Thursday, December 19, 2013

Bureau of Investigation Donates Money to Rachel's House

In September 2006, the board of Forgotten Children, Inc. recognized a need to begin an attack on Human Trafficking and prostitution. Their focus eventually came to the streets of San Bernardino. Many of you may recognize Pastor Paula, who appeared in our documentary Teenage $ex 4 $ale: Human Trafficking in San Bernardino County. She is not only partnered with our office, but she is a driving force behind the positive work taking place in our community with the faith-based community.

As the mission statement of Forgotten Children states: "Our goal is to stop this evilness, and to rescue the victims from the streets. Forgotten Children provides not only street ministry to the victims, we also provide awareness and training workshops."

District Attorney Michael Ramos and Chief Mike Smith made a donation on behalf of our CopsWest barbeque team who raised over $1,000 at a charity event last month. Great job team, and great job to Pastor Paula and her team who refuse to give up in their quest to make a difference in the lives of those young girls who are being trafficked in San Bernardino County.

Victim Restitution Unit Secures $1.9 Million for Victims

Kudos to our Bureau of Victim Services Restitution Unit. Last year, they secured $1,935,146.73 in restitution and fine orders for the Victim Compensation Program.

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

DA Joins Local Businesses and Community Leaders to Launch Holiday Campaign to Prevent Drunk Driving

“Driving under the influence is one of the most preventable of crimes. In our office, we prefer prevention far more than prosecution, but it starts with a choice,” District Attorney Ramos said. “When someone chooses to get behind the wheel after drinking, it can be a dangerous and costly decision. Not only can it lead to getting into an accident and injuring or killing yourself or others, but it can cost up to $10,000 with fines and higher insurance premiums. While Hangar 24 and their local partners are teaming up to make their city a safer place this holiday season, I encourage every citizen in the county to play it smart and drink responsibly. Not just during the holidays, but every day.”
Click here to read more details about the program.

Monday, December 16, 2013

Congratulations to Redlands High School

Redlands High beats crosstown rival to be county Mock Trial champs
Beau Yarbrough, San Bernardino Sun

Rancho Cucamonga >> It’s deja vu all over again.

Once again, Redlands High School’s mock trial team is heading to the state championship. It was going to be a Redlands team from San Bernardino County no matter what, though, as the Terriers were facing their cross-town rivals at Redlands East Valley High on Saturday in a first-floor courthouse at West Valley Superior Court.

Redlands High has won a record 12 county Mock Trial titles, and has made it to the county finals 17 times in the past 18 years. This was their second win in three years.

“I am absolutely thrilled,” Redlands High adviser Donna St. George said. “Every year is different and I am so happy with the five kids that were part of last year’s team. We lost by a very narrow margin to a team from REV last year, and we won by probably the same margin against them this year.”

Redlands East Valley has won six county titles, including three of the past four. It has been 10 years since a school other than one of the two has won the competition: Upland High School in the 2003-2004 school year.

The case at the center of this year’s competition was People v. Concha, a fictional case in which Rae Concha, a senior at Rosewood High School, is accused of supplying the prescription drug Adderall —popularly abused as a study aid by high school and college students — to a fellow student and bandmate with a heart defect, Jason Johnson, inadvertently leading to his death. Concha is charged with second-degree murder and possession for sale of a controlled substance.

The day began with Redlands East Valley serving as the defense team and Redlands High prosecuting the case. After lunch, the teams switched sides and argued the case again.

“I went to Principal McAllister and told her I believed Rae sold Jason Adderall,” Redlands High student Archana Sivanandam, playing the part of student Alex Weaver, testified.

The Redlands East Valley defense said the drugs that killed Johnson actually came from fellow student and bandmate Weaver.

“That morning, I saw Rae hand Jason something,” Sivanandam testified.

“Ms. Weaver, you’ve never participated in a drug deal, is that correct?” Redlands East Valley student Blake Berich, serving as one of the morning’s defense attorneys, asked. “But you still know what a drug deal looks like?”

Despite the seriousness of the case, the students had a bit of fun with it.

“I consider myself a ‘princi-PAL,’” Redlands High student Siena Frost, playing Principal Riley McAlister, said. “I contacted Officer Dougherty and asked him to search the defendant’s car. ... I then power-walked over there.”

In the end, it was a split decision in the morning case: San Bernardino County Presiding Judge Marsha Slough found Concha not guilty of second-degree murder but guilty of possession with intent to sell.

According to St. George, about a quarter of the mock trial team members she has coached in the past 29 years (including 24 at Redlands High) have ended up going to law school. Another quarter go on to medical school.

