The blog can now be found at: http://www.sacbee.com/crime/
The RSS feed for the blog is now at: http://www.sacbee.com/crime/index.rss
Please come see us in our new home.
The blog can now be found at: http://www.sacbee.com/crime/
The RSS feed for the blog is now at: http://www.sacbee.com/crime/index.rss
Please come see us in our new home.
Troy Anthony Hensley (pictured), 38, pleaded to charges including unlawful sexual intercourse with a minor. The charges represent his conduct during the length of the relationship, and conduct that occurred in Yolo and Solano counties, according to a Yolo County District Attorney's office news release. Based on the plea, all other counts against Hensley will be dismissed and he will be placed on a grant of felony probation.
Hensley began the relationship with the victim while she was still in high school, authorities said. She was an employee under Hensley's supervision at Bud's Pub and Grill in Dixon. She was 17 and Hensley was 37 when the relationship began, and it continued until after the victim was 18 years old.
By Darrell Smith
Police say the gas leak and attempted arson at a Davis fraternity house early Sunday was a deliberate trap set to maim and kill and have called on federal agents to aid in its investigation.
"We're taking it extremely seriously," Davis assistant police chief Darren Pytel said Monday of the leak at Kappa Sigma house, 642 Adams St., adding whomever caused the gas leak was "deliberately setting a trap where someone could be injured or killed."
Pytel said Davis police have contacted the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms and are working with university fire and police. UC Davis spokesman Keith Sterling said the university is "deeply concerned" by Sunday's events and has pledged to "do anything we can to assist" in the investigation.
Davis police were called about 1 p.m. Sunday to the fraternity, a townhouse-style building in the center of a neighborhood densely packed with multi-family apartments near Russell Boulevard and Highway 113, police officials said. Pytel said fraternity members first detected the strong smell of natural gas 12 hours earlier at about 1 a.m. Sunday, along with evidence that someone tried to set a fire to trigger the fumes.
A woman who died Sunday evening when she was struck by an Amtrak train at the Davis station was identified Monday as Andrea Laurette Mrotz, 29, of Vallejo, a UC Davis graduate and Bay Area activist.
Mrotz graduated from the University of California, Davis in 2009 with a bachelor's degree in microbiology, said UC Davis spokeswoman Julia Ann Easley.
According to Mrotz's Facebook page and newspaper accounts, she was a leader of Label GMOs Vallejo/Benicia, a grassroots organization that has lobbied to require labeling of foods if they contain genetically engineered ingredients.
That was the finding of the Sacramento County Coroner's office released on Friday. A press release from the county also classifies the manner of death "homicide."
No further information was provided concerning the cause of death of 5-year-old Tatiana Alexia Rose Garcia.
Davis police seek to find a man who reportedly tried to sexually assault a woman as she was returning to her residence Tuesday night.
The incident occurred about 10:30 p.m. in the 600 block of Alvarado Avenue near Anderson Road. The woman was returning to her residence and parked her vehicle in the parking lot. After retrieving her belongings from the vehicle, she was confronted by a man who pushed her back toward the vehicle, according to a Police Department news release.
Once they reached the vehicle, the man attempted to sexually assault the woman, police said.
Each year, the university must collect the crime figures under the federal Jeanne Clery Disclosure of Campus Security Policy and Campus Crime Statistics Act.
The Clery report tallies crimes at locations that include the University of California, Davis campus and the UC Davis Health System campus in Sacramento. It also includes reports taken by police agencies with jurisdiction next to university properties.
By Darrell Smith and Cynthia Hubert
Aquelin Talamantes, the Davis woman accused in the death of her 5-year-old daughter in Sacramento last week, pleaded not guilty to murder Monday at her arraignment in Yolo Superior Court.
Talamantes, 29, is being held without bail in Yolo County Jail in Woodland, days after authorities said she drove from her Glide Drive home in Davis to a relative's home on Sacramento's Pocket Road last Wednesday with her unresponsive daughter in the trunk of her car. The girl later died at an area hospital.
On Monday, tearful family members sobbed as Talamantes was led in her green-and-white jail uniform into the courtroom for the brief arraignment and again as they filed out of the courtroom, saying, "We love you, Aquelin. We still love you."
The Yolo County Coroner's Office on Friday identified the 5-year-old girl found in the trunk of her mother's car in Sacramento's Pocket neighborhood as Tatianna Garcia of Davis.
The girl's mother has been arrested in connection with her death and will be prosecuted in Yolo County, according to authorities.
The preliminary investigation has revealed indications the girl was injured at the home she shared with her mother, Aquelin Talamantes, in the Yolo County city of Davis. Police suspect the woman then put the girl in the trunk and brought her to Sacramento, where she was discovered clinging to life, said Sacramento police Officer Doug Morse.
The girl later died at a hospital. Police questioned Talamantes, 29, and then arrested her on suspicion of murder later that night.
Clayton Garzon, facing assault and hate crime allegations connected to a beating of a gay Davis man, pleaded no contest Tuesday to battery with serious bodily injury with a hate crime enhancement.
In a plea deal made public in Yolo Superior Court, Garzon will receive a five-year prison sentence for the felony.
Garzon will be taken into custody when he is sentenced at 8:30 a.m. Oct. 30. He will serve his prison sentence in Yolo County Jail.
Garzon faced two other felony assault charges in the attack outside the I Street home in Davis where Lawrence "Mikey" Partida had just celebrated his 33rd birthday. Those charges were dismissed.
Partida was severely beaten and hospitalized in the attack. The prosecution accused Garzon of using anti-gay slurs in the attack.
"The district attorney's office is very pleased with the resolution," said Jonathan Raven, Yolo County chief deputy district attorney. "We got what was important: a felony, showing the seriousness of the beating. We got the hate crime enhancement, and we got a prison sentence."
By Darrell Smith
Daniel William Marsh will face trial on murder charges in the April killings of an elderly couple in their Davis condominium, a Yolo Superior Court judge ruled at the teen's preliminary hearing Friday.
Arraignment for Marsh, 16, in the deaths of Oliver Northup and Claudia Maupin is set for Sept. 24 in Yolo Superior Court in Woodland.
In nearly 90 minutes of dramatic, disturbing testimony from responding officers, the county's medical examiner and the detective who interviewed the Davis teenager, prosecutors detailed a savage attack on the sleeping couple as the lay in their bed and described a black-clad, knife-wielding teen apparently bent on killing.
"On this night, he said he just had enough," Davis police Detective Ariel Pineda, the major crimes detective who interviewed Marsh in June prior to his arrest, testified. "(Marsh) said he was aimlessly walking around looking for his victim. He ended up at 4006 Cowell, he said, and proceeded to tell us what he did there."
Northup, a longtime local attorney and musician, and Maupin, a church's pastoral associate, were found dead April 14 in the bedroom of their Cowell Boulevard condo, stabbed repeatedly with what investigators said Friday was a Buck knife with a 6-inch blade.
Two federal criminal complaints were unsealed today in U.S. District Court in Sacramento charging Nicholas Robert Bowen (right photo), 62, of Grizzly Flat, and Wenyi Xu (left photo), 30, of Folsom with child exploitation offenses, according to a federal Department of Justice news release.
According to the affidavit in support of the arrest warrant filed against both defendants, Bowen and Xu came to the attention of law enforcement authorities after they were arrested in Davis on July 10, when Xu allegedly was seen approaching two boys, ages 10 and 12, and exposing herself to them. Bowen was present and filmed Xu's encounters with the boys, authorities said. Charges relating to that incident were filed in Yolo County, and subsequent investigation uncovered information that led to the federal charges.
A Davis man was arrested this morning after a reported theft at a Woodland Target store led to a police chase that ended at the entrance of Travis Air Force Base.
Woodland police officers responded at 8:49 a.m. to a report of a possible theft in progress at the Target store at 2185 Bronze Star Drive.
Store employees directed the first officer on the scene to a silver 2003 Honda Civic that was leaving the parking lot. The driver and sole occupant of the Honda brandished what appeared to be a handgun at the officer, then drove out of the parking lot heading north on County Road 102, a police news release states.
Police identified the suspect as Anthony Maurice McCune (pictured), 28, of West Sacramento. He is described as 5 feet 6 inches tall, weighing about 150 pounds, with black hair and brown eyes. He typically is well-dressed, sometimes wearing a tie. He also has been known to speak with a Southern accent and to talk about his upbringing in Alabama, according to a Police Department news release.
McCune is accused of posing as a door-to-door charity worker seeking donations for an organization called Urban Development Solutions. Once he obtains personal checks, he allegedly alters the payee line or the amount, and proceeds to cash or the checks or deposit them into an account.
A 25-year-old Davis man was arrested early today in connection with a carjacking that occurred earlier this month.
Miguel Hernandez was taken into custody about 1 a.m. after he was stopped by officers near Mace Boulevard and Alhambra Drive while driving the stolen vehicle, according to a Davis Police Department news release. Officials said the vehicle was stolen during an Aug. 19 carjacking in the 1800 block of Moore Boulevard.
Hernandez was arrested without incident and booked on outstanding warrants stemming from two different cases.
The skydiver who fell to his death on Saturday in Davis has been identified as Andrew Todd Cofer, a 23-year-old from Lodi.
Cofer was a first-time patron of SkyDance SkyDiving, near the Yolo County Airport, but he was not a first-time skydiver. Friends describe Cofer as a highly experienced skydiver with more than 600 jumps.
On his second Davis jump at roughly 6 p.m., he fell out of his harness mid-air and suffered multiple blood injuries and fractures. He was pronounced dead on the scene, said Mark Persons, spokesman for the Yolo County Sheriff's Department.
Deputies located Cofer's body in a field approximately one mile away from the drop zone. His canopy and harness were located about one mile away in a different direction.
Ray Ferrell, president of SkyDance SkyDiving, said the accident was not caused by an equipment error.
"We have a videotape showing that it was on and fastened properly," he said. "I don't know why, but he physically undid his chest strap."
Cofer frequented the Parachute Center just north of Lodi and started around March of last year, said Lee Ellis, a Lodi skydiver and friend.
"He's a really outgoing, charismatic guy," Ellis said. "He will definitely be missed."
By Janelle Bitker
A 23-year-old man died after a skydiving accident in Davis on Saturday.
The skydiver fell out of his harness at about 6 p.m, said Sgt. Hector
Bautista of the Yolo County Sheriff's Department. He died later at the
The man, whose name has not been released, was skydiving with friends
at Skydance Skydiving, near the Yolo County Airport. Bautista called
him an experienced skydiver.
The accident is under investigation and an autopsy will be conducted
on Monday, Bautista said.
A 19-year-old Davis man who had been reported missing by his family has been found unharmed, Davis police said this afternoon.
Balbino Mercadal had told friends on Thursday night that he was going to the Bay Area, but was reported missing when he did not arrive in a timely manner.
