Monthly Archives: July 2013

8 arrested after disturbance at US Open

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A window broken by rioters at the Easyrider bike shop on Main Street in Huntington Beach is boarded up as of Monday morning.Picture made on Main Street in Huntington Beach Monday July 29, 2013.

HUNTINGTON BEACH – Police arrested eight people after big crowds from the Vans US Open of Surfing turned rowdy Sunday night.

The chaos of Labor Day 1986’s OP Pro Surf Contest, in which 12 people were injured, inspired leaders to take precautions in future events. Since then, surf contests have not been held on Labor Day weekend, and alcohol is not allowed. Security has also been heightened, with increased police presence.

Several officers sustained minor injuries, officials said. Police had the crowd under control by 9:15 p.m., according to Lt. Mitch O’Brien, spokesman for the Huntington Beach Police Department.

The eight people were arrested on suspicion of failure to disperse after officials declared an unlawful assembly. Police said the crowd damaged city vehicles, portable toilets street signs and windows. The estimated value of the damage is still being determined.

O’Brien said police were attempting to clear the heavy crowds when a large fight broke out.

Officers tried to break up the fight and a disturbance grew in the downtown area, with people in the crowd chucking bottles and other debris at police officers, turning over portable toilets and damaging other property.

Even after a call to other departments for assistance, the crowd would not disperse, O’Brien said.

Police described the incident as a “major disturbance” and shot several people with rubber balls.

Broken glass was strewn on the street late Sunday night as police helicopters were circling the area. Witnesses said a stop sign was removed and used to smash a window at the Easyrider bike shop on Main Street, from where a bicycle was stolen.

Miguel Lopez III, 21, of Huntington Beach took a lengthy video showing male and female participants in what appeared to be street fights among hundreds of people on Main Street near the Huntington Beach Beer Co. People were seen igniting a box full of paper, tearing down newspaper racks after beating on them with skateboards and throwing chairs.

Julie Lynn, 21, of Fullerton said she was at Gallagher’s and unaware of the disturbance when she saw a group yelling at another group.



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Anaheim club-goer sues Chris Brown and lounge

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Chris Brown performs during Power 106’s annual ‘Powerhouse’ show June 22 before his performance at Heat Ultra Lounge.

SANTA ANA – A woman who alleges that she was assaulted by musician Chris Brown at an Anaheim lounge in June has filed a lawsuit claiming emotional and physical damages and seeking more than $25,000

Deanna Gines, whose suit says she was an Orange County resident at the time of the incident, accuses Brown of intentionally pushing her to the ground during a performance at Heat Ultra Lounge, 321 W. Katella Ave., Suite 214, on June 22 in the lawsuit that was filed at the Orange County Superior Court on July 17.

The lawsuit states that Gines had a VIP pass at the nightclub and was intentionally pushed by Brown when he became angry, causing injury to her left knee.

Royal Entertainment owns Heat Ultra Lounge and was also named in the lawsuit. Mike Joher, a managing partner of Royal Entertainment said in a statement released to Brown’s publicist that the Gines’ allegations are invalid.

Joher wrote that witnesses saw Gines fall while attempting attempt to climb the stage to reach Brown, causing the knee injury.

“We know that the claimant was trying to jump on stage and security was doing their job by keeping people away from Chris,” Joher wrote. “There was no way that he could have touched her. His section was roped off and he had heavy security surrounding him.”

Gines claimed that she was escorted out of the lounge by security personnel and said that she asked for medical attention and for the security guards to call 911, but they did neither.

“Ms. Gines requested medical attention and that an ambulance be called to assist her, but Lounge employees and security told Ms. Gines they would not call an ambulance but instead would be calling the police if she did not leave the premises immediately,” according to the civil court complaint.

Joher wrote that Gines was asked to leave the lounge after she repeatedly attempted to reach Brown over security barriers.

“While security was escorting her off the premises, she took off her shoes and threw them at our security, he wrote. “HEAT staff and security did what they had to, in order to ensure public safety and the safety of the artist.”

The Anaheim Police Department received an assault report on the night of June 23 from a woman who claimed to have been assaulted at Heat Ultra Lounge the previous evening, said police Sgt. Bob Dunn.

Police continue to investigate, Dunn said.

Gines states in the lawsuit that she “will continue to suffer, humiliation, embarrassment, and physical injury” as well as “mental suffering, anguish, fright, horror, nervousness, grief, anxiety, worry, shock, humiliation and shame.”



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Man killed, 2 injured in Garden Grove stabbing

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Garden Grove Police respond to a party early Sunday morning where three persons were stabbed, one fatally.

GARDEN GROVE – A 20-year-old man was killed early Sunday morning after he and two others were stabbed in a fight that broke out at a house party, officials said.

Police responded around 12:30 a.m. to the 12000 block of Darnell Street because of complaints of a loud party, authorities said.