“You have to be very bright, think on your feet and change at a moment’s notice” to excel in mock trial competitions, she said.

It’s a comparable future for Redlands East Valley competitors, according to adviser Ed Berman.

“This is their academic sport,” Berman said. “And they like that.”

Students also like the one-on-one time with the attorneys who mentor each team, he said.

The event attracts high-profile members of the legal profession. One of the two scoring judges watching from the jury box on Saturday was District Attorney Michael Ramos. (His office co-sponsors the event, along with the county Superintendent of Schools Office.)

Click here to read the rest of the story.

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

In the News: Gang member gets 85 to life

Rebecca Howes, Daily Press
VICTORVILLE - An East Side Victoria gang member was sentenced Friday to 85 years in prison for shooting a man over a $60 debt.
After numerous delays in his trial, Anthony Garcia DeLonnie, 35, was sentenced for attempting to murder Julio Ramirez on Halloween night in 2011.

Authorities say DeLonnie pulled a gun out of his waistband and pointed it at Ramirez’s head because the man owed him $60. Ramirez was shot in the arm after he lifted it in a defensive motion, investigators said.

When Ramirez ran to a neighbor’s house to get help, DeLonnie fled the scene and was later found hiding in a Hesperia motel before his arrest.

In September 2012, after about a day of deliberations, a jury found DeLonnie, whose gang moniker is “Goofy,” guilty of attempted murder and participating in a criminal street gang with special circumstances due to prior felony convictions.

For attempted murder, DeLonnie got 25 years to life. He got an additional 25 years for discharge of a firearm causing great bodily injury. For participation in a criminal street gang, DeLonnie got 25 years.

There also were two priors that carried a five-year sentence each, for a total of 85 years to life, according to Deputy District Attorney Lisa Crane.

Thursday, December 5, 2013

In the News: December 5, 2014

San Bernardino police seek public help to find husband suspected in homicide
Doug Saunders, San Bernardino Sun

SAN BERNARDINO >> Police believe a local man suspected of killing his wife is still in the area, they said Thursday.

Edly Atherley, 29, of San Bernardino (pictured above), is suspected of killing his wife, Ashley Atherley, 28, who was found dead in the couple’s College Avenue home Sunday.

Police held a news conference Thursday morning on the steps of police headquarters to discuss their efforts to track him down.

He was seen Wednesday night at the San Bernardino Metrolink station by a security officer who asked him if he needed assistance, police said.

“A security guard asked him if he needed help but Atherley ran from him so the guard called us,” police spokesman Lt. Paul Williams said. “We have reason to believe he’s still in the area.”

Officers have said the attack appears to be the result of domestic violence, and family members confirmed there has been a history of violence.

“We begged Ashley to come home before something bad happened,” her father Scott Hall said at the news conference. “This animal needs to be brought to justice.”

Investigators have been distributing fliers regarding the homicide, with the hope that someone recognizes him during his travels.

A car Atherley borrowed from a family member was found parked near the crime scene at the couple’s home, police said. Detectives seized the car for evidence after they found blood inside of it.

Police said Edly Atherley’s family was cooperating during the investigation.

Ashley’s parents were at the news conference, and pleaded for the public’s help to bring the man that is suspected of killing their daughter to justice.

“He’s an animal that needs to be caught,” Ashley’s mother Lucia Robles said. “We begged and pleaded for Ashley to come home. We were afraid this was going to happen.”

Robles and Hall are also trying to secure guardianship of their two granddaughters, who were placed into protective custody with Edly’s family in Simi Valley.

San Bernardino County District Attorney Michael Ramos talked about his role in the search and prosecution of Atherley.

Atherley has been charged with murder, and if convicted, he faces 26 years to life in state prison, Ramos said.

Click here to read the rest of the story.

Fontana officer allegedly attacked by man on PCP
Melissa Pinion-Whit, San Bernardino Sun

FONTANA >> A man who reportedly attacked police while high on PCP and continued struggling with officers despite being struck with a baton and a shot with a Taser was charged Wednesday with several felonies.

The District Attorney’s Office charged Mario Granados, 34, of Bloomington with resisting police, attempting to take a firearm from an officer and assault with force likely to cause great bodily injury.

Police encounters with PCP users are not as common as they were in the past, and some younger officers have never run into one, said Fontana police Sgt. Doug Imhof.

“The problem with PCP is (users) have a very high pain tolerance,” Imhof said. “Baton strikes and control holds tend to have very little effect on them.”

Police came to the corner of Etiwanda and Jurupa avenues at 7:30 a.m. Monday on a report of a man beating up another man. Granados allegedly stabbed a man with a screwdriver, leaving minor wounds. Officers are unsure what prompted the attack.

