle in an apartment parking lot, where the hit-and-run victim arrived and identified the driver as the suspect, police said.

February 3, 2012
Man found dead after hit by UP train near Arden Way

A man was found dead after he was hit last night by a Union Pacific train on railroad tracks south of the Arden Way overpass, officials said.

Train workers reported they stopped the train after hitting an unknown object around 10:15 p.m. and found the body of an unidentified man, Sacramento police Sgt. Andrew Pettit said.

The victim was described as a black man, possibly in his 40s. The accident is being investigated by Union Pacific authorities, Pettit said.

February 2, 2012
Two arrested following raid on Citrus Heights pot dispensary

Steffany+Vilas.jpgRichard+Garland.jpgCitrus Heights police arrested two people today in connection with the operation of an illegal marijuana dispensary.

The arrests of Steffany Vilas (pictured, left), 27, and Richard Garland (right), 55, followed a lengthy investigation involving unlawful sales of marijuana, according to a Citrus Heights Police Department news release.

Detectives served search warrants at the dispensary and two private residences in Granite Bay and Roseville early this morning. During the investigation, they discovered evidence that indicated Vilas and Garland were profiting from the criminal sale of marijuana, according to the news release.

February 2, 2012
Update: Crash backs up traffic on southbound Interstate 5 at Arena Boulevard

All lanes are open and traffic is clearing up on southbound Interstate 5 at Arena Boulevard in Natomas, where a Toyota Corolla collided with a big rig, officials said.

The small car flipped over on its roof during the collision, which happened around 7 a.m. The driver reportedly was taken to a hospital with undetermined injuries.

Three lanes were closed and southbound traffic was backed up on Interstate 5 beyond the Highway 99 split for almost an hour before the road was cleared.

February 1, 2012
Highway chase from West Sacramento to Tracy ends in arrest

By Robert D. Dávila
bdavila@sacbee.com

The driver of a stolen commercial van was booked into Yolo County Jail after leading law enforcement officials on a highway chase from West Sacramento to the Tracy area, officials said.

Jeremy Allan Pratt of West Sacramento was arrested Tuesday night on suspicion of several felonies, including possessing stolen property and evading arrest, California Highway Patrol Officer Adrian Quintero said Wednesday.

Officials said the chase began around 5:45 p.m. Tuesday when an officer from the CHP's auto theft unit saw Pratt get behind the wheel of the parked commercial truck on Jefferson Boulevard in West Sacramento. The officer was investigating cases involving stolen commercial vehicles in West Sacramento when he spotted the van and found it was reported stolen.

February 1, 2012
Arson suspected in North Highlands house fire

By Robert D. Dávila
rdavila@sacbee.com

An explosion and fire that ripped through a North Highlands home early this morning were intentionally set, according to the Sacramento Metropolitan Fire District.

"We've confirmed it's arson," Assistant Chief Scott Cockrum said.

Crews were called at 2:45 a.m. today to a fire caused by a blast at a house in the 6500 block of Grattan Way, Cockrum said. Firefighters arrived to find flames and thick smoke coming from the house and signs of an explosion outside.

February 1, 2012
Standoff between Sacramento deputies, gunman ends at Florin area apartment

hearn.JPG
By Robert Davila
rdavila@sacbee.com

A standoff between Sacramento County sheriff's deputies and a gunman barricaded in a Florin area apartment ended late last night with the arrest of a suspect.

William Hearn, 29, was arrested around 11:30 p.m. Tuesday and booked into the Sacramento County main jail on suspicion of assault with a deadly weapon and an active felony warrant, officials said in a written statement.

Hearn was arrested at the Meridian Apartments after holding officers at bay for eight hours in a standoff that forced the evacuation of residents in the large complex at 7475 Stockton Blvd. A teenage girl who was with him in the apartement during the standoff was not injured.

January 31, 2012
Woman admits to vehicular manslaughter in motorcyclist death

A Sacramento woman pleaded no contest to vehicular manslaughter and hit-and-run driving Monday in the Oct. 24 death of a 64-year-old motorcyclist on the Capital City Freeway, according to Sacramento Superior Court online records.

