Bar fight early Saturday results in one man being charged with attempted manslaughter

 

One man was hospitalized with serious injuries and another was arrested after the two fought in the men’s room of Club Bounce in the 1400 block of Coast Hwy early Saturday.

The extent of the victim’s injuries weren’t known but they are not believed to be life threatening, albeit serious in nature.

An employee of the bar, formerly known as Main Street, called police while the fight was still in progress. Medics were requested midway through the 1:20 a.m. 9-1-1 call according to the police log.

When officers arrived, they were pointed into the direction where the alleged aggressor had gone when he walked out into the night. Officers searched and detained the described suspect without incident.

Police said their investigation led to an unusual charge – attempted manslaughter – a felony that could result in a prison term of 2-5 years if convicted. Police explained that the crime rose to that level after interviewing the suspect, a Lake Forest man Behzad Sami, 43, and witnesses including at least one who accompanied Sami to the club.

“Primarily, the suspect refused to stop beating the victim continuing to hit him when he was pinned down,” said Sgt. George Ramos, LBPD watch commander at the time.

Sami is not alleged to have used any weapon and the beating was with his closed fists, police said.

An employee of Bounce who asked not to be indentified said both men had been to the club before and apparently knew each other. He also said that Club Bounce hasn’t had such an altercation inside in the time that he could recall.


Crime in the OC is no different than what
we see on television

I’ll admit it – I can’t get enough of the Law and Order shows, Cold Case and the CSI programs. Every night, you can watch hours of such programs on cable and it usually doesn’t matter to me if I’ve seen an episode a year or two before. That said I am able to also say with certainty that many others in Laguna, male and female, young and old, have told me they’re hooked as well.

Long before cable TV, the “whodunit” was always a top selling genre of books, magazines
and movies.

Most readers know that I have been covering the cops, fire and courts relating to Laguna Beach far longer than anyone else doing so in town. Before that, the law was second only to baseball as my passionate hobby.

OC District Attorney Tony Rackauckas’ Public Affairs Counsel provides press releases filled with the details about important cases that have been or are being prosecuted by his office. I have always read them but only when they have a direct bearing on Laguna Beach have I written anything.

What always stood out is how the OC has crimes of all types that mirror the whole country – and cable TV. And, many of the crimes are closer to home than I believe most Lagunans realize.

Press releases from the DA’s officer will be printed here without much editing and without comment – just for readers’ knowledge awareness and entertainment with the caveat that the DA’s office isn’t interested in presenting the side of the accused.

Stu Saffer

This week from the OC DA’s office…


Caucasian man charged with hate crime for verbally accosting African-American woman and assaulting her male friend

Oct 4 – A Caucasian man has been charged with committing a hate crime against an African-American woman and her Caucasian male friend by verbally and physically accosting the victims.

John Keihl DeLoach, 20, Huntington Beach, is charged with one felony count of hate crime battery causing injury and one felony count of hate crime assault causing injury. He has a prior strike conviction for residential burglary in 2009. If convicted, he faces a maximum sentence of seven years and four months in state prison. DeLoach is being held on $100,000 bail and is scheduled for a pre-trial hearing Oct. 7, 2010, at 8:30 a.m. in Department W-15, West Justice Center, Westminster.

At approximately 3:30 p.m. on Sept. 1, 2010, DeLoach is accused of driving by a Huntington Beach convenience store playing loud, racist music with explicit anti-black lyrics. When the defendant saw victim Briana W., an African-American woman, inside the store through the window, he is accused of pulling his vehicle near the store and turning up the volume of his music.

At approximately 9:40 p.m. that night, Briana W. was walking to a friend’s apartment in Huntington Beach with a Caucasian male friend, Derrick S. The defendant, who happened to be in the same apartment complex visiting a friend, recognized the victim as the woman from the store earlier in the day and yelled after her. He is accused of yelling racial slurs and stating that interracial relationships were wrong.

DeLoach and an unknown male accomplice are accused of running up to Briana W. and continuing to yell at her. Briana W. asked, “What, dude?” and the defendant is accused of yelling at Derrick S. to control his “b****.” When Derrick S. stepped between Briana W. and the defendant, DeLoach is accused of punching Derrick S. in the face. Derrick S. fell to the ground and DeLoach is accused of kicking him twice in the back.

The defendant is accused of then fleeing the scene and Briana W. called 911. Derrick S. suffered a contusion on the side of his head as a result of the attack. The Huntington Beach Police Department (HBPD) investigated this case.

On Oct. 1, 2010, the defendant was charged by the Orange County District Attorney’s Office and a warrant was issued for his arrest. That day, HBPD officers arrested the defendant at Overlook Park. When contacted by officers, DeLoach is accused of running and resisting arrest.

Deputy District Attorney Israel Claustro of the Special Prosecutions Unit is prosecuting this case.

Son charged with stabbing-murder of mother in her home

Oct 4 – A son has been charged with murdering his mother by stabbing her to death in her Santa Ana home.

Marvin Horatio Cipullo, 25, Santa Ana, is charged with one felony count of murder with a sentencing enhancement for the personal use of a deadly weapon. If convicted, he faces a maximum sentence of 26 years to life in state prison. Cipullo is being held on $1 million bail.

On Sept. 30, 2010, Cipullo is accused of murdering his 57-year-old mother, Rebecca Garcia, by stabbing her with a kitchen knife. Cipullo is accused of having a volatile relationship with his mother, who had recently made the defendant move out of her home. After murdering the victim, Cipullo is accused of fleeing the scene.

At approximately 2:30 a.m., Cipullo’s brother discovered Garcia’s murdered body on the floor of the home and called 911. Police began searching for Cipullo, who was arrested while walking in Santa Ana on Oct. 2, 2010, after a citizen recognized him and called the police.

Senior Deputy District Attorney Mike Murray of the Homicide Unit is prosecuting this case.

