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January 31, 2013

Three Alleged Gang Members Charged in Pasadena Robbery-Murder

Filed under: California Defense Attorney — Tags: , — fayarfa @ 8:26 pm

PASADENA – Capital murder charges were filed by the District Attorney’s office today in the Jan. 15 robbery-murder of a 21-year-old Pasadena man.

Deputy District Attorney Stefan Mrakich of the Hardcore Gang Division said the two defendants appeared for arraignment today, but the hearing was put over until Feb. 7 in Department N, Pasadena Superior Court. They are: Peter Parra, 35 (dob 4-5-1977), and Kevin Jessie Cabrera, 25 (dob 7-30-1987). A warrant was issued for the arrest of the third defendant.

All defendants were charged with the Jan. 15 murder of Zane Goldstein, who authorities said had driven to an apartment complex in Pasadena with his older brother. As they were driving away, police said, Zane Goldstein was shot to death.

Parra and the others were charged in case No. GA 088733 with one count of murder with the special circumstance of robbery murder with a street gang enhancement. Although filed as a capital case, a decision will not be made on whether to seek the death penalty until after the defendants are ordered to stand trial.

The defendants also were charged with one count of attempted second-degree robbery with the allegation that it was a gang crime. In addition, it was alleged that a principal fired the murder weapon, a shotgun.

The two defendants who appeared in court were arrested by Pasadena police this week.

January 15, 2013

Man Charged in Alleged Norwalk Gang Murder

Filed under: California Defense Attorney — Tags: , — fayarfa @ 7:47 pm

BELLFLOWER – An alleged gang member arrested yesterday after barricading himself in an Anaheim apartment was arraigned in Bellflower today on a murder charge stemming from a gang shooting in Norwalk Jan. 2, the District Attorney’s Office announced.

Deputy District Attorney Andrew Kim, who filed the murder case (VA 128209) against Andrew Ramos, 28, said the defendant appeared before Bellflower Superior Court Judge Leland H. Tipton, who set bail at the $2.1 million recommended by the prosecution. Ramos is due back in Tipton’s court (Department 3) on Jan. 24 for the scheduling of a preliminary hearing.

Ramos (dob 2-17-84), whose moniker is Kano, was arrested by authorities in Anaheim late yesterday after barricading himself in an apartment there. The felony complaint for arrest warrant was filed by Kim on Jan. 8, the day before Ramos was taken into custody.

He is charged with one count murder with the allegation that it was a street gang killing. The complaint also alleged a prior robbery conviction (VA 117809) in 2011.

Authorities said Jimmy DeLeon Hernandez, 31, was shot to death in the predawn hours of Jan. 2 in the 14000 block of Gard Avenue in Norwalk.

No victim was found at the scene, but Sheriff’s deputies checked hospitals and found Hernandez. He has been shot multiple times, authorities said, and was pronounced dead at the hospital.

December 6, 2012

THIRD STRIKER TO BE ARRAIGNED FOR CAUSING EXPLOSION THAT STARTED FIRE INSIDE HIS MOTEL ROOM

Filed under: California Defense Attorney — Tags: , , — fayarfa @ 1:02 am

SANTA ANA - A third striker will be arraigned today for causing an explosion that started a fire inside his motel room. Thanh Van Quang, 38, Fountain Valley, is charged with one felony count each of first degree residential burglary of an inhabited dwelling, arson of an inhabited property, and possession of a flammable material with sentencing enhancements for arson with use of an accelerant, and four prior strike convictions from 1998 for voluntary manslaughter, assault with a firearm, and two felony counts of robbery. If convicted, Quang faces a maximum sentence of 31 years to life in state prison. Quang is being held on $1 million bail and is scheduled to be arraigned today at 10:00 a.m. in Department CJ-1, Central Jail, Santa Ana.

At approximately 2:30 p.m. on Nov. 30, 2012, Quang is accused of starting an argument with the manager at Pueblo Motel in Santa Ana about Quang inviting guests into his own motel room. Approximately one hour after the argument, Quang is accused of walking to a nearby gas station, purchasing a gasoline canister, and filling it up with one gallon of gasoline before returning to the motel.

