Best Defender Bytes:

January 25, 2013

MAN CHARGED WITH ARSONS FOR LIGHTING FIRES TO DISTRACT RESIDENTS IN ORDER TO BURGLARIZE HOMES

Filed under: California Defense Attorney — Tags: , , — fayarfa @ 5:35 am

*Defendant is accused of causing over $1 million in fire damage to multiple homes

SANTA ANA - A man was charged today with a series of arsons, which caused over $1 million in damage, for setting fires as a distraction in order to burglarize homes. Jose Jesus Baca Jr., 36, Santa Ana, is charged with four felony counts of first degree residential burglary, three felony counts of arson of another’s property, two felony counts of arson of an inhabited property, one felony count each of grand theft, possession for sale of a controlled substance, and receiving stolen property, with a sentencing enhancement for arson burning multiple structures. If convicted, he faces a maximum sentence of 18 years in state prison. The People will be requesting Baca be held on $1 million bail at his arraignment today, Thursday, Jan. 24, 2013, in Department CJ-1, Central Jail, Santa Ana. The time is to be determined.

Between Dec. 18, 2012, and Jan. 20, 2013, Baca is accused of lighting fires in residential areas, primarily apartment complexes in Irvine and Fullerton, as a diversion to distract residents in order to break into their homes. After lighting fires, the defendant is accused of running through the residential areas yelling that there was a fire to encourage the residents to flee. He is accused of then entering three homes/apartments and stealing personal items from the victims including wallets and jewelry.

On Jan. 20, 2013, Baca is accused of lighting a fire in the carport of an apartment complex in Fullerton on North Associated Road. He is accused of burglarizing at least one home during this incident. Baca is accused of causing over $1 million in damage because of his arson, as the fire spread to multiple housing units.

The arsons and burglaries were investigated by the Irvine and Fullerton Police Departments. Baca was arrested Jan. 22, 2013, in a hotel room in Fullerton. At the time of his arrest, Baca is accused of being in possession of stolen property taken from his victims’ homes and over 10 grams of methamphetamine.

December 14, 2012

MAN CONVICTED OF CONSPIRACY IN REVENGE-MURDER AND ATTEMPTED MURDER OF FAMILY WHOSE BODIES WERE BURNED AND HOUSE SET ON FIRE

Filed under: California Defense Attorney — Tags: , , — fayarfa @ 4:32 am

*A co-defendant was sentenced to life in prison without parole and a third co-defendant is pending trial

SANTA ANA - A man was convicted today for his role in a revenge-murder and attempted murder conspiracy targeting the family of a co-defendant’s ex-girlfriend. Two victims were murdered and set on fire and a third was left in a coma after suffering life-threatening injuries. Charles Anthony Murphy, Jr., 28, Mission Hills, was found guilty by a jury of two felony counts of special circumstances murder, one felony count of attempted murder, and one felony count of conspiracy to commit murder. He faces sentencing enhancements for multiple murders, murder during the commission of kidnapping, and murder for financial gain. This was Murphy’s third re-trial, as a previous jury was unable to reach a verdict and the second re-trial was declared a mistrial. He faces a maximum sentence of life in state prison without the possibility of parole at his sentencing Jan. 4, 2012, at 9:00 a.m., in Department C-41, Central Justice Center, Santa Ana.

Co-defendant Vitaliy Krasnoperov, 27, Hollywood, was found guilty by a jury in a re-trial Dec. 15, 2011, of two felony counts of special circumstances murder, one felony count of attempted murder, and one felony count of conspiracy to commit murder. The sentencing enhancements for multiple murders, murder during the commission of a burglary, and murder during the commission of kidnapping were found true. He was sentenced Nov. 9, 2012, to life in state prison without the possibility of parole.

Co-defendant Iftekhar Murtaza, 28, Van Nuys, faces the same charges and enhancements as Murphy with an additional sentencing enhancement for murder during the commission of a burglary. The Orange County District Attorney is seeking the death penalty against Murtaza, who is scheduled for a pre-trial hearing Dec. 14, 2012, in Department C-41.

Background
In March 2007, 18-year-old Shayona Dhanak was a freshman at the University of California, Irvine, living in the campus dorms. Her father Jaypraykash Dhanak, 56, mother Leela Dhanak, 54, and sister Karishma Dhanak, 20, lived in the family home in Anaheim Hills.