Sequoia Monay Jones, 22, entered her plea in front of Sacramento Superior Court Judge Lawrence G. Brown, who scheduled her sentencing for March 12.

Driving a Volkswagen Beetle, Jones sideswiped Robert Wilson's motorcycle on the northbound freeway north of El Camino Avenue. Wilson was knocked off the motorcycle in the 8:50 p.m. collision and then struck by another vehicle.

Jones, who fled the scene of the crash, has remained in custody since her arrest two days after the collision.

January 30, 2012
Galt 'quinceañera' double murder trial begins in Sacramento

Several cameras captured the chaos and in one instance the actual shooting death of one of two men who were killed when gunfire broke out at a quinceañera celebration in a Galt ballroom two years ago, a prosecutor said today.

In his opening statement in the murder trial of Alfred Daniel Tafoya, Deputy District Attorney Eric Kindall showed jurors still photographs from the Nov. 28, 2009, party at the Estrellita Ballroom on C Street where Carlos Alonso Montes, 24, and Efrain Zambrano, 20, were shot and killed.

The pictures showed Tafoya, who is now 20, walking across the ballroom's dance floor approaching the area where a fight had broken out between a friend of his and other people who were at the party. Kindall said that Tafoya's friend was wearing a blue baseball cap emblematic of his affiliation with a Sureno street gang faction.

January 28, 2012
Suspect in Galt burglary expected to survive, be charged

By Carlos Alcalá
calcala@sacbee.com

A suspected burglar shot Friday by a Sacramento County Sheriff's deputy is expected to survive, an official said Saturday.

The man will not be identified until he is released from the hospital and booked by the Sheriff's Department, according to Deputy Jason Ramos, spokesman for the department.

The incident took place around 2 a.m. Friday, when deputies were summoned to a burglary alarm call at It's a Grind coffeehouse on Twin Cities Road in Galt.

Officers had entered the business to investigate, and the burglar was shot in the store while running toward the door where a deputy was standing, law enforcement officials told reporters.

He was believed to be armed with a hammer and did not respond to shouts to show his hands, according to the officials.

Gunfire struck the suspect in his upper and lower body.

A second suspect, George Jett, 22, was arrested after he was found hiding under a recreational vehicle in the area.

Call The Bee's Carlos Alcalá, (916) 321-1987.

January 28, 2012
Sacramento traffic check results in 4 arrests, 56 tickets

By Carlos Alcalá
calcala@sacbee.com

Sacramento police officers conducting a traffic checkpoint overnight Friday and early Saturday arrested four people on suspicion of driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol.

Officers contacted 917 vehicles during the operation, which was held at 24th Street and Fruitridge Road.

They screened 59 drivers for license violations, issued 56 citations and had 21 vehicles towed.

The four arrests were the result of screening six drivers for possible impaired driving.

January 25, 2012
Arraignment set on suspect in park superintendent's slaying

An arraignment has been scheduled for Thursday at 1:30 p.m. on the suspect who was arrested in the Monday morning shooting death of Cordova Recreation and Park District superintendent Steve Ebert.

The suspect, Dupree Pierre Barber, 47, will appear in Sacramento Superior Court in front of Judge Lawrence G. Brown.

No complaint had been filed as of late this morning, according to the court system's online records.

January 23, 2012
Judge allows parts of suicide note in UC Davis "sweethearts" murder case

A judge today ruled that portions of a suicide note written by Richard Hirschfield's dead brother can be used against the defendant who is accused in the 1980 sex murders of UC Davis sweethearts Sabrina Gonsalves and John Riggins.

"I was there," the defendant's brother, Joseph Hirschfield, wrote in a note he authored before killing himself in 2002, the day after Sacramento sheriff's homicide detectives questioned him the Gonsalves and Riggins case.