Speeding DUI driver charged with severely injuring 2-yr-old and her mother by crashing into victims on the sidewalk

Oct 1 – A speeding drunken driver was arraigned today for severely injuring a 2-year-old girl and her mother by crashing into them as they were walking on the sidewalk.

Miguel Angel Sandoval, 43, Santa Ana, is currently charged with one felony count each of driving under the influence causing bodily injury and driving with a blood alcohol content of over .08 percent causing bodily injury with sentencing enhancements and allegations for causing great bodily injury, brain injury and paralysis, and great bodily injury to a child under five years old for Jane Doe #1.

The defendant has two prior commercial burglary convictions in 2003, which makes him ineligible for probation unless the court finds unusual circumstances that would serve the interest of justice. If convicted, Sandoval faces a maximum sentence of 10 years in state prison. The People will be adding additional charges regarding the three additional victims, which will increase the maximum penalty. The defendant is being held on $100,000.

At approximately 7:45 p.m. on Sept. 6, 2010, Sandoval is accused of consuming alcoholic beverages and driving his Chevrolet Suburban westbound on McFadden Ave in Santa Ana. The defendant is accused of speeding, driving up onto the sidewalk, and striking a wall near Graham Ave, continuing to drive on the sidewalk and crashing into pedestrians Claudia G., 25, and her 2-year-old daughter Jane Doe #1, both of Santa Ana. He is accused of pinning the victims beneath the vehicle and dragging them across the street. He is accused of hitting three additional pedestrians, Gabriela F., 23, and her 2-year-old daughter, Jane Doe #2, and Selina S., 41, all of Santa Ana, who were walking east on McFadden. Witnesses called 911.

When contacted by Santa Ana Police officers at the scene, Sandoval is accused of displaying objective signs of intoxication including emitting a strong odor of alcohol, slurred speech, and blood shot and watery eyes. He is accused of being unable to complete the officer-conducted field sobriety tests. Approximately an hour after the crash, Sandoval is accused of having a blood alcohol level of .20 percent, two and a half times the legal limit.

The victims were transported to hospital to be treated for severe injuries sustained during the crash. Sandoval is accused of having knocked 2-year-old Jane Doe #1 unconscious and causing her to sustain a broken leg, fractures, and extensive burns. Claudia G. was treated for burns to her body and multiple fractures, including a broken leg. Jane Doe #2, also 2 years old, suffered traumatic injuries to her face and head. Selina S. was treated for multiple abrasions and an ankle injury and leg pain.

Deputy District Attorney Chris Alex is prosecuting this case.

Parolee gang member charged with stealing watch after breaking into home and hiding naked under child’s bed

Oct 1 – A gang member parolee has been charged with stealing a Rolex watch after breaking into a home and hiding naked under a bed belonging to a 10-year-old boy.

Edgar Antonio Lucha, 23, Westminster, is charged with one felony count of first-degree residential burglary with a sentencing enhancement allegation for a non-accomplice present during a residential burglary. He has a prior 2008 strike conviction for being in possession of a weapon for the benefit of a criminal street gang, for which he is on parole. If convicted, he faces a maximum sentence of 18 years in state prison. Lucha is in custody on $500,000 bail.

At approximately 3:30 a.m. on Sept. 25, 2010, Lucha is accused of entering the backyard of a residence in Westminster and using a ladder from the shed to access a bedroom window on the second floor of the home. He is accused of breaking into the house; two houses away from a sober-living facility where the defendant had been staying. Sleeping inside the home was 34-year-old Aaron S., his 10-year-old son, a 17-year-old boy, and a 72-year-old woman.

Once inside the home, Lucha is accused of going downstairs and removing his shoes in the laundry room. He is accused of hiding a BB gun under clothing in a laundry basket and taking tape from a lint roller before returning upstairs. The defendant is accused of entering a bedroom belonging to the 10-year-old boy and using the tape to secure a light switch in the off-position. He is accused of then fully undressing and hiding naked under the bed. The 10-year-old boy was not in the bedroom at the time, as he had been restless that night and had gone into his father’s room to sleep.

After his son had fallen asleep, Aaron S. went into his son’s room to sleep. While lying on the bed, the victim felt the mattress moving below him. He stood up and attempted to turn on the light before discovering it had been taped down. He was able to turn on the light and discovered the defendant hiding naked under the bed.

Lucha is accused of quickly climbing out from under the bed and fleeing the scene. He is accused of stealing a Rolex watch while in the home and taking it with him when he fled.

Aaron S. called 911 and the Westminster Police Department began investigating this case. On Sept. 29, 2010, Lucha was arrested at a drug rehabilitation center in Compton, where he was staying under the name Hector.

Deputy District Attorney Joel Stone is prosecuting this case.

54-year-old man arrested and charged with engaging in sexual conduct with 14-year-old boy he met on craigslist.org

Law enforcement is seeking the public’s help in identifying potential additional victims

Sept 28 - A 54-year-old man has been arrested and charged for engaging in illegal sexual conduct with a 14-year-old boy he met on Craigslist.org.

Mark Aime Brosseau, Stanton, was charged today with one felony count each of lewd acts upon a child, contacting a child with the intent to commit lewd acts, and meeting a child with the intent to engage in lewd conduct. He faces a maximum sentence of five years and four months in state prison if convicted.

On the night of Sept 25, 2010, Brosseau is accused of parking his Ford pick-up truck in a parking structure at Bella Terra Mall and engaging in sexual conduct with 14-year-old John Doe in the vehicle. The defendant is accused of meeting the victim on Craigslist.org.

At 11:30 p.m., Huntington Beach Police Department (HBPD) officers observed and checked out the suspicious, parked truck. Officers discovered Brosseau and the victim in the vehicle. The defendant is accused of being partially undressed without his pants on. Brosseau was arrested at the scene.

A series of proactive arrests were made by HBPD in early 2010 involving an undercover detective posing as a minor child on Craigslist.org. This arrest indicates the importance of parents monitoring their children’s use of the Internet.

