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Monthly Archives: February 2012

Police seek shooter of man found wounded in Fullerton

FULLERTON – Police are asking for the public’s help in finding the person or persons responsible for a shooting that left a 19-year-old man suffering from a gunshot wound.

Police got several 911 calls reporting possible shots fired at an apartment complex in the 3000 block of Garnet Lane near Placentia Avenue shortly before 3 a.m. Sunday, Fullerton police Captain Alex Bastreri said.

Officers did not find a victim, but determined a shooting had occurred in the patio area, Bastreri said.

The victim’s family members drove him to UCI Medical Center in Orange to be treated for a gunshot wound to the leg. His injuries were not believed to be life threatening, Bastreri said.

A description of the attacker or attackers was not available. Details of what led to the shooting were unknown.

Anyone with information was urged to call Fullerton police Sgt. Jeff Stuart at 714-773-5758

 

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Police: Man stabbed after refusing to give cigarette

SANTA ANA – A man was stabbed in the chest Tuesday night after police say he refused to give a man a cigarette.

At 10:30 p.m., officers were sent to Western Medical Center-Santa Ana regarding a stabbing victim, Santa Ana police Cmdr. Jeff Owens said.

The victim told officer he was walking home from the Stater Bros. supermarket near Tustin and Santa Clara avenues when he was approached by a man who asked him for a cigarette, Owens said.

“The victim denied the suspect’s request and the suspect took offense to that,” Owens said.

The man brandished a knife and stabbed the victim in the chest, Owens said. The victim went home and a relative took him to Western Medical Center-Santa Ana.

The victim’s injury was not believed to be life-threatening, Owens said.

The attacker was described as a man in his 30s.

Anyone with information was asked to call the Santa Ana Police Department at 714-245-8665.

 

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7th L.A. school employee arrested on sex-related accusation

Corey HoganA seventh L.A. school employee has been arrested on sex-related accusations.

The latest case involves a teacher who has been arrested on suspicion of having sex with a 17-year-old female student, police said Tuesday.

There has been a flurry of arrests of Los Angeles-area schoolteachers and employees  in recent weeks. Officials said they believe the cases were a result of increased awareness following the high-profile arrest of teacher Mark Berndt atMiramonte Elementary School.

Berndt has been charged with photographing blindfolded and gagged students who were allegedly fed spoonfuls of his semen.

Last week, authorities announced the arrest of a Roosevelt High School Spanish teacher on suspicion of having sex with two teenage boys. Gabriela Cortez, 42, was arrested on suspicion of unlawful sexual intercourse.

Montebello police alleged that she had lengthy sexual relationships with the boys between 2008 and 2010. One of the teenagers, now 18, reported the teacher last week to police in Montebello, where she lives, said Chief Kevin McClure. After learning of the allegation, school officials immediately removed her from the classroom.

In the latest case, Corey Hogan, 32, the band director at George Washington Preparatory High School, was arrested after the student and her mother told police that the girl agreed to have sex with Hogan at his home, the Hawthorne Police Department said.

The sex allegedly took place during the football season after Hogan gave the girl and other students a ride home, police said in a statement.

FULL COVERAGE: Teacher sex-abuse investigations

After the other students were dropped off, the girl agreed to go to Hogan’s Hawthorne home, police said.

Hogan was arrested Monday at the high school.

Hogan was released Tuesday afternoon after posting $100,000 bail, according to Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department online booking records.

Law enforcement officials stressed that they don’t believe that more abuse is occurring. Rather, the Miramonte episode has sparked some people to come forward and others to be more watchful, they say.

“As a community, people are coming together and are hyper-vigilant about any other perpetrators. Everything is now being reported,” Pia Escudero, who directs L.A. Unified’s mental health and crisis counseling services, told The Times last week.

 

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Decapitation suspect’s brother, woman charged as accessories

Daniel WozniakThe brother of a Costa Mesa man accused of killing two people in 2010 is one of the two people charged recently with being accessories to the crime, according to court records filed in the case.

Timothy Allen Wozniak and Lisa Gayle Golledge, both 37, were each charged with one felony count of being accessories to a murder after the fact in connection to the slayings of Samuel Herr, 26, and Herr’s friend, Irvine resident Juri “Julie” Kibuishi, 23. Golledge and Wozniak were dating at the time of the crimes, Lt. Paul Dondero told the Daily Pilot.

Wozniak and Golledge have both entered not-guilty pleas.

The alleged roles that Wozniak and Golledge played in the case were unclear, and their cities of residence could not be confirmed at the time of this report. Prosecutors and police declined to discuss the details, saying they do not want to jeopardize the case if there may be more suspects.

