Monday, May 20, 2019

Hardcore Gang Unit Guilty Verdict

A jury returned a quick guilty verdict in a murder that was solved by the No Boundaries task force. The No Boundaries task force, comprised of Sheriff, San Bernardino PD, ATF, Probation and the FBI, focused on the most violent elements of the California Garden Crips in an effort to stem high murder rates in 2016 in San Bernardino.  The defendant, Dayvion Jones,  was an enforcer for the California Garden Crips. 
The victim, Shonta Edwards, was outside a known blood territory smoking a cigarette, wearing red shorts, when the defendant and a codefendant approached him and asked him for a cigarette. The defendant, Dayvion Jones, believed the victim was a rival gang member.  After giving him a cigarette, Dayvion Jones pulled out a .45 caliber handgun and shot Edwards to death, leaving fired casings all over the crime scene.  Soon after, the Task Force intercepted a phone call where the defendant was heard talking about having a .45 caliber gun.  The defendant was stopped that day by SBPD and the gun was found under his seat.  The defendant admitted the gun was his, a .45 1911 style automatic. Ballistics linked the fired rounds to this gun.  Recovered Snap Chat video also showed the defendant with the gun immediately before the traffic stop.  Social media posts, eyewitnesses, an informant and intercepted calls all proved that the defendant killed the victim.
The jury returned verdicts of guilt on first degree murder, gun allegations and the gang enhancement. The defendant is looking at 50 years to life. The case was prosecuted by the Central Division’s Hardcore Gang Unit, DDA Lloyd Masson.  

Tuesday, April 30, 2019

Take Your Child To Work Day

National Take Our Daughters and Sons to Work Day is recognized on the fourth Thursday in April each year.  this annual event is an educational program in the United States and Canada where parents take their children to work with them for one day.  It is the successor to Take Our Daughters to Work Day which, in 2003, was expanded to include boys.  Most companies allowed both girls and boys to participate since the beginning.  The day was renamed "Take Your Child to Work Day." 
This year, our Central Division hosted 30 boys and girls who participated in several activities throughout the day.  We started the day off with a presentation from the Bureau of Information Technology team about the parts of a computer tower.  The kids listened intently while munching on donuts and had a quiz afterward. 
Next, everyone gathered outside for a demonstration by the San Bernardino County Sheriff's Department bomb dog, "Wolf", and his handler, Detective Brad Phillips.  Detective Phillips hid a metal device containing all of the ingredients for a live bomb, with the exception of the igniting mechanism.  Wolf sniffed out the device, sat down, and was given a "treat" of a red ball. 
The kids then saw an undercover police car. Senior Investigator Amanda Holloway turned on the lights and sounded the siren for the kids while Veronica Parham opened the trunk and explained the necessity of the safety equipment.  The kids also got to see a Mini-14 rifle. 

The day continued with a trip to the San Bernardino Justice Center.  The kids observed a preliminary hearing and toured a courtroom and its holding cells.  The group returned back to the media room where Supervising Investigator John Vega gave a presentation on the collection of crime scene evidence.  The kids asked a lot of great questions and really enjoyed looking at the "mock crime scene."  Supervising Investigator Christine Murillo gave a lesson on how to roll fingerprints and fingerprinted each of the kids. 
By this time the kids had all worked up a hunger and were able to spend the lunch hour with their parents.  
After lunch, the children met with District Attorney Jason Anderson.  He explained the many functions of the Court and District Attorney's Office.   The children once again asked many great questions, including what the DA's favorite color is.  In case you are wondering, it is dark blue or black. 
Finally, Senior Investigator Mark Anderson gave a very informative and fun presentation on the dangers of social media and cell phones.  The kids were sent back with their parents along with a goodie bag and cupcake to finish out the day with them. 
Thank you to all the parents for sharing your children with us.  A great big thank you to BIT, B of I, SBSD and Court personnel who assisted with demonstrations.  A special thank you to Tera Sorensen, Kimberly Fuller, Melissa Murray, Denise Yoakum, Malina Medina and Jessica Planas for chaperoning the event.  It was a fun filled day for everyone.  The children learned a lot and have many memories they won't soon forget.  

Friday, April 19, 2019

National Crime Victims' Rights Week

Every year in April, the office for Victims of Crime leads communities across the country in observance of National Crime Victims' Rights Week.  The theme for 2019, "Honoring Our Past. Creating Hope For the Future." celebrates the progress made by those before us as we look to a future of crime victim services that is even more inclusive, accessible and trauma-informed. 

During National Crime Victims' Rights Week, the District Attorney's Office hosted a memorial at the Government Center to honor those family members who have lost a loved one as well as the surviving victims of crime and those that advocate on behalf of crime victims. 

