Best Defender Bytes:

January 8, 2013


Filed under: California Defense Attorney — Tags: , — fayarfa @ 8:38 pm

SANTA ANA - A former U.S. Customs and Border Protection Officer was convicted today and sentenced to six years in state prison for raping two women. Miguel Lerma Jr., 33, Fountain Valley, pleaded guilty to one felony count of forcible rape for Jane Doe #1 and one felony count of rape of an intoxicated person for Jane Doe #2.

At the time of the sexual assaults, Lerma was employed as a U.S. Customs and Border Protection Officer with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.

On Sept. 10, 2009, Lerma met Jane Doe #2 while she was out drinking with a friend in Long Beach. Over the course of the night, Jane Doe #2 became intoxicated due to alcohol and blacked out. While the victim was unconscious from alcohol intoxication, Lerma raped her. She did not know the defendant prior to this evening. The victim later awoke lying in the bushes alone.

Jane Doe #2 reported the rape and Lerma was interviewed and submitted a DNA swab as part of the investigation. The investigation for the rape of Jane Doe #2 was still ongoing and had not been charged in Los Angeles County’s Office as of November 2010.


January 5, 2013

Legislators vow to change law on rape by impersonation

Filed under: California Defense Attorney — Tags: , , — fayarfa @ 10:56 am

California legislators and the state’s top prosecutor said Friday that they would work to overhaul a law that makes it a crime to obtain sex by impersonating another only if the victim is a married woman.

The 19th century law required a state appeals court on Wednesday to overturn the rape conviction of a Los Angeles County man who entered a darkened bedroom where a woman was sleeping and had sex with her.

The 18-year-old woman said she initially mistook the defendant for her boyfriend, who had left earlier, but resisted when she realized it wasn’t him. Police said the defendant admitted the woman probably wrongly assumed he was her boyfriend.

The Los Angeles-based 2nd District Court of Appeal said it had ruled reluctantly and appealed to the Legislature to change the law. Another court also put the Legislature on notice of the law’s anomaly 30 years ago, but legislators failed to act.

Assembly Speaker John A. Pérez (D-Los Angeles) said changing the law would be a top priority for the lower house in this year’s legislative session.


December 19, 2012

Teen Pleads Guilty in Stevenson Ranch Rape

Filed under: California Defense Attorney — Tags: , — fayarfa @ 7:06 pm

SAN FERNANDO – A 19-year-old man pleaded guilty to forcible rape and other charges today in the Jan. 8 sexual assault of a Stevenson Ranch woman.

Deputy District Attorney Julie Kramer said Jerry Moon is due back in court for sentencing on Jan. 30. As part of a plea agreement, Moon will be sentenced by San Fernando Superior Court Judge Lloyd Nash to 43 years to life in prison, the prosecutor said. The defendant also must register as a sex offender.

Besides one count of forcible rape, Moon pleaded guilty to one count each of sexual penetration by a foreign object by means of force and forcible oral copulation. He admitted that during commission of the crimes, the victim was tied and bound, and the sexual assault occurred during commission of a burglary.

The victim made an impact statement to the court after the defendant entered the plea, Kramer said.

The woman was assaulted after the defendant, also from Stevenson Ranch, broke into her home, authorities said. He was arrested by Sheriff’s deputies on Feb. 16 and has remained in custody.

December 14, 2012


Filed under: California Defense Attorney — Tags: , , — fayarfa @ 4:35 am

SANTA ANA - A man was sentenced today to 31 years to life in state prison for soliciting the murder of his ex-girlfriend and requesting the murder be videotaped so that he could watch it on Christmas. The defendant was in custody for forcibly raping the same victim and then attempting to murder her while out on bail for the rape. Mark Alan Jarosik, 46, formerly of Ladera Ranch, was found guilty by a jury Oct. 25, 2012, of two felony counts of forcible rape, one felony count each of solicitation to commit murder, and attempted murder with premeditation and deliberation, two misdemeanor counts of attempting to disobey a court order, two misdemeanor counts of violating a protective order, and sentencing enhancements for great bodily injury inflicted during domestic violence and crime-bail-crime. The enhancement for “crime-bail-crime” is when a defendant commits a felony while out of custody on bail for another felony.

Sexual Assault Case
On May 15, 2009, Jarosik went to the Ladera Ranch home of his ex-girlfriend, 41-year-old Jane Doe, with the permission of the victim to use her computer. The defendant and the victim had broken up approximately one month prior after living together and dating for several years. Jane Doe left for dinner with friends and returned at approximately 9:00 p.m. Jarosik got into a verbal argument with the victim, who thought the defendant was trying to spy on her by driving past the restaurant where she had been having dinner. Jarosik escalated the verbal argument into a physical attack and forcibly raped and attempted to sodomize the victim.

On May 16, 2009, Jane Doe told a friend about the rape and reported it to the Orange County Sheriff’s Department later that night. The Orange County District Attorney’s Office filed rape charges on May 18, 2009.

On May 19, 2009, Jarosik appeared in court for an arraignment. Bail was set for the defendant at $100,000, the pre-determined bail based on the charges. Jarosik did not enter a plea and a continued arraignment date was set for June 5, 2009, to allow for the Orange County Public Defender’s Office to assign an attorney to represent him.  A protective order was issued at that time requiring Jarosik to stay more than 200 yards from Jane Doe at all times and to have no contact with the victim directly or through a third party.