Balbino Mercadal (pictured) was last seen at 9 p.m. Thursday in the 2100 block of Glacier Drive in Davis. He told friends that he was leaving for the Bay Area, but he never arrived. Police said this behavior is out of character for Mercadal.
He is described as 5 feet 10 inches tall, weighing 135 pounds, with brown hair and eyes. Mercadal was last seen wearing a light-blue beanie, blue jeans and a black backpack with a green and white pattern. Police said he may be riding a black bicycle.
Anyone who has seen Mercadal or knows his whereabouts is asked to call the Davis Police Department at (530) 747-5400.
Davis police are investigating two stabbings that reportedly occurred early Sunday morning when a fight erupted during a party at an apartment complex.
Officers responded to a report of a large fight at 2033 F St. shortly after 2 a.m., and additional callers reported hearing gunshots west of the apartment complex, according to a Police Department news release.
When officers arrived, they located a male who had been stabbed. Officers learned that a party in the complex had gotten out of control and a large fight had erupted among the guests. The victim was stabbed during the fight and suffered major injuries, police said.
The Davis Police Department is warning of a possible scam involving a door-to-door solicitor.
In June and July, police received complaints from two residents who appear to have been victims of fraud, according to a Police Department news release. Both victims reported that a man who appeared to be between 20 and 25 years old came to their door as a solicitor wearing an ID badge around his neck. The man was described as black, 5 feet 6 inches to 5 feet 8 inches tall, with a slim build and nicely dressed.
In each case, police said, the man stated that he was soliciting for Urban Development Solutions, a charitable organization that assists underprivileged youth.
A Davis man was arrested early this morning after he allegedly went to a neighbor's door armed with a knife and demanded entry.
Officers responded about 2 a.m. to the 800 block of Poleline Road after a woman called to report that a man, identified as Emilio Perez, 35, was at her door with a knife. Officers determined that Perez had come to the woman's door with a knife on three separate occasions and demanded entry to her apartment, according to a Police Department news release.
When another individual went to Perez's apartment to ask why he continued to knock on the woman's door, Perez allegedly brandished a knife at that individual and made threats.
Two men were arrested after Davis police served a search warrant related to a string of burglaries and thefts that occurred recently in the city.
The Police Department in cooperation with the county narcotics team served the warrant Tuesday at 2526 E. Eighth St. The search turned up narcotics intended for sale, an illegal gun magazine and two firearms, according to a Police Department news release.
Taken into custody were Vicente Herrera, 19, and Jessie Herrera, 35, both of Davis. The two men were booked into Yolo County Jail.
A San Francisco woman was arrested by Davis police after she was accused of brandishing a knife at an Amtrak conductor.
About 12:35 p.m. Tuesday, officers were called to the Amtrak station, where they detained the woman, identified as Monyea Monique Johnson, 27.
During their investigation, officers determined that she had been asked to exit the train at the Davis station because she had not paid for a ticket. Johnson reportedly became agitated and spit on the conductor. She also allegedly pointed a knife at and threatened the conductor. The woman put the knife away before police arrived.
Yolo County sheriff's detectives have arrested two men in connection with the burglaries of two homes belonging to the same victims.
Ronald Steven McNair of Placerville and Matthew Lee Boyle of Sacramento were taken into custody Thursday after detectives from the Yolo and Placer county sheriff's departments executed a search warrant in the 4900 block of Gardenia Way in Sacramento. The search warrant was a result of a monthlong investigation into the burglaries of a home on Black Hawk Drive in Davis and that victim's vacation home in Soda Springs, according to a Sheriff's Department news release.
Investigators believe that information contained in the victim's laptop computer, taken in the first burglary, directed the suspects to the victim's vacation home. Both homes were ransacked, and the victims reported the theft of more than $50,000 in personnel property, including electronics, furniture, fine art and sterling silver. Sheriff's officials said several thousand dollars worth of property were recovered.
Anyone with information regarding the case is asked to call the Yolo County sheriff's investigation unit at (530) 668-5212.
By Darrell Smith
The former UC Davis chemist facing charges after a January blast in his apartment had offered to show a lab mate how to create explosives days beforehand, a police officer testified Friday.
David Snyder appeared in Yolo Superior Court for a preliminary hearing on 17 charges connected to an explosion that forced the evacuation of his Russell Park apartment complex in Davis and required response from Sacramento area bomb squads.
UC Davis police officer Joanne Zekany testified Friday that a student described a Jan. 9 incident when Snyder, technical manual in hand, offered to show how to make the explosive triacetone-triperoxide and called it "Hamas' favorite explosive."
Davis police were called to the Target store at 4601 Second St. about 1:45 p.m. regarding a man who was possibly videotaping young girls. When officers arrived, they attempted to contact the man, who was later identified at Tyler Dean Luke (pictured). When Luke spotted the officers, he tried to run away but was quickly caught, according to a Police Department news release.
Police said Luke resisted officers' efforts to take him into custody and struggled with them, but officers were able to subdue him.
The man, Nicholas Bowen, 61, (pictured right) of Grizzly Flats, El Dorado County, was seen either taking video or photographs of Wenyi Xu, 30, (pictured left) of Folsom, about 9:30 a.m. Wednesday, according to Davis police.
Police said that a worker in the municipal greenbelt near the Covell bike overcrossing on the north side of Community Park saw a woman exposing herself to two passing juveniles on bikes.
While the woman disrobed in front of the young people, a man recorded it with a camera. One of the youths was so taken aback by the sight of the nude woman that he fell off his bike.
Police responded and arrested Xu on suspicion of indecent exposure, annoying a child and engaging in lewd acts in public. Bowen was arrested on suspicion of assisting in indecent exposure, annoying a child and lewd acts in public.
PHOTO CAPTION: FOX40 VIDEO IMAGE/Nicholas Bowen, 61, and Wenyi Xu, 30
Davis police are looking for two men who robbed the Amtrak station and tied up an employee early this morning.
The men confronted the employee about 4:15 a.m. outside the station. One of the men brandished a handgun and ordered the employee back into the building, according to a Police Department news release. Once inside the station, the employee was forced to remove money from the premises. The robbers tied up the employee before fleeing with an undisclosed amount of money, police said.
One of the men was described as black, approximately 6 feet, 2 inches tall and weighing about 180 pounds.
Woodland police report that an investigation into recent thefts throughout Yolo County has resulted in two arrests and recovery of property associated with a dozen different cases, including thefts from the city's Public Works Department.
Police reported that two box trailers, including one containing miscellaneous tools, were stolen from the city's Municipal Service Center, 655 N. Pioneer Ave., between 5 p.m. June 22 and 7:30 a.m. June 24.
Investigators from the Yolo County Gang Task Force and the Yolo County Narcotics Enforcement Team conducted an investigation into these thefts as well as other recent thefts of property countywide.
By Bill Lindelof and Jeffrey Dastin
UC Davis veterinary school graduate Loreto A. Godoy has died from injuries she suffered in a car crash Friday that killed three others, including her husband's parents, according to a UC Davis news release.
Godoy, 32, and her husband Fernando O. Mardones, 36, were driving to Southern California last week when a 29-year-old man traveling north on Interstate 5 crossed the median and collided head-on with their car. The man, as well as Mardones' parents sitting in the front of the car, died at the scene.
Family members told university officials Wednesday that Godoy, who died at Memorial Medical Center in Modesto, will be an organ donor.
By Jeffrey Dastin and Cathy Locke
Two UC Davis graduate students are in a Fresno hospital following a collision Friday on Interstate 5 near Santa Nella that left three people dead.
Husband and wife Fernando O. Mardones, 36, and Loreto A. Godoy, 32, had celebrated their graduation earlier this month and were traveling to Southern California on Friday with their children -- two daughters who are eight months and 4 years old -- and Mardones' parents when they were involved in a head-on collision, according to a UC Davis news release.
The Fresno Bee reported that the family was headed southbound on I-5 at about 4:30 p.m. when a vehicle driven by a 29-year-old man crossed the median and collided with their car. Mardones' parents, Fernando Mardones, 62, and Maria Loreto Loyola, 61, of Nunoa, Santiago, Chile, died while sitting in the front of the car, along with the driver and sole occupant of the other vehicle.
Davis police have arrested three teenagers in connection with residential burglaries that occurred in the city last week.
About 3:50 a.m. Saturday, a resident of the 1800 block of Cowell Boulevard reported that a burglary had just occurred. Officers, who were in the area investigating another report of a residential burglary, contacted three individuals in the area. During the investigation, the three were determined to be in possession of property belonging to the victim in the 1800 block of Cowell Boulevard, according to a Police Department news release. The three were arrested on suspicion of burglary.
As the investigation continued, police said, the three were linked to other residential burglaries that had occurred the previous two nights. In all, officers were able to connect the suspects to five residential burglaries. Property from those burglaries was recovered in the 1500 block of L Street after a search warrant was executed Saturday afternoon.
An 18-year-old Davis man was arrested today after he was accused of intentionally crashing his vehicle into a Woodland house.
Woodland police were dispatched about 11:15 a.m. to the 1800 block of East Gum Avenue regarding a report that a vehicle had crashed into a house. The resident reported that the driver had fled in the vehicle westbound on East Gum Avenue.
An investigation indicated that the crash was intentional, according to a Police Department news release. Woodland officers found the vehicle and its driver stopped southbound on Highway 113 about three miles south of the city.
By Darrell Smith and Benjamin Mullin
A Davis teenager once lauded as a hero for saving his dad's life now faces double homicide charges in the April stabbings of an elderly couple in their south Davis home.
Yolo County prosecutors filed charges Tuesday against 16-year-old Daniel William Marsh, according to a charging document.
Marsh was widely praised as a 12-year-old in 2009 when he took the steering wheel of his family's station wagon and navigated to safety as his father suffered an almost fatal heart attack. Marsh then thumped his father's chest with his fist to restart his father's heart.
The American Red Cross of Yolo County honored Marsh that year at its annual Heroes Luncheon.
In a 180-degree turn, Marsh was arrested Monday, and authorities are holding him without bail at the Yolo County Juvenile Detention Facility. He faces arraignment Wednesday in Yolo Superior Court.
Marsh, who was 15 at the time of the April homicides, is the only suspect in the case.
Two teenage boys were taken into custody by Davis police Wednesday on suspicion of raping an 11-year-old girl, authorities said.
The boys, ages 13 and 14, were taken to Yolo County Juvenile Hall. The three minors lived together at FamiliesFirst, a group home on the 2100 block of 5th Street in Davis.
Police said the sexual assault did not occur on the property of Families First, though other youth from the home were reportedly present during the alleged rape. The youths were not supervised by FamiliesFirst staff during the incident.
Troy Anthony Hensley (pictured),37, was taken into custody without incident in Davis on Thursday and is being held at the Monroe Detention Center in Woodland on suspicion of engaging in an illegal sexual relationship with a juvenile, making criminal threats and intimidating a witness, according to a Davis Police Department news release.
