Monthly Archives: September 2012

Man arrested after SWAT team standoff in H.B.

Article Tab: Heavily-armed officers arrive on the scene of a standoff near the intersection of Gothard Street and Heil Avenue in Huntington Beach.HUNTINGTON BEACH – A report of a stolen vehicle led to a three-hour police standoff and the arrest of an armed man in connection with a string of charges, police said.

Huntington Beach police officers approached a man suspected of being in a stolen vehicle at Heil Avenue and Gothard Street around 9:45 a.m., but he fled on foot into a nearby business, Lt. Kelly Rodriguez said. He barricaded himself as its occupants left.

A SWAT team responded and officers convinced the man to come out by 1 p.m., Rodriguez said. He was transported to a hospital, then later arrested and booked, Rodriguez said.

John Moreno was arrested on suspicion of burglary, unlawful possession of a firearm, stealing a vehicle, being under the influence of a controlled substance, driving while under the influence of a controlled substance and resisting arrest.

Randy McDonald, the owner of nearby Books at Sandcastle, said the standoff took place at Galla Telecommunications. Snipers were positioned around the business, but McDonald heard no shots fired.

“It was definitely scary,” he said.



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Parents accused of planting drugs plead not guilty

Article Tab: Kent Wycliffe Easter, of Irvine, right and wife Jill Bjorkholm Easter appear in Superior Court for their arraignment hearing on charges related to the illegal planting of drugs. SANTA ANA – An Irvine couple accused of planting drugs in the car of an unsuspecting school volunteer who they thought was not properly supervising their son pleaded not guilty Monday.

Kent Wycliffe Easter, 38, and Jill Bjorkholm Easter, 39, are charged with conspiracy to procure the false arrest of the elementary-school parent volunteer, false imprisonment, and conspiracy to falsely report a crime; they are all felony charges. If convicted, they face a maximum sentence of three years in prison.

Superior Court Judge Walter Schwarm set an Oct. 12 pretrial date for the Easters, who themselves are attorneys. The Easters’ attorneys declined to comment.

Separate from the criminal prosecution, Kelli Peters, the volunteer at Irvine’s Plaza Vista School, has filed a civil lawsuit against the Easters claiming she and her family have endured a nightmare since she was detained by police in February 2011 after being falsely accused of using illegal drugs, phony accusations stemming from an “evil conspiracy” by the Easters.



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Driver gets prison for hit-run crash that left man unable to walk, speak

Article Tab: Oscar Paz booking photo.FULLERTON – A Huntington Beach man was sentenced to three years in prison for severely injuring another man in a hit-and-run crash while driving on a suspended license,

Oscar Paz, 32, was speeding in his Volkswagen Jetta in the slow lane on the 22 freeway about 5 a.m. on Dec. 11, 2011, approaching Magnolia Street when he slammed into a Nissan driven by a 66-year-old man, prosecutors said.

Paz drove off without stopping, parked his car in a nearby strip mall and fled on foot, according to prosecutors. Two days after the collision, Paz turned himself in to the CHP Westminster office.

The victim remained in a coma in critical condition for several weeks after suffering severe brain and spinal injuries. He is still unable to walk or speak, and continues to suffer constant pain, prosecutors said.

Paz was convicted by an Orange County jury in July of felony hit-and-run with permanent injury.



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Mother, son charged with abusing, abandoning 30 dogs

Article Tab: park-hills-total-remoLAGUNA HILLS – A mother and son are facing misdemeanor charges after authorities say they abused 30 dogs before leaving the canines abandoned in a Laguna Hills park.

Flordeliza Aguillo Escano, 59, of Rancho Santa Margarita has been charged with animal abandonment, mistreatment and neglect, while James Francis Alambra, 26, has been charged with animal abandonment and mistreatment, according to the Orange County District Attorney’s Office.

Authorities allege that Escano and Alambra drove a truck into a parking lot at San Remo Park on May 20 and unloaded two crates, one that contained 14 dogs, the other than contained 16 dogs. Prosecutors say the dogs were stacked atop one another in the crates, without food or water.

After leaving the crates next to trees near the roadway, prosecutors said the mother and son attempted to leave in the truck, but the vehicle wouldn’t start.

A woman picked the two up in another vehicle, but investigators do not believe that she knew about the abandoned canines. Escano and Alambra left their truck at the park, authorities said.

Park visitors called the Orange County Sheriff’s Department after finding the crates. Authorities say the dogs showed signs of neglect, including matted fur and ingrown toenails. Animal Control officials indicated that the dogs ranged in age from 6 months to 6 years old.

Alambra reportedly told investigators that his mother appeared to be hoarding the dogs and that he was taking them from her residence to an animal shelter, but claimed he was forced to abandon them when his car broke down.

