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July 20, 2016

Man Sentenced For 2014 Standoff With Law Enforcement in Norwalk

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

A La Habra man was sentenced today to more than 110 years in state prison after being convicted of shooting at law enforcement during a standoff in Norwalk two years ago, the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office announced.

Jason Edwin Devore, 39, was sentenced to 111 years and eight months in prison by Los Angeles County Superior Court Mildred Escobedo. In June, Devore was found guilty of five counts of assault on a peace officer with a semiautomatic firearm and 16 counts of second-degree robbery.

On June 10, 2014, Devore and George Contreras, 21, of Los Angeles, barricaded themselves in a trailer in Norwalk after law enforcement attempted to arrest Devore, who was a suspect in a series of robberies throughout the Los Angeles region.

Prosecutors said shots were fired at officers on three separate occasions during the prolonged standoff. No one was injured.

After several hours, Contreras surrendered to authorities. Tear gas was later fired into the trailer that flushed Devore out. Both men were arrested.


Man Charged With Vandalizing Vietnam Veterans Memorial Wall

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

A 24-year-old man accused of defacing a war memorial in Venice was charged today, the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office announced.

Angel Castro (dob 2/24/92) has been charged with one felony count of vandalism over $400 damagegraffiti in case SA093405.

The felony complaint also alleges that Castro was previously convicted of robbery in 2015.

The defendant is scheduled to be arraigned today in Department 30 at the Los Angeles County Superior Court, Airport Branch. Prosecutors will ask that bail be set at $85,000.

Prosecutors said on May 25 Castro allegedly vandalized the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Wall located at 100 Sunset Avenue in Venice.


July 19, 2016

Gardena Gang Member and Longtime Pimp Sentenced to 40 Years in Federal Prison for Sex Trafficking of Children

Filed under: California Defense Attorney — fayarfa @ 3:18 am

LOS ANGELES – A Gardena man who was found guilty of sex trafficking seven girls, most of whom had been coerced or forced to work as prostitutes, was sentenced today to 40 years in federal prison.

Laron Darrell Carter, also known as “Birdd” and variations of that moniker, 39, received the sentence from United States District Judge Virginia A. Phillips, who also ordered the defendant to pay $631,248 in restitution to six of his victims.

Following a five-day trial in April, a jury convicted Carter of seven counts of sex trafficking of a minor by force, fraud or coercion, and seven counts of transporting a child to engage in prostitution.

The evidence at trial showed that Carter, a Crip gang member, trafficked girls as young as 13 and subjected some of them to beatings, which included victims being punched in the face and whipped with a belt.

Carter’s “conduct in this case spanned a decade as he prostituted the seven minor victims from 2003 to 2013” and transported them from California to Arizona, Texas, Georgia, Washington DC and Nevada, prosecutors wrote in a sentencing memorandum filed with the court.



Filed under: California Defense Attorney — fayarfa @ 3:14 am

FULLERTON, Calif. – A woman has been charged with stalking, threatening, and pretending to be the pregnant wife of her ex-boyfriend and responding to advertisements on Craigslist soliciting “rape fantasies.”Michelle Suzanne Hadley, 29, Ontario, is charged with one felony count of stalking with a restraining order, one felony count of stalking, one felony count of criminal threats, six felony counts of attempted forcible rape, one felony count of assault with the intent to commit a sexual offense during the commission of first degree burglary, and one misdemeanor count of violation of a protective order with a sentencing enhancement allegation for crime-bail-crime. If convicted, Hadley faces a maximum sentence of life in state prison. Hadley was in court today and her bail was set at $1 million. The defendant is scheduled for continued arraignment on Aug. 19, 2016, at 9:00 a.m. in Department N-12, North Justice Center, Fullerton.

Between 2013 and 2015, the defendant had a romantic relationship with Jane Doe’s husband, a U.S. Marshals Service agent, prior to Jane Doe’s marriage to her husband. At the time of the crime, Jane Doe was also pregnant.