The investigation is ongoing. HBPD and the Orange County District Attorney’s Office are seeking the public’s help in locating anyone with additional information or who believes they have been a victim. Please contact HBPD Detective Kevin Johnson at (714) 960-8834 or Supervising District Attorney Investigator Randy Litwin at (714) 347-8794.

Deputy District Attorney Jennifer Walker of the Sexual Assault Unit is prosecuting this case.

Woman to be arraigned for stabbing ex-boyfriend with ice pick after hiding in back seat of his car

Sept 23 – A woman will be arraigned on charges of stabbing her ex-boyfriend with an ice pick after hiding in the back seat of his car and attacking him from behind.

Elizabeth Cuevas Villanueva, 47, Yorba Linda, has been charged with one felony count each of attempted murder and domestic battery with corporal injury and faces sentencing enhancements for causing great bodily injury and the personal use of a deadly weapon. If convicted, she faces a maximum sentence of life in state prison.

At approximately 9:40 p.m. on Aug. 30, 2010, Villanueva is accused of hiding with an ice pick in the back seat of her ex-boyfriend’s Mercedes-Benz in the parking lot of Messiah Lutheran Church in Yorba Linda. When the victim, John Doe, returned to his car and began to leave, Villanueva is accused of attacking him from behind inside the vehicle and stabbing him multiple times in the head and shoulders.

After unintentionally crashing into a tree while trying to put his car in park, John Doe was able to escape from the vehicle. Villanueva is accused of fleeing the scene on foot. Witnesses called 911, followed the defendant, and subdued her until Brea Police Department officers arrived. John Doe was transported to hospital to be treated for non-fatal stab wounds.

Deputy DA Sandra Nassar of the Family Protection Unit is prosecuting this case.


Laguna police involved in two high speed chases

Laguna patrol units were involved in a pair of high-speed pursuits through town last week – one on Tuesday night and the other early Friday morning.

At about eight minutes until one Friday morning, an officer parked near Coast Hwy and 10th Ave had a black Mercedes go through the location at over 70 mph. The cop caught up with the speeder and attempted to make a car stop southbound on PCH in Dana Point. The Mercedes turned into Monarch Plaza.

LBPD Sgt. Louise Callus said the driver of the Mercedes headed toward the shopping center’s exit onto Crown Valley Parkway where he took a left turn headed the wrong way back toward PCH and Crown Valley.

“When the vehicle reached Coast Hwy, it went northbound into our city,” added Callus. The driver immediately accelerated and quickly was doing over 100 mph through Coast Hwy and Montage Resort Drive.

The officer had broadcast the failure to yield and other LBPD units headed toward the pursuit. Callus said one placed spike strips at Oak St and another did the same at Moss St.

It isn’t known if the driver anticipated the spike strips but he took a right turn onto Solana Way and doubled back entering southbound Coast Hwy at Nyes Place. The Mercedes quickly reached speeds of 100 once more.

Callus explained, “We cancelled the pursuit when they approached Crown Valley Parkway and notified 18 [the code for the OC Sheriff’s Dept].”

The driver wasn’t caught and Callus said the car had been a rental from Hertz in Los Angeles.

At a few minutes before eleven Tuesday night, officers saw a car doing about 80 headed northbound on Coast Hwy near Aliso Beach.

“Officers tried to catch up, but the car was travelling at about 80 miles per hour and weaving in and out of traffic all the way to downtown,” Sgt. Callus explained.

She said the cops caught up to the car when the car stopped for a red light at Broadway and Coast Highway. The driver, a 21-year-old resident of Lake Forest, was angry that the staff at Mission Hospital Laguna Beach had refused to allow him to visit his mother, a patient, after hours.

Passengers in the car, Callus said, included the driver’s 18-year-old girlfriend and two other girls, ages 16 and 17.

The driver, Gregory Leon Hightower, II, 21, was arrested for reckless driving and felony child endangerment. He was booked and transported to county jail with bail established at $100,000.


Crime in the OC is no different than what
we see on television

I’ll admit it – I can’t get enough of the Law and Order shows, Cold Case and the CSI programs. Every night, you can watch hours of such programs on cable and it usually doesn’t matter to me if I’ve seen an episode a year or two before. That said I am able to also say with certainty that many others in Laguna, male and female, young and old, have told me they’re hooked as well.

Long before cable TV, the “whodunit” was always a top selling genre of books, magazines
and movies.

Most readers know that I have been covering the cops, fire and courts relating to Laguna Beach far longer than anyone else doing so in town. Before that, the law was second only to baseball as my passionate hobby.

OC District Attorney Tony Rackauckas’ Public Affairs Counsel provides press releases filled with the details about important cases that have been or are being prosecuted by his office. I have always read them but only when they have a direct bearing on Laguna Beach have I written anything.

What always stood out is how the OC has crimes of all types that mirror the whole country – and cable TV. And, many of the crimes are closer to home than I believe most Lagunans realize.

Press releases from the DA’s officer will be printed here without much editing and without comment – just for readers’ knowledge awareness and entertainment with the caveat that the DA’s office isn’t interested in presenting the side of the accused.

Stu Saffer

This week from the OC DA’s office…


Junior high school teacher faces trial for exposing penis to two women in orthodontic office and school district event

Sept 21 – A junior high school music teacher faces trial today for exposing his penis to two women, an orthodontist’s receptionist during his son’s dental appointment and a fellow teacher at a school district event.

Mark Gerard Petrash, 42, Lake Forest, is charged with two misdemeanor counts of indecent exposure. If convicted, he faces a maximum sentence of two years in jail. Opening statements are schedule Tuesday, Sept. 21, 2010, at 11:30 a.m. in Department H-12, Harbor Justice Center Newport Beach.