Sacramento prosecutors hope Joseph Hirschfield's admission, combined with other evidence that he lived close by where the victims bodies were found in the Lake Natoma area, will help convince jurors his brother also was at the scene of the killings. The D.A.'s office claims that DNA from a semen stain retrieved from a blanket in Riggins' van matches Richard Hirschfield.

Deputy District Attorney Dawn Bladet also sought to introduce portions of the suicide note where Joseph Hirschfield claimed his brother killed the teen-aged college couple. Sacramento Superior Court Judge Michael W. Sweet excluded that portion of the note from trial.

Hirschfield's lawyers sought to exclude the entirety of the note on grounds it is inadmissable hearsay. The judge ruled that the selected portions of the note qualified to be shown to the jury as exceptions to the hearsay rule.

Defense attorney LInda Parisi said she and her co-counsel, Assistant Public Defender Ken Schaller, may appeal Sweet's ruling. It is not expected that such an appeal would further delay the trial now scheduled for March 19.

January 20, 2012
Judge reschedules sentencing in library kickback scheme

A judge hit with several late sentencing motions in the Sacramento library corruption scandal today postponed his imposition of the terms on the three defendants convicted in the case.

Sacramento Superior Court Judge Allen H. Sumner rescheduled for next Friday the sentencing of the library's former facilities director Dennis Nilsson, former security chief James Mayle and Mayle's wife, Janie Rankins-Mayle.

The three were convicted in a kickback scheme on outsourced maintenance contracts that purportedly looted the library of $780,000 from 2004 to 2007.

Deputy District Attorney Mike Blazina is seeking terms of 18 years and four months on Nilsson and 11 years and four months on the Mayles.

Nilsson is seeking a reduced term from the D.A.'s proposal while the Mayles are asking for probation.


January 20, 2012
Man who murdered girlfriend with hammer gets 26-to-life

Curtin-cropped.jpgA man who murdered his girlfriend by hitting her 10 times in the head with a hammer and then stuffing a sock in her mouth was sentenced today to 26 years to life in prison.

Donald Joseph Fernandes, 37, received the term after his conviction in November for the murder of Karen Ann Curtin, 50 (pictured).

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January 18, 2012
Shaffer guilty of murder in Rancho Cordova sex killing

A Sacramento jury today convicted Demetrius Shaffer of murder in last year's sex killing of Rajneet Kor Singh.

The Superior Court panel also found Shaffer guilty on seven other counts of sexual assault on a second victim in an attack that took place on Thanksgiving Day 2010.

Judge Maryanne G. Gilliard scheduled the sentencing on the 32-year-old defendant for Feb. 16.

January 18, 2012
Man, serving life for one murder, admits to a second killing

A man already serving life without parole on one murder conviction pleaded guilty Tuesday to another murder he had previously committed.

Langimaa Faulolo, 29, entered his plea in Sacramento Superior Court in the Jan. 11, 2004, attempted drug robbery stabbing death of 17-year-old Eddie Heydaragha in Citrus Heights. Faulolo is scheduled to be sentenced Feb. 15 by Judge Marjorie Koller.

A second defendant, Benjamin Philmath Taholo, 33, last year pleaded no contest to manslaughter charges and was sentenced to six more years in state prison -- on top of the life term with no chance of parole he also was serving already.

Faulolo and Taholo both were convicted in 2007 in the robbery murder of Danny Johnson, 21. The Johnson killing took place about three months before Heydaragha was slain.

January 17, 2012
Jury begins deliberations in Rancho Cordova sex killing

Jurors began deliberations today in the rape-murder trial of Demetrius Shaffer who is charged in the New Year's Day 2011 strangulation death of Rajneet Kor Singh in Rancho Cordova.

Shaffer, 33, also is charged with seven additional sexual assault charges on a second victim.

Deputy District Attorney Thienvu Ho told a Sacramento Superior Court jury that Shaffer raped and killed Singh when she refused his sexual advances after he had given her methamphetamines and gambling money. Her body was found about a block away from the Rancho's Club Casino on Mills Park Drive and Folsom Boulevard.