Police spotted Granados walking north on Etiwanda at Santa Ana Avenue. When an officer approached him, Granados allegedly became aggressive and advanced on the officer.

The officer struck Granados several times in his legs with a baton, but it only seemed to anger him more, police said. Granados reportedly ran into traffic away from the officer. The officer chased Granados for nearly a quarter mile, and several times during the chase Granados stopped, held up his fists and approached the officer before taking off again, police said.

Click here to read the rest of the story.

Sheriff's Department to host Neighborhood, Community Watch meetings in January 
Staff Report, Daily Press

San Bernardino County Sheriff's Apple Valley Station will host Neighborhood Watch and Community Watch meetings on the first Tuesday of every other month, according to a news release.

The meetings will be held from 6 to 8 p.m. at the Apple Valley Development Services Building, Conference Room 1, 14975 Dale Evans Parkway.

The meetings are open to anyone currently involved in an active Neighborhood Watch program or as a Community Watch member in Apple Valley.

The meetings will serve as an additional way for block captains to obtain information, as well as an alternate meeting location for Community Watch members and for NHW groups.

Community Watch is a new component and training to work within its guidelines will be provided at the meetings.

For more information, call Crime Prevention Officer Karen Hunt at 760-240-7400, ext. 7457.

2 suspects arrested in string of Colton home burglaries

Melissa Pinion-Whit, San Bernardino Sun

COLTON - A pair of Colton residents suspected in a string of home burglaries were arrested by police Monday.

Ulises Gomez, 41, and Diana Briones, 46, were booked into Central Detention Center in San Bernardino on suspicion of burglary.

Police were investigating a burglary in the 1200 block of Norman Road when they found Gomez and Briones casing another residence, officers said.

They admitted to burglarizing the Norman Road home.

When police searched their residence in the 400 block of East F Street, police found property stolen from the home. Officers also tied to the pair to a burglary that occurred three weeks earlier in the 200 block of West D Street, police said.

Detectives suspect the pair in additional burglaries in the same area.

Suspected gang member to be arraigned in Colton high-speed car chase

Melissa Pinion-Whit, San Bernardino Sun

COLTON - A suspected gang member is tentatively scheduled to appear in court next week after leading Colton police on a high-speed chase in a stolen vehicle.

Russell Guaydacan, 19, was booked into Central Detention Center in San Bernardino on suspicion of felony evading, possessing a stolen vehicle and other violations, booking records show.

Police tried to stop Guaydacan on Nov. 26 in the 1400 block of Bordwell Avenue in Colton when they noticed the Toyota Camry he was driving was stolen.

He sped away, ignoring stop signs, driving on the wrong side of the road and reaching speeds of more than 90 mph, police said.

When the Toyota became stuck in a dirt field, Guaydacan abandoned the car and ran. Police chased after him and took him into custody.

 Records show he is set to appear Dec. 10 in San Bernardino Superior Court.

Husband of elderly Highland homicide victim feared for wife’s safety

Melissa Pinion-Whit, San Bernardino Sun

HIGHLAND >> Raymond Comstock worried about his 76-year-old wife when he left her alone during his overnight shifts as a security guard.

He had friends come check on her and begged her to lock the doors of their Bonnie Street home when he left.

“I’d call her constantly from work,” the 83-year-old San Bernardino man said. “I’d have my family check on her. We were all concerned about her.”

When he returned home from his work as a guard for an Ontario security company Sunday morning, his worst fears became a reality.

Loyce Comstock, 76, had been stabbed to death by home-invasion robbers who stole a portion of her husband’s 12 samurai swords, several daggers and other valuables from the residence.

“These guys must be complete unconscionable cowards,” Raymond Comstock said.

The San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department has made no arrests in the homicide, the latest in a string of home invasions where elderly victims have been killed.

Loyce Comstock was born in Dallas, Texas, but moved to San Bernardino in 1968 to be closer to relatives, her daughter Lorrie Cook said.

She worked as an office manager for Seibert Security Services in San Bernardino, handling everything from scheduling, to hiring and firing. She also worked as a barmaid for the now-defunct Pine Cove bar in San Bernardino.

There, she met Raymond Comstock, a Navy veteran who would soon become her husband.

“I’d go in there every weekend,” Raymond Comstock said. “For about a month, we’d talk and talk. The more we talked, the more we got to like each other. Then we started going together. That was 45 years ago.”

The couple would have celebrated their 45th wedding anniversary Dec. 31.

Loyce Comstock retired when she was 55 years old due to rheumatoid arthritis, but tried to stay active.