On Aug. 24, 2009, Petrash is accused of taking his son to an orthodontist appointment. His son went in to see the orthodontist and Petrash waited in the empty reception room. While alone in the waiting room, the defendant is accused of standing up, pulling up his shorts, and exposing his penis to orthodontic receptionist Jane Doe #1 by holding it out the leg of his shorts.

Jane Doe #1 reported the incident to the Orange County Sheriff’s Department (OCSD). Following an investigation, the Orange County District Attorney’s Office charged Petrash with one misdemeanor count of indecent exposure. He was arrested by OCSD deputies on Oct. 1, 2009, at Serrano Intermediate School in Lake Forest. The defendant posted $10,000 bail, the standard bail for the charged crime, on Oct. 5, 2009, and appeared in court for his arraignment on Oct. 29, 2009.

After viewing the media coverage of the arrest of Petrash, Jane Doe #2, a teacher in the same school district as the defendant, came forward to police. On the night of May 8, 2009, Petrash is accused of attending a Saddleback Valley Unified School District event. He is accused of following Jane Doe #2 into a hotel restroom and entering her restroom stall. Petrash is accused of standing between the victim and the door and exposing and rubbing his penis. He is accused of putting his finger over his mouth, indicating that Jane Doe #2 should be quiet. The victim was able to escape from the restroom stall.

Deputy District Attorney Marc Caress is prosecuting this case.

Man sentenced to seven years in state prison for Discover credit card fraud scheme

Sept 17 – A man currently serving a state prison sentence for credit card fraud in Los Angeles County was convicted today of illegally accessing account information with the intent to defraud 50 Discover Card account holders.

Thomas Michio Taniguchi, 45, formerly of Northridge, pleaded guilty to 50 counts of fraudulent possession of access to card account information. He was sentenced to seven years and eight months in state prison and was ordered to pay $33,475 in restitution to Discover Card Financial Services.

Co-defendant Jerome Abaquin Gonzales, 33, Irvine, pleaded guilty Sept. 10, 2010, to one felony count of conspiracy to commit access card fraud and one felony count of trafficking and possessing access card materials. Gonzales was sentenced to three years of formal probation and one year in jail. The defendant’s sentence was based on his lack of a prior record, minimal role in the scheme, full payment of $33,475 in restitution at his sentencing, and an early acceptance of wrongdoing.

Between Dec 2007 and March 2008, approximately 4.2 million Discover Card accounts were compromised in a data breach involving credit cards used by grocery shoppers at Hannaford Bros. supermarkets in New England and Sweetbay supermarkets in Florida. At the time, the Hannaford data breach was and still remains one of the largest data breach to date in US history.

Between March 4, 2008, and April 2, 2008, Taniguchi obtained compromised stolen Discover Card account information from the Hannaford breach by purchasing cardholder data on the black market via the Internet. Taniguchi encoded the compromised data onto magnetic strips and placed it on the back of fake plastic cards branded with the Discover Card logo. Taniguchi fraudulently used the cards encoded with stolen account information to make purchases and obtain cash and gift cards at 33 locations throughout Orange County including Ralph’s, Albertsons, Stater Bros., CVS, Target, Vons, Walgreens, and Wal-Mart stores.

Gonzales then sold those gift cards to unsuspecting buyers.

On April 15, 2010, Taniguchi was sentenced in Los Angeles County to four years in state prison for similar crimes. Deputy District Attorney Chuck Lawhorn of the White Collar Crime Unit prosecuted this case.

Irvine man, 41, drowns inside Giggle Crack

Two friends who had been diving off the coastline near Fisherman’s Cove in North Laguna Sunday afternoon apparent decided to check out the infamous “Giggle Crack” just south of Fisherman’s near Diver’s Cove.

Police said one of the two divers, Kenny Lee, 41, Irvine, was unable to battle the pounding surf that pushed the two friends into rocks. Lee disappeared and his diving partner made a 9-1-1 call at 2:46 p.m.

Lifeguards and fire personnel reached Lee and brought him to shore where CPR efforts began. Paramedics transported him to Saddleback Memorial Hospital where he was pronounced dead on arrival.

Police Sgt. Louise Callus said Lee’s diving partner managed to free himself then attempted to locate and extricate his friend without success.


Crime in the OC is no different than what
we see on television

I’ll admit it – I can’t get enough of the Law and Order shows, Cold Case and the CSI programs. Every night, you can watch hours of such programs on cable and it usually doesn’t matter to me if I’ve seen an episode a year or two before. That said I am able to also say with certainty that many others in Laguna, male and female, young and old, have told me they’re hooked as well.

Long before cable TV, the “whodunit” was always a top selling genre of books, magazines
and movies.

Most readers know that I have been covering the cops, fire and courts relating to Laguna Beach far longer than anyone else doing so in town. Before that, the law was second only to baseball as my passionate hobby.

OC District Attorney Tony Rackauckas’ Public Affairs Counsel provides press releases filled with the details about important cases that have been or are being prosecuted by his office. I have always read them but only when they have a direct bearing on Laguna Beach have I written anything.

What always stood out is how the OC has crimes of all types that mirror the whole country – and cable TV. And, many of the crimes are closer to home than I believe most Lagunans realize.

Press releases from the DA’s officer will be printed here without much editing and without comment – just for readers’ knowledge awareness and entertainment with the caveat that the DA’s office isn’t interested in presenting the side of the accused.

Stu Saffer

This week from the OC DA’s office…


DUI driver with two priors charged with murder of woman, 29, in head-on crash while driving on wrong side of the freeway

Sept 13 – A driver under the influence of alcohol faces trial tomorrow for murdering a woman in a head-on crash while driving on the wrong side of the freeway.

Angel Herrera Leal, 30, Los Angeles, is charged with one felony count of murder. He faces a maximum sentence of 15 years to life in state prison if convicted. Opening statements are expected to begin tomorrow, Tuesday, Sept. 14, 2010, at 8 a.m. in Department N-13, North Justice Center, Fullerton.