Assistant Public Defender Michael Nelson said a jealous boyfriend killed the 37-year-old victim.

January 13, 2012
Jury selection in Davis 'sweethearts' case set for March 19

With rulings pending on two key motions, jury selection for the Davis "sweethearts" murder trial is now tentatively scheduled to begin on March 19.

Sacramento Superior Court Judge MIchael W. Sweet today scheduled hearings for later this month to resolve two of the stickier issues in the case against defendant Richard HIrschfield.

The judge is expected to rule in a hearing set for Jan. 23 on whether prosecutors can admit a suicide note written by the defendant's brother, Joseph HIrschfield. In the note, Joseph Hirschfield said he was at the scene of the killings 30 years ago of UC Davis students John Riggins and Sabrina Gonsalves at a ravine near Lake Natoma. The brother also said in the note that Richard HIrschfield killed the couple.

January 12, 2012
Man gets 12 years in stabbing death of co-worker in Elk Grove

A man who pleaded no contest to voluntary manslaughter in the stabbing death of a co-worker in Elk Grove was sentenced Wednesday to 12 years in state prison.

Patrick S. Koenig, now 27, entered his plea Dec. 8 to the Sept. 14, 2009, killing of Eric Williams Lange, 27, of Vacaville. The stabbing took place at the Extended Stay Hotel on Longport Drive where the two men were both employed.

Sacramento Superior Court Judge Lawrence G. Brown imposed the term on Koenig.

January 11, 2012
Murder trial begins in 2008 torture killing

Attorneys delivered their opening statements today in a murder trial over the torture killing of a Sacramento man three years ago.

Defendants Derrick Dwayne Sam, 33, Genneledward Miles Jr., 29, and Shannon Raymond Shorter, 35, are on trial for the Dec. 19, 2008, shooting death of Timothy Brodie, 30, who was killed in an apartment complex on Laurelhurst Drive in Rancho Cordova.

According to police and prosecutors, Brodie had won $16,000 at an Indian casino prior to his death. They said Brodie knew Sam through a marijuana growing and distribution ring they operated together. An autopsy showed that Brodie had been beaten in his legs and on his head before he was shot and killed while trying to escape.

December 28, 2011
South Sacramento area man sentenced to 16 years to life for killing wife

A south area man who stabbed his wife to death in what his lawyer described as a psychotic break spawned by post traumatic stress disorder was sentenced today to 16 years to life.

Sy Choy Saeteurn, 66, had pleaded no contest to second-degree murder in the fatal Dec. 8, 2010 attack on his wife of 40 years, Muang Saeteurn, 60.

Saeteurn also was found not guilty by reason of insanity to endangering his then-10-year-old daughter who escaped the family's Pinot Noir Way residence and reported to authorities her father's knife assault on her mother.

December 25, 2011
Metal thief steals church's cornerstone bronze plaque

By David Siders
dsiders@sacbee.com

A thief on Christmas Eve stole the bronze plaque from a church's cornerstone, the church's pastor said Sunday.

The Rev. Jeanie Shaw of Northminster Presbyterian Church said the plaque was ripped off the wall of the church, near Del Paso Country Club, sometime Saturday. It marked the construction of the church's sanctuary in 1965.

"It's a very sad thing on Christmas Eve to lose the physical cornerstone of our church," she said.

Increasing demand and rising prices have led to spate of thefts of copper, bronze and other metals, authorities say.

December 25, 2011
Woman robbed at knifepoint on Christmas Eve

Woodland police are investigating the robbery of a 63-year-old woman shortly before 9 p.m. on Christmas Eve at the local Target store.

The victim said a man approached her in the parking lot, threatened her with a knife and ordered her to turn over her purse, police said.

Her purse had her ID, credit cards and a small amount of cash, the department reported.

Police said the suspect is white or Hispanic, 20-25 years old, 5-foot-8, thin build, wearing a stocking cap, a dark coat with a belt, and dark colored pants.