Prosecutors allege that Daniel Patrick Wozniak, 27, killed Herr, an Afghanistan war veteran who was his neighbor in the Camden Martinique apartment complex on Pinecreek Drive in Costa Mesa, to gain access to Herr’s bank account. Police also contend that Daniel Wozniak killed Kibuishi in Herr’s apartment in an attempt to deceive police and make Herr a suspect in her death.

Days after news of the killings, parts of Herr’s body -– including his head — were found scattered in a park in Long Beach.

Daniel Wozniak, a community playhouse actor, was eventually arrested at his bachelor party in Huntington Beach.

Daniel Wozniak has pleaded not guilty to the two felony counts of murder and denied the six sentencing enhancements he is facing. The Orange County district attorney’s office is seeking the death penalty in the case.

Timothy Wozniak was released on $20,000 bail, but Golledge remained in jail on $70,500 bail on additional charges relating to a traffic offense and abandonment and neglect of a child, according to the Orange County Sheriff’s Department.

 

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Man who stole suitcase of cash from Bentley evades police

Man steals suitcase of cash from BentleyPolice sealed off a Glendale neighborhood Tuesday afternoon in a search, but a man who smashed the window of a parked Bentley on Tuesday was able to escape with a briefcase containing an unknown amount of cash.

Witnesses told police at least two other men fled the scene with him, shedding clothes along the way to alter their appearance as officers descended on the neighborhood to set up a search perimeter, theGlendale News-Press reported.

Officers temporarily locked down the neighborhood of Harvard to Ivy streets and from Pacific Avenue and San Fernando Road shortly after the incident was reported at 12:09 p.m. K-9 units were brought out in an attempt to track the men, who were able to evade the perimeter, prompting police to lift the lockdown.

Witnesses initially reported a possible fight on the 400 block of West Colorado Street after they saw a man kicking in the window of a white Bentley, which was parked at the rear of a business, Glendale Police Sgt. Tom Lorenz said.

The Bentley’s owner, a businessman who was inside the building, didn’t know his car was being burglarized when witnesses called it in, Lorenz added.

Witnesses described the men as in their 30s to 40s. The first suspect wore a black hooded sweat shirt and blue jeans. The second suspect had a beard and was seen in a white hooded sweat shirt.

The third suspect had a shaved head and was wearing a gray T-shirt, police said.

 

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Modesto teacher resigns, moves in with 18-year-old student

A teacher from a high school in Modesto has resigned, left his wife and moved in with his girlfriend, an 18-year-old student.

The Enochs High School teacher and the student said they did not have a physical relationship until the day the girl turned 18. The girl’s mother said she has proof that their relationship began sooner. She said she has text messages, phone records and a police report to help build her case.

So far, no arrests have been made. Investigators are trying to figure out whether or not the teacher had inappropriate contact with the student when she was underage.

The teacher, James Hooker, has left his wife and children. He has a daughter who is a junior at Enochs High School.

In an interview with the Modesto Bee, Hooker said, “In making our choice, we’ve hurt a lot of people. We keep asking ourselves, ‘Do we make everyone else happy or do we follow our hearts?’ “

The paper reported that the girl’s mother has waged a public campaign on Facebook since her daughter moved in with Hooker last week.

 

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Three San Diego firefighters facing robbery, assault charges

Three San Diego firefighters who allegedly got into a brawl after a night of drinking will be arraigned next week on felony charges of robbery and assault.

Arrested were Capt. Vadid Cisneros, 36; Gregory Econie, 26; and Andrew Brennen, 29.

The three were arrested about 2 a.m. Sunday and have since been released from jail.

The incident allegedly began when the firefighters, after a night of drinking, got into a scuffle with a man in the Normal Heights neighborhood. Minutes later, the man and his brother — both in their mid-40s — confronted the firefighters and a second fight ensued, according to officials.

One of the brothers reported being hit in the head with a rock. The firefighters allegedly took wallets from the two, and Brennen allegedly warned the two not to report the incident to police.

Along with assault and robbery, Brennen has been charged with intimidating a witness to a crime.

Separate from the criminal charges, an investigation is underway by the Fire Department and the city personnel department to determine whether the three should be punished for the off-duty incident.

Until that probe is completed, the three will continue working as firefighters.

However, if the county government opts to invalidate their credentials as emergency medical technicians — credentials required of all firefighters — their employment with the city would be terminated, officials said.
 

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Former L.A. neighborhood commissioner faces child porn charges

A former president of Los Angeles’ Board of Neighborhood Commissioners surrendered Wednesday to federal agents after he was indicted by a grand jury for allegedly possessing and distributing child pornography, federal prosecutors said.