At approximately 4:45 a.m. on Dec. 27, 2008, Leal is accused of driving several miles on the wrong side of the Interstate 5 Freeway in Anaheim near Disney Way. He is accused of having a blood alcohol level of .29 percent. Several drivers on the freeway had to avoid Leal’s car and called 911 to report that he was driving northbound in the southbound lanes. Leal is accused of crashing his pick-up truck head-on into an oncoming Toyota Corolla, driven by 29-year-old Jisun Park.

Both cars involved in the crash spun and came to a stop on the freeway. Park’s passenger, 29-year-old Rebecca Moon, suffered blunt force trauma to the head and was killed. Park was transported to the University of California, Irvine Medical Center for injuries to her abdomen.

Leal is accused of having two prior convictions for driving under the influence in 2005 and 2007 and was driving on a suspended license at the time of the crash. The defendant had completed alcohol education courses in Los Angeles County and was informed of the danger of driving under the influence of alcohol. He was advised that he could be charged with murder if he killed someone while driving under the influence.

Senior Deputy District Attorney Howard Gundy of the Homicide Unit is prosecuting this case.

DA files charges against three for special circumstances murder for financial gain of 55-year-old man after following victim home from an Hawaiian Gardens casino

An arrest warrant has been issued for one defendant

Sept 10 – The Orange County District Attorney filed charges Friday against two men and a woman for the special circumstances murder for financial gain of a 55-year-old man after following the victim home from Hawaiian Gardens Casino to rob him of $10,000 in gambling winnings. Santa Ana Police Department (SAPD) and the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department (LASD) coordinated the investigation of this case with assistance from the casino.

Tad Allen Carroll, 41, formerly of Buena Park, Barbara Ann Hamel, 47, and Michael William Ross, 26, both of Long Beach, are all charged with one felony count each of special circumstances murder during the commission of a robbery, second degree robbery, and attempted second degree robbery. Ross and Carroll are each additionally charged with one felony count of second-degree robbery.

If convicted, each defendant faces a minimum sentence of life in state prison without the possibility of parole. The People will be requesting that Carroll and Hamel be held without bail.

An arrest warrant has been issued for Ross.

Circumstances of the Los Angeles Robbery

In the early morning hours of June 18, 2010, Ross is accused of entering the Hawaiian Gardens Casino (Casino) in Los Angeles and surveying winning gamblers with the intention of robbing them after they left the Casino with co-defendant Carroll. Ross is accused of watching Ki Lee closely as he was gambling. Lee later visited the Casino’s cashier window to cash in his chips and left the Casino with approximately $5,000 in cash. Ross is accused of contacting and informing Carroll of Lee’s winnings. Carroll is accused of following the victim to his home. Upon arriving at the victim’s home, Carroll is accused of approaching Lee with what appeared to be a gun and robbing him. The defendant is accused of fleeing the scene. Lee reported the incident to the LASD.

Circumstances of the Orange County Murder

In the early morning on Sept. 3, 2010, Ross is accused of entering the Casino and surveying winning gamblers with the intention of robbing them after they left the Casino. Co-defendants Carroll and Hamel are accused of waiting in a Pontiac Grand Prix outside the Casino with the intention of robbing winning gamblers that Ross was watching. Ross is accused of closely watching 55-year-old Chi Bui who had been winning while gambling with his friend Kim Nguyen. At approximately 4 a.m., Bui went to the Casino’s cashier window, cashed in his chip winnings having over $10,000 in cash, and left the Casino with Nguyen. Ross is accused of following the victims out of the Casino and making a phone call to Carroll and Hamel.

Carroll and Hamel are accused of driving and following Bui, who was driving Nguyen to her Santa Ana home. Carroll and Hamel are accused of blocking-in Bui’s car after he stopped alongside the curb in front of Nguyen’s home. Carroll is accused of getting out of the vehicle, approaching the victims, and pointing a knife at them to steal their winnings. He is accused of knocking Bui to the ground and getting back into the Grand Prix.

Hamel is accused of driving over Bui’s head, killing him instantly, and then fleeing the scene with Carroll. Nguyen called 911.

The SAPD were able to link the three defendants to the two crimes with the assistance of the Hawaiian Gardens Casino, LASD, California Department of Corrections, Parole Fugitive Apprehension Team, and United States Marshals Fugitive Task Force.

Carroll was arrested Sept. 8, 2010, in Anaheim. Hamel was apprehended in Long Beach later that day. A warrant has been issued for the arrest of Ross.

The investigation is ongoing. Anyone with additional information is encouraged to contact Supervising Homicide District Attorney Investigator Helen Moreno at (714) 347-8492 or the Santa Ana Police Department at (714) 245-8390.

Senior Deputy District Attorney Larry Yellin of the Homicide Unit is prosecuting this case.

Drunken driver to be arraigned for killing a pedestrian after losing control of his vehicle and crashing

Sept 9 – A drunken driver will be arraigned today for killing a pedestrian after losing control of his vehicle and crashing.

Beau Richard Cook, 26, Costa Mesa, is charged with one felony count of vehicular manslaughter with gross negligence while intoxicated. If convicted, he faces a maximum sentence of ten years in state prison. The People will be requesting Cook be held on $150,000 bail.

At approximately 11:24 p.m. on Sept. 1, 2010, Cook is accused of leaving work and consuming alcoholic beverages and driving in his Scion, heading southbound on Harbor Blvd in Santa Ana. He is accused of speeding and running a red light at the intersection of Harbor Blvd and Warner Ave. Cook is accused of swerving and losing control of his vehicle to avoid hitting a vehicle making a legal U-turn. He is accused of hitting the center median and skidding across the southbound lanes of traffic; driving up on the curb of the sidewalk and shearing off a fire hydrant and hitting victim, 57-year-old pedestrian Eloisa Aguilar, causing her to be thrown and land in the adjacent shopping center parking lot. Witnesses called 911.

The victim died at the scene due to blunt force trauma injuries.