-- Bee staff

December 20, 2011
Fairfield vice principal sentenced for molesting boys in home

By Andy Furillo
afurillo@sacbee.com

The vice principal of a Fairfield elementary school was sentenced to eight years in state prison today on his conviction for molesting two juvenile male relatives in his North Highlands home.

Christopher Vargas, 39, had served at Cleo Gordon Elementary School in the Fairfield school district.

Sacramento Superior Court Judge Roland L. Candee imposed the term on Vargas despite a recantation by one of the victims at today's sentencing that his molestation ever took place.

December 20, 2011
Stroke-impaired murder defendant sent to Napa State Hospital

By Andy Furillo
afurillo@sacbee.com

A Sacramento judge today ordered a stroke-impaired man accused of murder in a 1980 killing to be transferred to Napa State Hospital.

Sacramento Superior Court Judge Gary S. Mullen last month found defendant Robert Blockton, who turns 59 on Wednesday, incompetent to stand trial in the Nov. 3, 1980, stabbing death of 22-year-old Charles Redmond, whose body was found in Miller Park.

December 20, 2011
Molestation case against principal delayed until February

MC_CREATIVE_04A.jpgBy Sam Stanton
sstanton@sacbee.com

Robert Adams returned to court this morning in the molestation case the former Citrus Heights principal faces, but there are few signs that the matter will be decided anytime soon.

The case was pushed back to Feb. 24, although Adams' attorney, Linda Parisi, said she now has most of the discovery materials prosecutors gathered as evidence during the investigation into activities at Creative Frontiers School and that she can begin a serious evaluation of it.

Adams, accused of molesting students at his private school over the course of years, has denied the allegations, which led to the closure of the school in July.

December 19, 2011
Library official and wife convicted in kickback scheme

The former security chief of the Sacramento Public Library and his wife were both convicted of grand theft and bribery today in connection with a billing scheme in which they and a third defendant split an estimated $780,000.

A Sacramento Superior Court jury returned the verdicts against James E. Mayle and his wife, Janie Rankins-Mayle, who ran a company that handled billing for the library system on maintenance projects.

James Mayle also was convicted of conflict of interest.

December 19, 2011
Priest's bail review motion delayed amid suggestion of flight risk

Uriel Ojeda.JPGA bail review motion scheduled for today on a Catholic priest accused of child molestation was put off until Jan. 5 amid suggestions he may be a flight risk.

The Rev. Uriel Ojeda, 32, who served in parishes in Woodland and Redding, is accused in seven counts of molesting a girl under the age of 14. The criminal complaint filed against him said the acts took place between June 28, 2007, and Aug. 30, 2009.

Ojeda's attorney, Jesse Ortiz, asked for the delay in order to obtain his client's personnel records from the Sacramento archdiocese.

December 17, 2011
Sacramento cops arrest suspects with socks on their hands

By Carlos Alcala

calcala@sacbee.com

This time of year, hands are often covered for the cold and screwdrivers are often used to put toys together, but police arrested two people in North Natomas Friday morning, thinking they had something else in mind.

Police reported that an unspecified number of subjects, including at least one juvenile, were seen ringing doorbells in the area of Duckhorn and Saintsbury drives.

The subjects had socks on their hands and screwdrivers in their pockets, according to police.

One adult and one juvenile were arrested on suspicion of prowling and possession of burglary tools.

December 17, 2011
Sacramento parolee arrested with Japanese throwing star

By Carlos Alcala

calcala@sacbee.com

Sacramento police arrested a man early this morning, after he was discovered to be a parolee in possession of a Japanese throwing star.

Police conducted a traffic stop at Franklin Boulevard and 26th Avenue around 12:30 a.m. this morning.

The driver, Tom Vang, 27, was on parole.

Police said he was in possession of a "shuriken," a concealed weapon that comes in various shapes, and may be used for throwing, stabbing or slashing.

Vang was taken into custody.

December 17, 2011
Olivehurst man killed in Highway 99 accident near Sacramento-Sutter county line

By Carlos Alcala

calcala@sacbee.com

A 22-year-old Olivehurst man was killed Friday, just before midnight, when he lost control of his car on Highway 99, a few miles north of the Sacramento-Sutter county line, the California Highway Patrol reported.

