Best Defender Bytes:

June 29, 2012

Last Defendant Sentenced for 2009 Kidnapping, Attempted Murder

Filed under: California Defense Attorney — Tags: , — fayarfa @ 9:53 am

NORWALK – The last of three defendants convicted of the 2009 kidnapping and attempted murder of a woman left for dead in Turnbull Canyon was sentenced today to 33 years to life in prison.

Prior to sentencing 27-year-old Edward Meraz for the Aug. 4, 2009, attack on a Bellflower woman, Superior Court Judge Michael Cowell denied a defense motion for a new trial.

Deputy District Attorney Greg Cernok, who prosecuted the case, said no motive was determined for the attack.

Meraz was convicted Dec. 14 of one count each of attempted murder, kidnapping, conspiracy and assault with a deadly weapon, a knife. The victim was left for dead in the Turnbull Canyon area of Whittier after she was kidnapped, beaten and had her throat slashed.

The woman survived the attack and managed to call for help from nearby residents.

A separate jury convicted Vincent David Mendoza, 24, on Dec. 19 of the same charges. He was sentenced in February to 36 years to life in prison. The third man charged in the case, Jose Miguel Ayala, 29, pleaded no contest to one count of attempted murder and was sentenced in March 2011 to 39 years to life in prison.

Man Convicted of 2003 Miracle Mile Multiple Murders

Filed under: California Defense Attorney — Tags: — fayarfa @ 9:50 am

LOS ANGELES – A neighbor of a woman who was shot to death in her Miracle Mile apartment along with her 2-year-old son and nanny nine years ago was convicted by a jury today of three counts of murder.

The jury after 5-1/2 days of deliberations convicted 53-year-old Robin Kyu Cho of one count of first-degree murder of the woman and two counts of second-degree murder for the killings of the little boy and his nanny. The jury also found true the allegations that the defendant personally used a handgun to commit the murders and that the special circumstance of multiple murders was true.

The District Attorney’s Office is seeking death in the case. Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Curtis Rappe scheduled the penalty phase of the trial to start Monday. The same seven women and five men who convicted Cho will hear the penalty evidence.

Deputy District Attorney Frank Santoro, the prosecutor with the Major Crimes Division, said he will be filing a motion tomorrow regarding penalty evidence. Judge Rappe scheduled a 1:30 p.m. hearing for tomorrow for argument on the motion.

Chi Hyon Song, 30; her 2-year-old son, Hyun Woo Song; and the 56-year-old nanny Eun Sik Min, were found dead on May 5, 2003, in the 150-unit apartment complex where they lived.

The case was investigated by Los Angeles police detectives from the Robbery-Homicide Division. Cho was arrested on March 16, 2009, and the case against him was filed two days later. He has remained in custody without bail.

June 28, 2012

Pair Charged in USC Grad Student Slayings Awaiting Arraignment

Filed under: California Defense Attorney — Tags: , — fayarfa @ 9:42 am

LOS ANGELES – Two men charged today with capital murder in the fatal shooting two USC graduate students from China are scheduled to be arraigned today, the District Attorney’s Office announced.

Bryan Barnes, 20, and Javier Bolden, 19, both of Los Angeles, are charged in case BA397880 with the April 11 special circumstance murders of Ming Qu and Ying Wu. The two engineering students, both 23, were gunned down in the 2700 block of Raymond Avenue during a suspected robbery.

An amended complaint filed in late May charges Bolden with additional counts, including one count of attempted murder and one count of assault with a semiautomatic firearm. Authorities say that while attending a party in South Los Angeles on Feb. 12, he allegedly fired numerous rounds, striking and severely injuring a male and also injuring a female. Both victims are in their 20s.

Initially, due to an error, Barnes was charged with the Feb. 12 attempted murder and assault.

The amended complaint also alleges Barnes personally and intentionally discharged a handgun in the death of Ying Wu and Ming Qu.

Barnes and Bolden also are charged with one count each of attempted murder for allegedly shooting a 20-year-old man during a Dec. 3, 2011, party in South Los Angeles. The complaint alleges both defendants used a handgun and caused great bodily injury.

Deputy District Attorneys Deborah Brazil and Beth Silverman with the Major Crimes Division are prosecuting the case.

Barnes and Bolden are scheduled to be arraigned at the Foltz Criminal Justice Center, Department 30.

