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November 10, 2012

MAN FACES TRIAL FOR STABBING-MURDER OF MOTHER’S HOUSEGUEST

Filed under: California Defense Attorney — Tags: , — fayarfa @ 10:08 am

SANTA ANA - A man faces trial tomorrow for murdering his mother’s houseguest by stabbing him in the chest with a pocket knife. Saul Jose Salazar, 29, 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 16 years to life in state prison. Opening statements are expected to begin tomorrow, Thursday, Nov. 8, 2012, in Department C-43, Central Justice Center, Santa Ana. The time is to be determined.

In 2010, Salazar is accused of being subject to a restraining order, which barred him from going near his mother based on his prior violence towards her. On two occasions, Salazar is accused of violating the restraining order by showing up at his mother’s house. The restraining order expired two weeks prior to the murder.

At approximately 2:00 a.m. on Oct. 3, 2010, Salazar is accused of staying at his mother’s house for several hours with his friends. The defendant is accused of refusing his mother’s request to leave and becoming violent. Salazar’s mother contacted SAPD and the defendant is accused of leaving the home.

At approximately 7:00 p.m. the defendant is accused of returning to his mother’s home where a party was being held and provoking a verbal altercation with 33-year-old Antonio Verdugo-Cabrera, a family friend. At approximately 11:00 p.m. when the remaining houseguests left the party, Salazar is accused of pulling out a pocket knife and murdering Verdugo-Cabrera by stabbing him in the chest. The defendant is accused of stabbing the victim two more times on his left arm. Salazar is accused of then fleeing the scene.

The defendant’s mother called 911 and SAPD responded to the scene. While officers were investigating the murder, Salazar is accused of returning to the scene to turn himself in. He is accused of being in possession of a bloody knife.

November 8, 2012

Arcadia Man Arraigned in Cold Case Murder of His Wife

Filed under: California Defense Attorney — Tags: , , — fayarfa @ 6:25 am

Arcadia Man Arraigned in Cold Case Murder of His Wife

PASADENA – An Arcadia man was arraigned today on a charge that he murdered his wife in 2001, the District Attorney’s office announced.

Deputy District Attorney John Lewin of the Major Crimes Division said Richard Keith Cole, 72 (dob 8-19-1940), appeared before Pasadena Superior Court Judge Terry Smerling, who ordered the defendant held on the $1 million bail recommended by the prosecution. Cole, who pleaded not guilty, is due back in court on Jan. 15 for the scheduling of a preliminary hearing.

Case No. GA 088028 was filed on Oct. 30 as a felony complaint for arrest warrant. Cole was charged with one count of murder with the allegation that he used a knife to commit the crime. If convicted, he faces a maximum sentence of 26 years to life in state prison.

The body of Charlotte Cole, 50, was found behind an Arcadia restaurant on Sept. 1, 2001. She was stabbed repeatedly.

September 18, 2012

MAN SENTENCED TO 26 YEARS TO LIFE IN PRISON FOR MURDERING EX-GIRLFRIEND BY STABBING HER AND SLITTING HER THROAT

Filed under: Los Angeles Criminal attorney — Tags: , , — fayarfa @ 5:18 pm

SANTA ANA - A man was sentenced today to 26 years to life in state prison for murdering his ex-girlfriend by stabbing her on her way to work. Ruben Retana Perez, 34, Whittier, was found guilty by a jury Aug. 1, 2011, of one felony count of murder with a sentencing enhancement for the personal use of a deadly weapon.

Beginning in 1996, Perez had an on and off 5-year romantic relationship with 29-year-old Rocio Leon. Perez and Leon had a baby boy in 1999. Following their son’s birth, Perez became abusive toward Leon and her child from a previous relationship.

At approximately 3:30 a.m. on April 18, 2001, Perez got in Leon’s truck and drove with the victim to take her to work at an Orange County Register newspaper distribution center in Garden Grove. While driving to Leon’s work, Perez got out of the car and murdered Leon by slitting the victim’s throat using a kitchen knife and stabbing her two times in the chest. The defendant got back into the car and ran over Leon’s body before fleeing the scene.