Witnesses told CHP the car was traveling north at a high rate of speed when it drifted onto the shoulder and then partially back onto the highway before overturning several times.

The driver, identified as Jesus Estrada-Vasquez, was not wearing a seatbelt and was thrown from the car.

The car came to rest on the driver, partly in a southbound lane of Highway 99.

Estrada-Vasquez was pronounced dead at the scene.

Alcohol and/or drugs are believed to be factors in this crash.

December 16, 2011
Man faces prison after pleading guilty to purported anti-gay attack

A 30-year-old man pleaded guilty Thursday to felony battery charges in an attack outside an Elk Grove bowling alley that police had labeled a hate crime, according to online court records.

Joel Baltazar Olivarez faces a maximum term of four years in state prison when he is sentenced Jan. 27 by Sacramento Superior Court Judge Steve White for the beating in the parking lot of the Strikes Family Entertainment Center.

Detectives have said Olivarez confronted Seth Parker, 26, of Sacramento on the night of June 5. Olivarez allegedly punched Parker in the face during an argument, then fled with a companion. Parker suffered facial fractures.

Elk Grove police characterized the beating as a hate crime because Olivarez directed an anti-gay remark at his victim.

December 16, 2011
Drunken driver pleads no contest to vehicular manslaughter

A drunken driver whose car crash led to the death of a 19-year-old Rocklin man pleaded no contest Thursday to vehicular manslaughter.

Jacinto Roy Mendoza, 21, is scheduled for a Jan. 26 sentencing by Sacramento Superior Court Judge Lawrence G. Brown for the death of Matthew Jacob George.

Mendoza is facing a 10-year state prison term with a promise of getting half of his time off if he behaves in prison, according to his attorney, Larry Pilgrim.

Pilgrim said Mendoza on Aug. 13 had taken light rail and walked to Paradise Beach where he met up with a crowd of young people who had gathered at the popular American River party spot near Sacramento State.

According to Pilgrim, Mendoza, after a day of drinking, agreed to drive when the crowd left the river. He then crashed on Highway 50.

George, who was riding in the trunk of the car, was ejected from the vehicle. Authorities said his body was found the next day in a field beneath the freeway.

Mendoza registered a .15 blood-alcohol level in a reading taken several hours after the crash, Pilgrim said.
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December 14, 2011
Jury convicts one-time gang member in 1991 double murder

A jury convicted a one-time Sacramento street gang member today on a 1991 double murder that took place outside a Stockton Boulevard club.

The verdict came back against Ricky Tran, now 38, for the Oct. 25, 1991, drive-by shooting deaths of Huy "Joey" Nguyen, 23, and Quon Anh Tran, 23, outside the Craven Club.

Deputy District Attorney Sean Laird described the two men who were killed as innocent bystanders who were not involved in street gangs.

December 14, 2011
2nd jury deliberates in Sacramento library kickback scheme

By Andy Furillo
afurillo@sacbee.com

A second Sacramento Superior Court jury began deliberations today on two more defendants in the library corruption scandal that already has produced one conviction.

Deputy District Attorney Mike Blazina concluded his rebuttal arguments this morning before Judge Allen H. Sumner ordered the jury to begin deliberations.

Attorneys Stan Kubochi and Robert J. Saria finished their closing arguments Tuesday on behalf of their respective clients, former library security chief James E. Mayle and his wife, Janie Rankins-Mayle. She handled contracts for the companies that did maintenance work for the system that includes 27 branches as well as the downtown library.

The Mayles are accused in a kickback scheme that authorities say padded 1,400 invoices by a total of more than $730,000 over a three-year period.

Another jury in the same trial returned a conviction last week on all 16 counts filed against former library facilities director Dennis Nilsson.

December 13, 2011
Man who bit snake pleads no contest

A man who took a couple of bites out of python earlier this year has pleaded no contest to animal cruelty charges, according to Sacramento Superior Court records.