Davis police said they were notified May 22 by the Dixon Police Department that Dixon officers had initiated an investigation of an alleged relationship between Hensley and a 17-year-old Dixon girl. The two reportedly engaged in the sexual relationship in Davis for three-and-a-half months in 2012.
A man convicted of a 1978 murder near Davis will remain in prison for at least three more years.
Charles McNeill was denied parole Wednesday by a two-commissioner panel of the state Board of Parole Hearings, according to a Yolo County District Attorney's Office news release. It was McNeill's 13th parole hearing.
McNeill was convicted of murdering 18-year-old Charles Muller, who was shot in the forehead.
By Carla Meyer
A 25-year-old Davis man who had been missing for more than a week was located Sunday afternoon in Lake County and is "in good spirits," a Davis Police Department spokesman said.
Daniel Brian Thompson, a Mondavi Center for the Performing Arts employee, had been missing since April 13. His car was found down an embankment, but Thompson was not in it.
Law enforcement officers later found Thompson, who was not injured and was removed from the missing-persons list, Sgt. Frank Tenedora said.
Authorities in Davis are are asking the public's to help find a 25-year-old Mondavi Center for the Performing Arts employee who has been missing since Saturday.
Daniel Brian Thompson was last seen Friday by his roommate. His last contract was Saturday, when he texted a friend to confirm an appointment but never showed, police said.
Officials at the Mondavi Center say he been missing from work all week.
Friends and other volunteers will meet at 1 p.m. Friday at Trader Joe's in Davis to begin a search of the UC Davis Arboretum area.
Anyone with information that may help find Thompson is asked to call (435) 225-6767 or (435) 730-5954.
By Richard Chang
Police said they had been asked to check in on Oliver J. Northup, 87, and his wife Claudia M. Maupin, 76, by relatives who were concerned that they had not heard from the couple Sunday.
Police were called out to the home by Maupin's daughter around 9:20 p.m. for a welfare check, according to Stanley Dawson, who is married to Northup's ex-wife.
Davis police are trying to determine the circumstances that resulted in injuries to a Sacramento man who was found unconscious in the 200 block of G Street early this morning.
Police and medical personnel responded to the location about 2:10 a.m. and found the 26-year-old man lying unconscious. Although a large crowd of people was gathered around the man, no one came forward with information on how he sustained his injuries, according to a Police Department news release.
Police said there was some evidence that the man was the victim of an assault, but that has not been confirmed. He was taken to UC Davis Medical Center for treatment.
Anyone who witnessed the incident, or who has information about the injured man, is asked to call the Davis Police Department at (530) 747-5400.
The California Highway Patrol has released the name of the truck driver involved in the fiery wreck on Interstate 80 near Davis on Thursday as John Manuszak, 45, of Fresno.
Earlier in the day, authorities identified the two people killed in the accident.
The driver was identified as Phang Phetsomphou, 76, and the passenger was Bouaket Phetsomphou, 74, the Solano County Sheriff-Coroner's Office reports. Both were from Petaluma.
The CHP reopened Interstate 80's westbound lanes nearly seven hours after they were closed Thursday morning.
By Darrell Smith
Police have made an arrest in the brutal beating of a Davis man that investigators are calling a hate crime.
Clayton Garzon, 19, of Davis was arrested by Davis officers Thursday without incident, department officials announced. He faces allegations of assault causing great bodily injury, committing a hate crime, assault with a deadly weapon, stalking, inflicting bodily injury during commission of a felony and committing a felony while on release from custody. He will be booked at Yolo County Jail in Woodland on the allegations.
Garzon is accused in an early morning attack Sunday on Lawrence "Mikey" Partida, 32, of Davis. Partida had just left a house party and was near 3rd and I streets about 3:50 a.m. when he was jumped and severely beaten, rendering him unconscious with major injuries, police said. Partida was taken to UC Davis Medical Center in Sacramento where he remains hospitalized.
A couple of Arkansas residents will be spending extended time behind bars in California after pleading no contest to multiple offenses stemming from an October carjacking in Davis.
James Hammons, 34, of Rodgers, Ark., pleaded no contest to six felonies, including carjacking, felony evading a police officer, vehicle theft, receipt of stolen property, possession of marijuana for sale, and possession of personal identifying information of 10 or more people. He agreed to serve 12 years and 4 months in state prison, according to a Yolo County District Attorney's Office news release.
His companion, Sara Erbe, 39, of Fayetteville, Ark., pleaded no contest to three felonies, including vehicle theft, possession of marijuana for sale, and possession of personal identifying information of 10 or more people. As part of her plea agreement, Erbe will serve two years and eight months in county prison, according to the DA's office.
A man convicted of murdering two people in Davis in 1980 will remain in prison for at least three more years.
Daniel Wehner today was denied parole for the ninth time by a two-commissioner panel of the Board of Parole Hearings, according to the Yolo County District Attorney's Office.
In 1980, Wehner murdered his former girlfriend Robin Ehlman and her friend John Manville at the Castilian Apartments in Davis. Ehlman was 19 and Manville, a UC Davis veterinary medicine student, was 25. Ehlman had been stalking Ehlman and had physically abused her during their relationship, causing her to lose consciousness after choking her on at least one occasion, officials said.
Two Woodland residents are in custody accused of robbery after leading Davis police officers on a chase through the UC Davis campus early this morning.
Police were called to Fifth and L streets about 2:15 a.m. regarding an armed robbery that had just occurred. The two victims reported that they had been robbed by a man with a handgun, who then fled in a vehicle. The victims were able to describe the vehicle and provide a partial license plate number, according to a Davis Police Department news release.
About 2:40 a.m., a Davis police officer spotted a vehicle that matched the description of the suspect vehicle entering westbound Interstate 80 from Mace Boulevard. When officers attempted to stop the vehicle, the driver failed to stop and led police on a chase through the campus after exiting the freeway at Old Davis Road.
A Brentwood man has been sentenced to five years in prison for embezzling from his employer, a Davis-based firm.
Benjamin Chaney, 33, was convicted in January of grand theft, embezzlement, one "aggravated white collar crime" enhancement, and two counts of state income tax evasion relating to theft from his employer, according to a Yolo County District Attorney's Office news release. He was sentenced Friday by Yolo County Superior Court Judge Stephen Mock.
Chaney had been employed as chief financial officer for Harper Model Home Maintenance, a company owned by his former mother-in-law and father-in-law. Between 2003 and 2007, he embezzled more than $300,000 from his employer by paying his personal expenses with corporate funds and altering the records to cover the fraud, officials said.
A woman leaving her apartment was forced back in and raped by two men, Davis police said.
The rape occurred around 5:00 a.m. Thursday, as the woman was leaving her apartment at the 4500 block of Alhambra Dr. Two men grabbed the victim, forced her inside and took turns raping her, according to reports.
The woman described the men as Caucasian, one with black hair and the other with brown hair. Emergency personnel treated the woman for injuries. The victim waited nearly eight hours before reporting the crime to police.
Anyone with information regarding this incident is urged to contact the Davis Police Department's Sexual Assault Unit at (530) 747-5400.
Police said a man entered the mosque, 539 Russell Blvd., about 1:50 a.m. Tuesday through an unlocked window and took the money from the donation boxes. At one point, the burglar is seen on video leaving the mosque and then parking a white four-door sedan on the west side of the house of worship.
The suspect then re-entered the mosque and before finally exiting and driving away in the white car.
Davis police described the man as white or Hispanic, about 5 feet 10 inches tall and about 165 pounds.
He was wearing a dark-colored baseball cap, a light-colored zip-up sweatshirt, blue jeans and he carried a black backpack.
PHOTO CAPTION: A video image of the suspect from the Davis Police Department
Davis police are reminding residents to make sure their doors and windows are locked, citing a string of burglaries in the south Davis area over the weekend.
The burglaries or attempted break-ins occurred Sunday, taking place overnight or in the early morning hours when the victims were home. Two of the burglaries were successful, one was interrupted and the other was an attempted break-in, according to a Police Department news release.
The intruders entered through unlocked sliding doors and unlocked bedroom windows. Stolen items included laptop computers, jewelry, cash, cell phones, electronics and credit cards.
Davis police announced the arrest this afternoon of a 25-year-old man in connection with the sexual assault of a woman outside a church Saturday morning.
About 2:30 p.m. today, police received a call from a citizen who reported seeing a person who matched the description of the suspect in the case. Officers responded to the area and located Christopher Turk, whom they described as a transient, at a shopping center in West Davis.
Turk was taken into custody without incident. During a search, physical evidence was recovered that connected Turk to Saturday's incident, according to a Police Department news release.
A Union Pacific freight train that originated in Roseville struck and killed a man sitting on Union Pacific railroad tracks in Davis this morning.
The man was hit about two miles from the nearest railroad crossing. An investigation is underway, according to UP.
Davis police said that they initially were called to the fatality at about 4:30 a.m., responding to the area of Second Street and Pena Drive.
A Solano County man has been found guilty of burglarizing two Davis homes in July 2011.
A Yolo County jury last week convicted Jimmy Medel, 45, of two counts of residential burglary, according to a Yolo County District Attorney's office news release.
On July 13, 2011, after dropping his wife off at work in Davis, Medel drove around the city and stopped about 8 a.m. at a residence on Stanford Place. Authorities said Medel broke in through the front door and went through the home to the garage.
By Matt Weiser
The UC Davis researcher injured in a suspicious explosion Thursday at his campus apartment was booked into the Yolo County Jail today on charges related to the incident.
David Snyder, 32, was booked at 2:30 p.m., said UC Davis Police Chief Matt Carmichael, after being treated at a hospital for injuries to his hands.
Snyder is being held in lieu of $2 million bail for investigation of felony possession of an explosive, possession of materials with intent to manufacture an explosive device and possession of firearms on campus.
By Richard Chang and Bill Lindelof
UC Davis police are conducting a criminal investigation into the Thursday explosion at a campus apartment that left a university researcher injured.
The explosion took place at a Russell Park housing complex unit in the early morning hours. The UC Davis researcher was treated for hand injuries at a hospital.
Police spent Thursday searching the apartment and carefully removing potentially hazardous chemicals. Nearby residents were evacuated, but many were allowed to return in the afternoon.
A UC Davis researcher suffered an injury after an explosion rocked a campus apartment early this morning, the university said.
The researcher, whose name school officials declined to release, checked into a local hospital for treatment of hand injuries around 1:30 a.m, according to UC Davis spokesman Andy Fell. The hospital then notified police.
When police arrived at the apartment, located in the 400 block of Russell Park, Fell said they found chemicals and cordoned off the area.
Fell declined to speculate on what the researcher was doing, but said the only safe place for research to be conducted is in university laboratories.