At approximately 4:00 p.m., Quang is accused of causing an explosion in his motel room which started a fire that damaged his room and neighboring rooms. Quang was captured on surveillance removing several items from his room prior to the explosion.

October 30, 2012

MAN SENTENCED TO LIFE WITHOUT PAROLE FOR ROBBERY-MURDER OF SUSPECTED DRUG DEALER ON SUPER BOWL SUNDAY

Filed under: California Defense Attorney — Tags: , , — fayarfa @ 5:29 pm

*Two co-defendants have been sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole

SANTA ANA - A man was sentenced today to life in state prison without the possibility of parole for the robbery-murder of a suspected Irvine drug dealer on Super Bowl Sunday. Bernard Smith, 48, Vista, San Diego, was found guilty by a jury July 6, 2012, of one felony count of special circumstances murder during the commission of a robbery and one felony count of second degree robbery.

This was a re-trial, as Smith was previously sentenced Jan. 16, 2009, to life in prison without the possibility of parole in this case. On June 28, 2011, the California Court of Appeals, Fourth Appellate District, Division Three, overturned the conviction based on their decision that the defendant should not have been jointly tried with his co-defendant, Stephen Bennett.

Bennett, 41, Vista, San Diego County, was convicted Oct. 2, 2008, of one felony count each of special circumstances murder during the commission of a robbery, second degree robbery, and the transportation of a controlled substance, and his two 1992 prior robbery strike convictions were found true. Bennett was sentenced Dec. 12, 2008, to life in state prison without the possibility of parole.

Co-defendant Brandon Turner, 26, Oceanside, was found guilty by a jury April 14, 2008, of one felony count each of special circumstances murder during the commission of a robbery, second degree robbery, and the transportation of a controlled substance, with a true finding on the sentencing enhancement for the personal discharge of a firearm causing death. Turner was sentenced Sept. 19, 2008, to life in state prison without the possibility of parole.

On Feb. 5, 2006, Smith, Bennett, and Turner devised a plan to steal money and drugs from a drug dealer. Bennett called suspected drug dealer Brian Gray to set up a meeting under the pretense of purchasing drugs. The defendants drove from Vista to the victim’s Irvine home with the intention of stealing drugs from Gray. Smith and Turner murdered the victim by shooting him several times. The defendants stole cocaine from the victim’s home and fled the scene.

September 27, 2012

Felon Pleads to Armed Robbery of USC Students

Filed under: Los Angeles Criminal attorney — Tags: , — fayarfa @ 3:17 am

LOS ANGELES – A Los Angeles man pleaded no contest today to robbing four USC students at gunpoint in April before he was shot in the leg by campus police while fleeing.

Jeremy Hendricks, 24, pleaded to two counts of second-degree robbery and one count of assault with a semiautomatic firearm and admitted the gun use allegation, said Deputy District Attorney Mario Haidar. He was sentenced by Judge Melissa Widdifield to 20 years in state prison.

Haidar said Hendricks approached two male and two female USC students walking along 28th Street on April 18, pulled a gun and demanded all their possessions. Three of the students threw items in his backpack while a fourth student hid behind a car.

When the suspect walked away, the students screamed for help and flagged down a USC campus security officer. Hendricks was shot once in the leg during the chase before he was arrested.

At the time of his arrest in April, Hendricks was on probation for possession of a deadly weapon. In exchange for his plea, the remaining charges, including attempted robbery, assault with a firearm, possession of a firearm by a felon and carrying a loaded firearm with prior convictions were dismissed.

August 14, 2012

Man Sentenced to Life Without Parole for Harbor Robbery-Murder

Filed under: California Defense Attorney — Tags: , — fayarfa @ 1:27 pm

LONG BEACH – A Whittier man was sentenced today to life in prison without the possibility of parole for the 2009 robbery-murder of a San Pedro woman who was found shot to death near her home.

