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December 20, 2016

GRAFFITI-TAGGING CREW MEMBER CONVICTED OF STABBING-MURDER OF 12-YEAR-OLD BOY WHO WAS WALKING HOME FROM SCHOOL

Filed under: California Defense Attorney — fayarfa @ 12:09 am

SANTA ANA, Calif. – A graffiti-tagging crew member was convicted today of the stabbing-murder of a 12-year-old boy who was walking home from school. Bryan Ocampo, 24, was found guilty by a jury of one felony count of second-degree murder with a sentencing enhancement for the personal use of a knife. He faces a maximum sentence of 16 years to life in state prison at his sentencing on March 10, 2017, at 9:00 a.m. in Department C-28, Central Justice Center, Santa Ana.

At the time of the crime, Ocampo was an 18 year old member of a graffiti-tagging crew.

On the afternoon of June 13, 2011, the victim, 12-year-old Juan Martinez, was walking home from school on La Palma Avenue in Anaheim. He was a seventh grade student at Sycamore Junior High School. Ocampo walked up to the victim and engaged in a physical altercation with him. The defendant pulled out a knife from his pocket and stabbed Martinez in the abdomen two times and once in the chest. The victim ran away from Ocampo and collapsed due to his injuries.

Anaheim Police Department (APD) officers arrived at the scene and found the victim in the parking lot of an apartment complex. Martinez was transported to University of California, Irvine Medical Center in Orange, where he died as a result of the stab wounds. Witnesses at the scene identified Ocampo, who was arrested later that night by APD.

Senior Deputy District Attorney Cynthia Herrera of the Homicide Unit is prosecuting this case.

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FRESNO MAN SENTENCED TO FIVE YEARS IN PRISON FOR PIMPING WOMAN AND TRAFFICKING MINOR TEENAGE GIRL IN COSTA MESA

Filed under: California Defense Attorney — fayarfa @ 12:06 am

SANTA ANA, Calif. – A Fresno man was convicted and sentenced to five years in state prison today for pimping a woman and trafficking a minor teenage girl in Costa Mesa. Marice Lavell Curry, 25, pleaded guilty to one felony count of human trafficking of a minor, one felony count of pandering a minor over 16 years old by procuring, one felony count of pimping, and one felony count of pandering. In addition to prison, Curry was sentenced to mandatory lifetime sex offender registration.

Co-defendant Donald Ray Phelps Jr., 23, Fresno, pleaded guilty on Dec. 7, 2016, to one felony count of conspiracy to pander. He was sentenced to six years in state prison, suspended pending successful completion of five years of formal probation.

Circumstances of the Case

Between May 13, 2016, and June 4, 2016, Curry trafficked 17-year-old Jane Doe 1 and arranged for her engage in commercial sex, keeping money she received from sex purchasers for his own use. The defendants pandered Jane Doe 2 by persuading her to engage in commercial sex. Curry used money the victims received on hotel rooms and travel expenses.

On the night of June 4, 2016, Curry drove Jane Doe 1 and Jane Doe 2 to an area of Costa Mesa known for prostitution and human trafficking to solicit sex purchasers. The defendants parked their vehicle in a motel parking lot, and Costa Mesa Police Department (CMPD) officers contacted Jane Doe 2 in a motel room. Officers located the defendants and Jane Doe 1 inside the vehicle a short time later and arrested Curry and Phelps.

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Bouncer Charged with Murder of Man Allegedly Punched in North Hollywood

Filed under: California Defense Attorney — fayarfa @ 12:03 am

A bouncer at a North Hollywood bar was charged today with the death of a man who was punched and fell into oncoming traffic in the street, the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office announced.

Ernest Shawn Reyes (dob 7/21/82) of Arleta faces one count of murder in case LA084995.

Arraignment was continued today to Jan. 12 in Department 100 of the Los Angeles County Superior Court, Van Nuys Branch.

Reyes allegedly punched Wilfredo Rodriguez, 47, outside of a bar in the 6300 block of Lankershim Boulevard on Dec. 15, prosecutors said. As a result, the victim was knocked into the street and fatally struck by a vehicle, prosecutors added.

Reyes faces a possible maximum sentence of 15 years to life in state prison if convicted as charged. Bail is set at $1 million.

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December 19, 2016

MAN EXTRADITED FROM OREGON TO BE ARRAIGNED FOR MURDER OF HUNTINGTON BEACH WOMAN

Filed under: California Defense Attorney — fayarfa @ 6:35 am

SANTA ANA, Calif. – A man extradited from Oregon to Orange County is scheduled to be arraigned for the murder of a Huntington Beach woman. Jason Joseph Becher, 41, Anaheim, is charged with one felony count of special circumstances murder with sentencing enhancements for lying in wait and a prior strike conviction for assault with a deadly weapon in 2001 in Orange County. If convicted, he faces a minimum of life in state prison without the possibility of parole. Becher is scheduled to be arraigned today, Dec. 16, 2016, at 10:00 a.m. in Department CJ-1, Central Jail, Santa Ana.