A UC Davis researcher has been treated at the hospital after an explosion at an apartment on campus.
UC Davis police evacuated a building early this morning in a housing complex at 418 Russell Park after discovering chemicals in an apartment. Police said the area is considered safe, although a portion of the site has been cordoned off.
A university news release stated that a researcher was treated at a local hospital for hand injuries from a small explosion.
A Brentwood couple indicted by a Yolo County grand jury in 2010 awaits sentencing after pleading to charges in the embezzlement from a Davis business.
Kara Leigh Brown, 43, on Friday pleaded to a charge of accessory to a felony for assisting in the theft and embezzlement by her husband, Benjamin Joseph Chaney, 32. On the same date, Chaney admitted that he embezzled between $100,000 and $500,000. Chaney previously had pleaded to the majority of charges in the case involving multiple theft-related felonies and felony tax evasion, according to a Yolo County District Attorney's Office news release. Brown agreed to pay $340,000 in restitution to the victims.
From 2003 to 2007, Chaney was employed as chief financial officer for Harper Model Home Maintenance, a Davis company owned by the Harper family and specializing in model home cleaning. Family members did most of the work themselves, but as the business grew, they hired Chaney, their son-in-law at the time, in various management positions, authorities said. He eventually became the chief financial officer.
Four Sacramento-area men were recently charged in federal indictments with receiving or sharing child pornography.
James Capalbo, 61, of Davis was charged with receipt of child pornography. The Nov. 29 indictment alleges that between March 28 and April 26, 2011, Capalbo knowingly received visual depictions of a minor engaging in sexually explicit conduct, according to a federal Department of Justice news release.
The case resulted from an investigation by the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's Homeland Security Investigations.
Three armed robberies occurred last night in City of Davis greenbelts.
Details are few, but Davis police say the first two robberies happened at 8:17 p.m. and again at 8:25 p.m. in the area of Catalina and Corona drives and on Pamplona Avenue in north Davis.
Later, a third robbery happened in the same area. Police searched for two men wearing hooded sweatshirts, at least one armed with a handgun.
The men took iPhones and other personal items. Police said this morning that nobody had been arrested in connection with the holdups.
Davis police officials say they will be deploying extra officers in an effort to decrease drunk or impaired driving on Halloween.
"Local revelers should be aware that their Halloween disguises won't make them invisible to the police, sheriff or CHP officers who will crack down on drunk and drug impaired drivers throughout the region with an aggressive Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over enforcement effort," said Davis Police Chief Landy Black in a news release.
Police officials advise revelers to plan a safe way home.
Testimony concluded today in the Richard Joseph Hirschfield murder trial, with the case scheduled to go to a Sacramento Superior Court jury late next week.
Attorneys for the 63-year-old defendant accused in the Dec. 20, 1980, killlings of UC Davis students John Riggins and Sabrina Gonsalves finished their case with readings from transcripts and playing taped recordings. The transcripts and recordings contained statements from witnesses that the Hirschfield lawyers say cast suspicion on a group of four defendants who have since been exonerated.
The prosecution called a retired sheriff's detective, Bob Bell, as a rebuttal witness. He testified that his agency, based on its concern over the reliability of informant Ray Gonzales, lost interest in pursuing the so-called "Hunt Group" of defendants. Yolo County authorities picked up the theory that the Hunt Group killed Riggins and Gonsalves and charged the four suspects. But they were forced to dismiss the case when the DNA on a semen-stained blanket found in Riggins van excluded all of them and ultimately pointed toward HIrschfield.
After both sides rested their cases, Judge MIchael W. Sweet scheduled closing arguments in the case for Oct. 31 and Nov. 1.
Hirschfield is accused of murder and sexual assault in the case. He faces the death penalty if jurors convict him and sustain special-circumstance allegations of multiple murders, and murder during the course of a kidnap, rape and forced oral copulation.
Davis police are reminding people to take precautions after a woman was sexually assaulted while walking in the city's downtown area late Thursday.
The woman was walking in the area of Fourth and J streets about 11:50 p.m. when she was grabbed from behind by a male and sexually assaulted, according to a Police Department news release. The assailant was last seen running eastbound on Fourth Street.
So far, police said, no description of the assailant has been provided. They ask anyone who was in the area and may have seen a suspicious person to call the Davis Police Department at (530) 747-5400.
Police remind people to:
* Always be aware of their surroundings.
* Walk confidently or with a purpose.
* Try to stay in well-lighted, well-populated areas.
* Travel with another person.
A police informant who was central to a now-discredited theory of murder in the killings of two UC Davis students 32 years ago reaffirmed today that one of four defendants charged but later released in the case admitted to him that he and another of the original suspects were responsible for the slayings.
Raymond Gonzales, a long-time operative for assorted Sacramento area law enforcement agencies, said that Richard Thompson told him that he and David Hunt committed the Dec. 20, 1980 murders of John Riggins and Sabrina Gonsalves.
DNA extracted from a semen-stained blanket in Riggins van, however, excluded Hunt, Thompson and two others originally-charged defendants, and Yolo County prosecutors were forced to drop charges on them. The Sacramento DA's office, meanwhile, charged Richard Joseph Hirschfield with the murders, based on the DNA evidence, and it was in his trial that Gonzales testified today as a defense witness. Hirschfield faces the death penalty if he is convicted.
Prosecutors rested their case today in the Richard Joseph Hirschfield murder trial. Defense attorneys then immediately launched their presentation, questioning a detective who investigated four suspects who previously were cleared in the killings of UC Davis students John Riggins and Sabrina Gonsalves.
The witness, former Davis police Det. Fred P. Turner, told the Sacramento Superior Court jury how he picked up the cold case seven years after the Dec. 20, 1980, bludgeon and slashing deaths of the two 18-year-old victims. He said he built his case on an informant who "elicited remarkable information" during a taped conversation with one of the four previous suspects in a skid-row hotel in Los Angeles.
Details from informant Ray Gonzales' conversation with the suspect, Richard Thompson, implicating himself or the other purported accomplices never made it onto the tape, however. Turner said he then told Gonzales to record his own recollections onto a new tape.
Today's proceedings in the Davis "sweethearts" trial were a reminder of just how long this case has been winding its way through Sacramento's criminal justice system.
First, jurors heard from Dr. Pierce Rooney - or at least a videotaped version of him. The forensic pathologist who performed the autopsy on John Riggins - killed with his girlfriend Sabrina Gonsalves just before Christmas in 1980 - has died since he testified in the 2007 preliminary hearing to decide whether Richard Hirschfield would stand trial for the murders.
A judge ruled that he should stand trial, and the video of that 2007 testimony was played Friday for jurors who are now tasked with deciding whether Hirschfield is responsible for the brutal slayings more than three decades ago.
A Davis man convicted in 1994 of murder and child abuse in the beating death of his 14-month-old son will remain in prison.
The Board of Parole Hearing commissioners on Wednesday denied parole to 42-year-old Manuel Bermudez, according to a Yolo County District Attorney's Office news release. The hearing took place at the California Medical Facility in Vacaville, where Bermudez is serving life in prison.
A Yolo County jury convicted Bermudez of murder in the child's death, which occurred in January 1994.
A state Department of Justice criminalist testified today that Richard Joseph Hirschfield's DNA profile is a one-in-240 trillion match to a semen stain linked to the killings of two UC Davis students 32 years ago.
"This is strong evidence that Mr. Richard Hirschfield is the semen donor," criminalist Steve Myers told a Sacramento Superior Court jury that began its fifth week of work today in the murder trial for Hirschfield.
The 63-year-old defendant is accused in the Dec. 20, 1980, bludgeon and slashing deaths of John Riggins and Sabrina Gonsalves, both of whom were 18 when they were abducted in Davis two days before their bodies were discovered more than 30 miles away off of Folsom Boulevard, near Lake Natoma.
A man suspected of a carjacking in Davis this afternoon has been taken into custody after being tracked to a cornfield southeast of Davis.
Davis Police Department spokesman Lt. Glenn Glasgow said the incident began about 1:30 p.m. when a Davis officer on patrol ran the registration on an apparent stolen vehicle parked at the Motel 6 at Chiles Road. As the officer tried to confirm the status of that vehicle, he saw a man run from the area on foot. The officer began to pursue the man in his police vehicle.
At Chiles Road, the officer was flagged down by people who said a car had just been carjacked at a Taco Bell west of the Motel 6. The suspect, described as a white man in his 30s, reportedly pushed a woman out of the vehicle, a Honda Pilot, and drove off. Glasgow said the woman was not injured.
Police said the man was riding his bicycle near Orchard Park, a campus apartment complex, when he approached the girl and asked the whereabouts of her parents. When she failed to answer, he drew close.
"Come home with me," the man said, according to the girl.
Seven more witnesses testified about the chain of custody on key evidence in the Richard Joseph HIrschfield murder trial, but the real action in court today took place outside the presence of the jury.
Hirschfield's defense team once again asked to be allowed to present evidence to the Sacramento Superior Court jury that four other people had been charged with the killings of UC Davis students John Riggins and Sabrina Gonsalves some 32 years ago.
And again, Judge Michael W. Sweet precluded Hirschfield's lawyers from making mention of the Yolo County prosecution. Before the trial began, Sweet denied much of the defense effort to present evidence of third-party culpability in the Dec. 20, 1980, slayings of the 18-year-old college sweethearts.
Two prosecution witnesses established important connections in the Richard Hirschfield murder trial today, one of them putting the defendant in Davis in a time frame relatively close to the killings of two UC Davis students. Another said Hirschfield's brother lived in a mobile home park close to where the bodies of the two victims were found.
David Jones testified he knew Hirschfield from when they went to high school together in Colusa in the 1960s. Jones said HIrschfield came to visit him when he went to college at UC Davis. One of the visits, Jones said, was at a duplex where he lived on Benecia Court in 1979. The residence was located about a block away from where Sabrina Gonsalves lived the next year, before she was killed.
Another witness, Sharon Green Schneider, said Hirschfield's brother, Joseph, rented space in a mobile home park she managed on Mills Station Road in Rancho Cordova. The park was located about eight miles from where the bodies of Gonsalves, 18, and her boyfriend, John Riggins, also 18, were discovered two days after their Dec. 20, 1980, disappearance from Davis.
Hirschfield, 63, is accused of murdering the two UC Davis freshmen and sexually attacking Gonsalves. He is facing the death penalty if he is convicted.
A former criminalist with the state Department of Justice crime lab in Sacramento testified today about finding evidence that prosecutors say tied Richard Joseph Hirschfield to the killings of UC Davis "sweethearts" Sabrina Gonsalves and John Riggins.
Faye Springer, who later would be the director of the Sacramento County Crime Lab, said she recommended in 1992 to Yolo County investigators who had submitted possible trace evidence to her from the Dec. 20, 1980, killings that they might as well give her everything they had of possible evidentiary value.