Homeless people who stayed at a Salvation Army shelter near the Comstocks’ previous home on H Street knew her as the “Pancake Lady” because she made 50 to 100 pancakes every Sunday, and served them with butter and syrup to the homeless.

“She would make sure that these people would get a hot meal every Sunday,” Cook said.

Loyce Comstock became involved in an arts and crafts program through one of San Bernardino’s senior centers, and even helped run the program with friends in the early 2000s. She taught crocheting to senior citizens, and the group donated crocheted items to Santa Claus Inc., a group that helps needy families.

Click here to read the rest of the story.

Esequiel Cisneros sentenced to 112 years to life in state prison

On May 29, 2012, Gregorio Gonzalez Jr. and two of his friends, Gerald Jimenez and Eric Olguin, went to a makeshift memorial on Lenore street in San Bernardino for Michael Espino who was murdered two weeks earlier. Michael had been murdered by a West Side Verdugo gang member in the Verdugo Flats territory. While the three men were paying their respects to Michael Espino, the defendant, Esequiel Cisneros, arrived with an unknown female.

According to Deputy District Attorney Denise Yoakum, who prosecuted the case, Cisneros—who is a documented Verdugo Flats gang member—asked Gonzalez and his friends if they were from the West Side or Southside? The men responded that they were not gang members and told the defendant they were not from "any side."

Cisneros then pulled out a gun and shot at the three of them. Gregorio died at the scene, Gerald was transported to the hospital and survived, and Eric was grazed in the leg with a bullet.

After a heated trial that included witnesses intimidation and intense cross examination of the defendant who testified he was actually pretending to be a West Side Verdugo gang member to gather intelligence on the murder of Espino, Cisneros was sentenced to 112 years to life in state prison.

"If you commit murder in the County of San Bernardino we are going to prosecute you," Deputy DA Denise Yoakum said. "We prepare for witness intimidation and we overcome it. We are not going to let gangs run our streets. Today, the defendant earned every day of his sentence. I hope this give's Gregorio's family some sense of closure and justice."

Monday, November 25, 2013

In the News: November 25, 2013

Deputy’s tales of heroism inspire at prayer breakfast
Kurt Schauppner, The Desert Trail

YUCCA VALLEY — Not long after he was shot numerous times by rogue former police officer Christopher Dorner, San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Detective Alex Collins, struggling to breathe and choking on his own blood, silently told God he was ready to die.

He reached for his cellphone.

This was only part of the story he told as guest speaker at the Community Prayer Breakfast held Friday, Nov. 22, in the Joshua Springs Thunderdome.

"I was choking on my own blood and teeth," he said. "I was going to call my wife and say I love you and I’m sorry, but I’m not going to make it home tonight."

Collins did not make that call. When he reached his cellphone, he realized it had been shattered by one of Dorner’s bullets. That made him angry.

"Not only did this guy shoot me, but now I can’t call my wife," he told dignitaries from across the Morongo Basin who gathered in the Christian school’s gym.

He said he nearly gave up, but felt that God told him it was not his time.

"You have to fight for it, it’s not going to be given to you. You have to fight for your life," is the message he believes he got that day.

While Collins told the story of his nearly fatal encounter with Dorner, he began with a caveat.

"It is not about me; people don’t want to hear about how I got shot and how I got better," he said. "It is about the people who not only saved my life, but changed me."

So while he spoke in great detail about the shooting, starting with a first bullet that hit him in the face, he also spoke about the people who helped him, starting with his fellow sheriff’s deputies, who risked their lives to pull him and his partner, Jeremiah MacKay, out of the line of fire.

"These are the bravest guys I have ever met," he said. "If I could be half the men these guys are, I’ll be doing OK. They risked their lives to save mine so I could be here speaking today."

Collins mixed his tale with dark humor, as when he realized, while being taken from the incident location in the back of someone’s truck, that he was bleeding profusely into someone’s new boots.

"I was just thinking, ‘Whoever’s boots these are is going to be pissed,’" he said.

He mentioned the doctor who rode with him on the helicopter to Loma Linda University Medical Center and encouraged him to hang on and not give up.

"Are you kidding me, brother, you’re going to be OK," he doctor told him. "We’re going to be having beers next week."

Collins’ story continued until he went under the anesthesia for the first of a long series of operations.

"I woke up about a week later surrounded by family and friends," he said, adding that his room was filled with cards and well wishes, many from people he had never met.

"I have met people I’ve never met before who said they have been praying for me for months," he said. "I read every single letter that was written to me while I was in the hospital. I had a lot of free time. The community really loves us and that means a lot."

Click here to read the rest of the story.