Cook was transported to the hospital to be treated for a broken leg and pelvis he sustained in the crash. Approximately an hour and a half after the crash the defendant had a blood alcohol level of .08 percent.

Deputy DA Susan Price of the Homicide Unit is prosecuting this case.

Former counselor at Orangewood Children’s Home charged in sexual assault of 17-yr-old female while providing therapy

Sept 9 – A former counselor at The Orangewood Children’s Home will be arraigned tomorrow for sexually assaulting a then-17-year-old female resident to whom he provided therapy.

Abner Z. Avila, 27, Lake Elsinore, is charged with three felony counts of sexual penetration by foreign object of a minor. If convicted, the defendant faces a maximum sentence of four years and four months in state prison. Avila is out of custody and was scheduled to be arraigned on Sept. 10, 2010.

Beginning on Oct. 10, 2007, Avila is accused of counseling then-17-year-old victim Jane Doe while she was a resident at The Orangewood Children’s Home (Orangewood) located in the City of Orange.

Orangewood is Orange County’s only shelter for children who have been removed from their caretakers and placed in protective custody by police or protective services. Some of the resident children have been neglected or physically, sexually, or emotionally abused. Avila is accused of sexually assaulting Jane Doe on three occasions.

Between Oct. 10, 2007, and March 1, 2008, Avila is accused of sexually assaulting Jane Doe by digitally penetrating the victim and having her masturbate him in a common room within Orangewood where toys are kept.

Between Oct. 10, 2007, and March 1, 2008, Avila is accused sexually assaulting Jane Doe on a second occasion in his car after driving Jane Doe to her court-ordered drug test appointment and then buying her fast food in Orange. The defendant is accused of digitally penetrating the victim and having Jane Doe masturbate him while inside his parked car.

Between May 1, 2008, and May 16, 2008, Avila is accused of driving and picking up Jane Doe at her foster home, after she was no longer a resident at Orangewood. The defendant is accused of sexually assaulting the victim a third time by digitally penetrating the victim inside his car while parked outside her foster home. Avila is also accused of having Jane Doe masturbate him on the same occasion.

In May 2008, a former resident of Orangewood reported the defendant’s conduct towards Jane Doe to the Orange County Sheriff’s Department. Avila was arrested on May 17, 2008, while working at Orangewood. Upon further investigation, the District Attorney filed charges on June 18, 2010.

Anyone with additional information or who believes they have been a victim is encouraged to contact Supervising District Attorney Investigator Randy Litwin at (714) 347-8794.

Deputy District Attorney Jess Rodriguez of the Sexual Assault Unit is prosecuting this case.


Crime in the OC is no different than what
we see on television

I’ll admit it – I can’t get enough of the Law and Order shows, Cold Case and the CSI programs. Every night, you can watch hours of such programs on cable and it usually doesn’t matter to me if I’ve seen an episode a year or two before. That said I am able to also say with certainty that many others in Laguna, male and female, young and old, have told me they’re hooked as well.

Long before cable TV, the “whodunit” was always a top selling genre of books, magazines
and movies.

Most readers know that I have been covering the cops, fire and courts relating to Laguna Beach far longer than anyone else doing so in town. Before that, the law was second only to baseball as my passionate hobby.

OC District Attorney Tony Rackauckas’ Public Affairs Counsel provides press releases filled with the details about important cases that have been or are being prosecuted by his office. I have always read them but only when they have a direct bearing on Laguna Beach have I written anything.

What always stood out is how the OC has crimes of all types that mirror the whole country – and cable TV. And, many of the crimes are closer to home than I believe most Lagunans realize.

Press releases from the DA’s officer will be printed here without much editing and without comment – just for readers’ knowledge awareness and entertainment with the caveat that the DA’s office isn’t interested in presenting the side of the accused.

Stu Saffer

This week from the OC DA’s office…


Husband charged with special circumstances murder of wife of 39 years by hitting her over the head with small statue

Aug 31 – A husband has been charged with murdering his wife by hitting her repeatedly over the head with a small statue after an argument in their Rancho Santa Margarita home.

Richard Gustav Forsberg, 61, is charged with one felony count of special circumstances murder by lying in wait and faces a minimum sentence of life in state prison without the possibility of parole if convicted. Forsberg is being held without bail.

On Feb. 9, 2010, the defendant is accused of getting into a verbal argument with his wife Marcia Ann Forsberg, whom he had been married to for 39 years. Forsberg is accused of surprising the victim by grabbing a small statue and hitting her multiple times in the head, murdering her. He is accused of keeping her body in their home over the next few days until he rented a recreational vehicle (RV). He is accused of using the RV to drive the victim’s body to a campground, Lake Piru Recreation Area in Ventura County, where he disposed of the body.

When questioned by friends about the whereabouts of his wife, Forsberg is accused of claiming that they were having some marital problems and that she had left town to be on her own. On Aug. 24, 2010, concerned friends of the victim reported her missing. The Orange County Sheriff’s Department began investigating the case.

Forsberg was arrested on Aug. 30 at Desert Regional Medical Center in Palm Springs. The defendant had been admitted to the hospital and a citizen contacted the police after recognizing him from media coverage requesting public assistance locating the defendant and his wife.

Senior Deputy District Attorney Ebrahim Baytieh of the Homicide Unit is prosecuting this case.

Hard money lender gets 18 years in prison for stealing $2.6 million from investors in Ponzi and real estate fraud scheme

Aug 31 - A hard money lender was sentenced yesterday to 18 years in state prison for stealing $2.6 million from investors in a Ponzi and real estate fraud scheme.

Joseph Anthony Veltre, 68, Orange, pleaded guilty to a court offer to 112 felony counts including 60 counts of grand theft, 17 counts of elder financial exploitation by a non-caregiver, 17 counts of residential burglary, 13 counts of forgery, three counts of recording false documents, one count of commercial burglary, one count of identity theft, and white collar crime sentencing enhancements for loss over $500,000. Veltre was sentenced to 18 years in state prison and ordered to pay over $2,649,000 in restitution.

