Tuesday, January 23, 2018

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.

Friday, January 19, 2018

Apple Valley man sentenced to life in child rape case

SAN BERNARDINO, Calif.  An Apple Valley man was sentenced to 25 years to life in prison after being found guilty last month of raping his 10-year-old niece.

Eric Damonne Green, 33, was found guilty Dec. 27, 2017, of one count of Sex with a Child Age 10 or Under and one count of Forcible Rape of a Child Under Age 14.

“This case brings justice to a child who suffered horrendously,” said San Bernardino County Deputy District Attorney David Foy, who prosecuted the case for the Desert-Mountain Division Family Violence Unit. “The victim’s mother told me she is so happy because she felt that nobody had believed her daughter.”

The child, then age 12, disclosed in 2013 that Green had raped her two years earlier, saying that Green entered her room late at night and sexually assaulted her. She testified that she had been afraid to disclose the rape because Green had threatened to harm her if she did.

During trial, the victim was accompanied to court by Victim Advocate Yesica Cioli and K9 Dozer.

Thursday, January 4, 2018

IN THE NEWS: Suspect charged with murder in San Bernardino deputy’s death ‘needs to spend the rest of his life in prison,’ DA says

PUBLISHED: January 3, 2018 at 11:31 am | UPDATED: January 4, 2018 at 12:50 am

Deputy Larry Falce, a man who loved animals so much that he rented an apartment for his cats, was not going to run over the dog that scampered in front of him as he drove along Kendall Avenue in San Bernardino late New Year’s Eve morning.

So Falce, 70, who had served his country first in the Army and then for 36 years with the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department, hit the brakes on his Chevrolet pickup.

Driving behind him was Alonzo Leron Smith, 30, a man described as a career criminal whose 12-year prison sentence in 2012 for being a felon in possession of a firearm and using it to benefit a street gang was later thrown out.

Smith could not stop his Ford Explorer in time, and he rear-ended Falce, who was off-duty at the time. The drivers pulled over and got out of their cars.

“I guarantee you my brother got out of the car apologizing,” Falce’s sister, Marjorie Falce-Jorgensen, said two days later.

But what is a common scene in Southern California – two drivers discussing a fender-bender – took a shocking turn when Smith punched Falce hard in the face, authorities said, citing witnesses and a surveillance video. Falce fell, hitting his head on the pavement and suffering a brain injury.

“We believe that he was knocked unconscious almost immediately and never did regain consciousness,” San Bernardino Police Chief Jarrod Burguan said Wednesday, Jan. 3, at a news conference where murder charges against Smith were announced and more details of the collision were revealed.

Falce was removed from life support a few minutes before 8 p.m. Tuesday, and he died shortly thereafter. An autopsy was being conducted.

Smith, meanwhile, fled after the confrontation but was arrested hours later at his girlfriend’s home thanks to witnesses who provided a description of Smith, his vehicle and his license plate, Burguan said.

Smith pleaded not guilty to murder Wednesday and denied sentencing enhancements that included committing a felony within five years of being released from prison. He has been assigned a public defender.

Because there is no evidence so far that Falce identified himself as a peace officer before the attack, Smith does not face a special circumstance filing that could send him to death row or put him in prison for life if convicted. Instead, he faces 25 years to life.

District Attorney Mike Ramos said his office is continuing its investigation.

“This person needs to spend the rest of his life in prison,” Ramos said at the news conference at the San Bernardino Police Department. “This isn’t over.”

Authorities declined to release a photo of Smith so that the memories of potential additional witnesses would not be tainted by seeing the mugshot.

Smith has been convicted of several other crimes including extortion, robbery, grand theft, carrying a loaded firearm and participation in a criminal street gang in San Bernardino County.

In 2012, Smith admitted in court to being a member of a gang in Colton after he was seen in a vehicle with others during a suspected drug transaction. Smith fled on foot and threw a gun as he ran. The vehicle sped off and was never located. Smith was convicted of charges including committing a crime to benefit a criminal street gang and was sentenced to 12 years in prison.

