Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Protecting the Environment

Great work by DDA Rick Lal and Investigator Steve Rivera who secured a conviction of Dennis O’Meara for the Unlawful Storage of Hazardous Waste.

Family of Glendora teen killed in 1976 confront killer before life sentence

Larry James Allred, center, is joined by Public Defender Yarrow Neubert, right, as he receives a life sentence in the 40-year-old murder of Cynthia May Hernandez on Monday, October 17, 2016 at the San Bernardino County Justice Center in San Bernardino, Ca. (Micah Escamilla/The Sun, SCNG)
SAN BERNARDINO >> Seeing the man who kidnapped and killed her daughter in 1976 sentenced to life in prison, Gloria Densham on Monday said she felt her family finally received the justice they deserved.

Larry James Allred, 62, was sentenced Monday for the first-degree murder of Glendora resident Cynthia May Hernandez, who disappeared Aug. 26, 1976, when she went to catch a showing of “The Omen” at a Covina theater.

Densham brought a picture of her daughter and spoke at the sentencing.

“I really don’t have the words to tell you what the last 40 years have been like,” Densham told the court. “I have missed her every day of the time she’s been gone and I’ll keep missing her until I die.”

She said Cindy loved God and her family unconditionally and her family loved her right back.

“Her life was taken violently and senselessly,” Densham said. “No mother should have to bury her daughter after only 18 years of life, it’s against the laws of nature and man.”

Hernandez’s aunt, Gwendolyn Cameron, in a letter read by the prosecutor to the court called Allred a monster, and prayed he will never be able to walk the streets again.

When Allred finally spoke, he apologized to the victim’s family.

“I’m sorry,” said the former Hacienda Heights and Walnut resident. He agreed with the victims that he was a monster at the time of Hernandez’s murder.

Allred, who pleaded guilty last month to the murder, wished someone had committed him earlier to a mental facility. He said Monday he pleaded guilty against his counsel’s advice because he wanted to bring the case “to a speedy conclusion.”

Allred said he’s ailing and doubted he would live long. He has had two heart attacks; he pondered why someone like him would be brought back after the second.

“I think this is why,” Allred said. “To bring closure.”

Under 1976 laws, Allred is eligible for parole after seven years. San Bernardino County Superior Court Judge Richard Peel said he felt shame knowing that Allred will be up for parole after such a short time, despite the life sentence.

Densham said she’ll “be here in seven years” for Allred’s parole hearing.

Hernandez’s remains will be turned over to her family for burial. She said she didn’t believe Allred’s apology, and admitted she hates him.

“There’s no forgiveness there,” she said. “I tried.”

On Aug. 26, 1976, Hernandez went to see “The Omen” by herself at the Fox Twin Theaters in Covina.

Her family members searched the theater after she didn’t come home. That’s where they found her 1963 Chervolet station wagon backed into a parking spot, with Hernandez nowhere to be seen.

No one knew at the time that she crossed paths with Allred, who had already been convicted in 1975 of raping a woman in San Bernardino County. Three years later, he was found guilty of kidnapping and raping two teenage girls.

Allred admitted he committed three more rapes for which he was never caught, and told detectives he liked to hunt his victims. Detective Patty Ruiz of the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Homicide Detail said those victims have not been found.

“‘The hunt’ was the more gratifying part of the act,” Ruiz said. “Our county is where he would take them.”

In 1976, Allred lived in Hacienda Heights and owned an auto detailing shop in West Covina, according to Deputy District Attorney Denise Yoakum. He didn’t know Hernandez.

“He pulled up next to her in the (theater) parking lot. He had a knife,” Yoakum said. “He forced her into the back of the pickup.”

Allred told authorities he put the knife down to tie up Hernandez. The teen fought back.

“He panicked and strangled her,” Yoakum said.

Allred wouldn’t say if he raped Hernandez. Yoakum said Allred drove to the San Bernardino Mountains where he buried the body in a shallow grave across the road from his family’s cabin in Twin Peaks.

On Oct. 14, 1976, a dog dug Hernandez’s skull from the grave near the Allred family cabin. The dog’s owner saw the skull between the animal’s paws and turned it over to authorities, Yoakum said.

The skull was initially thought to be from a Native American burial ground, she said.

More than a year later on a Saturday in December 1977, Jerome Ringhofer, a captain with the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department, got a call from a sheriff’s detective in Los Angeles County. The investigator told him three men, one of whom turned out to be Allred, were suspected of taking two girls ages 16 and 17 to the Twin Peaks cabin, where they were held against their will and raped.