Deputy District Attorney Julian Recana said the sentence was imposed on Michael Lee Bonfiglio, 35, by Long Beach Superior Court Judge Mark C. Kim. Kim, who presided over Bonfiglio’s trial earlier this year, scheduled a restitution hearing for Sept. 25. Two codefendants, including the alleged shooter, are scheduled to appear in Kim’s court in October for a pretrial hearing.

A jury on March 22 convicted Bonfiglio of one count of first-degree murder with the special circumstance allegation of robbery murder. He also was convicted of one count each of conspiracy to commit robbery and second-degree robbery. Jurors found true a principal armed allegation to all counts.

Although filed as a capital case in 2009, the District Attorney’s Office opted not to seek the death penalty against Bonfiglio and his codefendants, Raul Tiscareno, 29, and Daniel Keith Martinez, 37, both also from Whittier.

Authorities said Ginie Samayoa, 27, was shot once in the back of her head. She was found slumped in the driver’s seat of her car, which was left in an alley about two blocks from her Los Angeles Harbor area home on Jan. 30, 2009. She was barely alive when found and died the next day.

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July 9, 2012

FUGITIVE CHARGED WITH 4TH OF JULY ROBBERY AND STABBING-MURDER OF 67-YEAR-OLD MAN

Filed under: California Defense Attorney — Tags: , — fayarfa @ 6:44 pm

SANTA ANA - A fugitive wanted for murder in Santa Cruz County has been charged with the stabbing murder of a 67-year-old man following a robbery on the 4th of July. Felipe Jesus Delgado, 21, Anaheim, is charged with one felony count of special circumstances murder for financial gain and in the commission of a robbery, and one felony count of robbery. If convicted, the defendant faces a minimum sentence of life in state prison without the possibility of parole and is eligible for the death penalty. Delgado is being held without bail and is expected to be arraigned today, Friday, July 6, 2012, in Department CJ-1, Central Jail, Santa Ana. The time is to be determined.

The defendant has a homicide warrant for his arrest in Santa Cruz County.

On the night of July 4, 2012, Delgado is accused of approaching 67-year-old Daniel Rowlett outside of a business on Olive Street in Anaheim. The defendant is accused of robbing the victim of his wallet and then stabbing him over a dozen times in the legs and chest before fleeing the scene on foot.

At approximately 10:45 p.m., the Anaheim Police Department (APD), who investigated this case, responded to the scene after receiving a call regarding a possible traffic accident. Rowlett was found by officers bleeding in the driver’s seat of his truck and was transported to the hospital, where he was pronounced dead.

Delgado is accused of leaving a trail of blood from the crime scene to his home on Julianna Street in Anaheim, which APD officers followed to locate the defendant. When contacted at the home by officers, Delgado is accused of wearing bloody socks, having bloody clothes on the bedroom floor, and having a fresh cut on his hand. The defendant is accused of being in possession of the murder weapon, a folding knife, which was hidden under his bed.

June 15, 2012

Man Charged with Vitamin Store Worker’s Murder

Filed under: Los Angeles Criminal attorney — Tags: , — fayarfa @ 5:46 pm

LOS ANGELES – An ex-convict was charged today with capital murder in the March 15 death of a woman whose body was discovered inside a Huntington Park vitamin store, the District Attorney’s Office announced.

Arturo Bejarano Jr., 50 (dob 7-29-61), is suspected of killing Veronica Urtado Reyes during a robbery at the Global Nature store in the 2700 block of East Florence Avenue, said Deputy District Attorney Greg Cernok. The body of Reyes, who worked at the Huntington Park store, was found bound and gag inside the store.

Bejarano was charged in case VA125250 with one count of murder with the special circumstance of murder during a robbery. The complaint alleges he has prior burglary convictions in El Paso, Texas.

He is scheduled to be arraigned after 1:30 p.m. at the Metropolitan Superior Court, 1945 S. Hill St., Department 69.