Between June 6, 2016, and July 13, 2016, Hadley is accused of sending Jane Doe numerous emails including threats against the life of Jane Doe and her unborn child and disparaging comments about the victim’s husband. Hadley is accused of routing the emails to the victim through different computers and servers in order to avoid detection by law enforcement.

On June 6, 2016, the defendant was served with a protective order prohibiting her from contacting Jane Doe. During that time, the defendant is accused of violating the protective order and stalking Jane Doe.


Probation Violation Hearing Scheduled for Former Doctor Convicted of Sexual Battery of Patient

Filed under: California Defense Attorney — fayarfa @ 3:11 am

A 47-year-old man who had his doctor’s license revoked after being convicted in 2013 of sexually abusing a patient at a Northridge hospital is alleged to have violated the terms of his probation by continuing to perform medical exams, the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office announced today.

Deputy District Attorney Rena Durrant said Kevin Pezeshki of Tarzana pleaded no contest on Sept. 11, 2013, to one felony count of sexual battery by fraud in case LA071845. Pezeshki was then sentenced to three years formal probation, a year of counseling and lifetime sexual offender registration.

A probation violation hearing is scheduled tomorrow at 1:30 p.m. in Department E of the Los Angeles County Superior Court, Van Nuys Branch.

The defendant had been ordered to obey all laws as a condition of probation after admitting to inappropriately touching a female patient during an exam in 2008 at Northridge Hospital Medical Center.

Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge Gregory Dohi revoked Pezeshki’s probation on June 27 based on allegations that the defendant performed an ultrasound on a female patient although he no longer has a medical license, the prosecutor said. The defendant also is reported to have conducted an ultrasound on another woman, the prosecutor added.


July 18, 2016

Independent Producer Charged with Stealing Money Generated by Feature Film that Should Have Gone to Partner Company

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

LOS ANGELES – An independent film producer has been charged with interstate transportation of stolen property related to the theft of nearly $1.5 million that should have gone to his partner in a film production deal.

Julio Caro, 56, of Calabasas, was charged on Tuesday with moving money to New Jersey that had been stolen from an investment company called Yucaipa Corporate Initiatives Fund I, LP.

When he was charged, prosecutors also filed a plea agreement in which Caro agreed to plead guilty to the felony offense and admitted that he stole a total of $1,487,529 from Yucaipa over five years.

“This defendant exploited his position of trust by stealing money from a business he had been partners with for years,” said United States Attorney Eileen M. Decker. “Mr. Caro then engaged in another crime by moving the pilfered money across the country.”

Caro has agreed to surrender to federal authorities and make his first appearance in United States District Court on July 27.



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

SANTA ANA, Calif. – A man was sentenced today to 25 years to life state prison and two defendants were sentenced for their roles in the 1995 cold case kidnapping and brutal meat cleaver hacking murder of a man. Shannon Ray Gries, 45, Santa Ana, pleaded guilty on May 23, 2016, to one count of felony-murder for murder during the commission of kidnapping and was sentenced to 25 years to life in state prison.

Co-defendant Diane Tran, 47, Costa Mesa, pleaded guilty on Jan. 24, 2014, to one felony count of voluntary manslaughter with a sentencing enhancement for being armed with a firearm in the commission of a felony. Tran was sentenced today to four years in state prison. Kody Tran, Diane Tran’s husband, was also involved in the murder but died before charges were filed in this case.

Co-defendant Norma Patricia Esparza, 41, France, pleaded guilty on Sept. 12, 2014, to one felony count of voluntary manslaughter. Esparza was sentenced today to six years in state prison.

Co-defendant Gianni Anthony Van, 46, Costa Mesa, was found guilty by a jury on May 7, 2015, of one felony count of first degree murder with a special circumstance enhancement for murder during the commission of kidnapping. Van was sentenced on July 10, 2015, to life in state prison without the possibility of parole.

