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Jury selected to hear evidence in death of homeless man

orange county bail bonds

An undated photo shows Kelly Thomas, a local transient. Thomas, 37, was taken off of life support and died five days after a July 5, 2011, struggle with Fullerton police officers.

SANTA ANA – Eight women and four men were sworn in as jurors Tuesday for the trial of two former Fullerton police officers charged in the death of a mentally ill homeless man two years ago.

They will be asked to decide if the former policemen are criminally responsible for the death of Kelly Thomas, 37, who died five days after a confrontation July 5, 2011, in the parking lot of the Fullerton Transportation Center.

Manuel Ramos, 39, is charged with second-degree murder and involuntary manslaughter and faces a potential term of 15 years to life in prison if convicted. Ramos is the first policeman in Orange County history to be charged with murder for an on-duty, in-uniform incident.

Prosecutors contend Ramos ignited the fatal fight when he snapped on plastic gloves and told Thomas: “Now see these fists? They are getting ready to f— you up.”

Jay Cicinelli, 42, is charged with involuntary manslaughter and excessive force. He faces a maximum term of four years in prison if convicted. Prosecutors contend he used unlawful force by using a Taser first to jolt Thomas and then as a weapon to strike the homeless man.

Ramos and Cicinelli have pleaded not guilty.

Defense attorneys argue that they were properly doing their jobs and that Thomas escalated the situation by refusing to comply with lawful commands.

The incident was captured by a surveillance camera. The 32-minute video will be the key exhibit during the trial.

Superior Court Judge William Froeberg also swore in four alternates – two women and two men – who will hear evidence and be available for deliberations in case a regular juror is replaced.

Opening statements will be delivered Dec. 2. The trial, which could last five to six weeks, will be recessed for two weeks for holidays in late December.

Source: www.ocregister.com

By LARRY WELBORN  / ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER

If you are charged with a crime, contact an experienced Orange County Bail Bondsman to assist you in any bail situation.

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Trial of former Fullerton officers delayed until December

orange county bail bonds

Fullerton police officer Manuel Ramos is taken into custody after an arraignment hearing in Orange County Superior Court.
PAUL RODRIGUEZ, THE ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER

SANTA ANA – The opening of the trial for two former Fullerton police officers charged with beating a mentally ill homeless man to death was delayed Friday to early December.

Opening statements are expected Dec. 2 before Superior Court Judge William Froeberg in the trial of former officers Manuel Ramos and Jay Cicinelli.

Ramos, 39, is charged with second-degree murder and involuntary manslaughter in the death of Kelly Thomas, who died five days after a July 5, 2011, confrontation with police in the parking lot of the Fullerton Transportation Center. Ramos could be sentenced to 15 years to life in prison if convicted of murder; four years if convicted of involuntary manslaughter.

Cicinelli, 41, is charged with involuntary manslaughter and assault under color of authority. He could get up to four years in custody if convicted.

Hundreds of prospective jurors have been summoned to Orange County Superior Court on Nov. 4 and 5 for the first round of eliminations to seat a jury in the headline-making case. Orange County’s jury commissioner has been asked to identify 150 candidates who have the time and resources to serve on a jury trial that is expected to last five or six weeks.

Those jurors will return to Froeberg’s court for the final round of jury selection beginning Nov. 18. The court will be in recess during Thanksgiving week.

Prosecutors contend Ramos provoked the beating by snapping on latex gloves and telling Thomas, “Now see my fists? They are getting ready to f— you up,” and that Cicinelli used excessive force with a stun gun when the confrontation escalated into a physical confrontation.

Thomas, 37, was wrestled to the ground, pummeled, struck with a baton and the stun gun, and handcuffed during a 30-minute encounter with police officers as he was being questioned about a report of someone trying to open the doors of parked cars, prosecutors said. The confrontation was captured by a surveillance video camera.

Defense attorneys John Barnett and Michael Schwartz contend that Ramos and Cicinelli were doing their jobs and that Thomas initiated the beating by failing to abide by a lawful order.

