Tuesday, February 20, 2018

District Attorney Investigator Chad Johnson Receives the Medal of Valor

Congratulations to District Attorney Investigator Chad Johnson who received the Medal of Valor today along with all of those honored for their actions during the December 2nd terrorist attack at the Inland Regional Center. Click below to view the video.

Friday, February 16, 2018

Hesperia man convicted of lewd act on a child

SAN BERNARDINO, Calif.  A Hesperia man was taken into custody Wednesday after being found guilty of forcibly molesting a relative when she was 13.
Orin Cade Breckenridge, 47, cried in court after the jury found him guilty of two counts of lewd act on a child by force or fear.
“I am grateful that the jury saw the truth about this defendant and that he is now in custody,” said Deputy District Attorney David Foy, who prosecuted the case.
According to Foy, who is a member of the Victorville Division’s Family Violence Unit, the victim, now an adult and living in another state, testified during the trial that Breckenridge (pictured above) had gotten drunk and forced her to commit a lewd act on him one night in 2008.
When she resisted, he slapped her in the face and repeated the forced molestation, she testified.
The victim didn’t disclose the incident until 2011, when she told her mother, who then reported it to San Bernardino County Sheriff’s deputies.
The jury also heard from another relative of Breckenridge, who said he fondled and performed oral sex on her in 1991, when she was 12 years old.
Breckenridge, who had been free on $500,000 bond, testified that he never committed either act. He faces up to 16 years in state prison when he is sentenced March 13.

Thursday, February 8, 2018

Convicted San Bernardino murderer sentenced to more than 205 years in prison


The morning after Christmas 2016, William Jackson was sitting on his porch, eating cereal and chatting with a neighbor.

The neighbor went inside for coffee and then, according to a San Bernardino County deputy district attorney, witnessed a person firing a shotgun at Jackson, who then lay dying in the street with his cereal on the ground.

Next the neighbor saw the distinctively tattooed shooter with trash bags in his car drive away from the 1900 block of East 19th Street neighborhood in San Bernardino.

That shooter, gang member Isaac Castillo, 29, of San Bernardino, was sentenced Monday, Feb. 5, to serve 205 years to life in state prison by Judge Harold T. Wilson Jr. in San Bernardino County Superior Court on Monday, Feb. 5, according to a district attorney’s news release.

No motive has ever been determined in the shooting, authorities said.

“The lack of a clear motive is the saddest part of this case,” Deputy District Attorney Jason Liso, who prosecuted the case, said in a release. “It makes no sense why this poor man would have been shot. This killing was utterly senseless.”
William Edward Jackson (Courtesy photo)
William Edward Jackson (Courtesy photo)
Jackson, 52, suffered from mental disabilities and had special needs.

Two days after the shooting, Castillo showed up at his girlfriend’s house in an “agitated state” with a shotgun and broke a window to gain entry to the home, holding his girlfriend and her cousin at gunpoint when police arrived, according to the news release.
The cousin escaped and was rescued by a sheriff’s deputy but the girlfriend remained inside until the standoff with a sheriff’s SWAT team ended more than eight hours later, authorities said at the time.

Investigators later determined that a sawed-off shotgun stolen from the girlfriend’s uncle on Christmas Day was used in the murder. Castillo had been driving a black four-door Honda Accord with large trash bags in the backseat, matching the vehicle description given by Jackson’s neighbor.

A San Bernardino County Superior Court jury convicted Castillo on Jan. 5 of murder, possession of a firearm by a felon, first degree burglary, two counts of criminal threats and two counts of false imprisonment.

The jury also found true multiple allegations of gun use, convictions that can be used to lengthen a prison sentence.

Click here to read the story.

Tuesday, February 6, 2018

Parole Board approves release of convicted killer Herman Monk

SAN BERNARDINO, Calif. -- On Jan. 23, the California Board of Parole Hearings granted parole to 68-year-old Herman Monk, who was convicted of killing his estranged wife in 1992. In 1993, he was sentenced to 26 years to life in prison.

“The parole board hearings are now an adversarial process in which our prosecutors have to go in and battle with the parole board members who are looking for ways to release the worst of the worst back into our community,” District Attorney Mike Ramos said. “I am sick and tired of the liberal agenda being placed on the backs of victims of crime, especially those who have lost a loved one to murder.”