Los Angeles County crime lab personnel sent to the scene also told Ringhofer there was a grave in the forest. He went up to the site with search and rescue personnel and volunteers.

“After searching around the graveside and not finding anything else, I went back to the cabin which was being searched,” he said. “I crawled underneath the porch. That’s when I found the bones.”
Ringhofer found five ribs. They were turned over to the San Bernardino County Coroner’s Office.

Yoakum said the two other suspects in the rapes of the teens would later tell investigators that Allred wanted to get rid of the victims, and showed the two men the ribs. He told them he had killed a Mexican girl.

Click here to read the rest of the story.

Thursday, October 13, 2016

Veterans Donations Drive

SBCPAA is supporting a Veterans Donations Drive scheduled to take place between October 31 and November 4Donations will be accepted at various District Attorney, Public Defender, and Child Support offices.  See the attached images for details about this worthwhile event.

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Better Way Domestic Violence Shelter and Outreach

A Better Way Domestic Violence Shelter and Outreach held a candlelight vigil Friday night outside Victorville City Hall to mourn, honor and remember those who lost their lives to domestic violence.

The annual event is always held during October, which is Domestic Violence Awareness Month. Chief Assistant District Attorney Michael Fermin spoke at the event on behalf of the District Attorney's Office.

Other events related to Domestic Violence Awareness Month have also taken place across the county. Last week, Desert Sanctuary held an Open House and members of the District Attorney's Office were in attendance.

On Friday October 7th the “Roar Against Domestic Violence” Motorcycle Ride was held by the 29 Palms MCCS (Marine Base). San Bernardino County District Attorney Joshua Tree Office assisted in the event by manning a “stop” at the Morongo Basin Courthouse. Victim Advocate Iris Robertson, Sr. Investigator Kevin Ford, Investigative Tech Bianca Ralston, CHP and San Bernardino County Sheriff Department personnel participated in the event. 

Sheriff Service Specialist Robert Anderson explained to the Marines what happens when a suspect is arrested and booked into jail. 

Victim Advocate Iris Robertson provided information on services offered to victims as well as explaining court procedures. 

Sheriff Deputy Jimmy Delgado shared employment possibilities with the San Bernardino County Sheriff Department.

Victim Advocate Iris Robertson and Sr. Investigator Kevin Ford

Deputy Delgado and Victim Advocate Iris Robertson speaking to the Marines

Group photo Marines and support personnel (including DA and Sheriff)

Friday, September 30, 2016

Lead Deputy DA Douglas Poston represented the San Bernardino District Attorney's Office Thursday at the Environmental Law Career Program symposium at LaVerne School of Law. 
The panel engaged dozens of students and encouraged their interest in environmental legal careers.  A number of the students were also very interested in gaining experience by volunteering, and Poston handed out a lot of cards and application packets. 
“It was great to be a part of LaVerne’s event and share with the students the benefits of working in the enviro field," Poston said. "San Bernardino County is one of the statewide leaders because DA Mike Ramos continues to strongly support action to achieve environmental justice. It is doubly rewarding to both be a part of that commitment and to encourage students and new lawyers to join us.”

Monday, September 26, 2016

DDA Kurt Rowley teaching at the 2016 Child Abduction Seminar in Sacramento

Deputy DA Kurt Rowley taught at last week's 2016 Child Abduction Seminar in Sacramento which was sponsored by the California District Attorneys Association. The two day seminar was for prosecutors and investigators working in all levels of child abduction and provided an excellent opportunity for networking and the sharing of information with others who work in the field.

Friday, September 23, 2016

Restitution Specialist assists victims of crime in collecting restitution using a CR-110/CR-111

Victim Restitution Specialist Sandra Perez recently assisted two victims in acquiring restitution they were owed after she had encouraged them to file an Order for Restitution and Abstract of Judgment (Judicial Council forms CR-110/JV-790 and CR-111/JV-790, commonly called a CR-110/CR-111).

According to Sandy, all crime victims can and should file a CR-110/CR-111 with the Superior or Juvenile Court once restitution has been awarded. The CR-110/CR-111 does not “convert” the criminal restitution order into a civil judgment. Filing it, however, enables the victim to collect on a criminal restitution order “as if it were a civil judgment,” thereby opening the door to civil collections remedies (i.e., liens, wage garnishment, etc.). 

Recording the CR-110/CR-111 with a County Recorder wherever the defendant resides or may own property establishes an automatic lien against that defendant’s current or future real estate there, and gives the victim’s judgment priority, such that the victim must be paid the amount of the restitution owed before the defendant can sell, refinance, or transfer his or her property in that county. Liens can also be placed on a defendant’s business assets via a statewide lien on personal property with the assistance of the California Secretary of State.