Former Sheriff’s Deputy Sentenced for Drug Smuggling

Filed under: California Defense Attorney — Tags: , — fayarfa @ 9:40 am

LOS ANGELES – A former Los Angeles County deputy sheriff who pleaded no contest to smuggling drugs into a courthouse jail in a burrito was sentenced today to two years in county jail.

Henry Marin, 27, was sentenced by Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge Anne Egerton after he withdrew an earlier plea to both counts, and instead pleaded no contest to one count of bringing drugs into a jail. The charge of conspiracy to commit a crime was dismissed, said Deputy District Attorney Amy Pellman Pentz of the Justice System Integrity Division.

Marin was taken into custody immediately after sentencing.

On Feb. 23, 2010, a woman who was cooperating with a Sheriff’s Department investigation handed Marin a burrito containing heroin. The exchange took place outside an Airport Courthouse courtroom were Marin was assigned. Detectives stopped the deputy before he went back into the courtroom.

Marin, who initially pleaded no contest on April 30, resigned from the Sheriff’s Department on April 24.

Two Men Charged in Suspected Road Rage Incident

Filed under: California Defense Attorney — Tags: , — fayarfa @ 9:38 am

LOS ANGELES – Two Los Angeles men suspected of attacking another driver on the Golden State (5) Freeway in a brawl that was caught on camera were charged today with assault, the District Attorney’s Office announced.

David Mendez, 21 (dob 7-27-90), and Edras A. Ramirez, 27 (dob 4-30-85), are charged with two felony counts each — assault with a deadly weapon, a foot, and assault by mean likely to produce great bodily injury. The complaint, BA399087, includes great bodily injury allegations against each defendant.

The men allegedly attacked another driver, Jerry Patterson, after he stopped his vehicle on the freeway just north of Marietta Street on June 12. After all three men allegedly began fighting, Ramirez and Mendez allegedly kicked Patterson in the head while he was lying on the ground.

Mendez and Ramirez are due in court on July 13 for arraignment at the Foltz Criminal Justice Center, Department 30. Both men were arrested June 20 and released on $60,000 bail.

If convicted, each defendant faces up to seven years in state prison.

June 26, 2012


Filed under: California Defense Attorney — Tags: , , — fayarfa @ 5:10 am

*Defendant is also charged with lewd conduct toward two additional victims

NEWPORT BEACH - A middle school math teacher was charged today with sexually assaulting an 8th grade female student while alone with her on campus. The defendant was previously charged with lewd conduct against two other students. Richard John Rack, 50, San Clemente, is charged for the sex crimes against Jane Doe #3 with five felony counts of lewd acts on a child and one felony count of oral copulation of a minor under 16. If convicted of all felony counts, he faces a maximum sentence of six years and four months in state prison. Rack was previously charged June 1, 2012, for Jane Doe #1 and Jane Doe #2 (Case #12HM05906) with two misdemeanor counts of child annoyance. If convicted on these counts, he faces a maximum sentence of two years in jail. Rack is being held on $1 million and is scheduled for a pre-trial hearing July 18, 2012, at 8:30 a.m. in Department H-2, Harbor Justice Center, Newport Beach.

Rack is accused of working as a teacher at Shorecliffs Middle School in San Clemente since 2002. At the time of the crimes, the defendant was a math teacher.

Between April and November 2011, Rack is accused of engaging in inappropriate, unlawfully annoying conduct toward two students at the school, 13-year-olds Jane Doe #1 and Jane Doe #2. The defendant is accused of hugging and making lewd comments to the victims.  Jane Doe #1 told the school principal about the conduct, and the Orange County Sheriff’s Department (OCSD) investigated the case.

Rack was arrested June 6, 2012, for the child annoyance case. Following Rack’s arrest, OCSD discovered the sexual assault against Jane Doe #3.

Between February 2009 and October 2010, Rack is accused of sexually assaulting 14-year-old Jane Doe #3 including lewd touching and oral copulation. He is accused of primarily sexually assaulting the victim while alone with her on campus.

Serial Killer Sentenced to Death

Filed under: Los Angeles Criminal attorney — Tags: , , — fayarfa @ 5:08 am

LOS ANGELES – A 55-year-old convicted serial killer – already serving a life prison sentence for a 1998 quadruple murder conviction – was sentenced to death today for the murders of a 15-year-old girl and two women, the District Attorney’s Office announced.