Circumstances of the Case



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

SANTA ANA, Calif. – A drunken driver was sentenced today to 22 years to life in state prison for murdering a 6-year-old girl and severely injuring the child’s sister and mother by crashing into them in a crosswalk after driving through a red light. Jessicah Louise Cowan, 37, Lake Hughes, was found guilty by a jury on April 15, 2016, of one felony count each of murder, vehicular manslaughter with gross negligence while intoxicated, hit and run with permanent injury or death, hit and run with injury, two felony counts of driving under the influence causing bodily injury, two felony counts of driving with a blood alcohol content of .08% or more causing bodily injury, and an infraction for possession of marijuana while driving. Allegations and sentencing enhancements for causing bodily injury to Eloisa M. and Grisea M., having a blood alcohol content of .20 percent or more, fleeing the scene of a vehicular manslaughter, and causing great bodily injury were found true.

At approximately 11:00 a.m. on June 23, 2012, Cowan drove erratically in Santa Ana while under the influence of alcohol. She drove on 17th Street and ran through a red light before losing control and crashing into the center median. Cowan continued on 17th Street and drove through another red light at Spurgeon Street. Three victims, including 6-year-old Osmara Meza, her 7-year-old sister Gresia, and her mother Eloisa, were holding hands and legally walking through a crosswalk on a green light with a walk sign.

Cowan crashed into the three victims when she ran the red light, throwing them from the intersection into the street. The defendant then attempted to flee the scene in her a car. A witness used their own car to block the road to prevent Cowan from fleeing.

The Santa Ana Police Department responded to the scene and arrested Cowan. At the time of her arrest, the defendant was found to have marijuana in her vehicle.

Osmara was pronounced dead at the scene. Gresia and Eloisa were transported to the hospital to be treated for traumatic brain injuries.


July 15, 2016

ATF-Led Investigation Leads to Arrest of 6 Accused of Illegal Firearms and Narcotic Sales in and around Compton

Filed under: California Defense Attorney — fayarfa @ 3:09 am

LOS ANGELES – Agents from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives and other law enforcement authorities this morning arrested six people charged in three federal indictments that allege illegal firearms sales and drug distribution.

The arrests stem from an ATF-led investigation targeting the sale of guns in and around Compton and Mona Park in Willowbrook. During the course of the year-long investigation, authorities took more than 100 illegally trafficked firearms off the streets.

Those taken into custody today face various federal charges, including conspiracy, illegal firearm sales, being a felon in possession of a firearm, and trafficking in crack cocaine and PCP. Two other defendants named in the indictments are fugitives who are being sought by authorities. (A fourth grand jury indictment charges one defendant who also remains a fugitive, and that indictment will remain under seal until that defendant is taken into custody.)

“The illegal firearms trade fuels violence on the streets,” said United States Attorney Eileen M. Decker. “If individuals prohibited from purchasing firearms can readily obtain them in an underground market, the challenge of reducing gun violence in our communities is much greater. As we work to stem violent crime in and around Compton, we will, therefore, target those who are sources of the firearms and narcotics that sustain these underground markets.”


United States Files Lawsuit to Recover Monetary Damages Associated with 2013 Mountain Fire in San Bernardino National Forest

Filed under: California Defense Attorney — fayarfa @ 3:06 am

LOS ANGELES – A federal lawsuit filed today seeks nearly $25 million in damages from the owner of a Mountain Center residence and the property’s caretakers for alleged negligence that led to the 2013 Mountain Fire, which burned for more than two weeks and scorched over 27,500 acres, more than half of which was in the San Bernardino National Forest.

The civil complaint alleges negligence and violations of California law as being the cause of the fire that started on July 15, 2013, and burned a large swath of the San Jacinto Mountains, for a time threatening the town of Idyllwild and forcing over 5,000 residents to evacuate. An investigation determined that the fire started when an electrical discharge inside of an improperly maintained electrical junction box “shot sparks and hot material out of the box and onto dry ground vegetation below,” according to the lawsuit.

The Mountain Fire started on property known as Gibraltar West that is owned by Tarek M. Al-Shawaf, who is the lead defendant in the lawsuit. The complaint also names as defendants James D. Nowlin and Donna L. Nowlin, who were the caretakers employed by Al-Shawaf.

The defendants had a duty “to properly inspect and maintain their electrical equipment, electrical wires, and electrical junction boxes to ensure that they were safe, properly secured, and clear from dangerous conditions,” the complaint alleges.


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