A third officer, Joseph Wolfe, 37, was indicted by the Orange County grand jury on charges of involuntary manslaughter and use of excessive force a year after Ramos and Cicinelli were charged. Wolfe has a pretrial hearing Jan. 24.

Source: www.ocregister.com

By LARRY WELBORN  / ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER

If you are charged with a crime, contact an experienced Orange County Bail Bondsman to assist you in any bail situation.

 

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Jackson doctor denied bail during appeal

Article Tab: In this Oct. 3, 2011, file photo, Dr. Conrad Murray listens to testimony seated near his attorney Nareg Gourjian, right, during Murray's trial in the death of Michael Jackson in Los Angeles. Murray failed Friday to win his release from jail with an electronic monitoring ankle bracelet while awaiting appeal.LOS ANGELES A judge Friday turned down the defense’s request to release Michael Jackson’s personal physician from jail while he appeals his involuntary manslaughter conviction stemming from the singer’s death from an overdose of the powerful anesthetic propofol in June 2009.

Dr. Conrad Murray was not required to be in court for the hearing before Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Michael Pastor, who sentenced him Nov. 29 to four years in county jail.

The judge says he was scared when he heard Murray say during a documentary interview that he thought it was permissible to give propofol in a home setting.

In his Jan. 27 court filing, Murray asked the judge to release him on his own recognizance – meaning his promise to return – or on bail pending his appeal. Murray, who turned 59 Sunday, wrote in his declaration that he has been informed by his appellate attorney that it will take “well over a year” before a decision is rendered in his appeal.

Murray also wrote that he would agree to comply with “any and all conditions of release, including but not limited to electronic monitoring, periodic check-in with any agency or court or such other conditions that the court deems reasonable,” and that he would live with Nicole Alvarez and their son, who will turn 3 next month.

In their response last week, Deputy District Attorneys David Walgren and Deborah Brazil urged the judge to deny Murray’s request.

“The defendant fails to demonstrate that he is unlikely to flee,” the prosecutors wrote, noting that he has “significant ties outside the state of California, as well as ties outside of the United States.”

“Defendant is unauthorized to practice medicine since each of his medical licenses has been revoked. Moreover, defendant is now a convicted felon, sentenced to a term of four years in state prison. He clearly is not in the same position as when he attended court proceedings prior to being convicted and sentenced,” Walgren and Brazil wrote in their opposition to Murray’s request.

The judge Friday concurred with the prosecutors, saying he considers Murray, who was born in Granada, a flight risk, and that he would be a danger to society if he tries to practice medicine again.

Murray has been jailed since the judge ordered him to be taken into custody Nov. 7 just after he was convicted of the felony count stemming from Jackson’s death on June 25, 2009.

 

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LAPD: Reality TV home where firefighter died was ‘extreme’ threat LAPD: Reality TV home where firefighter died was ‘extreme’ threat

Firefighter Glenn Allen was killed in the Hollywood Hills
Architect charged in LAFD firefighter's deathThe $11-million mansion in the Hollywood Hills was a 13,500-square-foot showstopper –- described on a real estate website as a “triumph to modern architecture” and “perfect for enjoying the Southern California lifestyle.” In fact, just two days after a deadly fire, it was scheduled to be the backdrop for a reality television show, “Germany’s Next Top Model.”

But now, prosecutors allege that the home was more glitz than substance -– and that it was essentially a deathtrap.

After a yearlong investigation, prosecutors on Wednesday charged Gerhard Albert Becker, 48, the home’s architect and owner, with involuntary manslaughter for knowingly ignoring safety recommendations and altering the home after inspections. Becker has pleaded not guilty.

DOCUMENT: Read the court records

In court records, authorities offer a detailed account of how Becker cut corners –- sometimes for speed and aesthetics.

Building inspectors said Becker had told them there were no plans to build fireplaces in the home, and none were spotted during a final inspection. After the fire, investigators discovered that he had installed four outdoor fireplaces inside the home, a violation of city building codes. He told investigators after Allen’s death that “he did not consider them to be fireplaces but rather architectural features or decorations,” according to court records.