Springer said she made her suggestion after looking at photographs of all the items Sacramento sheriff's detectives had retrieved from a van the two 18-year-old UC Davis students had been driving two nights before their bodies were found near Lake Natoma.
Yolo County Animal Services officials need help in finding a dog that bit a bicyclist in Davis.
The bicyclist was riding in the green belt near Rio Grande Street on Sunday about noon when she was bit by a mixed breed terrier with tan markings and wavy fur. The dog was on a leash held by a woman.
The dog owner was described as about 30 years old, medium build, about 5 feet 7 inches tall. She had dark, short hair, was wearing a white sweat suit and carried a cell phone.
Richard Joseph Hirschfield's defense team was able to elicit testimony in his murder trial today that suggested another criminal on a crime spree across the western United States arranged the slashing deaths of UC Davis "sweethearts" John Riggins and Sabrina Gonsalves.
But the witness who testified to the theory, former Sacramento sheriff's Lt. Ray Biondi, suggested he never saw much evidence to substantiate it and that a Davis police detective who vigorously pursued it had "lost his objectivity."
Defense lawyer Linda Parisi still succeeded in getting the outline of the theory of a third party's culpability in front of the jury in her cross-examination of Biondi. The theory was first put forward 25 years ago by Davis police and Yolo County prosecutors, but it was later abandoned as charges were dismissed at the outset of a trial for four people who initially had been arrested and charged in the Dec. 20, 1980, killings.
Testimony resumed today in Sacramento Superior Court in the Richard Joseph Hirschfield death-penalty murder trial following a delay of nearly two weeks due to the knee injury suffered by one of the defendant's attorneys.
The morning's testimony consisted of a supervising property officer's recounting of the paper trail that accompanied evidence that was warehoused by the Sacramento Sheriff's Department after the Dec. 20, 1980, slashing deaths of 18-year-old UC Davis "sweethearts" John Riggins and Sabrina Gonsalves.
Defense attorney Linda Parisi, who slipped and fell in the courthouse on Sept. 11 and then underwent surgery the next day, sat in a wheelchair as she cross-examined the retired property officer, Mycal Brummer.
Parisi told Judge Michael W. Sweet she can only work an abbreviated schedule as a result of her surgery. Sweet said the trial sessions will now be held on the regular court days of Monday through Thursday from 10 a.m. to 12 noon and from 1:30 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. The new hours cut the court day from the regularly-scheduled six hours of testimony.
By Darrell Smith
The pepper-spraying of students by UC Davis police officers last November was not criminal conduct, Yolo County District Attorney's office concluded Wednesday following an inquiry into officers' response to protestors on the campus.
"(V)iewing the incident through the totality of the circumstances, there is insufficient evidence to establish proof beyond a reasonable doubt that the use of force involved in the November 18, 2011, pepper spraying was unlawful and therefore warrants the filing of criminal charges," officials said in a statement announcing the report's findings.
The response by campus police clad in riot gear last Nov. 18, punctuated by the image of police Lt. John Pike calmly pepper-spraying seated student protestors, was met with international scorn.
Pike was later relieved of duty; his police chief, Annette Spicuzza, resigned under fire; and withering reports from a specially-convened task force led by former state Supreme Court Justice Cruz Reynoso and independent consultant, Kroll, detailed a dysfunctional police department and "systematic and repeated failures" by university leaders.
Pike said he had not heard of the decision by the DA, but added that he was "extremely relieved."
"I have not reviewed or seen their report, but I am relieved at knowing they are not going to be bringing any charges," he said.
By Andy Furillo
A judge today postponed the Richard Joseph Hirschfield murder trial until Sept. 24 as a result of a knee injury to defense attorney Linda Parisi that required surgery.
Sacramento Superior Court Judge Michael W. Sweet agreed to delay the trial, on the request of Parisi's two fellow defense attorneys, assistant public defenders Ken Schaller and David Lynch.
Hirschfield, 63, is accused of abducting and killing UC Davis students John Riggins and Sabrina Gonsalves, both 18, on Dec. 20, 1980. The couple was last seen leaving the Veterans Memorial Theater in Davis after assisting in the production of The Davis Children's Nutcracker. Their bodies were found 30 miles east off of Folsom Boulevard in a ravine near the Rancho Cordova-Folsom border.
The Richard Joseph Hirschfield murder trial in Sacramento Superior Court was delayed today when one of the defense attorneys injured her knee in a first-floor courthouse lobby slip-and-fall.
Linda Parisi sustained the injury before the fifth day of testimony in the trial of HIrschfield, 63, who is accused of murder and sexual assault in the slashing deaths of 18-year-old UC Davis students Sabrina Gonsalves and John Riggins nearly 32 years ago.
Sheriff's deputies took Parisi out of the courthouse today in a wheelchair that had been used to transport her client.
It was not clear when Parisi would be able to return.
The prosecution had scheduled 16 witnesses to testify today in front of Judge Michael W. Sweet.
A Sacramento judge today issued, but immediately stayed, a bench warrant for a former Davis police officer who has failed to respond to a subpoena to testify in the murder trial into the killings of two college students 32 years ago.
Deputy District Attorney Dawn Bladet requested the warrant from Superior Court Judge MIchael W. Sweet to compel the trial appearance by the former detective, Fred Turner, in the murder trial of Richard Joseph Hirschfield.
Bladet said marshals served Turner with a subpoena at his residence in Washington state. Turner had been scheduled to appear in court on Tuesday's first day of trial, but he did not show up and his not been in contact with the Sacramento District Attorney's Office. Bladet did not say when she now intends to have Turner testify.
The stay on Turner's bench warrant would presumably be lifted if he fails to respond to the subpoena.
Davis police are investigating an early-morning armed robbery at a local motel.
Officers were dispatched to the La Quinta Inn, 1771 Research Park Drive, at 12:40 a.m. The front desk clerk reported that three men brandished guns and demanded money. The clerk handed over an undisclosed amount of cash and the robbers fled, according to a Police Department news release.
No one was injured during the robbery.
A retired Folsom police detective testified today how he discovered the bodies of John Riggins and Sabrina Gonsalves to culminate the search that had been launched for the missing UC Davis students who were abducted and killed nearly 32 years ago.
Robert Repar said he and a Davis detective were searching a field in what he described as "a no man's land" near the Folsom and Rancho Cordova border. A former Sacramento sheriff's deputy testified earlier that the wooded area north of Folsom Boulevard and just east of Hazel Avenue was known to patrol officers as a place where they could find stolen cars and maybe come across some drug activity.
The officers were searching in response to a discovery earlier that day of a 1977 Chevy van that belonged to Riggins family. While looking through a field about a mile away from where the van had been found, Repar said he saw what at first appeared to be just a boot.
The murder trial into the killings of two UC Davis students nearly 32 years ago went before jurors today when prosecution and defense lawyers launched their opening statements in Sacramento Superior Court.
Deputy District Attorney Dawn Bladet told the seven-man, five-woman panel that the DNA evidence combined with Richard Joseph Hirschfield's background of sexual violence and his connections to Davis and the area near Lake Natoma where the bodies of Sabrina Gonsalves and John Riggins were found should add up to a guilty verdict.
"All of those factors are going to lead you straight to the conclusion that this mystery is for one time, all and forevermore, solved," Bladet told the jury.
Defense attorney Linda Parisi cautioned the jury in her opening remarks to refrain from reaching a decision based on the emotion of the savage killing of the two UC Davis freshmen. Their bodies were found near Lake Natoma wrapped in duct tape and their throats slashed two days after their Dec. 20 abduction in Davis. Gonsalves had been sexually assaulted, police and prosecutors say.
Drunk driving checkpoints are planned in Citrus Heights and Davis during the long Labor Day weekend.
The Citrus Heights checkpoint begins tonight at 7 p.m. and continues to 3 a.m. Saturday at a still-undisclosed location. Officers at the checkpoint will also check to see if motorists have proper driver's licenses.
Officers from a variety of Yolo County jurisdictions will be conducting a drunk driving checkpoint in Davis from 7 p.m. Saturday to 3 a.m. Sunday. Exact location of the checkpoint has not been released.
Participating officers include Woodland police, Davis police, Winters police, Yolo County sheriff's deputies and the California Highway Patrol.
A police chase of a car from Davis to Sacramento this morning appears to be the case of a man driving erratically because of a medical condition.
The incident began about 10:30 a.m. when the California Highway Patrol received a call of a driver recklessly traveling east on Interstate 80 just east of Mace Boulevard.
Officers tried to find the car while witnesses continued to update dispatchers. Witnesses said that the driver entered a construction zone his vehicle possibly side-swiped a big rig and also ran over plastic construction cones.
The car continued at different speeds, weaving across lanes and dragging a construction cone. CHP officers picked up the chase on the causeway and attempted to stop the driver.
However, he failed to stop, at times slowing to 30 mph. The driver, who had originally been heading to work in Sacramento before his erratic driving began, took the eastbound Highway 50 ramp to southbound Interstate 5.
There, the car crashed into a concrete wall, but that did not stop the vehicle. The driver continued south on I-5 before exiting at Sutterville Road.
There the car "became disabled," a CHP press release states. The CHP determined that the driver, a 55-year-old man from Vallejo, appeared to be suffering from a medical condition related to diabetes.
He was transported to UC Davis Medical Center for treatment.
UPDATE: A notebook belonging to missing UC Davis student Linnea Lomax was found just off the American River Bike Trail, her family announced at a press conference this afternoon.
This was the first solid lead since her disappearance June 26, said Craig Lomax, the girl's father.
The notebook was found near the Sutter Medical Center outpatient facility on Howe Avenue where the 19-year-old Placerville woman was last seen. She was receiving treatment after having a mental breakdown while studying for finals, her father said.
The evidence has been turned over to police, but Lomax confirmed it belonged to his daughter. "I saw the handwriting on the notebook," he said. "It was Linnea's."
The notebook was found during a search by 250 volunteers over the weekend.
The KlaasKids Foundation, a nonprofit dedicated to finding missing children, joined in the search. The Sausalito-based group was founded by Marc Klaas, whose daughter Polly was kidnapped and murdered in 1993. "You shouldn't have to reinvent the wheel every time," Klaas said.
The foundation's Director of Search Operations Brad Dennis came from Florida to aid in the search. "We're doing a very thorough grid search," Dennis said.
"After seven weeks, we finally got a ground zero," Klaas said of Sunday's breakthrough.
Lomax said that as far as he knows, Linnea is alive. "I hope she's still alive, but I also have to believe every tip, theory and lead," he said.
The search has taken a toll on the family. In addition to Linnea, the Lomax's also have a son and daughter who are still in high school. "We're maintaining the search, but we also have to maintain life," Lomax said. "We still have to be mom and dad."
The number of rumors circulating, coupled with the time the case has dragged on, is challenging the viability of the search, Lomax said. "I'm not going to stop looking for her until I can confirm she's safe," he said at the press conference.