November 16, 2012

Man Charged with Sexually Assaulting Female Bus Rider

Filed under: Los Angeles sexual assault attorney — Tags: , — fayarfa @ 3:40 pm

LOS ANGELES — A 20-year-old man suspected of sexually assaulting a mentally disabled 18-year-old woman aboard a moving

Metro bus was charged today with rape and other charges, the District Attorney’s Office announced.

Kerry Trotter, (dob 8-23-92), is scheduled to be arraigned sometime this afternoon at Airport Superior Court, Department

144. He was charged in case SA082464 with one count each of forcible rape and rape of an incompetent person, and two counts

of sexual penetration by a foreign object. Prosecutors will ask bail be set at $285,000.

Trotter, who was arrested Friday by Los Angeles County Sheriff’s deputies, allegedly raped the female victim after they both

boarded the Metro bus at La Cienega and Jefferson boulevards. He currently is on probation for grand theft.

If convicted, he’s facing more 20 years in state prison.

August 29, 2012

Man Charged in 1977 Long Beach Rape and Murder

Filed under: California Defense Attorney — Tags: , , — fayarfa @ 5:28 pm

LONG BEACH – An Antioch man was charged today with the 34-year-old rape and murder of a young mother who was found dead in her home two days after Christmas with her 13-month-old child sitting beside the body.

Deputy District Attorney Jodi Castano filed the capital murder case against Martell Nathaniel Chubbs, who was arrested yesterday by Long Beach police. He appeared for arraignment this afternoon, but the proceeding was put over until Sept. 11 in Department J of Long Beach Superior Court.

Case No. NA 093179 charges Chubbs, 53 (dob 7-31-1959), with the Dec. 27, 1977, murder of 17-year-old Shelley H. Her last name was not listed in the complaint. The complaint alleged the special circumstances of rape and burglary. A decision on whether to seek the death penalty will be made as the case moves closer to trial.

Authorities said the coroner determined the victim died of asphyxia, but she also had superficial stab wounds. Her little girl, who was found beside her, was not wounded.

Chubbs was linked to the crime after Long Beach Police Detectives took another look at the old murder. Slides of bodily fluids taken by the coroner at the time of the autopsy were fed into CODIS, the Combined DNA Index System, which stores DNA information from federal, state and local crime laboratories.

The defendant is being held without bail.

August 17, 2012

San Monica Transient Charged in Two Cold Case Murders

Filed under: Los Angeles Criminal attorney — Tags: , , — fayarfa @ 4:35 pm

LOS ANGELES – Capital murder charges were filed by the District Attorney’s Office today against a 47-year-old Santa Monica transient accused of raping and fatally strangling two women in 2001 and 2002.

Edric Dashell Gross (dob 7-29-1965) is scheduled to appear for arraignment tomorrow at the Airport Branch of Los Angeles Superior Court. The department will be announced in the morning.

Gross was arrested by Santa Monica Police on Wednesday at Pan Pacific Park. He remains in custody without bail.

The defendant was charged in case No. SA 081636 with two counts of murder. The complaint also alleged the special circumstances of rape of both victims, residential burglary of one victim and multiple murder. The District Attorney’s Office will not decide whether to seek the death penalty until the case moves closer to trial.

Gross is charged with the April 5, 2001, murder of a victim identified in the complaint only as Jacqueline O. She was found dead in a Palisades Park home. She was strangled. The second victim, identified in the complaint only as Dana C., was found dead Oct. 29, 2002, below the bluffs in Palisades Park. She also had been strangled.

Santa Monica police investigators took a new look at the evidence, which included DNA, in putting together the case filed today.

June 26, 2012

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.

Killer 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 23, 2012


SANTA ANA - A man was sentenced today to 112 years to life in state prison for raping five women and sexually assaulting a sixth. Sekayi Rudo White, 34, Lake Forest, was found guilty by a jury Feb. 2, 2011, of 14 felony counts including attempted rape and forcible rape for Jane Doe #1, assault with the intent to commit rape, sexual battery by restraint, and criminal threats for Jane Doe #2, forcible rape and dissuading a witness by force for Jane Doe #3, first degree residential burglary of an inhabited dwelling and two counts of forcible rape for Jane Doe #4, forcible rape, criminal threats, and first degree residential burglary of an inhabited dwelling for Jane Doe #5, and forcible rape for Jane Doe #6.

The jury found true the sentencing enhancements and allegations for sexual crimes against multiple victims, rape with the use of a deadly weapon, rape in the commission of a burglary, non-accomplice present during a residential burglary, personal use of a deadly weapon, use of a deadly weapon during a sexual offense, being armed with a deadly weapon during a sexual offense, and a judge found true the enhancement for crime-bail-crime. The term crime-bail-crime indicates that the defendant committed a crime while out of custody on bail for another criminal case.

Jane Doe #1
On Aug. 13, 2006, White met 22-year-old Jane Doe #1 at a bar in Huntington Beach. He drove Jane Doe #1 to his home in Lake Forest and took her inside. The victim passed out and later woke up in the defendant’s bed with the defendant on top of her. He removed the victim’s pants and panties and unsuccessfully attempted to rape her. Sometime later, White forcibly raped Jane Doe #1. He then dropped her off at a convenience store, where her friend picked her up.

Jane Doe #2
On Dec. 23, 2005, White met 44-year-old Jane Doe #2 at a bar at the Irvine Spectrum. The defendant offered the victim a ride home. He drove Jane Doe #2 to her Newport Beach apartment and asked to go inside to use the restroom. White went into the restroom and then exited naked with his penis erect. He pinned the victim down and fondled her breasts as he attempted to remove her pants. White threatened to kill her if she told anyone about the attack. Jane Doe #2 screamed and the defendant grabbed his clothes and fled the scene.


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