When officers arrived, a fight broke out in the backyard of the home where the party was held and as they attempted to reach the fight, people scattered, said police Lt. Ted Peaslee in a released statement.

Officers found three people had been stabbed. They were taken to a hospital where one man died. The others are expected to survive.

Police are asking anyone with information to call Det. Mike Farley at 714-741-5877.



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Suspect in 1992 killing extradited to O.C.

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Leonardo Pimentel Sanchez

SANTA ANA – A man suspected of killing an aspiring model – and sought by detectives for more than two decades across both sides of the U.S.-Mexico border – was booked in Orange County Jail.

Leonardo Pimentel Sanchez, 56, was extradited from Mexico and arrived in Orange County on Tuesday, said Investigator Dan Salcedo of the Orange County Sheriff’s Department.

With a lengthy record of convictions including rape, authorities said Sanchez dodged law enforcement for years using more than 27 different names and 19 birth dates. Even after he was named as a suspect in the 1992 rape and killing of 19-year-old Cari Ann Parnes, authorities say Sanchez eluded them by using false identities.

Parnes was raped and beaten in 1992, but it would be eight years before DNA evidence would link the crime to a suspect.

Though he had been arrested by Orange County police agencies at least 25 times since 1972 and served time in county and state lockups, Sanchez navigated through the system, officials said.

In a time before electronic databases and DNA identification become commonplace, Sanchez often came into contact with police without being connected to his extensive criminal past.

In 2000, investigators with the Sheriff’s Department identified Sanchez as a suspect in the slaying after his DNA matched evidence collected.

Yet no arrest was made.

Authorities suspected he had made his way to Mexico.

Then in November last year, Sanchez was taken into custody in Tijuana on accusations that he caused a disturbance at a business. Mexican authorities notified Orange County sheriff’s investigators that the man they had in custody matched Sanchez.

Sanchez did not contest extradition, Salcedo said. He was interviewed and expected to be arraigned later this week.

Sanchez is expected to be charged with the killing of Parnes, who moved to California at the age of 17 in hopes of becoming a model.

Her sister, Theresa Lopez, in an earlier interview said Parnes worked as a caregiver while trying to break into modeling. In March 1992, she went missing.

Their mother, Rosemarie Fekete, traveled from Connecticut to search for Parnes, not knowing her body had been found earlier along Trabuco Road.

Investigators suspected she was raped and beaten before she was left near an orange grove – the same site where authorities allege that Sanchez had raped another victim in 1984.

But Parnes’ body remained unidentified for a year.

Fekete and Lopez said they spent years without hope an arrest would be made. Then just before Thanksgiving last year, they were notified of the arrest in Mexico.

“He needed to be caught,” Lopez told the Register in November. “It was the best Thanksgiving. That made my Thanksgiving.”



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Teacher charged with sexually assaulting student

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High school teacher Michelle Johnson has been charged with having sex with a student

FULLERTON – A high school math teacher has been charged with sexually assaulting a 17-year-old male student.

Michelle Lynn Johnson, 45, of Anaheim faces six felony counts of oral copulation of a minor and three felony counts of unlawful sexual intercourse, according to the Orange County District Attorney’s Office.

If convicted, she faces a maximum sentence of eight years and four months in state prison. Johnson is free from jail on $20,000 bail and is expected to be arraigned Wednesday at the North Justice Center in Fullerton.

At the time of the crime, Johnson was a math teacher at Brea Olinda High School in Brea and privately tutored several students during non-school hours and off school property, said the District Attorney’s Office.

Johnson has been placed on leave from the high school.

Authorities say Johnson met the 17-year-old boy at Brea Olinda High School and befriended him.

She is charged with engaging in an unlawful sexual relationship with the victim, both outside of the school and at the school, between April and June.

The victim’s parents contacted police after becoming suspicious of the relationship between Johnson and their son, said the District Attorney’s Office.

The investigation is ongoing.

Anyone with additional information or who believes he or she is a victim is encouraged to contact Supervising District Attorney Investigator Paul Carvo at 714-347-8794 or Brea Police Department Detective Debbie Stark at 714-990-7638.



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Man wanted in arson, murder is 1 of 2 found dead in H.B.

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Officers talk near Bartlett Park in Huntington Beach after two bodies were found Tuesday near a basin in the park.

HUNTINGTON BEACH – A man charged with arson and murder was one of two people found dead in Huntington Beach’s Bartlett Park, Sacramento County Sheriff’s Department officials said on Wednesday.

Abraham Felmley, 32, was found dead with a gunshot wound Tuesday afternoon along with another man who has not been identified.

A passerby saw the two bodies around 1 p.m. in the rural park between Coldwater Lane and Beach Boulevard, south of Yorktown Avenue. The park, 15 to 20 acres of dense trees, brush and trails, is a hangout for teenagers and homeless people, neighbors said.