Prior to the murder, Monk's estranged wife, Denise Monk, was living in Virginia with the couple's two-and-half-year-old child. Herman Monk lured her and the child back to California with the promise of reconciliation.

On the night Monk killed Denise, he took her to a restaurant where he plied her with 3-5 double strength cocktails. He then took her to a secluded mountain fire road to a turnout overlooking a steep cliff in Lytle Creek.

With their young child watching from the truck, Monk shoved Denise off the 3,500-foot cliff. The fall didn't kill her. During trial, the evidence showed that Monk descended the cliff to Denise's resting place and bashed her head in with a rock as she lay incapacitated.

The board's ruling doesn't automatically mean Herman Monk will be released. The board's recommendation goes to California Governor Jerry Brown, who has the power to deny his parole.

This was Monk's fourth attempt at parole. In May 2009, members of the District Attorney's Lifer Parole Hearing secured a 5-year denial. In Jan. 2014, the board issued a 3-year denial, based on the fact that Monk had received no self-help since 2009.

Two years later, the board issued another 3-year denial based on the fact that Monk had not taken enough domestic violence programming since the last hearing.

According to Deputy District Attorney Connie Lasky, who oversees the Lifer Parole Unit, the governor's office will be notified of the grant of parole, usually within 120 days.

"The governor then has thirty days to review the grant and affirm or reverse it," said Lasky.

In an effort to encourage the governor to reverse the board's decision, District Attorney Ramos released the following video:

“I urge the governor to reverse this parole decision,” District Attorney Ramos said. “I urge him to change the dynamics in the assessment tools so we make sure that murderers are never allowed to be released and harm others again.”

Ramos added that in January 2018, alone, the Parole Board granted parole to six murderers from San Bernardino County. Along with Herman Monk, the list includes:

ROBERT SEABOCK: In 1972, the inmate and his “revolutionary” codefendants attempted to break a fellow militant out of the California Institute for Men (CIM), resulting in the murder of a correctional officer. Seabock was sentenced to life in state prison in 1974 for the murder of 24-year-old Jesus Sanchez.

CHRISTOPHER ASAY: In 1987, the inmate robbed and murdered an armored car driver who was picking up money in his private vehicle. The inmate waited until the victim, Gerald Gauthier, left the store he managed and then followed, robbed and killed him. He was sentenced to life without the possibility of parole in 1989.

MARK BARROS: In 1990, after the inmate’s girlfriend tried to break up with him, he slashed her throat and stabbed her multiple times, killing her. Barros was sentenced to 16 years to life in 1991 for the murder of 16-year-old Stacey Gilliam.

FRANCISCO VILLASENOR: The inmate broke into the victim’s apartment, armed with a handgun, to steal back drug money that he had heard the victim had stolen from him. Villasenor shot and killed the victim during gunfight. He was sentenced to 29 years to life in 1993. Villasenor was 24 years and 8 months old when he committed the crime. He was given an advanced hearing under youthful offender parole. A person who was convicted of a controlling offense that was committed when the person was 25 years of age or younger and for which the sentence is a life term of less than 25 years to life shall be eligible for release on parole by the board during his or her 20th year of incarceration.

GILBERT COLON: In 1993, the inmate shot and killed 16-year-old Anthony Jones after he and a friend tried to break up a fight between the inmate and his wife. Colon was sentenced to 20 years to life in state prison.