This year, the San Bernardino County Board of Supervisors unanimously consented to and adopted a proclamation regarding National Crime Victims’ Rights Week. Below is an excerpt:
NOW, THEREFORE, We, the San Bernardino County Board of Supervisors, do hereby proclaim the week of April 7-13, 2019, as Crime Victims’ Rights Week
AND REAFFIRM this San Bernardino County District Attorney’s Office commitment to creating a victim service and criminal justice response that assists all victims of crime during Crime Victims’ Rights Week and throughout the year; and to express our sincere gratitude and appreciation for those community members, victim service providers, and criminal justice professionals who are committed to improving our response to all victims of crime so that they may find relevant assistance, support, justice, and peace.



Thursday, April 11, 2019

2019 Baker to Vegas Challenge Cup Relay

On March 23, 2019, several members of our office participated in the annual Baker to Vegas Challenge Cup Relay race. The Baker to Vegas run is where police organizations from all over the world form relay teams to run 120 miles in 20 stages from Baker, California to Las Vegas, Nevada for the chance of winning the coveted cup trophy.
The relay was started by two Los Angeles police officers, Chuck Foote and Larry Moore, 30 years ago. 284 law enforcement teams participated in the event this year.

This race begins in Baker and goes through  Pahrump via Highway 372 and then follows Highway 160 into Las Vegas. This year, the race ended inside the Westgate hotel in Las Vegas.

The teams are made up entirely of law enforcement personnel and each team consists of 20 runners. The distance and difficulty for each team member varies. Some are selected to run 3-4 mile legs, on a flat surface, while others will run 8 to 10-mile legs, uphill or downhill.
The San Bernardino County District Attorney’s office was team #278. Participation in the relay is on a volunteer basis. Many volunteers are needed for a variety of functions to ensure the event is a successful one.  Runners are needed as well as observers, driving a follow vehicle and assisting in the hospitality suite at the hotel. 

A huge thank you to Supervising Investigator Eric Von Miller and Senior Investigator Ray Briones who were the team Captains. They were instrumental in the organization and our participation in Baker to Vegas. Thank you to all the runners, drivers, observers and folks who worked in the hospitality suite who volunteered their time and helped pull off a successful event.
For those of you interested, next year’s Baker to Vegas will be April 4th and 5th, 2020, at the Rio All-Suites Hotel and Casino. Mark your calendars!


Wednesday, March 27, 2019

DA Anderson Response to Governor Newsom's Moratorium

In 1776, Founding Father Thomas Paine wrote of the supremacy of law over the whims of individuals in a free society.  We have come to think of the rule of law as the utmost of guiding principles in shaping a just government for all.  That rule of law, and the balance it creates through our three branches of government, gives the people the final voice of authority in determining the laws by which we all must live. 
Article II, Section I, of the California Constitution states, "All political power is inherent in the people.  Government is instituted for their protection, security, and benefit, and they have the right to alter or reform it when the public good may require."  Article V, Section I states, "The supreme executive power of this State is vested in the Governor.  The Governor shall see that the law is faithfully executed." 
There have been at least four times in the recent history of California when the people of California could have voted to abolish the death penalty through the initiative process.  They did not.  Proposition 17 and Proposition 66, each passed by the people, authorized the death penalty in California.  Propositions 34 and 62, both attempts to abolish the death penalty, were defeated.  Additionally, three California Supreme Court justices were removed by the people of California because of the justices' categorical opposition to the rule of law in California as it related to the death penalty.
The San Bernardino County District Attorney's Office opposes Governor Gavin Newsom's announced moratorium on California's death penalty.  We are certain that the governor is fundamentally and fervently opposed to the death penalty.  That is his right.  Despite his personal beliefs, Governor Newsom has a duty to uphold the law, including California's death penalty statutes which voters have upheld since at least 1978.  
The problem with the moratorium is that the people in California have made a reasonable and analytical case in favor of the death penalty and the death penalty is the law in California.  The rule of law gives the people notice, consistency, and reliance upon that which we can and cannot do in society.  The rule of law provides expectations, due process and finality when it comes to our justice system.  
The people who rely upon the rule of law includes the families and loved ones of murder victims.  They have relied upon a death sentence imposed by jurors in a criminal case.  To them, the rule of law becomes meaningless when a unilateral decision by the governor removes that which the families have relied upon for decades for closure and some measure of justice.  
We are certain that the families of Christopher Hughes, and Douglas, Peggy and Jessica Ryen, which includes surviving victim Josh Ryen, who survived the massacre, all murdered by death row inmate Kevin Cooper, fundamentally and fervently believe in the death penalty.  It remains the one precept to which they can still point in the belief that, as it remains the law repeatedly upheld by the people of California, a just outcome might be reached after decades of due process.  They and countless other victims' family members have waited for decades through the extensive review process these cases receive from the State and Federal Courts.  Unfortunately, the Hughes and Ryen families' faith in the law, as well as the faith of the numerous families victimized by the 734 other killers on death row, is only eroded when they find out about the moratorium from a radio news station and not from the Governor's Office.  
The governor's fiat on the death penalty does not respect the initiative decisions of the people of California or the rule of law.  We all, prosecutors, victims, law enforcement, defense attorneys and defendants, rely upon that rule of law to give notice, meaning and justice to our society.  That is why our office opposes the moratorium.               