Friday, November 22, 2013

In the News: November 22, 2013

Arrest made in San Bernardino robbery, beating death of elderly woman
Melissa Pinion-Whit, San Bernardino Sun

SAN BERNARDINO >> Sheriff’s investigators arrested a 33-year-old San Bernardino man Wednesday in the January home-invasion robbery and fatal beating of an elderly woman.

Freddie Weston was taken into custody in the 5100 block of North Third Avenue. Deputies booked him into Central Detention Center in San Bernardino on suspicion of murder and robbery, San Bernardino County sheriff’s officials said.

It was welcome news for the family of 84-year-old Lorna Gable, who died a month after the Jan. 19 incident in the 900 block of 40th Street. Gable’s 96-year-old husband, William, a wheelchair-bound World War II veteran, was also badly beaten during the robbery, but survived.

“I’m just so impressed that they didn’t drop the ball and they pursued this guy with a vengeance,” said Gable’s daughter, Sandy Gable, on Thursday.

Detectives contacted Lorna Gable’s son, Gary, on Wednesday night and gave him the news about Weston’s arrest.

“This guy totally brutalized these people,” Gary Gable said. “People are going to want to see justice. We want to see justice.”

The arrest came eight days after the Sheriff’s Department released a composite sketch of a man suspected in the attack.

Sheriff’s spokeswoman Cindy Bachman said investigators aren’t disclosing how they identified Weston as the suspect.

He had not yet been charged in the case as of Thursday afternoon, San Bernardino County District Attorney’s Office spokesman Chris Lee said.

Weston allegedly got into the Gables’ home through the garage, and confronted and attacked the elderly couple.

He stole a large amount of cash and a pistol from the home before fleeing.

Since the incident, William Gable has moved to Northern California with his children. He suffered a heart attack in late February from the stress of his wife’s death, and also had a bout with pneumonia.

The family copes with the loss by not talking about it, Sandy Gable said. She thinks that’s what’s helped her father hang on this long.

“He had to survive World War II and this is probably being tucked away in one of the archives of his mind so he can deal with it,” she said.
Click here to read the rest of the story

Deputies: Bronze dove taken from MacKay memorial found in Lake Elsinore bedroom

Doug Saunders, San Bernardino Sun

LAKE ELSINORE >> A bronze dove that was taken from the granite base of the Jeremiah MacKay statue in Lake Arrowhead Village in September has been found.

San Bernardino County sheriff’s deputies arrested a 13-year-old Lake Elsinore boy Tuesday at school after they learned he had allegedly bragged about stealing the dove on the social media photo website Instagram.

During a search of his home, the dove was found in the boy’s bedroom inside a shoebox, sheriff’s officials said in a news release.

The dove, a symbol of peace that adorned the statue of slain sheriff’s Detective Jeremiah MacKay was reported as
stolen between Sept. 8 and Sept. 9, according to officials. 

The dove represents MacKay’s peaceful nature, said fundraising committee member Holland Lowe.

MacKay was killed in a gun battle on Feb. 12 with ex-Los Angeles police Officer Christopher Dorner.

“All of us owe a debt of gratitude to Jeremiah MacKay,” said San Bernardino County Sheriff John McMahon in a previous interview. “Our department must draw inspiration from his sacrifice. This statue is a reminder of what Jeremiah died for.”

The statue of MacKay — a 15-year department veteran — was unveiled in the heart of Lollipop Park in Lake Arrowhead Village on Sept. 1.

Sculptor Khachik Khachatouryan
created the bronze tribute to the hometown hero.

Khachatouryan was in shock when he heard the bronze dove was missing. 

“This is a tribute to Jeremiah, who gave his life defending his community,” the sculptor said back in September.Click here to read the rest of the story

Jury trial underway for AV couple arrested in Deep Creek murder

Rebecca Howes, Daily Press

SAN BERNARDINO • The trial of an Apple Valley couple accused in the shooting death of a 19-year-old Hesperia woman began this week in San Bernardino.

Joseph Villa, 25 and Angela Lucia Sanchez, 40, are on trial for the killing of Raquel Rayas in May 2011 near Deep Creek.

On May 17, 2011, a passerby found Rayas alive but unconscious and severely injured in the desert.

Rayas was airlifted to Antelope Valley Hospital but later died from gunshot wounds to the head and neck, authorities said.

Opening statements were delivered by Deputy District Attorney David Foy for the prosecution and Deputy Public Defender Phil Zywiciel, who represents Villa, and attorney Ron Powell, appointed to represent Sanchez.

Witnesses for the prosecution included Sgt. Steven Harbottle and Detective Jeffery Toll of the San Bernardino County Sheriff's Department.