Thursday, February 1, 2018

Hesperia man convicted of human trafficking

A Hesperia man was found guilty Tuesday of multiple counts related to pimping, assault and human trafficking of a minor.
A San Bernardino jury found 29-year-old Kristen Davis (pictured left) guilty of all counts: Human Trafficking to Commit Another Crime, Assault by Means of Force Likely to Produce Great Bodily Injury, Pandering by Procuring a Minor over Age 16, Pimping of a Minor 16 Years of Age or Older, Human Trafficking of a Minor for a Sex Act. The jury found true on multiple allegations.
The case centers around a series of events that occurred over a one-week span in Nov. 2016., when Davis, his two co-defendants, 26-year-old Ashley Wimbley of Hesperia and 23-year-old Desire Jenkins of Riverside, and an adult victim, met a 17-year-old girl.
According to Deputy District Attorney Tamara Ross, who prosecuted the case, Wimbley recruited the minor to join their “team” and promised to take care of her. Following a trip to Las Vegas, there was a falling out between the defendant and the adult victim over an alleged ten-thousand-dollar debt.
When the adult victim indicated she would not be able to pay the debt, Davis held up a bag of drugs to codefendant Jenkins and promised to give it to her if she beat up the adult victim. Jenkins began punching the victim with her fists, as Wimbley—who had a belt wrapped around her hand—swung the belt at her, repeatedly hitting her in the face with the belt buckle.
Two days later, following another dispute, Davis kicked the minor victim out of the car and left her at a Denny’s restaurant. The minor victim called the police and reported the beating of the adult victim.  
“With the minor’s assistance, they located all the suspects and the adult victim,” Ross said. “The adult victim had two black eyes, a swollen face, and slashing cuts on her face. She testified that she received a broken nose and a permanent scar on her face as a result of the beating. Sadly, the adult victim had tried a few times to escape from the defendant, but each time, he would track her down and threaten to kill her family and her children. He went as far as to text her a photo taken outside her child’s school, and say, ‘If I can shoot a camera, I can shoot a gun.’”
Davis faces 36 years and 8 months in state prison when he is sentenced March 5 at the San Bernardino Justice Center.
Jenkins was sentenced March 29, 2017 to 5 years in state prison. Wimbley is scheduled to begin trial March 12.

Wednesday, January 31, 2018

Man who drove his wife and dog into Big Bear Lake convicted

A man who drove his car with his wife and black Labrador into Big Bear Lake in 2012 has been convicted.
On Tuesday, a jury found 61-year-old Ronald Hitchcock (pictured left) of Big Bear City guilty of Second Degree Murder and Animal Cruelty.
On Sept. 15, 2012, the defendant drove the vehicle into Big Bear Lake. While Hitchcock got himself out of the vehicle, his wife, 53-year-old Deborah Crouch—who had been suffering from serious health issues rendering her unable to walk—and the black Labrador, named Onyx, never made it out. 
A neighbor near the scene of the crime heard the defendant banging on a chain link fence and immediately called the police. The neighbor overhead the defendant say, "She is not going to get out of this one."
According to Lead Deputy District Attorney Melissa Monrreal, who prosecuted the case, the autopsy revealed drowning as the cause of death to Deborah. Deborah Crouch (pictured right) had bruising all over her body consistent with physical violence as well as defensive wounds.
During trial Deputy District Attorney Monrreal presented dive video taken by a GoPro camera that showed the victim floating in the car and the dog pinned between a partially rolled down window with his head out and body still in the car.
Ronald Hitchcock is scheduled to be sentenced Feb. 28 at the San Bernardino Justice Center. He faces 15 years to life in prison.

Friday, January 26, 2018

In The News: Former Muscoy United Methodist Church pastor sentenced to 308 years for molesting boys

The former pastor of the Muscoy Unified Methodist Chuch in San Bernardino,  who was convicted in October of 32 of counts of sexual abuse, was sentenced to 308 years to life in prison Wednesday, Jan. 24, the San Bernardino County District Attorney’s office said.

Stephen James Howard, 58, of Fontana, was  convicted on 20 counts of lewd acts upon a child, six counts of oral copulation of a person under 16 years old and six counts of sodomy of a person under 18, a district attorney’s news release said.  He is currently being housed at the West Valley Detention Center in Rancho Cucamonga, jail records showed.

“Thanks to the hard work of our prosecutor and the Family Violence Unit support staff we were able to remove this child predator from our community and put him behind bars where he belongs for the rest of his life,” District Attorney Mike Ramos said in a statement.

Howard was arrested and charged in March 2014, according to court records. San Bernardino County Sheriff’s detectives investigated reports that Howard had molested boys at several locations, including San Bernardino, Rancho Cucamonga and Fontana, sheriff’s officials said.

The department’s Crimes Against Children assumed the case and found two victims, a 14-year-old boy and a 23-year-old man from Rancho Cucamonga, sheriff’s officials said. The older victim said he had been abused since he was 9 and it continued into adulthood, authorities noted.