The family plans to organize another search Sept. 8. Anyone who wants to help or has information about the whereabouts of Linnea Lomax is asked to visit helpfindlinnea.org.
- Richard Chang
People who want to participate in the searches on today, Saturday and Sunday should check in at the Find Linnea search center, 2440 Glendale Lane. Check in times are between 8 a.m. and 10 a.m. or 2 p.m. to 3 p.m., all three days.
Lomax disappeared after walking away from an out-patient mental health facility, where she had been receiving treatment after she had what her family has described as a breakdown while studying for finals at the University of California, Davis.
Lomax, 19, was last seen June 26 around 1 p.m. on the 800 block of Howe Avenue in Sacramento County. She is described as a white woman, 5 feet 2 inches tall, and 100 pounds. She was last seen wearing faded green pants and a dark hooded sweatshirt with the word "Sweden" on the front.
Michael Cordell (pictured), 44, is believed to have been the passenger in a pickup truck that Davis officers stopped about 6 a.m. June 11 after receiving a report of individuals looking into vehicles in the 1800 block of Picasso Avenue.
Two men were inside the truck. As officers stopped the vehicle, the passenger got out of the truck and ran off, according to a Police Department news release.
Jury selection in the 1980 Davis "sweethearts" murder case will begin Wednesday in Sacramento Superior Court.
Following a lengthy process to pick the 12 jurors and at least four alternates, the attorneys' opening statements will then take place Sept. 4, Judge Michael W. Sweet said in court today.
Richard Joseph Hirschfield, 63, is facing murder and sexual assualt charges in the abduction and stabbing deaths of UC Davis students John Riggins and Sabrina Gonsalvez, both 18. The pair were kidnapped after a Dec. 20, 1980, showing of "The Nutcracker" in Davis. Their bodies were recovered two days later in a ravine 30 miles to the east near Lake Natoma.
Judge Sweet is expected to tell jurors the trial likely will last through Jan. 31, including the death penalty phase, if Hirschfield is convicted in the guilt phase.
About 6 a.m. Wednesday, police responded to 1809 Picasso Ave. regarding a report of individuals looking into vehicles. As officers arrived, they stopped a pickup truck that was leaving the area.
Two men were inside the truck. The passenger opened the door and ran off as officers stopped the vehicle, according to a Police Department news release. The driver was taken into custody and later identified as Eric Buenafe, 46, of Dixon.
The Yolo County Coroner's office has released the name of a rider on a United Cerebral Palsy bus that was hit by a pickup on Wednesday.
She was identified as Sara Rae Johnson, 35, of Davis.
Johnson and the still-unidentified driver of the pickup, a man in his 50s, were killed and eight others sent to the hospital on Wednesday after the two vehicles crashed.
The small bus belonging to United Cerebral Palsy of Greater Sacramento was traveling northbound on County Road 102 at about 2:43 p.m. when it was hit by the Ford F250 pickup traveling southbound.
According to a California Highway Patrol spokesman, witnesses said the truck drifted across the center line into the northbound lane.
The Yolo County Coroner's Office has identified the three men killed Friday morning in a crash on Interstate 80 in Davis.
They were identified on Saturday as Darius Austin Powe-Reed, 20, Zan Djavan Lockhart, 20, and Lavell Elmore, 30, said Robert LaBrash, Yolo County chief deputy coroner.
Powe-Reed and Lockhart were from Sacramento. Elmore was from Elk Grove.
California Highway Patrol spokesman Officer Bryan Konvalin said the crash occurred about 10:25 a.m. just east of the Richards Boulevard offramp.
Davis police are investigating a report that two people tried to lure and 11-year-old boy into a van.
Shortly after 1 p.m. Thursday, officers were dispatched to Halcon Place in northeast Davis regarding a report of suspicious circumstances. An 11-year-old boy told a neighbor that two people he did not know pulled up in a green Ford van and asked him to get inside, according to a Police Department news release. The boy refused and rode off on his bicycle.
The van followed the boy for a short distance before leaving the area.
Three people died this morning in a collision on eastbound Interstate 80 in Davis.
California Highway Patrol spokesman Officer Bryan Konvalin said the crash occurred about 10:25 a.m. on eastbound I-80 just east of the Richards Boulevard offramp.
A Mitsubishi Montero SUV was traveling eastbound in the No. 2, or center lane, when a Budget rental box truck traveling in the lane to the right of the Montero attempted to merge to the left. Konvalin said the box truck collided with the Montero, then veered to the right and ran off the roadway where it struck a tree.
Friends and family of a missing 19-year-old Placerville woman they say is off her psychiatric medications, scared and without a phone or wallet are asking for the public's help in finding her.
Lomax, a University of California, Davis, freshman studying biology, was last seen Tuesday afternoon at an out-patient facility on Howe Avenue. She left on her own will, said Julie Warren, a friend of the Lomax family.
The Yolo County District Attorney's Office is alerting residents to a surge in scams targeting older adults in the county.
Reports from victims in West Sacramento, Davis and Woodland indicate that phony sweepstakes and the "Grandma, It's Me" telephone scams are continuing to be used to trick people into wiring money outside the country, according to a District Attorney's Office news release.
In one instance, more than $4,000 was lost in a phony sweepstakes scam after a con artist pretending to be from the Federal Trade Commission persuaded a local senior citizen to wire money to Costa Rica, officials said. In another recent case, an elderly woman was tricked into sending all the money she had in her savings account to someone claiming to be her grandson who was out of the country and in trouble. She believed him and sent the money in an effort to help.
A Davis school leader said the appearance of a hangman's noose on a high school goal post is an isolated incident.
"Hate and intolerance stem from fear and ignorance," said Winfred B. Roberson, Jr., superintendent of the Davis Joint Unified School District. "This isolated event does not distract us from the positive work and cultural responsiveness that has taken place in DJUSD and the City of Davis."
At the same time, a Davis community activist is calling for a public meeting in the wake of the noose being found hanging from the goal post at Davis High School.
Two Bay Area men have been arrested and a third suspect is being sought in connection with the theft of copper wire from a Pacific Gas and Electric Co. yard in Davis early this morning.
Davis police officers were dispatched to a report of a possible theft about 4 a.m. The caller reported seeing three people stealing items from the PG&E yard and loading the items into a sedan, according to a Police Department news release.
When officers arrived, they saw a pickup leaving the area. The truck was occupied by Alejandro Rojas, 37, of Concord and Michael Golden, 45, of Albany. As officers pulled the truck over, Golden attempted to run away but was quickly apprehended, officials said. Inside the truck, officers found spools of copper wire and bolt cutters.
A San Francisco man has been arrested in Davis, accused of using a concealed camcorder to secretly photograph underneath women's skirts.
Lt. Paul Doroshov said officers were dispatched about 12:17 p.m. Sunday to the downtown area after a man was reported carrying a handbag in a strange manner while walking past females.
The officers contacted 45-year-old Peter Johnson in the area of Third and F streets. They found a hidden digital camcorder inside the bag Johnson was carrying. Doroshov said the camera was concealed in a container in an upright position.
Davis police are looking for a suspect who they believe may be a serial peeper.
Two incidents involving a man peeping into residences and exposing himself have been reported in the past two weeks, and research by the department's crimes analysis unit revealed two other cases that may be related to the suspect in most recent incidents, according to a Police Department news release. The earlier incidents occurred in March.
About 11 p.m. Thursday, officers responded to 609 Alvarado Ave. A 22-year-old woman was in her apartment when she saw a glimmer of light by her window. She looked outside and saw a man exposing himself. After a brief period, the man left on foot.
An Auburn man has been sentenced to nearly five years in prison for bank robberies in Roseville and Davis.
Paul Michael Schmeer, 30, was sentenced today in Sacramento by U.S. District Judge Morrison C. England Jr. to four years and nine months in prison, followed by three years of supervised release, for serial bank robbery. He also was ordered to pay full restitution for the robberies, according to a federal Department of Justice news release.
According to court documents, on Dec. 5, 2011, Schmeer robbed the Roseville branch of Chase Bank on Douglas Boulevard. He presented a note to a teller, demanding money and stating that he had a gun. The teller complied, and Schmeer left the bank with $4,000.
Davis police are searching for a prowler who exposed himself to a resident earlier this week.
Officers were dispatched about 9:30 p.m. Wednesday to the 1500 block of H St. regarding a prowler. A 22-year-old woman told police that she was in her apartment when she heard a knocking sound on her wall. When she approached her window, she saw a man looking into her bedroom while exposing himself, according to a Police Department news release.
The woman said the man appeared to be of Hispanic or Middle Eastern descent, about 5 feet, 7 inches tall, with brown eyes, unshaven with a thin mustache, and a shaved head. She said he was wearing a black "hoodie" style sweatshirt and blue jeans.
By Sam Stanton
The Sacramento Bee and the Los Angeles Times filed suit today against the University of California Board of Regents in a bid to force the release of police officer names that have been kept secret from the public since last November's pepper-spray incident on the UC Davis campus.
The lawsuit, filed in Sacramento Superior Court, seeks a court order forcing the release of the names that were redacted from a task force study of the incident that was released in April.
The task force, headed by former state Supreme Court Justice Cruz Reynoso, originally included the names of all officers involved in the incident. All but two of the names were subsequently redacted after a successful court fight waged by the Federated University Police Officers Association, the union representing campus officers.
The judge in the Davis "sweethearts" murder trial today put a limit on defense lawyers on how much evidence they can bring in about a group of suspects previously charged but later cleared in the killings of John Riggins and Sabrina Gonsalves.
Sacramento Superior Court Judge Michael W. Sweet ruled that the attorneys for defendant Richard Hirschfield can only introduce witness statements or physical evidence that directly or circumstantially implicates members of the so-called "Hunt Group." Yolo County prosecutors once charged ex-defendant David Hunt and three others with the Dec. 20, 1980, slayings of Riggins and Gonsalves.
Hirschfield's defense team wanted to introduce similarities between the Riggins and Gonsalves murders and slayings committed by Hunt's half-brother, the since-deceased serial sex-killer Gerald Gallego. They also wanted to explore an attack committed by Hunt in the state of Washington to see if it reflected elements of the the "sweethearts" case.
A 26-year-old man surrendered to Davis police shortly before 7 p.m. today following a standoff at a home where officers had attempted to serve him with a restraining order.
Police Department spokesman Lt. Paul Doroshov said David Manuel Cervantes was arrested on a warrant for weapons charges related to a prior incident. He said he did not know whether new charges would be filed as a result of the stand-off.
He said Cervantes barricaded himself in a home on Adrian Drive in east Davis after officers attempted to serve him with a restraining order about 1:40 p.m. Cervantes refused to come the the door. In the process of trying to make contact with Cervantes, officers learned of the Yolo County warrant.