Later that morning, Perez went to his work and requested a $1,000 cash pay advance. Perez never returned to work and abandoned the victim’s car in Stanton before fleeing the state. After further investigation linking Perez to the murder, a warrant was issued for his arrest, Dec. 17, 2002.

Approximately five years later, on July 19, 2008, Perez was arrested by police in Arkansas under the alias of Yovani Cortez for driving under the influence of alcohol. Arkansas authorities learned of the defendant’s true identity and the Orange County warrant for Leon’s murder. In September 2008, Perez was extradited back to Orange County to face the murder charges.

August 23, 2012

CONVICTED GANG MEMBER FOUND LEGALLY SANE FOR STABBING-MURDER OF FORMER GIRLFRIEND IN FRONT OF THEIR TWO CHILDREN

Filed under: California Defense Attorney — Tags: , , — fayarfa @ 5:15 pm

SANTA ANA - A gang member was found today by a jury today to have been legally sane when he murdered the mother of his two young children by stabbing her 20 times. Miguel Alexander Vargas, 28, Placentia, was found guilty by the same jury Aug. 13, 2012, of one felony count of first degree murder and one felony count of carjacking. He faces a maximum sentence of 25 years to life in state prison at his sentencing Aug. 31, 2012, at 9:00 a.m. in Department C-40, Central Justice Center, Santa Ana.

As Vargas entered pleas of “not guilty” and “not guilty by reason of insanity,” the trial was held in two phases. The first phase was the guilt phase, during which jurors heard evidence about the crime and the prosecution had to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant was guilty of that crime. In the second phase, the sanity phase, the same jury considered evidence to determine if the defendant was legally sane at the time of the crime; Vargas was found to be sane. When a defendant pleads “not guilty by reason of insanity,” the burden is on the defense to prove that the defendant was more likely than not legally insane when he committed the crime. To be considered legally insane, the defense must prove that the defendant had a mental disease or defect when he committed the crime and that this defect kept the defendant from understanding the nature of his act or from understanding that his act was morally or legally wrong.

Vargas is a documented gang member and was deemed an active gang member who was being monitored by the TARGET Unit prior to the incident. TARGET teams up police officers, probation officers, prosecutors, and Orange County District Attorney Investigators in police departments throughout the County to focus on gang leaders and the most violent, repeat criminal street gang offenders. TARGET successfully reduces gang crime by incapacitating the most active, hardcore gang offenders and preventing them from committing further violent acts in the community.

Between Feb. 4, 2009 and Feb. 5, 2009, Vargas repeatedly called his former girlfriend Angelina Alvarado, a week after pleading guilty to a misdemeanor domestic violence charge. Alvarado was the mother of their two children, who were then 4 and 6 years old.

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June 7, 2012

North Hollywood Man Charged in Roommate’s Killing

Filed under: California Defense Attorney — Tags: , , — fayarfa @ 12:40 pm

VAN NUYS – A 21-year-old man accused of killing his roommate over the weekend was charged with murder today, the District Attorney’s Office announced.

Manuel Garcia (dob 10/09/90), charged in case No. LA071103, is expected to be arraigned this afternoon in Department 100 of Van Nuys Superior Court.

The murder charge includes special allegations that Garcia personally used deadly and dangerous weapons, a knife and a pot, in the commission of the offense. Garcia is additionally charged with one count of corporal injury to a cohabitant.

The defendant allegedly killed Jorge Hortencio Valladares, 67, on June 2 at an apartment in the 12000 block of Van Owen Street in North Hollywood. The two men shared the apartment with several other roommates including the defendant’s live-in girlfriend.

Just before the murder, Garcia allegedly assaulted his girlfriend. The victim was killed when he attempted to intervene, authorities said.

Garcia allegedly stabbed the victim and repeatedly struck him over the head with a cooking pot.