Prior to Dec. 2, 2016, Becher is accused of having been in a dating relationship with the victim, 50-year-old Marylou Sarkissian. The victim had a restraining order against the defendant at the time of the crime.

In the early morning hours of Dec. 2, 2016, Becher is accused of going to the victim’s residence in Huntington Beach after he had gone out for drinks with an acquaintance the night before. The defendant is accused of beating and strangling Sarkissian to death. Becher is accused of then fleeing the scene.

On the afternoon of Dec. 2, 2016, an individual contacted the Huntington Beach Police Department (HBPD), who investigated this case, with information and requested a welfare check on the victim. HBPD officers responded to the residence and found Sarkissian deceased in the residence. An arrest warrant for Becher was obtained by HBPD.

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VIETNAMESE ENTERTAINER “MINH BEO” SENTENCED TO 18 MONTHS IN PRISON FOR SEXUALLY ASSAULTING MINOR BOY AND ATTEMPTING TO COMMIT LEWD ACT ON FICTITIOUS MINOR

Filed under: California Defense Attorney — fayarfa @ 6:32 am

WESTMINSTER, Calif. – Vietnamese entertainer “Minh Beo” was sentenced today to 18 months in state prison and lifetime sex offender registration for sexually assaulting a minor boy and attempting to commit a lewd act on a fictitious minor. Minh Quang Hong, who goes by the stage name “Minh Beo”, 38, Garden Grove, pleaded guilty on Aug. 10, 2016, to one felony count of oral copulation of a minor and one felony count of attempting to commit a lewd act upon a child under 14 years old.

Prior to the crime, Hong traveled from Vietnam to visit Orange County and Atlanta, Georgia. Hong is a well-known Vietnamese entertainer with access to children.

On March 20, 2016, Hong spoke to a group of dancers at a talent show held at a radio station in Huntington Beach and told the dancers that he was hosting auditions for a video project.

On March 23, 2016, Hong orally copulated 16-year-old John Doe when the victim arrived for the audition. He violated his position of trust and exploited his celebrity status. Shortly thereafter, John Doe reported the crime to the Garden Grove Police Department (GGPD), who investigated this case.

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81-YEAR-OLD FORMER MISSIONARY SENTENCED TO 18 YEARS IN PRISON FOR SEXUALLY ASSULTING THREE GIRLS UNDER AGE 10

Filed under: California Defense Attorney — fayarfa @ 6:29 am

SANTA ANA, Calif. – An 81-year-old former missionary was convicted and sentenced to 18 years in state prison yesterday for sexually assaulting three girls under the age of 10. Douglas Dale Whinery, 81, Tustin, pleaded guilty to seven felony counts of lewd acts upon a child under the age of 14 with a sentencing enhancement allegation for committing lewd acts upon multiple victims.

At the time of the crime, Whinery was a former pastor and missionary and was actively involved at Olive Crest Church in Santa Ana, Foothill Family Church in Foothill Ranch, and Grace Church in Yorba Linda. The defendant was in a position of trust with access to children.

Between January 2005 and June 2006, Whinery invited 9-year-old Jane Doe 3 and her sister to California to go to a popular local theme park. The defendant molested the victim while she was in his care.

Around Nov. 7, 2011, Whinery approached 10-year-old Jane Doe 1 and her relative, 8-year-old Jane Doe 2, while they were in a park in Tustin. Whinery groomed the victims by befriending their family member, providing money for a place to live, taking the victims to school, having the victims spend the night in his home, and inviting them to attend church with him.

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December 16, 2016

Justice Department Opens Investigations of Orange County, California, District Attorney’s Office and Sheriff’s Department

Filed under: California Defense Attorney — fayarfa @ 9:14 am

The Justice Department today opened a civil pattern-or-practice investigation into the Orange County District Attorney’s Office and the Orange County Sheriff’s Department, pursuant to the Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act of 1994.

The investigation will focus on allegations that the district attorney’s office and the sheriff’s department systematically used jailhouse informants to elicit incriminating statements from specific inmates who had been charged and were represented by counsel, in violation of the Sixth Amendment.  Additionally, the investigation will seek to determine whether the district attorney’s office committed systematic violations of defendants’ 14th Amendment due process rights under Brady v. Maryland, a 1963 Supreme Court case, by failing to disclose promises of leniency that would have substantially undermined the credibility of the informants’ trial testimony.

Orange County District Attorney Tony Rackauckas requested that the Justice Department review his office’s informant policies and practices and offered unfettered access to documents and personnel.

“A systematic failure to protect the right to counsel and to a fair trial makes criminal proceedings fundamentally unfair and diminishes the public’s faith in the integrity of the justice system,” said Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Vanita Gupta, head of the Civil Rights Division.  “Our investigation will examine the facts and evidence to determine whether the district attorney’s office and sheriff’s department engaged in a pattern or practice of violating these rights.  We are grateful to District Attorney Rackauckas for the unrestricted access he has offered to provide.”