Davis police are looking for a man in connection with a sexual battery incident that occurred early Sunday.
A 23-year-old Davis woman was walking north on L Street in the area of Eighth Street about 1 a.m. when a man she did not know approached her from behind and put his arm around her waist. The woman pulled away and ran to the other side of the street. But the man again approached her and placed his hand up her skirt, according to a Police Department news release.
The woman was able to get away from the man, who then fled on a bicycle north on L Street.
Davis police have arrested two men in connection with an April 15 hit-and-run case in which a teenager was severely injured.
Police announced today that Devin Parsons, 19, and Luis Barajas Jr., 22, both of Woodland, were arrested earlier this week on suspicion of felony hit and run. Both were booked into Yolo County Jail.
On April 15, two vehicles engaged in a reckless exhibition of speed at Eureka Avenue and West 14th Street, doing "doughnut" type maneuvers, according to a Police Department news release. Louis Robertson, 18, a passenger in the rear seat of one of those cars, fell out and onto the pavement. The second vehicle ran over Roberts, and he suffered life-threatening injuries, police said.
Police have released new information about last week's massive manhunt that began in West Sacramento and ended with the fatal shooting of the suspect in Sacramento County.
Among the newly released details is the fact that authorities found out during the course of their search Friday that the suspect, later identified as 38-year-old Jimmy Lee Graves, had stolen a high-powered and "extremely dangerous" rifle from the machine shop where the manhunt began, said Sgt. Nathan Steele, spokesman for the West Sacramento Police Department.
The Remington Model 700 rifle is the same used by most police snipers, Steele said, and has a reach of more than 400 yards. It is a legal weapon often used for hunting.
State Attorney General Kamala D. Harris today announced the arrest of several gang members and their associates in the Sacramento region.
The arrests, according to a state Department of Justice news release, highlight the Yolo Narcotic Enforcement Team's continuing efforts to combat gangs and narcotics trafficking in local communities. The team is made up of all law enforcement agencies in Yolo County and is led by the state Department of Justice.
The operation in West Sacramento was dubbed "Operation Red Sash" because of the Northern Riders and Broderick Boys criminal street gangs' affiliation with the color red and the Nortenos criminal gang, officials said.
By Anita Creamer
Davis police officials say they arrested 51 people and wrote at least 100 citations at the 2012 Picnic Day over the weekend.
Picnic Day is the university's annual spring open house, but in the past several years, it has degenerated into public drunkenness and mayhem and caused strains between the campus and the community.
At last year's Picnic Day, in contrast, the Davis Police Department and other agencies made 54 arrests and wrote 221 tickets, most for alcohol-related violations, and the UC Davis police made another 10 arrests. Last year as well, a UC Davis graduate was killed at a Picnic Day party off campus when he fell and hit his head.
Yolo County Animal Services officials seek the public's help in locating dogs involved in five different dog-bite incidents during the past week.
Three occurred in Davis, one in Woodland and one in West Sacramento.
The first incident occurred about 5:30 p.m. April 12 in Davis in a field near Richards Boulevard near the Royal Oaks Mobile Home Park. Officials said a woman was bitten several times by a large black dog believed to be a Labrador retriever, possibly wearing a red collar. The dog was last seen entering the mobile home park, but investigative efforts at the park failed to locate the dog.
By Sam Stanton
Annette M. Spicuzza, the embattled UC Davis police chief who came under fire in last week's report on what led to the Nov. 18 pepper spray incident on campus, has decided to retire, according to an email statement received by The Bee today.
"My 27 years in law enforcement have been dedicated to the ethical and committed service to the departments and communities I have been proud to be a part of," the statement read. "For the past seven years, I have accomplished many good things for both the Police Department and community here at UC Davis; and am grateful to those of you who have remembered this.
"As the university does not want this incident to be its defining moment, nor do I wish for it to be mine. I believe in order to start the healing process, this chapter of my life must be closed."
Among the points in the 10-point covenant signed by 51 of 75 Greek organizations are pledges not to serve alcohol before noon and refraining from drinking games.
"The covenant demonstrates that we are doing our part," said Matt Chemin, president of the Interfraternity Council.
Picnic Day typically draws 75,000 people. The on-campus open house, now in its 98th year, is a wholesome event featuring a parade, music, educational exhibits, animal events and sport.
The Yolo County District Attorney's Office advises people to be alert to a scam involving phony text messages to cell phone users.
Officials cite two messages in particular. The first begins: "Dear Walmart Shopper, Congratulations you have just won a $1000 dollar Walmart Gift Card." The second begins: "Apple is looking for people to Text & Keep the New iPad 3!" Both messages ask the cell phone users to click or go to a website provided.
Authorities advise people to delete these messages.
Yolo County Animal Services officials seek the public's help in finding a dog that bit a man in Davis.
The man reported that the incident occurred between 1 and 4 p.m. Saturday as he was walking his own dog on the greenbelt in the area of Albany and Concord avenues in south Davis. The biting dog was on a leash, pulling a man who was walking it. The dog was described as a medium brown and black German shepherd. The person with the dog was described as white, in his late 30s to 40s, about 6 feet tall, with a medium build and brown hair.
The victim and his dog were walking on the sidewalk toward the oncoming dog. The victim told Animal Services that the German shepherd became agitated and was biting the victim's dog. When the victim bent down to rescue his dog, the German shepherd bit him on the wrist, according to an Animals Services news release.
The Yolo County District Attorney's office is accepting applications for a Citizens Academy designed to acquaint people in the community with the various aspects of the criminal justice system.
Th academy, which will begin May 3, is sponsored by the District Attorney's Office in partnership with the Yolo County Sheriff's Office; Yolo County Probation Department; and the Davis, West Sacramento, Winters and Woodland police departments.
The goal of the academy is to educate the public, and to improve relationships and communication between the different communities in Yolo County and the criminal justice system, according to a District Attorney's Office news release.
Six people were arrested at a west Davis home where police reported finding methamphetamine during a parole search.
Davis police officers on Tuesday searched a residence in the 1100 block of Halifax Avenue in the Stonegate neighborhood. Inside the house, they found more than 52 ounces of suspected methamphetamine and other evidence suggesting that drugs were being sold, according to a Police Department news release.
Arrested were Erica Marie Umbay, 37, Chad Stewart Umbay, 28, Michelle Witten, 31, Thomas Witten, 33, and Zachary Hicks, 26, all of Davis, and Matthew Ramirez, 25, of Woodland.
By Darrell Smith
A dozen UC Davis Occupy protestors connected to the shutdown of a U.S. Bank branch on campus were notified Friday by Yolo County District Attorney's officials to appear April 27 in Yolo Superior Court in Woodland.
The 12 protestors face a single count of conspiracy to commit a misedemeanor and 20 counts of blocking access in connection with demonstrations at the U.S. Bank branch on the University of California, Davis campus from Jan. 20 through Feb. 27, said Michael Cabral, Yolo County assistant chief deputy district attorney.
A boy in East Davis had a moment right out of the movie "Home Alone" when a burglar broke into his house.
The 12-year-old was by himself when he heard someone knocking on the front door of his home on Layton Drive on Thursday, according to Davis police. He stayed quiet and didn't answer the door.
When he saw a man in his backyard, the boy ran into the bathroom at the back of the house, locked the door and called 911. The man made entry into the house and took some of the family's property before fleeing.
Responding Davis police officers arrested Kyle Frank, 37, of Placerville nearby on suspicion of burglary. Police believe that he may be connected to another burglary.
Davis police are searching for a man who harassed two 11-year-old girls as they were walking home from school Monday.
Officers were called to the area of West Eighth Street and Oak Avenue about 3:24 p.m. regarding a report of suspicious circumstances. The girls reported that as they were walking home they saw a man crouching next to a white van.
He told the youngsters, "I want to show you something," then placed his hand on his crotch, according to a Police Department news release. Police said the man remained fully clothed and did not expose himself.
Yolo County Animal Services officials seek the public's help in finding a cat that bit a man Sunday in Davis.
The 49-year-old man was bitten by a large, brown Siamese-mix cat, with black and white highlights, and wearing a collar with an oval tag, according to an Animal Services news release. The incident occurred in the area of M and Duke streets.
Finding the animal may spare the victim post-exposure rabies treatment.
The Yolo County sheriff's animal services section needs help in finding a dog that bit a University of California, Davis student.
Authorities want to find the animal so that the student will not have to undergo "post exposure" rabies treatment.
The female student was bitten March 10 by a dark brown, male terrier weighing about 50 pounds. She tried to pet the dog when it was tied up at the arboretum on the UC Davis campus.
Animal services officials reminded the public to use caution when approaching any animal they don't know. Dogs may exercise their protective instincts and bite, according to a sheriff's office press release.
Anyone who knows who owns the dog is asked to call the animal services section at (530) 668-5287 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
Paul Michael Schmeer of Auburn today pleaded guilty in federal court in Sacramento to serial bank robbery.
According to court documents, Schmeer, 30, on Dec. 5, 2011 robbed the Chase Bank branch on Douglas Boulevard in Roseville. He presented a note to a teller, demanding money and stating that he had a gun.
The teller complied with the demand, and Schmeer left the bank with $4,000, according to a federal Department of Justice news release.
Davis police announced that they are deploying additional resources in an effort to stem a rash of residential burglaries.
Since Jan. 1, 31 burglaries and eight attempted burglaries have been reported in the city. That compares with 24 burglaries for the same period last years, said Lt. Paul Doroshov.
The burglaries have occurred citywide, though several have been concentrated in northeast Davis, he said. On the two occasions when someone was home when a break-in or attempted break-in occurred, the residents reported that they had heard the doorbell ring but didn't answer the door.
A 12-year-old Davis boy was credited with thwarting a burglary by keeping his cool and phoning 911 as a stranger attempted to enter his house this morning.
Abut 8:45 a.m., Davis police received an emergency call from the boy, who reported a burglary in progress in east Davis. The youth was home alone when a stranger appeared at the front door. When the boy didn't answer, the man went to the back door and tried to force his way into the house, according to a Police Department news release.
The boy immediately called 911 while hiding in the bathroom. Police said the youth stayed on the phone, providing valuable information to the dispatcher as officers rushed to the home with emergency lights and sirens.
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.
Davis police have arrested two people in connection with robberies Tuesday night in south Davis in which victims reported being threatened with a knife.
About 7:58 p.m., officers were dispatched to the area of the Sorrento Apartments at 1540 Valdora Drive regarding a robbery that had just occurred. The victim, a 20-year-old man and Davis resident, told police that two Latino males had confronted him in front of the apartment complex, pushed him and demanded his property. He said one of the suspects threatened him with a knife.
The victim fled and the suspects left without any of his belongings, according to a Police Department news release.
Yolo County Animal Services officials are asking the public's help in identifying and finding a dog that bit a man in Davis last week.