Harbottle and Toll testified that they responded to Deep Creek Spillway on May 17, 2011 and found the victim unconscious and suffering from gun shot wounds to the head.

After nearly six months of investigation by the Sheriff's Department, Villa and Sanchez were arrested on suspicion of murder in November 2011.

When Villa was interviewed by detectives his story changed three times; he first denied any involvement in the crime. He later told detectives he and Rayas had sex on occasion and he last saw the victim the day before she died and didn't see her again.
Click here to read the rest of the story.

Another motion denied in Bunker Murders trial
Rebecca Howes, Daily Press

VICTORVILLE • Collin Lee McGlaughlin's defense team suffered another defeat this week after Judge John M. Tomberlin denied their claim that McGlaughlin had the mentality of a juvenile when he allegedly shot two people in 2008.

Deputy Public Defenders Stephan Willms and George Wright cited two Supreme Court cases to support their motion that imposing a death sentence on McGlaughlin would constitute cruel and unusual punishment.

In Atkins v. Virginia (2002) the court came to the conclusion that executing a mentally disabled person would constitute cruel and unusual punishment. In Roper v. Simmons (2005) the court came to the same conclusion regarding juveniles, Willms said.

Although McGlaughlin was 18 when the murders occurred, neuropsychologist Deborah S. Miora testified Tuesday and Wednesday that McGlaughlin lacked the developmental maturity of an adult at the time.

Tomberlin denied the motion and told the defense they did not produce the evidence needed to establish that the death penalty would constitute cruel and unusual punishment.
Click here to read the rest of the story.

San Bernardino police officer cleared in fatal shooting of armed man
Melissa Pinion-Whit, San Bernardino Sun

SAN BERNARDINO >> Prosecutors declined to file charges against a San Bernardino police officer who shot and killed an armed Fontana man in February 2012, according to a report released Thursday.

The San Bernardino County District Attorney’s Office said police Officer Jason Heilman was justified in shooting Anthony Gilmore Jr., 25.

“Once Gilmore armed himself with a firearm while resisting unlawfully the officers in question, the officers involved had the legal right to engage Gilmore in lawful self-defense,” attorneys wrote in their report.

Police encountered Gilmore after stopping a vehicle he was riding in near the corner of 16th and D streets in San Bernardino on Feb. 29. Officers say the driver was speeding and ran a stop sign, among other violations.

After asking Gilmore to get out of the car, Gilmore and Heilman got into a struggle on the ground. San Bernardino police Officer Byron Clark grabbed Gilmore’s upper body.

Heilman saw a 9mm Taurus handgun nearby that didn’t belong to either officer and shouted, “Gun!”
Click here to read the rest of the story.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

In the News: November 21, 2013

Attorney General Kamala D. Harris Launches Initiative to Reduce Recidivism in California

LOS ANGELES -- Attorney General Kamala D. Harris today launched a new initiative designed to curb recidivism in California through partnerships between the California Department of Justice’s new Division of Recidivism Reduction and Re-Entry and the state’s counties and District Attorneys.

The Division will support counties and District Attorneys by partnering on best practices and policy initiatives, such as the development of a statewide definition of recidivism, identifying grants to fund the creation and expansion of innovative anti-recidivism programs and using technology to facilitate more effective data analysis and recidivism metrics.

“California’s District Attorneys bring vital experience to the challenge of reducing recidivism, and it is important their perspective is incorporated,” said Attorney General Harris. “This new division will support innovative, evidence-based approaches to recidivism solutions in California.”

“The decision to implement a new strategic plan that would ultimately help reduce crime and recidivism in our state is a powerful step forward, and I commend Attorney General Harris for her leadership in this area,” San Bernardino County District Attorney Michael Ramos said. “It is a data-driven methodology that will not only better equip local DAs with resources and technical assistance, but one that will make our streets safer. As we continue to address the ever changing needs brought about by prison reform, this initiative is a much-needed, collaborative approach to tackling crime more effectively at the state and local levels.”

The Division of Recidivism Reduction and Re-Entry will consist of three subdivisions focused on program development, evaluation and grants. It will be funded through existing California Department of Justice resources.

The Division will use innovative technology, such as the Department’s recently created California SmartJustice system, to analyze offender populations and recidivism risk factors. SmartJustice, a new database and analytical tool created by the California Department of Justice, can track repeat offenders and offense trends to provide counties with more effective options in developing anti-recidivism initiatives.

In 2005, then San Francisco District Attorney Harris created a reentry initiative called Back on Track, which aimed to reduce recidivism among certain low-level, non-violent drug offenders. Over a two-year period, the program reduced recidivism among its graduates to less than 10 percent. Back on Track was designated as a model for law enforcement by the US Department of Justice.