Authorities in Sacramento had been seeking Felmley since Monday. He was wanted in connection with a house fire and the deaths of two of his family members. Arson investigators were seeking the cause of the fire at the home in south Sacramento County, said Sgt. Jason Ramos of the Sacramento County Sheriff’s Department. The bodies of two men were found inside the home, and Ramos said investigators were also still determining their cause of death.

One of the people found in the home, a man in his early 80s who was Felmley’s grandfather, suffered blunt force trauma to his head and body, Ramos said. The other, a man in his 60s, was that man’s son and Felmley’s uncle.

A white pickup and a gun were missing from the home, Ramos said.

About four hours later, a man fishing near Highway 152 outside Merced said a man in a white truck stole his car, keys and phone at gunpoint. The carjacker, who the man identified as Felmley, fled in the man’s 1992 green Toyota Camry.

Officials suspected Felmley might head toward Southern California and warned local law enforcement, Ramos said.

“We thought he had family members down there who might be in danger,” Ramos said.

Felmley was in violation of his parole after serving prison time for domestic violence, Ramos said. He also had a history of substance abuse and family members described him as a transient, Ramos said.

Sacramento County Superior Court records show Felmley was convicted in 1999 of possession of an explosive device, a felony. In 2007, he pleaded guilty to theft with an earlier conviction in an Orange County court. That same year he was convicted in a Long Beach courthouse of spousal abuse, an offense carrying a sentence of two to four years in state prison.

On Tuesday, he was charged in Sacramento with arson and two counts of murder, court records said.



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Rescued hiker pleads guilty to drug charge

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Nicolas Cendoya and his attorney, Paul Meyer, listen as Judge Gerald G. Johnston as he rules that neither the OCFA nor Nick Papageorge’s IV, the injured rescue volunteer, qualify as victims under the state’s Marsy’s Law during Cendoya’s arraignment in Santa Ana. Cendoya is one of two hikers rescued after becoming lost for days in Trabuco Canyon. Cendoya is charged with possession of methamphetamine, which investigators say they found in the car the pair took to the canyon for hiking.

SANTA ANA – One of two teenage hikers rescued during a four-day search of the rugged terrain around Holy Jim Canyon earlier this year pleaded guilty Friday to drug possession and was ordered to complete a drug-diversion program.

Superior Court Judge Gerald Johnston issued the order for Nicolas Cendoya, 20, after finding that neither the Orange County Fire Authority nor a searcher who suffered major injuries qualified as victims in the case under Marsy’s Law, the victims bill of rights passed by California voters in 2008.

The fire authority and Nick Papageorge’s IV, 20, of Rancho Santa Margarita, who broke his back when he tumbled down a 110-foot cliff and had to undergo several surgeries, were seeking restitution from Cendoya under that law.

Cendoya faced a sentence ranging from probation to three years in jail. By law, he was eligible for the drug-diversion program, prosecutors said. If he completes it successfully, his plea will be set aside and the case dismissed.

Lawyers for Papageorge’s IV and the fire authority were unsuccessful in arguing that their clients were victims and should get restitution.

“This particular crime was not victimless,” Robert Kaufman, attorney for the fire authority, told Johnston. “Papageorge’s knows that, the people of the county know that.”

“I just can’t find that this crime was committed against either” of them, Johnston concluded after listening to arguments from all sides.

But he prefaced his comments by saying he did not want the “tragedy suffered” by Papageorge’s to be lost in the legal arguments, saying there was a very real human element to the case.

He called Papageorge’s actions “selfless” and the injuries he sustained as possibly derailing his future aspirations.

“There’s a lot of tragedy surrounding this case,” Johnston said.

Papageorge’s’ attorney, Eric Dubin, said afterward he will continue to seek justice for his client.

“We have a true hero … my job today was to ensure that he receives justice and that quest does not end today,” Dubin said.

After several surgeries and more than $350,000 in medical expenses, Papageorge’s has two titanium rods and 11 metal screws and pins in his back from when he fell in Holy Jim Canyon on April 3.

The four-day search effort garnered national media attention and required more than 1,900 man-hours before rescuers found Kyndall Jack, 18, and Cendoya, who had walked into the wilderness near the canyon on Easter Sunday.

Both were found alive – although dazed and dehydrated – after the massive search by sheriff’s deputies, firefighters and volunteers. It was during the search that deputies found methamphetamine in Cendoya’s vehicle, which led to the felony charge.

Authorities say the rescue effort cost an estimated $160,000, as personnel from the Orange, Riverside and Los Angeles county sheriff’s departments and the Orange County Fire Authority were involved.

Orange County Supervisor Todd Spitzer attended Friday’s court hearing and said afterward that the judge’s “ruling sends a message to anybody engaged in unlawful activity that they can engage in that unlawful activity and have Orange County Fire Authority rescue them and not be held accountable for their illegal and reckless behavior.”

Cendoya’s attorney, Paul Meyer, said the judge made the right call.

“The law is clear and we’ll be complying,” Meyer said.

Register Staff Writer Larry Welborn contributed to this report.



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