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Three More Individuals Indicted for Their Roles in Capacitors Price-Fixing Conspiracy

Filed under: California Defense Attorney — fayarfa @ 9:12 am

A federal grand jury returned a second superseding indictment today charging three more executives from two different companies for conspiring to fix prices of electrolytic capacitors sold to customers in the United States and elsewhere, the Department of Justice announced today.  This indictment supersedes a previous superseding indictment returned on Nov. 2, 2016, in which six individuals from four different companies were charged with price fixing.

The indictment, filed in the U.S. District Court of the Northern District of California in San Francisco, charges the following individuals for conspiring to suppress and eliminate competition by fixing the prices of electrolytic capacitors:

•    Takeshi Matsuzaka, an executive of Company A, who is charged with conspiring from approximately January 2003 until January 2014;

•    Kaname Takahashi, also an executive of Company A, who is charged with conspiring from approximately July 2003 until April 2013; and

•    Takuo Tatai, an executive of Company D, who is charged with conspiring from approximately January 2009 until January 2012.

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REGISTERED SEX OFFENDER CONVICTED OF SPECIAL-CIRCUMSTANCES MURDER OF FOUR WOMENAFTER KIDNAPPING THE VICTIMS

Filed under: California Defense Attorney — fayarfa @ 9:09 am

SANTA ANA, Calif. – A registered sex offender was convicted today of the special-circumstances murder of four women after kidnapping the victims. Steven Dean Gordon, 47, Anaheim, was indicted by the grand jury on Oct. 2, 2014. He was found guilty by a jury today of four felony counts of special circumstances murder with sentencing enhancements for kidnapping and multiple murders. The OCDA announced on Dec. 11, 2015, that it would seek the death penalty against Gordon. The jury trial penalty phase is scheduled to begin Monday, Dec. 19, 2016, at 9:00 a.m. in Department C-40, Central Justice Center, Santa Ana.

Prior to seeking the death penalty against Gordon, a special circumstances committee consisting of the District Attorney, the Senior Assistant and Assistant District Attorney in charge of the Homicide Unit, and other prosecutors experienced in capital cases met and discussed the nature of the crime, the vulnerability of the victims, the defendant’s criminal record, and other factors. The committee also considered mitigating circumstances presented by the defense attorney.

California law permits the District Attorney to seek the death penalty if the aggravating factors substantially outweigh the mitigating factors. Aggravating factors are any facts above and beyond the circumstances of the crime that increases the wrongfulness of the defendant’s conduct, the enormity of the offense, or the harmful impact of the crime. Mitigating factors are any facts that reduce the defendant’s blameworthiness or otherwise support a less severe punishment. The final decision to pursue the death penalty rests on the District Attorney.

Co-defendant Franc Cano, 30, Anaheim, was also indicted by the grand jury on Oct. 2, 2014, and is charged with four felony counts of special circumstances murder and four felony counts of forcible rape. The special circumstance sentencing enhancements are for murder during the commission of rape, multiple murders, lying in wait, and kidnapping. The OCDA announced on March 15, 2016, that it would seek the death penalty against Cano. He is scheduled for a pre-trial hearing on Dec. 29, 2016, at 9:00 a.m. in Department C-40, Central Justice Center, Santa Ana.

Circumstances of the Case

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December 15, 2016

NEWPORT COAST WOMAN CHARGED WITH ANIMAL NEGLECT AND ABANDONMENT OF GOLDEN RETRIEVER WITH 42-POUND MALIGNANT TUMOR

Filed under: California Defense Attorney — fayarfa @ 6:09 am

NEWPORT BEACH, Calif. – A Newport Coast woman was charged today with animal neglect for failing to provide care for her 7-year-old golden retriever, resulting in the dog’s cancerous tumor growing to 42 pounds. Sherri Haughton, 52, Newport Coast, is charged with one misdemeanor count of animal endangerment, one misdemeanor count of failure to care for an animal, one misdemeanor count of animal abandonment, and one misdemeanor count of providing false information to an animal control officer. If convicted, the defendant faces two years in county jail. She is scheduled to be arraigned on Jan. 13, 2017, in Department H-8, Harbor Justice Center, Newport Beach. The time is to be determined.

On May 12, 2016, Haughton is accused of bringing a golden retriever named Henry to an animal hospital in Huntington Beach claiming that she found the dog abandoned on the sand in Newport Beach. Animal hospital staff located a tumor on Henry’s right side that was approximately the size of a basketball, affecting the dog’s mobility and other basic functions. The staff contacted Newport Beach Police Department (NBPD) Animal Control staff and told Haughton that the dog should be dropped off at the City of Newport Beach animal shelter. The defendant is accused of refusing to transport the dog and abandoning him at the animal hospital.

NBPD Animal Control took custody of Henry and provided a veterinary assessment. The tumor on his right side was 42 pounds and malignant, severely impacting his ability to walk and function. NBPD Animal Control determined that Henry’s veterinary situation required immediate treatment.

In June 2016, NBPD Animal Control coordinated surgery through donations. Since the surgery, Henry has lived with a local foster family.

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