Between 2002 and 2007, Veltre defrauded eight people in a Ponzi and real estate fraud scheme. A “Ponzi” scheme is a fraudulent scheme that offers investors high, short-term returns on investments. Instead of using the money to generate actual income and legitimate profits, the money from the investors is kept for the benefit of the defendant or used to repay earlier investors.

Using his two Orange County-based businesses, Sea View Financial and Allied Corporate Investments, Veltre operated as a hard money lender by soliciting money from private investors for borrowers looking for funds from non-bank lenders. The term “hard money lender” is used when a lender solicits money from private investors for borrowers looking for funds from non-bank lenders. He stole from his private investors, most of who are now retired and elderly, by keeping the money they lent for borrowers looking to take out second and third mortgages and not funding the loan as promised. Veltre operated a Ponzi scheme and used funds from new investors to pay off prior investors.

The Newport Beach Police Department (NBPD) began investigating Veltre after receiving complaints from some of the victims and arrested him on May 4, 2009.

Written victim impact statements were submitted to the court for consideration at sentencing. One victim, a volunteer with the NBPD, stated that, “At my age of 92, there is little, if any, hope of recovery, and of course my living expenses had to be drastically reduced as well as very little left in my will to the children.” Another victim wrote that Veltre’s fraud has impacted his ability to help and to educate his grandchildren.

Deputy District Attorney George McFetridge of the White Collar Crime Team prosecuted this case.


Police, DEA tie 2008 drug overdose death here to a new LA County “Dr. Feelgood” pill dispenser

Laguna Beach police and the Federal Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) announced this week that a Rowland Heights doctor’s DEA Certificate of Registration had been suspended for allegedly prescribing controlled substance medications “routinely… to drug seeking individuals, many of them between the ages of 18-26, while conducting cursory or no medical examinations,” according to a prepared statement from DEA’s Timothy J. Landrum, Special Agent in Charge of the Los Angeles Field Division. Many of those with the prescriptions had them filled in order to divert the drugs to sell on the street.

In a press release, Laguna police said, “On October 21, 2008, Laguna Beach Police and Fire Departments were dispatched to a residence in North Laguna where 19-year-old Calvin Jones was discovered unresponsive. Jones was transported to Mission Hospital Laguna Beach, where he was pronounced dead. His death was attributed to the ingestion of the pain medication Oxymorphone.

“Police Detectives began investigating the circumstances surrounding the death and subsequently interviewed several people who knew Jones. They learned that he had recently purchased the Oxymorphone from a man in Laguna Niguel. This man had been prescribed the pain medication by Dr…[Hsiu-Ying Lisa Tseng, DO…of Rowland Heights, California.”

Between April 2008 and July 2010, Special Agents with the DEA and Investigators from the California Medical Board conducted six undercover visits to Dr. Tseng’s office posing as patients seeking prescriptions for controlled substances. On five of the six occasions, Dr. Tseng issued prescriptions for Vicodin, Suboxone (Schedule III controlled substances) and/or Xanax (Schedule IV controlled substance) while performing a cursory or no medical examination, without taking a medical history and for no legitimate medical purpose.

“Prescription drug abuse continues to rise at a disturbing rate,” said Landrum. “Many obtain these dangerous drugs from doctors prescribing drugs for no medical need. DEA is committed to working together with our state and local counterparts to ensure those few doctors who abuse their authority are not allowed to continue.”

Dr. Tseng will be given an opportunity for an administrative hearing, and after the hearing, the DEA Deputy Administrator will make a final decision on whether her DEA Certificate of Registration should be permanently revoked. This decision will be published in the Federal Register.

Laguna Beach Police investigators, in conjunction with the Tempe Police Department, Murrieta Police Department, OC Sheriff’s Department, LA County Sheriff’s Department, Medical Board of California, Riverside, San Bernardino and Orange County Coroner’s Offices, assisted the DEA in investigation.


3 arrested in stolen car on S. Coast Hwy

Update: The owner of the Mazda flew in from Texas on Sunday to drive his car back home. Turns out he is a police officer there.

When a patrol car radioed the license plate of a Mazda that was being stopped for a traffic violation on S. Coast Hwy Thursday afternoon, the dispatcher informed the officer involved that the car was a stolen vehicle out of Texas. Backup units immediately headed to assist in a felony car stop.

Three male occupants were cleared one at a time at gunpoint from the Mazda on Coast Hwy near Cress St beginning shortly after 3 p.m.

Police identified them as Dylan Robinson and Jesse Chisholm, both 18 of Texas, and 19-year-old William Collins of Colorado. All three told police that they knew the car was stolen. Robinson was driving the Mazda at the time of the car stop. They were each charged with felony grad theft auto.

Chisholm was also held on a Colorado felony warrant with a burglary charge and that state will seek extradition, police said.

They were booked at the police station and later transported to Orange County Jail.


Crime in the OC is no different than what
we see on television

I’ll admit it – I can’t get enough of the Law and Order shows, Cold Case and the CSI programs. Every night, you can watch hours of such programs on cable and it usually doesn’t matter to me if I’ve seen an episode a year or two before. That said I am able to also say with certainty that many others in Laguna, male and female, young and old, have told me they’re hooked as well.

Long before cable TV, the “whodunit” was always a top selling genre of books, magazines
and movies.

Most readers know that I have been covering the cops, fire and courts relating to Laguna Beach far longer than anyone else doing so in town. Before that, the law was second only to baseball as my passionate hobby.

OC District Attorney Tony Rackauckas’ Public Affairs Counsel provides press releases filled with the details about important cases that have been or are being prosecuted by his office. I have always read them but only when they have a direct bearing on Laguna Beach have I written anything.

What always stood out is how the OC has crimes of all types that mirror the whole country – and cable TV. And, many of the crimes are closer to home than I believe most Lagunans realize.