David Elmer Senk, 54, entered his misdemeanor plea Thursday in front of Judge Marjorie Koller, who sentenced him to 60 days in jail.

Senk was arrested Sept. 1 in the 3600 block of Marysville Boulevard. Animal control authorities said after his arrest that the python had been stitched up and was expected to recover.


December 13, 2011
Man pleads no contest to manslaughter in '09 stabbing death

A man accused of killing another man in a knife fight in Elk Grove two years ago has pleaded no contest to manslaughter charges in Sacramento Superior Court.

Patrick S. Koenig, now 27, entered his plea Thursday in front of Judge Lawrence G. Brown, who scheduled the sentencing for Jan. 4.

Koenig had been accused of murder in the stabbing death of Eric William Lange, 27, of Vacaville, at a motel where they both worked.

Authorities said the two had engaged in an alcohol-fueled fight that ended with Lange's death. Koenig also sustained stab wounds in the altercation at the Extended Stay Hotel on Longport Drive, according to Elk Grove police.

December 9, 2011
Judge hands life terms to three convicted of south Sacramento murder

Three convicted murderers were sentenced today to life in prison with no chance of parole for a drug-related shooting death in south Sacramento three years ago.

Sacramento Superior Court Judge Michael A. Savage imposed the terms on Brandon Theodore Morton, 25, Anthony Arturo Medina, 23, and David Whitehead, 21.

The three were convicted in the May 5, 2008, killing of Jason Fletcher, 35, on Brookfield Drive at Franklin Boulevard.

December 9, 2011
Inmate gets 45-to-life in cell killing of brother's murderer

A man convicted of murder in the prison killing of a cellmate who had killed his brother was sentenced today to 45 years to life in prison.

Sacramento Superior Court Judge Michael A. Savage imposed the term of Roberto Canchola Jr., 39, for the Sept. 20, 2004, strangulation and beating death of Julian Joseph Barajas Jr., 27.

Canchola and Barajas had been celled together at California State Prison, Sacramento, even though Barajas had been incarcerated on a life term with no chance of parole for the 1993 murder of Canchola's younger brother.

December 9, 2011
Change of venue denied in Davis 'sweethearts' murder trial

A judge today denied a motion by defense attorneys in the Davis "sweethearts" murder case to have the trial moved out of Sacramento County.

Sacramento Superior Court Judge Michael W. Sweet said that the defense's own expert said in a declaration that there hasn't been enough publicity in the case to prejudice potential jurors.

The judge delayed issuing a ruling on a motion by prosecutors to bring into the trial a suicide letter written by defendant Richard Hirschfield's brother.

December 9, 2011
Sacramento jury convicts library official in bill-padding scheme

A Sacramento Superior Court jury today convicted a former Sacramento Public Library official on 16 counts related to a bill-padding scheme that cost county taxpayers more than $730,000.

The panel found Dennis Nilsson, 65, the library authority's former facilities director, guilty of grand theft, bribery and conflict of interest.

Sheriff's officials took Nilsson into custody immediately after the jury's verdict.

Prosecutors say Nilsson was at the center of an operation where a billing service paid $562,000 to contractors out of the $1.3 million it received on 1,400 work orders from April 2004 through July 2007.

A second jury in the case will hear closing arguments next week in the trial of two other defendants in the case. They are the library's former security supervisor, James E. Mayle, 66, and his wife, Janie Rankins-Mayle, 62. Rankins-Mayle set up the billing service that handled the payments to the contractors.

December 8, 2011
Chat with Sacramento Police Chief Rick Braziel online Monday

By Sam Stanton
sstanton@sacbee.com

Sacramento Police Chief Rick Braziel will be taking reader questions Monday on sacbee.com from 11 a.m. to noon as part of The Bee's monthly series of live chats with area law enforcement leaders.

If you've got a question for the chief, please leave it here in the comments section and return to sacbee.com/sacto911 at 11 a.m. Monday, when Chief Braziel will be in our newsroom responding to reader questions.