Back in July 2016, a victim who had followed Sandy’s advice to file a CR-110/CR-111 received notice from an escrow company that the defendant in her case had inherited a house. As the defendant attempted to have the title transferred into his name, the CR-110/CR-111 lien showed up. In order to close escrow, the defendant was forced to satisfy the victim’s lien. With some further guidance from Sandy, the victim was able to have the escrow company wire the full restitution amount (over $8,000) into her bank account one month later. 

The victim then emailed Sandy: “Good morning!! Guess what?! The full restitution was wired into our account on August 16th! We cannot believe it, but it’s true! Thank you, Sandra, for everything you did to help us get a judgment recorded. The system really does work! Please let everyone know how grateful we are for their assistance. This is such a blessing!!”

In another recent case, a victim learned that his perpetrator was about to sell his house, so he contacted our office for assistance with his CR-110/CR-111. He had turned the completed forms into the Superior Court, but they still awaited judicial signature. Sandy and DDA Michelle Iskander were able to get a judge to sign the forms immediately, and the victim quickly recorded them. Unfortunately, the title company missed the lien. It eventually acknowledged its mistake, however, and satisfied most of the restitution order (almost $30,000).

“I always encourage all of the victims I work with to file the forms because you never know when a defendant will attempt to buy or sell real property,” said Perez. “If and when they do, it will show up as a lien, which has to be satisfied before title can be transferred.” 

Attorneys at the Victim Compensation and Government Claims Board and those in the District Attorney’s Appellate Services Unit with whom Sandy has worked on a variety of restitution matters also encourage that all Deputy District Attorneys assist victims in having the court sign a CR-110/CR-111 at the time the restitution order is made.

Consumer Protection Unit honored at Best of Inland Empire Awards Celebration

Supervising Deputy DA Denise Trager-Dvorak and Lead Deputy DA Doug Poston recently accepted an award on behalf of those in the District Attorney’s Consumer Protection Unit for outstanding work in the aftermath of the Blue Cut fire.

Thursday, September 15, 2016

205 Years of Combined Service to the County of San Bernardino

The following members of the District Attorney's Office were recognized Monday by the Board of Supervisors with their service pins:

Jennifer Dawson (30 years)

Paul Garcia (25 years)

Veronica Parham (25 years)

David Simon (25 years)

Michael Dowd (20 years)

Karen Khim (20 years)

Kristianna Parde (20 years)

Paul Garcia and Veronica Parham pose for a photo with Chief Mike Smith following the presentation

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

IN THE NEWS: San Bernardino terror attack conference focuses on victims

Bureau of Victim Services Chief Flerida Alarcon poses for a photo with Lupe and Dozer--members of the Special Victims K-9 Unit. Alarcon participated in the conference to discuss the District Attorney's response on Dec. 2 and the services and still being provided today.
LOS ANGELES >> Dozens of first-responders, victim advocates and other experts came together Tuesday to talk about the insights gathered from the Dec. 2 San Bernardino terror attack including how to take a more victim-centered approach to mass casualty incidents.

The day-long event was hosted by the U.S. Attorney’s Office at the California Endowment Center at 1000 North Alameda St. in downtown Los Angeles.

“It’s the first of its kind in our district and possibly in the nation,” said US Attorney Eileen Decker Tuesday morning.

As authorities dealt with the aftermath of the attack — the deadliest on American soil by Islamic extremists since Sept. 11, 2001 — from an investigative and administrative standpoint, it was clear one of the major points that should not be left out is how victims are treated during and, sometimes more importantly, after such a devastating event, she said.

“Victims need all the assistance that we can afford them,” she said noting that some needed counseling, others needed help navigating through the county’s worker’s compensation system.

Decker said she hopes the conference will help assistance agencies, including prosecutors, to take a victim-centered approach to these events.

“We’ve attended many conferences that were strictly focused on the attack and police response,” San Bernardino Assistant Police Chief Eric McBride, who was also a speaker at the conference, said during a phone interview later in the day. “But it was nice to be involved in a conference that focused solely on the victims and how to better serve them.”

Along with first responders who were there the day of the attack, victim advocate groups scheduled to speak were FBI victim specialists Claire Balanay and Debbie Deem and Flerida Alarcon, chief of the San Bernardino County District Attorney’s Office Victim Services.

They were among five experts on a panel addressing preparations needed to assist victims following a mass casualty incident.

Click here to read the full story.