The case remains under investigation by the Los Angeles Police Department.

Bail for Garcia is recommended at $1.080 million. If convicted as charged, he faces a maximum prison term of 27 years to life.

June 6, 2012

North Hollywood Man Charged in Roommate’s Killing

Filed under: California Defense Attorney — Tags: , , — fayarfa @ 5:04 pm

VAN NUYS – A 21-year-old man accused of killing his roommate over the weekend was charged with murder today, the District Attorney’s Office announced.

Manuel Garcia (dob 10/09/90), charged in case No. LA071103, is expected to be arraigned this afternoon in Department 100 of Van Nuys Superior Court.

The murder charge includes special allegations that Garcia personally used deadly and dangerous weapons, a knife and a pot, in the commission of the offense. Garcia is additionally charged with one count of corporal injury to a cohabitant.

The defendant allegedly killed Jorge Hortencio Valladares, 67, on June 2 at an apartment in the 12000 block of Van Owen Street in North Hollywood. The two men shared the apartment with several other roommates including the defendant’s live-in girlfriend.

Just before the murder, Garcia allegedly assaulted his girlfriend. The victim was killed when he attempted to intervene, authorities said.

Garcia allegedly stabbed the victim and repeatedly struck him over the head with a cooking pot.

The case remains under investigation by the Los Angeles Police Department.

June 5, 2012

TEEN MOTHER SENTENCED 16 YEARS TO LIFE IN PRISON FOR MURDERING NEWBORN BY STABBING BABY DAUGHTER MULTIPLE TIMES AND HIDING CORPSE IN CLOSET

Filed under: California Defense Attorney — Tags: , , — fayarfa @ 5:51 am

SANTA ANA - A teen mother was sentenced today to 16 years to life in state prison for murdering her newborn immediately after giving birth by stabbing her multiple times and hiding the corpse in her closet. Yoselin Torres Tovar, 20, Fullerton, pleaded guilty on May 1, 2012, during the second day of jury trial to one felony count of second degree murder with a sentencing enhancement allegation for the use of a deadly weapon.

Between 7:00 a.m. and 9:00 a.m. on April 18, 2010, Tovar, then-18 years old, gave birth to a baby girl in the bathroom of her family’s Fullerton home. The defendant stabbed the newborn multiple times, wrapped her body, and placed her in Tovar’s bedroom closet. No one in her family knew she was pregnant. When her family saw blood on the defendant, they took her to St. Jude Hospital in Fullerton.

Upon arriving at the hospital, doctors examined Tovar and determined that she had just given birth and alerted police. Shortly after, Tovar expelled the placenta at the hospital. That same night, Fullerton Police officers found the discarded newborn in the defendant’s bedroom closet.

May 25, 2012

OCDA TO SEEK DEATH PENALTY AGAINST FORMER MARINE FOR STABBING-MURDER OF MOTHER AND SON IN YORBA LINDA AND SERIAL MURDERS OF FOUR HOMELESS MEN

Filed under: California Defense Attorney — Tags: , , , — fayarfa @ 5:11 pm

SANTA ANA - The Orange County District Attorney (OCDA) announced today that he will seek the death penalty against a former Marine for the stabbing-murder of a mother and her son in Yorba Linda and murdering four homeless men in a serial thrill-kill spree.

Itzcoatl Ocampo, 24, Yorba Linda, is charged with six felony counts of murder with special circumstances for multiple murders and lying in wait and sentencing enhancements for personal use of a deadly weapon, a knife, during the commission of a crime. Ocampo is being held without bail and is scheduled for jury trial Sept. 10, 2012, at 9:00 a.m. in Department C-45, Central Justice Center, Santa Ana.

This case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Orange County Sheriff’s Department (OCSD), Anaheim Police Department (APD), Brea Police Department (BPD), and Placentia Police Department (PPD). Members of these agencies interviewed more than 200 witnesses both before and after the arrest. OCSD Crime Laboratory made this case a top priority and analyzed the key physical evidence in this case. The FBI provided specialized information and expertise.