Governor Gavin Newsom Orders a Halt to the Death Penalty in California

Kelly M. Grow / California Department of Water Resources

Executive order declares a moratorium on executions of California’s 737 inmates on death row
 Governor Newsom also orders a withdrawal of California’s lethal injection protocol and calls for the immediate closure of the execution chamber at San Quentin State Prison
 The order does not provide for the release of any individual from prison or otherwise alter any current conviction or sentence
SACRAMENTO –- Governor Gavin Newsom signed an executive order today placing a moratorium on the death penalty in California. The executive order also calls for withdrawing California’s lethal injection protocols and immediately closing the execution chamber at San Quentin State Prison. The order does not provide for the release of any individual from prison or otherwise alter any current conviction or sentence.
“The intentional killing of another person is wrong and as Governor, I will not oversee the execution of any individual,” said Governor Newsom. “Our death penalty system has been, by all measures, a failure. It has discriminated against defendants who are mentally ill, black and brown, or can’t afford expensive legal representation. It has provided no public safety benefit or value as a deterrent. It has wasted billions of taxpayer dollars. Most of all, the death penalty is absolute. It’s irreversible and irreparable in the event of human error.”
There are 737 people currently on death row in California. California has the largest death row population in the Western Hemisphere — one in four people on death row in the United States are in California.
The death penalty is unevenly and unfairly applied to people of color, people with mental disabilities, and people who cannot afford costly legal representation. More than six in ten people on California’s death row are people of color. A 2005 study found that those convicted of killing whites were more than three times as likely to be sentenced to death as those convicted of killing blacks and more than four times as likely as those convicted of killing Latinos. At least 18 of the 25 people executed in the U.S. in 2018 had one or more of the following impairments: significant evidence of mental illness; evidence of brain injury, developmental brain damage, or an IQ in the intellectually disabled range; chronic serious childhood trauma, neglect, and/or abuse.
Innocent people have been sentenced to death in California. Since 1973, 164 condemned prisoners nationwide, including five in California, have been freed from death row after they were found to have been wrongfully convicted. No person has been executed since 2006 because California’s execution protocols have not been lawful. Yet today, 25 California death row inmates have exhausted all of their state and federal appeals and could be eligible for an execution date.
Since 1978, California has spent $5 billion on a death penalty system that has executed 13 people. Three states — Oregon, Colorado and Pennsylvania — have Governor-imposed moratoria on the death penalty and in 2018, the Washington State Supreme Court struck down the death penalty as unconstitutional and “racially biased.”

Friday, November 16, 2018

SBCPAA Veterans Donations Drive

Veteran’s Day is an especially important time for us all to remember and appreciate the sacrifices and contributions those who serve our country have made to preserve our way of life.

The San Bernardino County Public Attorneys Association is proud to each year host a countywide event to collect items for the Vietnam Veterans of America and the California Disabled American Veterans.

Deputy District Attorneys, District Attorney Investigators, Public Defenders, Child Support Attorneys and Support Staff all contributed goods and time to make for a very successful donation!

According to SBCPAA President Douglas Poston, this year’s collection drive which is coordinated by SBCPAA member Grace Parsons was particularly generous.

“It’s overwhelming to see such an outpouring for Veterans,” said Poston. “All of us should be proud of our fine women and men who work hard every day to see justice done have gone above and beyond to fully support this worthy charitable cause.”  


Friday, October 19, 2018

(Investigative Tech Michelle Faxon was recently featured in an article on the City of Hope website)

October 11, 2018
by Maxine Nunes

As an investigative tech with the San Bernardino District Attorney Child Abduction Unit, Michelle Faxon and her colleagues track down between 30 and 50 children a month who have been illegally taken by a parent.

Faxon is also a two-time
breast cancer survivor, and during that journey she discovered she was not alone among her co-workers.
“There are so many people in our office who have either gone through breast cancer or had somebody very close to them go through it,” she said.

It’s one of the reasons there are now two versions of their Bureau of Investigation insignia. There’s the standard one — and then there’s the
Pink Patch Project design, created by her supervisor, Carlos Flores, with two embroidered pink ribbons on either side of the scales of justice.