(more…)

December 3, 2012

Father Admits Arson Murders; Sent to Prison for Life

Filed under: California Defense Attorney — Tags: , , — fayarfa @ 7:07 pm

LOS ANGELES – A 61-year-old man pleaded guilty today to the arson murders of his two children six years ago and was sentenced immediately to spend the rest of his life in prison.

Deputy District Attorneys Habib Balian and Bobby Grace of the Major Crimes Division agreed not to proceed with a capital case against the defendant in exchange for guilty pleas to all charges.

Balian said Dae Kwon Yun’s plea came after extensive review of all the evidence and relevant issues in the case and a discussion with the victims’ mother, the defendant’s estranged wife.

The defendant pleaded guilty to two counts of first-degree murder and admitted the special circumstances of arson murder and multiple murders, Balian said. Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Stephen A. Marcus sentenced the defendant to two consecutive life-without-parole prison terms.

Yun, who was separated from his wife, picked up his children on Sunday, April 2, 2006, for a day-long outing. After going to lunch and a movie, Yun drove his SUV to an industrial area in Los Angeles and put rags soaked in gasoline around the vehicle. His 10-year-old son, Alexander, was inside the SUV. His daughter, 11-year-old Ashley, got out but Yun pulled her back into the vehicle before using a lighter to ignite the rags.

The defendant jumped out of the vehicle. His legs were burned and he requested medical help. He allegedly told no one the children were in the burning vehicle.

He was arrested after an intensive investigation by the Los Angeles Police Department’s Robbery/Homicide Division. The case was filed against Yun on April 14, 2006. He has remained in custody without bail pending trial.

November 9, 2012

Suspected Arsonist Charged with Capital Murder

Filed under: California Defense Attorney — Tags: , , — fayarfa @ 6:21 am

PASADENA – A man suspected of starting a deadly fire that killed two men in a residence in Pasadena was charged today with two counts of capital murder and 15 counts of attempted murder, the District Attorney’s Office announced.

Garth Allen Robbins, 49 (dob 4-5-63), was charged in case GA088055 with 19 felony counts, including two counts of special circumstance murder, 15 counts of attempted, willful premeditated murder, arson causing great bodily injury and arson of an inhabited structure.

Because prosecutors filed special circumstances of arson murder and multiple murders, Robbins will be held without bail. Prosecutors will decide later whether to seek the death penalty.

Deputy District Attorney Renee Rose with the Target Crimes Unit has been assigned to prosecute the case.

The Nov. 1 fire at 1385 El Sereno Ave. broke out about 2:30 a.m., killing residents Clif Juan Clark, 56, and Paul Richard Boyd, 75, both residents of the house. A third victim remains hospitalized.

Authorities said there were 19 people living at the three-story structure at the time of the fire.

The complaint alleges the arson was caused by use of a device designed to accelerate the fire.

Robbins is scheduled to be arraigned sometime after 1:30 p.m. at Pasadena Superior Court, Department D.

October 26, 2012

Attempted Murder, Arson Charges Filed in Firebomb Attack

Filed under: California Defense Attorney — Tags: , , — fayarfa @ 2:00 pm

LONG BEACH – A 27-year-old Long Beach man was charged today with one count of attempted murder and five other felony counts for allegedly throwing a Molotov cocktail at a man and setting him on fire, the District Attorney’s Office announced.

Jacob Timothy Lagarde (DOB 02/10/85) is expected to be arraigned in Department J of the Long Beach Courthouse this afternoon, said Deputy District Attorney Jodi Castano of the Long Beach Branch Office. Lagarde is charged in case No. NA093763.

In addition to attempted murder, Lagarde is charged with one count of explosion with intent to murder, one count of explosion causing mayhem or great bodily injury and three arson counts, according to the complaint. The complaint also alleges that Lagarde personally used a deadly and dangerous weapon and that he personally inflicted great bodily injury upon the victim.

The complaint states that since 2003 Lagarde has four prior felony convictions, including robbery, grand theft and drug offenses. Lagarde faces a sentence of life in prison with the possibility of parole if convicted of attempted murder.

The alleged attack occurred shortly before 7 p.m. on Oct. 19, outside a market on the 200 block of West Pacific Coast Highway in Long Beach. The victim, a 54-year-old man, suffered burns to his hands and face and from the waist down.

Lagarde was arrested by Long Beach police earlier this week. Prosecutors recommended that bail be set at $1.2 million.