Click here to read the full report.

McStay family, friends erect crosses near Victorville desert grave sites
Ryan Hagen, San Bernardino Sun

VICTORVILLE >> It took a little under 10 minutes for supporters of the McStay family to exit the 15 Freeway, park along a dirt road and walk the shrub-studded 50 yards to the previously unremarkable patch of desert where the remains of a father and mother and possibly their two children were found in shallow graves.

Close enough that some of the somber whispers of the several dozen people who gathered to pay their respects at a memorial Wednesday outside Victorville were drowned out by traffic barrelling up the interstate .

Remote enough that chance alone wouldn’t bring the motorcyclist who on Nov. 11 came across the remains — two now identified by dental records as Fallbrook residents Joseph and Summer McStay, and the others believed to be their sons Gianni and Joseph Jr. — the senior Joseph’s brother, Michael McStay, said.

“The area is so vast. How did four people end up here in the middle of nowhere, over 100 miles from where they live?” he told the group, his voice sometimes trembling with emotion but other times firm with conviction. “I believe, personally, that (they were found by) the prayers of all the people who were concerned about this case, concerned about the family. It just took a motorcycle rider driving by who was kind enough to call. I personally believe it was providence.”

McStay said he was still shocked and still grieving, but was finding reasons for comfort.

“We’ve got tons of people coming out, just showering us with love,” he said.

Click here to read the rest of the story.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

New Deputy District Attorneys Sworn in Today

Deputy District Attorney Receives Outstanding Prosecutor Award

Deputy District Attorney Jonathan Hinson was awarded the distinguished Outstanding Prosecutor Award by the California Office of Traffic Safety and Mothers Against Drunk Driving today at a Law Enforcement Recognition Luncheon in San Bernardino.

Mr. Hinson has been a prosecutor in the San Bernardino District Attorney’s Office for 6 1/2 years. Over the last year, Mr. Hinson has worked in the Fontana Division and has primarily prosecuted Felony Driving under the Influences cases. He was chosen to handle felony D.U.I. cases because he is not only a tenacious prosecutor but also displays compassion and sensitivity towards victims and their cases. The victims that he has interacted with have expressed appreciation about his accessibility and the guidance he provides them as their cases are being prosecuted.

In addition to the prosecution of D.U.I. cases, Mr. Hinson has attended CDAA seminars on D.U.I. drug prosecution and the Homicide Symposium. He has also met with law enforcement and has advised and instructed them on D.U.I. investigations.                                               

Mr. Hinson caseload is extensive and he has prosecuted over 80 felony D.U.I. cases over the past year. Those cases include D.U.I’s with serious injuries and D.U.I. manslaughter cases. Mr. Hinson’s caseload is filled with many challenging cases that require a lot time and preparation. Some of the more challenging cases are as follows:

People v Kyle Bahensky: FWV1300479

Defendant was traveling southbound and ran a red-light. The defendant was traveling at 57 mph. His vehicle struck the victims vehicle. A juvenile passenger in the victim vehicle was fatally injured while the driver suffered a collapsed lung and multiple broken ribs. The defendant fled and was apprehended 4.25 hours later at his residence 1.6 miles away. The driver of the victim vehicle was a 0.09 BAC with measurable levels of cannabinoids. Mr. Hinson charged gross vehicle manslaughter while intoxicated and D.U.I. with injury.

People v Ronald Miranda: FVA1301541/FVA1301261
Defendant in two separate incidents was driving with BAC in excess of 0.20. In addition to these two incidents the defendant had 4 DUI convictions for offenses within ten years of the current offenses. The defendant also had another 2 DUI convictions for offenses more than 10 years prior the current offense. This case is currently being prosecuted.

People v Kyle Herndon: FVA1300849
Witnesses on a freeway see the vehicle driven by the defendant pass them doing 100 mph on freeway and then crash and the flip several times. The victim was partially ejected and she died at the scene. The witnesses saw the defendant exit the driver's side and exclaimed that the victim is still alive. The defendant then grabbed a sweater and ran off on foot. The defendant was found nearby walking and he claimed that someone else was driving. The defendant was convicted of gross vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated and felony hit and run with injury/death and admitted a prison prior. He was sentenced to 8 years with a consecutive 6 months for a violation of probation.

People v. Richard Preciado: FVA1301348
The defendant was huffing Nitrous Oxide while driving and he crashes the car and hurts his passenger and the driver of the other car. By the time the CHP arrive the symptoms are pretty much gone, but a witness saw defendant put a Nitrous Oxide tank in trunk after the collision. The defendant was convicted of Vehicle Code section 23153.