About 2 p.m. Thursday, a man reported being bitten by a fawn-colored boxer-type dog while he was walking in the area of Valdora Street in south Davis, near the Safeway store.
The victim said a woman was walking two boxers, both of them on leashes. When the man passed, one of the dogs turned and bit him, leaving puncture wounds on his arm, according to a Yolo County Sheriff's Office news release.
A 19-year-old UC Davis student died today of injuries suffered when he was struck by a vehicle Friday night.
Davis police were called to Arlington Boulevard and Shasta Drive about 11 p.m. regarding a collision involving a pedestrian and a vehicle. Police said a 62-year-old Davis woman was eastbound on Arlington Boulevard approaching the intersection of Shasta Drive. As she entered the intersection, her vehicle struck a pedestrian, Brennan Morrow, who entered and started to cross the roadway, according to a Police Department news release.
Morrow, a Davis resident, was taken by ambulance to UC Davis Medical Center with severe injuries.
A Yolo County jury has convicted a Vallejo man of robbery and assault with a deadly weapon in the theft of an iPhone.
On Sept. 26, 2010, Calvin Tommy Johnson, 27, contacted the victim, who had listed an iPhone for sale on Cragslist, according to a Yolo County District Attorney's Office news release. Johnson arranged to meet the victim at a Davis shopping center to complete the transaction.
After examining the phone, Johnson took it with him to his car to get his money. But once in the car, Johnson told the driver to take off, officials said.
Credited with saving the lives of their owners from an early Tuesday morning house fire in the Yolo County community of Zamora, Gizzy, a 4-year-old Shih Tzu, and Honey, a 3-year-old Great Pyranees, were released this afternoon from UC Davis' veterinary medical teaching hospital, where they were treated for smoke inhalation.
Cheryl Washington, 63, said she must have already been experiencing effects of smoke about 5 a.m. Tuesday when her dogs began barking. When they had trouble rousing her, they didn't give up.
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.
By Cynthia Hubert
Sara Granda is the first to admit that her beige 2001 Ford Econoline van is not a "hot" car in the traditional sense of the word.
But it became one this weekend when thieves stole it from the driveway from her apartment in Davis.
Granda, a lawyer who is paralyzed from the neck down, was left wondering why anyone would want the van, which has been gutted to accommodate her wheelchair and medical equipment, plugs along at about 10 mph and "has a hard time accelerating," she said.
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.
An Oakland man was arrested on suspicion of vehicle theft after leading a Davis police officer on a chase and ramming the officer's patrol car, according to police.
Over the past month, Davis has seen an increase in stolen vehicle activity, particularly targeting Hondas and Acuras, which have been recovered in the San Francisco Bay Area, according to a Davis Police Department news release.
About 1:53 this morning, a Davis patrol officer working in the 1800 block of Cowell Boulevard observed an Acura, and a check of the license plate number revealed that it had been reported stolen out of Oakland. When the officer attempted to stop the vehicle, the driver accelerated, leading the officer on a high-speed chase around the south Davis area.
A Humboldt County man was arrested this morning, shortly after he allegedly robbed a Chase Bank branch in Davis.
Police were dispatched to the bank at 330 E St. about 9:24 a.m. regarding a robbery. Officers were told that a man entered the bank and passed a note to one of the tellers stating that he wanted money and that he had a gun. Bank employees did not see a gun, but the teller complied with the demand and the man walked out of the back with an undisclosed amount of currency, according to a Davis Police Department news release.
A bank employee followed the man to his vehicle, which was parked nearby. The employee then called police and provided a description of the man and the vehicle.
Based on similar suspect descriptions, officers believe the same suspect is responsible for robberies at eight U.S. Bank branches between Sept. 1 and Dec. 22.
The robberies occurred Sept. 1 in South San Francisco, Oct. 12 in Fremont, Oct. 19 in Cupertino, Oct. 24 in Los Altos and Sunnyvale, Dec. 20 in Elk Grove and Davis, and Dec. 22 in Redwood City.
A family at a Burger King drive-through window in Davis was robbed at gunpoint shortly after midnight.
The two adults and children ages 11 and 19, were in the drive-through lane at the restaurant at 403 Mace Blvd. in south Davis at 12:05 a.m. today when they were approached by two men on foot who demanded money. One man was armed with a rifle and the other had a pistol, said Davis police Sgt. John Wilson.
The driver gave the men cash from his wallet and the two left the area in a car that was parked in the parking lot next to the restaurant.
A 25-year-old woman who was struck by a vehicle Wednesday morning in Davis has died.
Megan Glanville was crossing Russell Boulevard on foot when she was hit by a pickup truck.
Glanville, who police said is from Chico but was living in Davis, suffered severe injuries including head trauma. She was taken by ambulance to UC Davis Medical Center, where she died of her injuries late this morning, according to a Davis Police Department news release.
Police are still investigating the circumstances surrounding the accident, but they say heavy morning fog may have played a role. Investigators do not believe drugs or alcohol were involved.
A 25-year-old woman is in critical condition at UC Davis Medical Center after she was struck by a pickup truck as she crossed a street in Davis this morning.
Megan Glanville was crossing Russell Boulevard on foot at the Lake Boulevard intersection when she was hit by an eastbound pickup driven by George Souza, 61, of Woodland, according to a Davis Police Department news release.
Glanville, who is from Chico but currently living in Davis, suffered severe injuries including head trauma, police said.
Police are still investigating the circumstances surrounding the accident but say heavy morning fog may have played a role. Investigators do not believe drugs or alcohol were involved.
The Davis Police Department is teaming with several local bicycle shops in a project to promote and enhance bicycle safety in the city.
Beginning Jan. 9 and continuing through the week, the Police Department will conduct a specialized bicycle safety and enforcement operation. Officers will patrol areas frequented by bicyclists and target traffic violations that lead to collisions with other bicyclists, vehicles and pedestrians.
Since Jan. 1 of this year, Davis police have responded to 54 collisions involving bicycles, according to a department news release. The bicyclist was injured in 93 percent of those collisions.
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.
By Whitney Mountain
A man with a felony warrant led officers on a high-speed chase from Davis to West Sacramento early Sunday morning, trying to evade a traffic stop, according to reports.
Ronald McZeal, 26, of Vallejo, was driving around 90 mph, heading east on Interstate 80 in Davis when a Davis officer attempted to pull him over around Richards Boulevard at 3:38 a.m.
Davis police spokesman Lt. Paul Doroshov said McZeal briefly pulled over, but took off before the officer made contact.
The chase ended on Riverside Parkway in West Sacramento, where McZeal drove the car into a fire hydrant, causing himself and his two female passengers minor injuries, according to officers. All three were taken to the UC Davis Medical Center for treatment.
By Andy Furillo
Attorneys for the man accused of murder in the 1980 Davis "sweetheart" killings failed today in their effort to exclude the press and public from pretrial motions in the case.
The lawyers for Richard Joseph Hirschfield, 62, said that coverage of several potential "inflammatory" issues they expect to arise in the hearings could prejudice their client's right to a fair trial.
Sacramento Superior Court Judge MIchael W. Sweet disagreed, saying that there are several remedies available to ensure that potential jurors are not contaminated by news coverage of the more than 100 motions the lawyers are expected to argue over the next week.
Among the remedies, the judge said, are a questionaire to be distributed among the jury pool and the individual questioning of candidates for the panel if they say they have learned things about the trial that could be prejudicial.
Hirschfield is accused of kidnapping UC Davis students John Riggins and Sabrina Gonsalves, both 18, from the college town the night of Dec. 20, 1980. Their bodies were discovered two days later near Lake Natoma.
A Rancho Cordova teen probably fell asleep while driving on Interstate 80 in Davis, causing her to twice careen wildly across the freeway and into a tree.
The California Highway Patrol is asking anyone who might have witnessed the accident that caused major injuries to Nicole Francisco, 18, about 5 a.m. Saturday morning to contact the CHP's Woodland office.
The CHP said in a press release that Francisco was driving eastbound on I-80 west of Mace Boulevard at about 75 mph in the far right hand lane when for unknown reasons her car drifted across all lanes of traffic onto the dirt center median. Francisco's car then swerved back across I-80 onto the dirt shoulder where it hit a big tree and a fence.
Davis police detectives arrested two men suspected of knocking out and robbing a man who met their female friend online.
Police said that the 20-year-old man, staying with friends and family in Davis, met the woman online and invited her to visit him. When the two were walking near Covell Boulevard and Highway 113 on Tuesday the man was attacked and robbed.
The two robbers chased him into an apartment complex in the 1500 block of Shasta Drive where they struck him over the head with a "club-like" weapon, rendering him unconscious, a police press release said.
A 20-year-old Oakland man visiting acquaintances in Davis was chased and beaten by two assailants this afternoon.
Davis police Lt. Paul Doroshov said the incident occurred about 4:30 p.m. He said the man was walking on the sidewalk along Covell Boulevard when he was approached by two African American men who demanded money and his cell phone. The victim tried to get away from them, but they chased him across Covell into an apartment complex in the 1500 block of Shasta Drive. There they cornered the victim and beat him over the head with a club.
Doroshov said the victim was unconscious when officers arrived. He was transported to UC Davis Medical Center, where he is recovering.
A car was slammed into by a passenger train last night east of Davis after the suspected drunk driver left the disabled vehicle on the tracks, the California Highway Patrol reported.
Alexius Russell, 29, of Sacramento was driving her Honda Civic westbound on Country Road 32a west of County Road 105a about 7:50 p.m. when she drove her car off the road and onto the tracks because she had been drinking, according to a CHP press release.
She got out of her car and called for help, but while waiting for assistance, a westbound AMTRAK train hit the Honda. The car caught fire.
About 20 passengers were aboard the train, but no injuries were reported. Russell was arrested on suspicion of driving under the influence of alcohol, the CHP.
The Davis Police Department is warning residents to be alert to thieves who have been stealing tires and wheels from vehicles in the city.
Lt. Paul Doroshov said 20 such incidents have been reported since late January, including five this month.
The latest theft was reported Monday. Police said the owner of an Infiniti sedan had parked the vehicle in the lot of his apartment complex at 955 Cranbrook Court. When he returned to the car at 9:50 a.m., he discovered all four wheels missing and the vehicle on blocks.
By Whitney Mountain
Davis is celebrating Neighbors Night Out from noon to 9 p.m. today as part of its fifth annual event that brings residents of the college town together.
The event is part of a national program that invites communities around the country to come together with activities like block parties, potlucks, brunches, ice cream socials, and more.
While most communities hold their events during the summer, Davis waits until fall for its robust student population to return before the Associated Students of UC Davis and the City of Davis throw their annual event.
When Davis held its first event in 2006, 60 parties registered with the city for Neighbors Night Out. For the last two years, there have been more than 100 parties registered, and 100 have already been registered for this year's event.
For more information, visit cityofdavis.org/neighbors.