Senior Deputy District Attorney Susan Price of the OCDA Homicide Unit is prosecuting this case.

Murder of Raquel Estrada and Juan Herrera
On the night of Oct. 25, 2011, Ocampo is accused of murdering 53-year-old Raquel Estrada and 34-year-old Juan Herrera. He is accused of stabbing both victims and leaving their bodies on the floor of their Yorba Linda home. Estrada was stabbed more than 30 times and Herrera was stabbed more than 60 times.

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May 24, 2012

GANG MEMBER CONVICTED OF STABBING-MURDER OF TEEN AT HALLOWEEN HOUSE PARTY

Filed under: California Defense Attorney — Tags: , , , — fayarfa @ 4:34 am

SANTA ANA - A gang member has been convicted of the stabbing-murder of an 18-year-old man a Halloween night house party. Steven Salvador Hernandez, 19, La Habra, who was a minor at the time of the crime and prosecuted as an adult, was found guilty by a jury today of one felony count of second degree murder and one felony count of street terrorism with a sentencing enhancement for criminal street gang activity. Hernandez faces a maximum sentence of 15 years to life in state prison at his sentencing on July 27, 2012, at 9:00 a.m., Department N-13, North Justice Center, Fullerton.

Co-defendants Rene Antonio Lobos, 17, who is charged as an adult, and Jose Francisco Nuno, 22, both of La Habra, are each charged with one felony count of murder and one felony count of street terrorism with a sentencing enhancement for criminal street gang activity. If convicted, they face a maximum sentence of 15 years to life in state prison. Both co-defendants are scheduled for jury trial May 30, 2012, at 8:30 a.m, in Department C-5, Central Justice Center, Santa Ana.

Between 11:00 p.m. and midnight on Oct. 31, 2009, Nuno is accused of starting a verbal altercation with the friend of 18-year-old victim Joshua Mora-Rodriguez, who was not a gang member, outside a La Habra home during a Halloween party. During the altercation, Nuno is accused of beating the victim with his fists and Lobos is accused of beating the victim with a baseball bat while Hernandez stabbed the victim’s neck with a knife.

The defendants ran back into the house and left the victim to bleed to death on the street. La Habra Police Department officers arrived and noticed the victim’s blood on Hernandez’s clothing and found a bloody knife wrapped in blood-soaked clothing at a neighbor’s home. Lobos and Nuno are accused of having the victim’s blood on their clothing and were arrested at the scene. Hernandez was arrested approximately a few weeks later.

The victim had just graduated from high school and was preparing to join the Army. He was the son of two police detectives.

May 17, 2012

Twice Convicted Killer Sentenced to Death

Filed under: Los Angeles Criminal attorney — Tags: , , — fayarfa @ 2:59 am

LOS ANGELES – A 36-year-old man who fatally stabbed a Los Angeles County jail inmate in 1995 was sentenced to death today for a second time, the District Attorney’s Office announced. The defendant committed the murder while awaiting trial for a 1994 robbery-motivated double murder.

Raymond Oscar Butler was convicted on Jan. 30, 2012, of the first-degree murder of Tyrone Fleming, 23, with a special circumstance allegation of multiple murders. On Feb. 6, the same jury that convicted Butler deliberated for just one hour and 15 minutes before returning a death verdict in the penalty phase of the trial.

Butler originally was sentenced to death for Fleming’s murder in 1998. The California Supreme Court overturned that sentence in 2009. In 2012, the case was retried by Hardcore Gang Prosecutors Robert Rabbani and David Barkhurst.

At the time of the murder, Butler and Fleming were housed in the jail’s “high power” K-10 module, an area comprised of single-man cells reserved for violent, high-profile or disruptive inmates. Victim Fleming, who was charged with second-degree commercial burglary, was not a violent offender, but had a history of disciplinary issues.

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