August 7, 2012

MAN TO BE ARRAIGNED FOR ARSONS OF SON’S HIGH SCHOOL, ASSISTANT PRINCIPAL’S HOME, AND NEARBY PARK

Filed under: California Defense Attorney — Tags: , — fayarfa @ 7:50 pm

*OCDA is seeking no bail after police found e-mails detailing defendant’s plan to murder students and administrators

SANTA ANA - The Orange County District Attorney’s Office (OCDA) will be seeking to have a defendant held without bail for committing a series of arsons after the Irvine Police Department (IPD) discovered e-mails by the defendant detailing plans to murder students and administrators at an Irvine high school.

Rainer Klaus Reinscheid, 48, Irvine, a professor at the University of California, Irvine, is charged with two felony counts of arson of another’s property, two felony counts of arson of a structure, one felony count of arson of an inhabited residence, one felony count of attempted arson, and one misdemeanor count of resisting or obstructing an officer. If convicted, he faces a maximum sentence of 12 years and eight months in state prison. The People will be requesting the defendant be held without bail at his arraignment today, Tuesday, July 31, 2012, at 3:00 p.m. in Department CJ-1, Central Jail, Santa Ana.

In March 2012, Reinscheid’s 14-year-old son, who attended University High School in Irvine, was disciplined at school. Sometime subsequent to this, the defendant’s son committed suicide in Mason Park Preserve in Irvine.

Between July 4, 2012, and July 24, 2012, Reinscheid is accused of committing five arsons and one attempted arson by lighting various objects on fire including newspapers, fireplace logs, brush and vegetation, a book, and a plastic porch chair. He is accused of committing these arsons on the campus of University High School, in Mason Park Preserve, and at a school administrator’s home.

At approximately 12:40 a.m. on July 24, 2012, Reinscheid is accused of attempting to set a fire in Mason Park Preserve using newspaper and lighter fluid. Officers from IPD, who were conducting increased patrols of the park due to the recent arsons, observed the defendant and arrested him near the scene. When contacted by officers, Reinscheid is accused of refusing to comply with their orders to stop and attempting to resist arrest. Reinscheid posted $50,000 bail and was released from custody that day. IPD continued their investigation.

On July 27, 2012, IPD detectives discovered e-mails on the defendant’s cell phone in the course of their investigation. The defendant is accused of sending e-mails to his wife and one to himself in April 2012 describing in detail his plan to burn down University High School, commit sexual assaults, purchase firearms and murder school officials and students, and then kill himself.

Following the discovery of these e-mails and based on linking the defendant to additional arsons, Reinscheid was re-arrested on the evening of July 27, 2012, by IPD.

The OCDA believes Reinscheid poses a serious threat to the community if released from custody, and will argue to have him held without bail in light of the dangerous, violent nature of his private e-mails.

Law enforcement believes Reinscheid acted alone and he is the only defendant and suspect in this case. The high school and school district have been notified of this case.

May 22, 2012

Man Charged in Hacienda Heights Church Arson

Filed under: California Defense Attorney — Tags: , — fayarfa @ 8:44 am

Man Charged in Hacienda Heights Church Arson

WEST COVINA – An alleged arsonist accused of torching St. John Vianney Catholic Church in Hacienda Heights, causing damages in excess of $6.5 million, is expected to be arraigned this afternoon, the District Attorney’s Office announced.

Deputy District Attorney Renee Rose of the Target Crimes Division, Arson Section, said Gregory Yusuke Shiga, 34 (dob 3/01/78), of Hacienda Heights is charged with one count each of aggravated arson, arson of a structure or forest, possession of flammable material and second-degree commercial burglary.

Shiga is expected to be arraigned after 1:30 pm in Department 4 of Citrus Superior Court in West Covina. His bail is recommended at $1 million.

The criminal complaint alleges that the fire caused property damage and other losses in excess of $6.5 million. The charging document also includes special allegations that the defendant proximately caused multiple structures to burn and that the arson was caused by use of a devise designed to accelerate the fire or delay ignition.

Shiga allegedly broke into the church’s sanctuary just after midnight on April 16, 2011. The fire caused extensive damage to the church and to surrounding buildings. No one was hurt.

Shiga was arrested on May 14 in Los Angeles following a year-long investigation by the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department and the FBI.

The defendant faces a minimum sentence of 10 years to life in state prison.