Superior Court Judge Curtis B. Rappe imposed the sentence on Michael Hughes, who was found guilty on Nov. 3, 2011, of three counts of first-degree murder. Jurors also found true special circumstance allegations that qualified Hughes for the death penalty. Those allegations were multiple murders, prior murder convictions and, as to one victim, murder during the course of rape and sodomy. The same jurors recommended on Dec. 13 that Hughes be sentenced to death.

Deputy District Attorney Beth Silverman of the Major Crimes Division prosecuted the case.

Hughes murdered 15-year-old Yvonne Coleman, 37-year-old Verna Williams and 32-year-old Deborah Jackson, a.k.a. Harriet McKinley. Coleman was suffocated. Williams and Jackson were strangled.

The murders, which took place between January 1986 and June 1993, remained unsolved until Hughes was identified through DNA samples from sexual assault kits. The case was investigated by the Los Angeles Police Department’s Robbery-Homicide Division, which has been investigating unsolved killings between 1960 and 1997.

In 1998, Hughes was convicted in the 1992 killings of Theresa Ballard, 26, and Brenda Bradley, 38; and the 1993 slayings of Terri Myles, 33, and Jamie Harrington, 29.

iller of 16-Year-Old Girl Sentenced to Death

Filed under: California Defense Attorney — Tags: , , — fayarfa @ 5:02 am

LOS ANGELES – An ex-felon was sentenced to death today for the 2003 rape and murder of a 16-year-old girl, whose bound and burned body was discovered in an alley, the District Attorney’s Office announced.

Latece Megale Brown also was sentenced to 205 years to life in prison, plus two additional life sentences in connection with the other charges. A jury convicted Brown on April 11 of 17 felony counts, including the first-degree murder of Jacquies Williams and the kidnapping, rape and sodomy of five other victims, who ranged in age from 14 to 25 years old.

During the hearing, Superior Court Judge Bob S. Bowers described the Williams killing as “cold and vicious,” noting that Brown, who weighed 450 pounds at the time of the killing, asphyxiated the victim by sitting on her. Brown later set fire to her body in an attempt to destroy evidence.

Deputy District Attorneys Beth Silverman and Eric Harmon with the Major Crimes Division prosecuted the case, which was investigated by the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department.


June 24, 2012

Robert Peace is arraigned on child pornography charges in Orange County

Filed under: California Defense Attorney — Tags: , , — fayarfa @ 6:24 pm

PEACE, ROBERT VINCENT In 2009, Peace is accused of meeting 13-year-old Jane Doe from Endicott, NY, in an Internet video-chat room on He is accused of exchanging messages with the victim and instructing her to send him sexually explicit videos of herself masturbating over a two year period. After receiving the videos that he requested, Peace is accused of threatening Jane Doe that he would post the explicit videos on the Internet if she did not continue to send him new pornographic images.

Without the victim’s knowledge, the defendant is accused of posting some of the child pornography videos featuring Jane Doe online. In addition to the videos of Jane Doe, Peace is accused of being in possession of over 1,500 images and more than 300 videos of graphic, sexually explicit child pornography on his computer featuring young teenage girls. The videos include webcam footage.

The defendant was arrested Jan. 20, 2012, in a traffic stop by HBPD, ICE HSI, and OCSD.

Peace is accused of being in possession of additional images of child pornography in his home and vehicle, including images of Jane Doe. Peace is a citizen of the United Kingdom.

Peace has coached children’s recreational soccer teams.

Shirey Perez is indicted for acting as a bail bondsman without a license in Orange County

Filed under: California Defense Attorney — Tags: , — fayarfa @ 6:22 pm


Conduct was by Defendant Shirey Perez and Six Inmate Co-defendants Defendants Arant, Campos, Gatewood, Hutchins, Tokeshi, and Ward were in custody in the Orange County Jail.

During this time, Perez is accused of plotting with these six co-defendants for them to solicit other in-custody inmates to contact Perez to provide their bail. Perez was employed by Plotkin Bail Bonds but is not a licensed bail bondsman.

On 49 occasions, Perez is accused of acting as a bail bondsman without a license by negotiating with inmates to post their bail.

Arant, Campos, Gatewood, Hutchins, Tokeshi, and Ward are accused of receiving payment from Perez in the form of money posted to their jail accounts in exchange for the illegal solicitations on behalf of Perez.


Older Posts »

Powered by WordPress