December 7, 2011
Four injured inmates released, fifth admitted to hospital after New Folsom riot

ambulance_folsom.jpg

By Kim Minugh and Sam Stanton
kminugh@sacbee.com

Four inmates injured during a riot at California State Prison-Sacramento this afternoon have been released from hospitals, and a fifth has been admitted, according to authorities.

Earlier, prison officials said at least nine inmates had been injured. This evening, prison spokesman Sgt. Tony Quinn said he did not yet have information about the status of the other four injured inmates.

He also said officials have not yet determined how many inmates were stabbed, how many were shot by correctional officers and how many suffered blunt force trauma injuries during the riot, which began on the prison yard about 12:30 p.m., Quinn said.

Correctional officers used pepper spray, rubber bullets and rounds from Mini 14 rifles to quell the fight involving about 50 inmates, officials told The Bee earlier today. This afternoon, officials found five inmate-made weapons on the yard where the riot occurred, Quinn said.

They stopped combing the yard when the sun went down, and they will resume their search tomorrow, Quinn said.

Paramedics from Folsom, El Dorado County and Sacramento County were summoned to the scene to transport inmates, who went to various hospitals in the region.

Photo caption: An ambulance leaves California State Prison, Sacramento after a riot there on Wednesday afternoon. Video caption: New Folsom prison Public Information Officer Tony Quinn talks to the media about a riot at the prison on Thursday involving about 50 inmates. Photo and video by Randy Pench / rpench@sacbee.com

December 7, 2011
Transient convicted for crime spree that began in Placer County

mcmahon dillon j.jpgBy Ed Fletcher
efletcher@sacbee.com

Sometimes being kind to strangers can backfire.

That's the unfortunate lesson two Placer County women learned in April when a homeless Auburn man stole their cars after asking for help.

The three-day crime spree by James McMahon, 22, concluded with the attempted murder of an 81-year-old man with a tire iron and a high-speed car chase through Yuba County, said Dave Tellman, Placer County's supervising deputy district attorney.

December 6, 2011
Priest's bail review hearing delayed until Dec. 19

By Andy Furillo
afurillo@sacbee.com

A bail review hearing on a popular Catholic priest accused of child molestation was rescheduled today for Dec. 19.

The Rev. Uriel Ojeda's attorney, Jesse Ortiz, asked for the continuance so that he could review additional reports in the case.

Ojeda, 32, is accused on seven counts of lewd and lascivious acts with an underage girl. She was 14 when the contact began, authorities said. The offenses took place over the next two years, according to investigators.

December 3, 2011
U.S. marshals arrest fugitive in Sacramento in connection with Stockton ambush killing

U.S. Marshals arrested a fugitive Friday who had been sought in connection with an ambush killing in Stockton in July, according to a press release from the Marshals Service.

Members of the Pacific Southwest Regional Fugitive Task Force surrounded Eric Mathew Tabin, 23, as he attempted to enter a gun store in the 2300 block of Fruitridge Road at about 5:30 p.m.

Tabin is suspected of having lured two people to an apartment complex in Stockton July 19, where a second suspect ambushed them and shot them with an automatic handgun.

The suspect wielding the gun was arrested, but Tabin escaped.

One victim died and the other was critically injured,

The Fugitive Task Force learned that Tabin would be attempting to buy a semiautomatic handgun at the South Sacramento dealer and conducted a sting to arrest him.

He was taken into custody without incident and was booked in San Joaquin County Jail.

December 1, 2011
UPDATE: Priest booked into Sacramento jail on suspicion of child molestation

uriel_ojeda.jpgBy Loretta Kalb and Bill Lindelof
lkalb@sacbee.com

The Rev. Uriel Ojeda, a young priest lauded for his work in the community and for his aid to the poor, faces arraignment Friday in a Sacramento courtroom on multiple counts of molesting a 14-year-old girl.

The 32-year-old priest surrendered to authorities Wednesday night after members of the Diocese traveled to Redding and brought him back to Sacramento.

He is being