Twelve of the counts took place between 1990 and 2000, according to court records. The most recent acts happened between 2011 and 2014. His convictions involved four boys.

“At the time of his arrest, the victims ranged in age from 14 to 36,”  Supervising Deputy District Attorney Bobby Mann, who prosecuted the case, said in a statement in the release.
“(Howard) was the pastor, mentor and father figure to all of these victims. Their bravery in coming forward and courage in testifying has ensured that this predator will not walk the streets again,” Mann said.

Link to Press Enterprise article

Link to District Attorney Press Release

Tuesday, January 23, 2018

Fontana man found guilty of possession of child pornography

A 30-year-old Fontana man was found guilty of one count of Possession of Child Pornography after a search warrant by the Glendora Police Department uncovered two videos of child pornography.

According to Deputy District Attorney Morrissa Cardoza, during trial, Eugene Miroskins—who represented himself—asked the detective to go back into his computer and look for additional information.

“When the detective conducted the search, he located more child pornography images in a sub folder called ‘cp and more’ which was in a folder called ‘porn, yay!’” said Cardoza.

Miroskins faces 3 years in state prison when he is sentenced next month. He will be required to register as a lifetime sex offender upon release from prison.

Rialto man sentenced in vehicular manslaughter

A Rialto man was sentenced Friday to 7 years in state prison for driving in a grossly negligent manner resulting in the death of 27-year-old Tan Phung in Oct. 2016.
Last month, Alex Reider, 27, (pictured left) pleaded guilty to one felony count of Gross Vehicular Manslaughter, one felony count of Hit-and-Run Causing Death, and one felony count of Insurance Fraud. The maximum penalty for Gross Vehicular Manslaughter under the California Penal Code is 6 years.
According to Deputy District Attorney Tom Colclough, who prosecuted the case, on Oct. 29, 2016, Tan Phung’s car became disabled on the 210 Freeway near Waterman Avenue in the city of San Bernardino. While inspecting his car, Mr. Phung was struck by another car driven by Reider who fled the scene without stopping to render aid. Mr. Phung died while being treated at Loma Linda University Medical Center. 
Reider made a report to the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department that his Infinity was stolen on Oct. 28, 2016 while he and the car were at Daniel Cordona’s home in Rancho Cucamonga. The California Highway Patrol later recovered the Infinity in an unincorporated area of San Bernardino.
“The defendant filed a theft claim with his insurance provider to repair front end damage to the Infinity that he claimed was caused during the theft,” Colclough said. “DNA testing of blood discovered on the Infinity revealed Alex Reider’s blood on the driver’s door and Mr. Phung’s blood on the front fender.”
Daniel Cordona, 27, of Rancho Cucamonga (pictured right), was convicted of perjury, insurance fraud, and being an accessory after the fact. In Oct. 2017, he was sentenced to three years of felony probation that included 270 days in county jail. 
The San Bernardino County District Attorney’s Automobile Insurance Fraud Unit and the California Highway Patrol jointly investigated this case. 

Monday, January 22, 2018

A Pomona gang member was sentenced Friday to 151 years to life in prison for his role in the killing of 20-year-old Nestor Miranda of Montclair.
In December, a Rancho Cucamonga jury found 29-year-old Oscar Lopez (pictured left) guilty of one count of Murder, one count of Attempted Murder, one felony count of Shooting at an Occupied Motor Vehicle, one count of Possession For Sale of a Controlled Substance, and one count of Possession of a Firearm by a Felon with Priors. The jury also found true multiple gun allegations as well as one Street Gang Terrorism allegation.
In December, a separate jury found 28-year-old Sergio Vidrio of Pomona, guilty of the same charges and allegations. Vidrio is scheduled to be sentenced March 9 at the Rancho Cucamonga Superior Court.
The charges stem from a 2014 incident in which both defendants pulled up alongside another vehicle and asked the occupants: “Where you guys from?” Vidrio and Lopez, who were both wearing dark-colored bandanas covering their mouths and black gloves, immediately started shooting—killing Miranda and missing the other occupant of the vehicle.
This case was prosecuted by DDA David Collins and the West Valley Gang Unit and investigated by the Montclair Police Department.