Albert Noah Abrams, 63, of Tarzana was named Tuesday in an eight-count indictment that includes five counts of distributing child pornography, two counts of receiving child pornography and another count of possessing child pornography.

Investigators using a peer-to-peer sharing network were able to download more than 150 pornographic videos and images from a computer in Abrams’ home.

Abrams resigned in August from the Board of Neighborhood Commissioners, days after investigators searched his home, officials said.If convicted on all counts, Abrams could face as much as a 150-year sentence and at least five years in federal prison.He is expected to be arraigned in U.S. District Court in Los Angeles later Wednesday.
 

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FIELD POLL: Growing support for same-sex marriage

SACRAMENTO — A new Field Poll shows more California voters than ever approve of letting gay and lesbian couples marry, little more than three years after passage of a ban on same-sex marriage.

Fifty-nine percent of voters approve of same-sex marriage, up from 51 percent in 2010, according to the poll. Thirty-four percent of voters disapprove of it, down from 42 percent in 2010. Seven percent of voters have no opinion.

The survey highlights an ongoing shift in voter attitudes toward same-sex marriage since the narrow passage of Prop. 8 in November 2008. The latest numbers mark a reversal in sentiment from the first Field Poll on the issue in 1977, when 59 percent of voters opposed letting gays and lesbians marry.

“It’s remarkable the change that’s occurred,” said Field Poll Director Mark DiCamillo. He linked today’s poll findings to voters’ awareness of recent legal setbacks for Prop. 8 as well as the legalization of same-sex marriage in other states, such as New York and Washington.

“They’re being influenced,” DiCamillo said of voters. “The weight of court decisions shouldn’t be underestimated. Voters have a certain degree of respect for judges.”

Support for extending marriage laws to gays and lesbians is strongest in the San Francisco Bay Area, where 66 percent approve of it. It’s 58 percent in the part of Southern California that includes Riverside and San Bernardino counties, virtually identical to the percentage in Los Angeles County.

Voters 18 to 39 years old are much more likely than voters 65 and older to support same-sex marriage, 69 percent to 45 percent, according to the poll. But DiCamillo said demographics — more positive attitudes of same-sex marriage as older voters die off — play only a small part in the overall shift.

The strongest opposition comes from conservatives, 63percent of whom disapprove of letting gays and lesbians marry.

Poll respondent James Watson of Riverside said he used to oppose the idea of same-sex marriage.

“Then one day it clicked and I thought I could really care less what other people do with their lives,” said Watson, 21, a registered Libertarian who lives in Moreno Valley. “Times are changing.”

Prop. 8, pushed by ProtectMarriage.com, passed with 52 percent of the vote following a campaign in which proponents warned that, if the measure failed, same-sex marriage could be taught in schools. Earlier this month, the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals struck down the measure, setting up possible consideration by the U.S. Supreme Court.

A ProtectMarriage.com spokeswoman declined to comment on today’s poll. Spokeswoman Carla Hass said the group is focused on the Prop. 8 legal fight.

A spokeswoman for Equality California, which opposed Prop. 8 and has helped lead the legal battle against it, reacted cautiously to today’s poll. A survey commissioned by the organization last September found that 51 percent of likely November 2012 voters strongly or somewhat support allowing same-sex couples to be legally married.

Spokeswoman Rebekah Orr said the organization has found that a significant segment of voters seems to accept same-sex marriage in polls but votes against it when they have the chance.

“I think that it’s important that we take poll numbers with a grain of salt. What we know about voters is that they very often poll two positions on this issue,” Orr said.

Today’s poll was conducted for The Press-Enterprise and other California media subscribers from Feb. 2 through Feb. 18. It reflects the answers of 515 voters, a random sub-sample of the poll’s sample of 1,003 registered voters. The sub-sample has a margin of error of plus or minus 4.5 percentage points.

 

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MURRIETA: Stolen scale, pot, lead to arrests

A 17-year-old and a 20-year-old were arrested last night in Murrieta with marijuana and a scale stolen from a Murrieta school, police said.

About 9:30 p.m. officers were dispatched to the 41000 block of Amiens Court where two people were reported sitting in a parked car, possibly engaged in a drug deal, a Murrieta Police Department news release said. Officers found a 17-year-old boy and a 16-year-old girl in the car. Further investigation led police to James Lyons, 20, of Murrieta, at an address nearby, police said.

Lyons and the boy were arrested on suspicion of possession of stolen property and marijuana possession. Lyons also was arrested on suspicion of contributing to the delinquency of a minor, and the boy on suspicion of being a minor in possession of tobacco products, the release said.

 

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