If convicted, Escano faces up to 18 months in jail, while Alambra faces up to a year in jail, according to the DA’s office.

Staff writer Erika J. Ritchie contributed to this report.



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BEAUMONT: Police use reinforcements to snag wanted felon

Hemet and Beaumont Police officers teamed up to recover a stolen vehicle and put four people behind bars.

A press release from the city of Hemet says on Sunday, Sept. 23, Beaumont Police had seen a wanted felon near a stolen vehicle. It says when the suspect, who is known to carry high-powered weapons, was confronted by officers, he ran into a home on Beaumont Avenue and would not come out.

At the request of Beaumont Police, Hemet Police responded with one of its armored vehicles, known as the Bearcat.

The press release says with the safety provided by the Bearcat, officers were able to enter the residence and arrest the following people: Robert White Cloud Trujillo, age 20, possession of stolen property and felony warrant; Sarah Lugo, 37, accessory and violation of probation; Amanda Lugo, 51, accessory and violation of probation and Harvis Armstrong, 38, resisting/obstructing officers.



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FIELD POLL: Narrow percentage favors blocking death penalty abolition

Voters are narrowly divided over Prop. 34, an initiative to do away with the death penalty in California, according to a UC Berkeley/Field Poll survey made public Tuesday, Sept. 25. Those favoring the ballot measure are at 42 percent, those opposed at 45 percent, with 13 percent undecided, the poll reported.

The difference is within the poll’s 4.3 percentage point margin of error.

The initiative calls for the abolition of the death penalty in California and is retroactive for the state’s condemned inmates, whose numbers now stand at 727, the largest such number in the country. If passed, the initiative will replace capital punishment with a sentence of life in prison without possibility of parole, and directs $100 million to law enforcement for investigation of murder and rape cases.

The results, Field Poll Director Mark DiCamillo said in a phone interview, reflect changing attitudes about capital punishment in California. The Field Poll has conducted surveys on the death penalty for more than 50 years.

Changes include an increasing number of voters accepting that a sentence of life in prison without parole means just that, life in prison, rather than eventual release. Voters also are migrating from viewing life in prison without parole as more expensive than the death penalty to an increasing regard that capital punishment is more costly, DiCamillo said.

In 2000, surveyed voters in the Field Poll favored the death penalty over life in prison without parole, 44 percent to 37 percent. In a 2011 poll, 48 percent said they preferred life in prison without parole against 40 percent for the death penalty, even though 68 percent overall said they favored the death penalty.

“I don’t see those as inconsistent answers,” DiCamillo said. “For first-degree murders, most prefer life in prison without parole. But for heinous crimes — put Charlie Manson’s face up there — many voters would say the death penalty should be kept.” Voters have indicated they want prosecutors to have capital punishment as an option, he said.

But Prop. 34 has no such discernments, DiCamillo said. “That is not what this initiative does,” — Proposition 34 is all-or-nothing. “That’s what makes it an interesting election. You have to come to judgment one way or another.”

Riverside County has 74 inmates on death row, the highest per-capita number in the state, 1 for every 30,000, while Los Angeles County, with 226 inmates awaiting execution, is at 1 for every 44,0000. San Bernardino County has 37 condemned inmates listed in state prison figures.

The survey also looked at Prop. 31, a state budget process reform initiative, and found 40 percent of likely voters will turn it down, 21 percent will approve, but a large portion of voters, 39 percent, are undecided.

Today’s surveys were conducted by The Field Poll and the Institute of Governmental Studies at UC Berkeley for The Press-Enterprise and other California media subscribers. Interviews were conducted with 1,183 California registered voters, including 902 likely to vote in November.




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FONTANA: Man arrested in ‘peeping Tom’ case

A 38-year-old Fontana man was arrested after he was caught using a shoe-mounted cell-phone camera to look up a woman’s dress in a discount store, police say.

Jose Luis Alderete was arrested at 6:29 p.m. Monday, Sept. 24, near Slover and Sierra Avenues, then booked for investigation of misdemeanor illegal video photography, jail records show. He was released after signing a promise to appear in court.

The case began about 2:45 p.m. at a Target store along the 16900 block of Slover Avenue when a Rialto man noticed that his wife was being videotaped by someone with a camera on his shoe, investigators said in a written statement.

The husband yelled. The photographer fled. But the husband caught Alderete in the parking lot and held him for police.

“Officers … discovered that the male suspect had attached a cell phone with video camera capabilities to his shoe using tape,” according to the statement. “He … placed his foot nearby the victim in a position where he was able to video tape under her dress without her knowledge.

“Officers also discovered separate videos of other females, which appeared to have been taken at different locations, within the last month. The other females (videoed) on the phone have not yet been identified.”




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