One of the fireplaces was described as an 18-foot “fire trough.” Another vented into the same room it was built in. And they were built on what authorities described as “combustible materials.”

“This man built an 18-foot fire trough designed for outdoors inside the home. It was a recipe for disaster,” said Deputy Dist. Atty. Sean Carney. “He essentially put this fireplace on 2-by-4s.”

A search warrant affidavit filed by LAPD Det. Gregory M. Stearns described the fireplaces as a “present, extreme, immediate and imminent hazard.”

In February 2011, the deadly fire broke out from a fireplace on the third floor, racing upward and through the mansion’s attic, eating away at wood framing and supports holding up the ceiling. More than 80 firefighters raced to the home, and 19 were temporarily trapped as the fire spread. Veteran firefighter Glenn Allen was on the ground floor when several hundred pounds of plaster and lumber fell on him. His colleagues dug him out using chainsaws to cut through the debris, but his injuries were so severe that he died two days later.

RELATED:

Firefighter dies of injuries in Hollywood Hills fire

Architect who designed and built home charged in firefighter death

LAPD probes substandard construction in blaze that killed firefighter

 

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Kelly Thomas investigator to give report

FULLERTON – The consultant hired by the city to investigate the death of Kelly Thomas will release some of his findings at the City Council meeting Tuesday.

Mike Gennaco, chief attorney for the Los Angeles Office of Independent Review, has been looking into the details of the July 5 incident between Fullerton police and Thomas, a mentally ill homeless man.

Article Tab: Investigator Michael Gennaco, of the Los Angeles Office of Independent Review is scheduled to give his report on the Kelly Thomas case to the Fullerton City Council Tueday.
Investigator Michael Gennaco, of the Los Angeles Office of Independent Review is scheduled to give his report on the Kelly Thomas case to the Fullerton City Council Tueday.

 

KEN STEINHARDT, THE ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER

Thomas died five days later. The District Attorney’s Office has charged Officer Manuel Ramos with second-degree murder and involuntary manslaughter and Cpl. Jay Cicinelli with involuntary manslaughter and excessive force. Prosecutors say Thomas was beaten and suffocated; the two officers have pleaded not guilty.

Gennaco, hired in August, said his report will take about 20 minutes and will address “issues that don’t generally impact the criminal case. … It will begin to provide some sense of transparency to some of these collateral issues.”

Following the presentation, Gennaco said he will field questions from the council.

Through the course of his inquiry, Gennaco said he and his staff interviewed “a couple of dozen” people and relied on findings from the district attorney’s investigation.

Gennaco is scheduled to give his report at 4:30 p.m. in the Council Chambers at 303 W. Commonwealth Ave.

A second report from Gennaco, which could be delivered in March, will provide his review of the Police Department’s overall policies and procedures.

 

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Walmart Kidnapping: Brittney Baxter Kicks And Screams Her Way Out Of Abduction

Brittney Baxter

Brittney Baxter is just 7 years old, but she can sure put up a fight.

The Georgia girl was wandering through the Bremen Walmart toy aisle on Wednesday when she narrowly escaped being kidnapped by a man police say recently finished a prison sentence, according to reports.

Authorities arrested Thomas Andrew Woods, 25 of Austell, Ga., later that afternoon using surveillance footage of the incident and parking lot outside the store to track down the suspect at his home just a few miles away, WSBTV reports.

The video shows a man, believed to be Woods, approach Baxter and grab her, covering up the girl’s mouth and struggling to subdue her.

“I was kicking and screaming, and then he put his hand over my mouth, but I kept kicking,” Baxter told CBS Atlanta.

Last October, Woods completed a prison sentence for an involuntary manslaughter conviction dating back to when he was 17 years old. Woods is currently on probation, and claims he had nothing to do with Baxter’s attempted kidnapping.

“I didn’t touch anybody. I didn’t bother nobody. I was never there,” Woods said as police arrested him,according to MyFoxAtlanta.

Woods is charged with attempted kidnapping.

 

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