Press releases from the DA’s officer will be printed here without much editing and without comment – just for readers’ knowledge awareness and entertainment with the caveat that the DA’s office isn’t interested in presenting the side of the accused.

Stu Saffer

This week from the OC DA’s office…


Off-duty Hermosa Beach Fire Department arson investigator charged with brandishing gun at woman in bar

Aug 23– An off-duty arson investigator with the Hermosa Beach Fire Department has been charged with brandishing a firearm at a woman sitting next to him in a bar in Sunset Beach.

Darryl Lee Powers, 49, La Palma, was charged Thursday, Aug. 19, 2010, with one misdemeanor count of brandishing a firearm capable of being concealed upon a person in a public place. If convicted, he faces a sentence ranging from 90 days up to one year in jail. Powers is scheduled to be arraigned Sept. 24 at the West Justice Center in Westminster.

At approximately 9:15 p.m. on July 7, 2010, Powers is accused of being at Turc’s Bar in Sunset Beach having drinks with his cousin. The defendant is accused of taking out a knife and stabbing it into the bar in front of him. Victim Kimberly D., who did not know the defendant, was sitting next to him at the bar.

A bartender took the knife and told the defendant that he could not have a knife at the bar. When the bartender walked away, Powers is accused of taking a firearm from his pocket and putting in on the bar with the barrel pointing at Kimberly D. The frightened victim asked Powers to put the firearm away, but he is accused of leaving it on the bar.

The victim told the bartender, who contacted the Orange County Sheriff’s Department (OCSD). Powers was contacted by OCSD as he left the bar and released at the scene pending further investigation.

Senior Deputy District Attorney Rebecca Olivieri of the Special Prosecutions Unit is prosecuting this case.

Man charged with having unlawful sex and smoking marijuana with 12-year-old girl in his car

Aug 18 – A 31-year-old man has been charged with having unlawful sex and smoking marijuana with a 12-year-old girl in his car at 2 a.m. after meeting her for the first time earlier that day.

Neftali Pena Procopio, Santa Ana, is charged with one felony count of lewd acts on a child under 14 with a sentencing enhancement for substantial sexual conduct with a child. He is also charged with one felony count of furnishing marijuana to a minor. If convicted, Procopio faces a maximum sentence of nine years and eight months in state prison. He is being held on $100,000 bail.

On the afternoon of Aug. 16, 2010, Procopio is accused of meeting 12-year-old Jane Doe for the first time while he was playing basketball on the campus of Santa Ana High School. The victim is not a student at the high school. He is accused of arranging for the victim to sneak out of her home later that night.

Late that night, Procopio is accused of picking Jane Doe up near her home, driving her to the 300 block of South Ross Street in Santa Ana, and parking his car. The defendant is accused of giving Jane Doe marijuana and smoking it with her. He is accused of then having unlawful sex with the victim in his car. Procopio is accused of then tossing the used condom outside of the car.

At approximately 2 a.m. on Aug. 17, 2010, an officer from the Santa Ana Police Department observed the defendant’s parked car with fogged windows. The officer approached the vehicle to make contact with the occupants. Procopio is accused of being inside the car when the officer approached.

The defendant was arrested at the scene and the victim was taken home by SAPD to her parents, who were unaware that she had left the house. The discarded condom was recovered by officers.

Deputy District Attorney Robert Mestman of the Sexual Assault Unit is prosecuting this case.

Man arrested after ejaculating two times into female co-worker’s water bottle while at work

Aug 17 – Orange Police Dept (OPD) officers arrested a man outside his Fullerton home Aug 17 on charges of ejaculating twice into a female co-worker’s water bottle on her office desk.

Michael Kevin Lallana, 31, Fullerton, is charged with two misdemeanor counts each of releasing an offensive material in a public place and assault, with sentencing allegations for committing a crime for sexual gratification. If convicted, he faces a sentence ranging from a minimum of three months to a maximum of three years in jail with mandatory sex offender registration.

The People requested Lallana be held on $10,000 bail. The defendant is out of custody on $500 bond and is scheduled to be arraigned Sept 14 at 8:30 a.m. in Department C-46, Central Justice Center, Santa Ana.

In 2005, Lallana is accused of meeting a co-worker, in her twenties, Jane Doe, while working at Northwestern Mutual Mortgage Company in Newport Beach. On Jan. 14, 2010, Lallana is accused of assaulting Jane Doe by entering the victim’s office and depositing his ejaculation into a water bottle that was on her desk. The defendant is accused of leaving the semen-filled water bottle on the victim’s desk, which Jane Doe later drank upon returning to her office. The victim, unaware of the bottle’s contents, drank the water the contaminated water. She threw it away after feeling sickened and irritated.

Approximately three months later, Jane Doe and six other employees, including the defendant, were transferred to the Northwestern Mutual Mortgage Company’s Orange branch. On April 9, 2010, Lallana is accused of assaulting Jane Doe by depositing his ejaculation into a water bottle that the victim left on her desk. The defendant is accused of leaving the contaminated bottle on Jane Doe’s desk and returning to his office. The victim later returned to her office and drank from the semen-filled water bottle. She was sickened and irritated. She sent it to a private lab to be tested.

In June 2010, Jane Doe was contacted by the private lab that confirmed the water bottle contained semen. The victim reported the incidents to the OPD. In early July, following further investigation by the OPD and Orange County Crime Lab, the defendant was linked through DNA to the crimes.

Deputy District Attorney Bobby Taghavi is prosecuting this case.

 

Shaena Stabler and Stu Saffer are the co-owners. Shaena is the Publisher and Stu is the Editor-in-Chief.

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The Webmaster is Michael Sterling.

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Allison Rael, Barbara Diamond, Diane Armitage, Dianne Russell, Laura Buckle, Maggi Henrikson, Marrie Stone, Samantha Washer and Suzie Harrison are staff writers.

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