Bejarano, who was arrested Monday by Huntington Park police, is being held without bail. Prosecutors will decide later whether to seek the death penalty.

May 18, 2012

Man Convicted in 1994 Cold Case Murder

Filed under: California Defense Attorney — Tags: , , — fayarfa @ 4:45 pm

VAN NUYS – A gang member linked through DNA to the 1994 cold-case murder of a Studio City man and the attempted murder of the man’s wife was convicted late yesterday, the District Attorney’s Office announced.

Deputy District Daniel Akemon of the Hardcore Gang Division said jurors deliberated for two days before convicting Kevin Bernard Smith Jr., 36, of the first-degree murder of Rupert “Rudy” Thompson, 73, with the special circumstance allegations that the murder was committed during the course of a burglary and robbery.

Jurors also convicted Smith of the willful, deliberate and premeditated attempted murder of Thompson’s wife, then 69, and found true an allegation of great bodily injury. The jury additionally found true, as to both victims, gun use allegations.

Judge Joseph Brandolino, who presided over the nine-day trial, said Smith is expected to be sentenced on June 27 in Department F of Van Nuys Superior Court. Smith faces life in prison without the possibility of parole for the murder, plus one life term for the attempted murder.

On Jan. 26, 1994, Smith, armed with a .380 caliber handgun, broke into the Thompson’s home at 1 a.m. During the burglary, Smith entered the victims’ bedroom and shot the wife in the chest. He then went on to shoot the husband in the chest and strike him more than a dozen times over the head with the gun.

Smith, a Rolling 20s gang member whose moniker is “Jazzy,” ransacked the home and fled with a typewriter and jewelry.

Rudy Thompson crawled out of the house to summon help for his wife before he died on the front lawn of their home. His wife, now 87, survived the attack.

The case remained unsolved until 2010 when DNA – recovered from two blood stains left at the crime scene – was matched to Smith through CODIS, the state DNA database. At the time of the “cold hit,” Smith was serving a prison sentence in Mississippi on an unrelated drug sales charge.

May 15, 2012

MAN DUBBED “SNOWBOARDER BANDIT” CHARGED WITH COMMITTING ROBBERIES IN 10 ORANGE COUNTY BANKS

Filed under: California Defense Attorney — Tags: — fayarfa @ 8:23 am

SANTA ANA - A man dubbed the “Snowboarder Bandit” was charged today with committing robberies in 10 Orange County banks. Michael Brandon Franks, 29, Riverside County, is charged with 10 felony counts of second degree robbery and two felony counts of attempted robbery. If convicted, he faces a maximum sentence of 15 years in state prison. He is being held on $250,000 bail and is scheduled for a continued arraignment hearing on May 18, 2012 at 10:00 a.m., Central Jail, Santa Ana.

Between Dec. 20, 2011, and March 21, 2012, Franks is accused of committing 10 robberies at nine different banks in Orange County. The bank chains included Bank of America in Anaheim, Chase Bank in Laguna Hills and Laguna Niguel, Citibank in Irvine, two robberies at the Schools First Federal Credit Union branch in Anaheim, Union Bank in Newport Beach, US Bank in Irvine and Ladera Ranch, and Wells Fargo in Irvine.

Franks is accused of attempting to rob a bank teller at the Citibank branch in Irvine and the US Bank branch in Irvine where he is accused of committing robberies before.

In each of the cases, the defendant is accused of carrying out similar acts: entering the bank wearing distinctive headgear which included a beanie, approaching a teller, and slipping the teller a note stating he had a gun and demanding money. The defendant is accused of causing the tellers to give the money to him out of fear. The defendant is accused of taking the money and walking out of the bank. From the 10 robberies, Franks is accused of taking a total of approximately $30,000.

The case was investigated by multiple agencies including Anaheim Police Department, Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Irvine Police Department (IPD), Newport Beach Police Department, Orange County Sheriff’s Department, and Riverside County Sheriff’s Department.

On Friday, May 4, 2012, IPD arrested Franks at his home in Riverside County.

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