Participants in the Pink Patch Project — law enforcement personnel, fire departments, ambulance services and many other public safety agencies across the country — raise funds to support breast cancer research.
Sales of pink patches from these agencies go to fund research at City of Hope.

“Our patches sell like hotcakes,” she said. “And people contact us from all over the United States wanting to add our Pink Patch to their collection.”

Faxon is often the one people seek out for advice about breast cancer, and one of the things she recommends is
genetic testing.

Michelle Faxon with husband Frank She herself has been tested twice at City of Hope — the second time because the technology had advanced — and both results showed that she is not genetically predisposed to the disease. So we asked her why she still thought testing was important.
“Genetic testing gave me peace of mind,” she said, “and not just for me, but for my siblings.”

She also explained that for those who have inherited a cancer gene, test results can also make a significant difference.

“People can act on this genetic awareness by taking better care of themselves, eating healthier, exercising more. You can do some research and learn what your options are,” she said. “Don’t stick your head in the sand.”

Click here to read the full story.

Monday, October 15, 2018

Congratulations to our Bureau of Investigation BBQ Team who won The Third Annual Blues Brews Badges & BBQ Competition this past weekend. Proceeds help support the San Bernardino Police Foundation.

Our team won First Place in the Ribs Category, First Place in the Tri-Tip Category and Best in Show. You might recall our team won last year as well--so the traveling trophy won’t have to go very far this year.




Friday, August 24, 2018

Man convicted of double murder at mobile home park sentenced to life without the possibility of parole

SAN BERNARDINO, Calif.  – The man convicted of shooting Phillip Connors and David Morales at a Chino mobile home park in 2017 was sentenced Thursday to two consecutive life sentences in state prison without the possibility of parole.

On July 25, a jury convicted 55-year-old Joe Montgomery of Chino of the first-degree murders of 69-year-old Philip Connors of Newport Beach and 54-year-old David Morales of Chino.
Prior to yesterday’s pronouncement of judgment, family members read victim impact statements. Phillip Connors’ wife, Patricia, said the following (excerpt):

The anticipation of the trial made us all physically and emotionally sick and hearing the horrible details during the trial was brutal and more than we could tolerate. Who could imagine the horror Dave and Phil felt when they realized that under no circumstances was the defendant going to let them live? And what was going through Phil's mind when he was running for his life but knew in the end that he was going to be assassinated? And the defendant can only say that he was having an emotional outburst? Really? […] We feel the defendant should never be allowed to rejoin society as it has been proven that he is a cold-hearted and calculating murderer. The defendant chose his actions and his fate while sadly Phil and Dave had no control over theirs.
According to Deputy District Attorney Angela Gerovac, who prosecuted the case, the defendant was a longtime resident of the Four Seasons Mobile Home Park who had several previous confrontations with the park manager, David Morales, regarding violations of park rules.

Mr. Morales and the owner of the property, Phil Connors, planned to serve the defendant with an “Eight Day Demand for Compliance” regarding rules violations.

When the defendant returned to the park in the late morning of Jan. 28, 2017, he saw Mr. Morales and Mr. Connors standing at the back of the property. He drove his truck past the men and then went back to his trailer—at which time it is believed he retrieved a handgun. Montgomery then drove his vehicle back to where the victims were standing. This interaction is captured on multiple video surveillance cameras in the park.

According to Deputy DA Gerovac, the defendant parked his truck in a manner that blocked the victims in with his vehicle and then got out to speak with them. At that point, Mr. Morales attempted to serve the defendant with the Demand, but a brief verbal altercation ensued. Montgomery calmly walked back to his truck and retrieved a handgun from the front seat.
Once he emerged from his vehicle, Montgomery shot and killed both victims. He then fled the scene in his truck but was apprehended a short time later by Ontario Police Officers.

David Morales’ daughter, Anita, read the following prior to sentencing (excerpt): 
My father David Morales took his last breath as he was gripping with pain from the first shot to his abdomen and the last thing he saw was his killer running toward him and aiming to his head. That day was the day my heart shattered, and it has been in pieces since [….] Although this sentencing will not bring my father back, I hope it will prevent the defendant from killing again.

Phillip Connors’ son, Ryan, said the following (excerpt):

There’s no wrong or right way to die, but not getting a chance to say goodbye and tell someone how much they were appreciated makes this that much more difficult. My father will miss many holidays, birthdays, weddings, first days of school and other special events. While the person who did this will continue to live. The sleepless nights, horrible images and wondering what the next 20-30 years could have been will continue to haunt me and my family. I hope that the defendant experiences the same level of discomfort, anxiety and stress that we will continue to endure. Even then, this will still be a horrific and unfair situation no family should have to experience in their lifetime.
The case was investigated by a team of officers and detectives from the Chino Police Department, led by Detective Michael Johnson, as well as experts from the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department.