May 17, 2012

Alleged Serial Arsonist Pleads

Filed under: California Defense Attorney — Tags: , — fayarfa @ 2:56 am

LONG BEACH – A man accused of setting a string of fires in Long Beach, including two in homes in which the residents slept, pleaded no contest today and was immediately sentenced to more than 30 years in prison, the District Attorney’s Office announced.

Joshua Ethan Thomas, 27, of Long Beach pleaded to five counts – one count of arson of an inhabited dwelling and two counts each of attempted murder and arson of a structure or forest. Thomas additionally admitted a 2004 prior strike conviction for criminal threats out of Los Angeles County.

Long Beach Superior Court Judge Charles Sheldon immediately sentenced Thomas to 33 years, eight months in state prison.

Deputy District Attorney Sean Carney from the Target Crimes Division prosecuted the case.

Long Beach police arrested Thomas in April 2011 following a series of fires and burglaries.

In two of the arsons, both of homes on April 16, 2011, people were inside sleeping when the fires were started. In one case, a victim’s bed was set afire while the victim slept, authorities said. No injuries were reported.

Thomas was known to leave taunting messages for police at the scene of the crimes.

April 27, 2012

MAN CONVICTED OF ARSON AND ANIMAL CRUELTY FOR SETTING FIRES INSIDE HOME AND KILLING DOG BY SLITTING HIS THROAT

Filed under: California Defense Attorney — Tags: , — fayarfa @ 8:36 am

SANTA ANA - A man was convicted today for setting fires inside his Stanton home and killing his dog, Dexter, by poisoning him and slitting his throat. Jaime Arturo Garcia, 31, Stanton, pleaded guilty to the court to one felony count of arson of an inhabited property, one felony count of animal cruelty, and one misdemeanor count of unlawfully causing a fire to property and a sentencing enhancement for the personal use of a deadly weapon. He is expected to be sentenced to four years and eight months in state prison at his sentencing on May 7, 2012, at 8:30 a.m. in Department C-49, Central Justice Center, Santa Ana.

On the afternoon of July 24, 2011, Garcia closed all the doors and windows of the Stanton home he shared with his two sisters and set several small fires inside the home by lighting piles of clothing on fire. The fires caused damage to cabinets in the laundry room but did not spread throughout the house.  His sisters were not home at the time.

After the fires had burned out, Garcia poisoned his 7-year-old dog Dexter, a dachshund mix, by feeding him various pills. He then used a large kitchen knife and cut Dexter’s throat. The bleeding dog ran around the house and into the bedroom, where he died on Garcia’s bed.

One of Garcia’s sisters returned home to find the house filled with smoke and called 911. The Orange County Sheriff’s Department, who investigated this case, responded to the scene. The Orange County Fire Authority also responded to the scene. Deputies discovered Dexter in the bedroom and his blood on the floors and walls throughout the home.

February 17, 2012

Architect Charged in Firefighter Death

Filed under: Los Angeles Criminal attorney — Tags: , — fayarfa @ 2:25 am

LOS ANGELES – An architect who designed and oversaw construction of a luxury home in the Hollywood Hills where a veteran Los Angeles firefighter perished in a blaze a year ago was charged by the District Attorney’s Office today with one count of involuntary manslaughter.

Gerhard Albert Becker, 48 (dob 1/30/1964), was scheduled to appear for arraignment this afternoon in Los Angeles Superior Court Department 30. Becker was arrested at Los Angeles International Airport when he flew to Los Angeles from Spain on Saturday. He has remained in custody since his arrest.

Becker was charged in case No. BA 393940 with one count of involuntary manslaughter. Bail was recommended at $2 million by Deputy District Attorney Sean Carney of the Target Crimes Division.

The defendant, a German national, has been out of the country since the Feb. 16, 2011, blaze that claimed the life of Glenn Allen, 61. Allen was killed when a burning ceiling fell on him. He was a firefighter for more than 36 years.

The Los Angeles City Fire Department’s arson investigators worked closely with detectives from the Los Angeles Police Department’s Robbery-Homicide Division on the nearly year-long probe leading up to the filing of today’s case.

The fire in the multi-level newly constructed home in the 1500 block of Viewsite Drive in the Hollywood Hills was believed started by a negligently installed inside fireplace designed for outside use only. Prosecutors said Becker designed the home and was the main contractor. He was charged after investigators found evidence of grossly negligent construction.

If convicted, Becker faces a four year state prison term.

Older Posts »

Powered by WordPress