An appeals court, however, ruled that an element of the gang charge was that there had to be more than one gang member present. The prosecution was unable to prove that anyone in the vehicle was a gang member, so on Dec. 31, 2014, the conviction was tossed and a lower court was ordered to resentence Smith.

After Burguan and Ramos spoke, Sheriff John McMahon paid tribute to Falce, who patrolled out of the Central Station for 32 years in the city where he grew up and attended school at Aquinas High.

“Last night we lost a generous and caring man,” McMahon said.  “Larry should be remembered as an honorable man who dedicated his entire adult life to his country.”

Falce was still working at age 70, long after having maxed out on his pension.

“What it shows is that he has a passion for his career and a passion for taking care of the citizens. He was a mentor and a great partner to countless deputies,” McMahon said.

Click here to read full article.

Thursday, December 14, 2017

Victim Advocate Sonja Gonzales-Metelak

Congratulations to Victim Advocate Sonja Gonzales-Metelak for receiving the District Attorney's Office Standards of Excellence Award.

The Bureau of Victim Services would like to recognize Sonja for providing trauma informed services to the victims impacted by the Route 91 Harvest Festival mass shooting in Las Vegas, Nevada.

Working in conjunction with her co-workers that had been dispatched to Las Vegas, Sonja was the local point of contact and assisted the victims who came back home to California after the events of that traumatic day.

Her willingness to take on such an immense task demonstrates the heart, mind and spirt of an advocate. The San Bernardino County District Attorney’s Office is eternally grateful for your service.

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Project Fighting Chance

Great day! We were able to present a $1,000 check to Project Fighting Chance on behalf of our Bureau of Investigation team who received the money at the California Peace Officer CopsWest Charity BBQ! 

Tuesday, December 5, 2017

In The News: Three Redlands Unified schools compete in county Mock Trial semifinals

When the county’s Mock Trial competition continues, three Redlands Unified schools will be among those hoping to advance to the next round.

Redlands, Redlands East Valley and Citrus Valley join Rancho Cucamonga’s Los Osos High School in the semi-finals beginning at 5 p.m. Tuesday, Dec. 5, at the San Bernardino Justice Center, 247 W. Third St.

Redlands and REV are powerhouses in the competition, with RHS going for its 15th county title as the defending 2016-17 champion. REV, which last won the title in 2015-16, hopes to capture its eighth, while Los Osos and Citrus Valley are in the hunt for their first wins.

Kenneth Carpenter, Citrus Valley’s mock trial teacher/coach, said his team is excited to move forward in the competition and has “strong returners” and a “passion to win.”

“That’s what’s is really impressive,” he added. “They definitely want to win, and that’s the goal. We are definitely the underdogs … and that’s what motivates us to work harder.”

Semi-finals runs for two days and will conclude Wednesday, Dec. 5. The teams heading to the finals will be announced that evening. It is guaranteed a school from RUSD will make it to the next round, but to secure their spot, Citrus Valley will have to defeat Los Osos. Meanwhile, crosstown rivals RHS and REV will compete to see which team advances.

Finals will take place at 9 a.m. Saturday, Dec. 9 at the Foothill Law and Justice Center, 8303 Haven Ave., in Rancho Cucamonga.

The 36th annual San Bernardino County Mock Trial Competition simulates a criminal case, allowing students to act as principal courtroom characters representing both sides of the case before a real judge. This year’s case focuses on People v. Davidson, a murder case featuring a pre-trial argument on the Fourth Amendment, according to a news release.
The competition began Nov. 1 and is sponsored by the San Bernardino County Superintendent of Schools and the San Bernardino County District Attorney’s Office.

The county winner moves on to the state finals in March.

Click here to read the story online at The Redlands Daily Facts.

Friday, November 17, 2017

Animal Cruelty Conviction

A Fontana man who beat, tortured and poured hot water on his girlfriend’s blind pit bull was convicted of 2 counts of felony animal cruelty. He faces 7 years and 4 months in state prison. This case was prosecuted by Deputy District Attorney Debbie Ploghaus and the West Valley Division support staff.

Thursday, November 16, 2017

Storytime at the Library!

Story Time at the San Bernardino Public Library this morning was so much fun! Dozer and Lupe were even issued their own library cards.