Bail set at $5 million for two men accused in Chino fatal shooting
Lori Fowler, San Bernardino Sun

RANCHO CUCAMONGA >> A Superior Court judge entered not guilty pleas Tuesday for the two men charged in the fatal shooting of a Check N Go clerk last week.

Jorge Esteban Cisneros, 43, of Ontario and David Mendez, 29, of Pomona were present and in custody for their arraignment inside the West Valley Superior Courthouse in Rancho Cucamonga. Charges were filed Tuesday morning.

Cisneros faces murder, robbery and receiving stolen property charges, according to the criminal complaint. He is believed to be the alleged shooter, and the weapon used in the crime was allegedly a “Sig Sauer 9mm handgun, which had been stolen and obtained by extortion.”

Mendez was charged with murder and robbery.

The murder was described as willful, deliberate, and premeditated, according to the complaint.

Cisneros and Mendez were arrested early Saturday morning, about 12 hours after Chino police allege they shot Vanessa Martinez, 24, of Riverside inside the store in the 1200 block of Central Avenue.

Officers got a call shortly after 1:20 p.m. that the store had been robbed and the woman employee possibly suffered gunshot wounds.

An investigation revealed that two men walked into the business — a direct payday loan lender — shot the clerk, and then robbed the business before fleeing in a dark, four-door Nissan Altima, according to a police news release.

“The crime is very, very serious,” Deputy District Attorney Kent Williams told Judge Michael Libutti.

The suspects entered the building and within seconds they went up to Martinez, who sat innocently behind the counter, Williams said.

They “executed her and then they ransacked the place looking for money,” he said.

At the request of the prosecutor, Libutti set bail for each man at $5 million - due to the seriousness of the crime and the threat to the community.

Click here to read the rest of the story.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Charges filed in the fatal shooting of a clerk at a Chino Check ‘n Go on Friday

To view a copy of the complaint, click here. Deputy District Attorney Kent Williams from the Rancho Division will prosecute this case.

Great job Team "Bad to DA Bone" for winning 3rd place in the CopsWest Charity BBQ and for selling the most tickets.


In the News: November 19, 2013

Witness gives details of a past rape in trial for John Wayne Thomson
Lori Fowler, San Bernardino Sun

SAN BERNARDINO >> In an attempt to show convicted killer John Wayne Thomson’s violent past, the prosecution called to the stand on Monday a witness to testify about a violent rape in 1990.

Thomson, 53, of Washington was found guilty last month of first-degree murder in the 2006 death of a Beaumont businessman. He was also convicted of second-degree robbery, aggravated mayhem, carjacking and two counts of attempted carjacking from a local crime spree.

He is now facing the death penalty.

During the second phase of the trial Bradly Bright, a retired Washington state law enforcement officer, took the stand to talk about an incident in 1990 where Thomson was pulled over for speeding in Cowlitz County.

As officers were handling that call, a disheveled woman came driving up to the scene frantically yelling that Thomson had just raped her, Bright testified.

The woman, known in court only as Jane Doe 3, told officers that she and Thomson met up earlier that day and went to an event together.

When they left the event, Thomson was too drunk to drive so Jane Doe 3 offered to drive him to her house and let him stay in her spare bedroom. While they were at her house, Thomson made sexual advances toward her, Bright testified according to the woman’s story.

Jane Doe 3 refused Thomson’s advances, then went to her own room. She told officers she locked the door, changed into pajamas and got into bed, Bright said.

Thomson, who has been convicted of multiple rapes, forced his way into her bedroom and raped her, the woman said.

“When the assault was over, he told her to go take a shower,” Bright said.

“To wash off the evidence?” Supervising Deputy District Attorney Robert Bulloch asked.

“Yes,” Bright said.

Thomson then told her to get dressed and ordered the woman to drive him back to his car, Bright said.

Click here to read the rest of the story.

Judge denies motion to suppress evidence in McGlaughlin trial
Rebecca Howes, Daily Press

VICTORVILLE • The defense in the Collin Lee McGlaughlin murder trial was dealt a second blow on Monday after a judge denied three more requests to suppress evidence.

Judge John M. Tomberlin ruled that three recorded conversations between McGlaughlin and co-defendant David Brian Smith will be admissible in McGlaughlin’s trial for the murders of two teens in an abandoned Air Force bunker in Helendale in 2008.

Two of the three video recordings under scrutiny were taken on Jan. 17, 2008. The first video was recorded in a jail interview room where both defendants were left alone. The second conversation was recorded later that day when they were placed in a holding cell together. The third video was recorded five days later when they were again placed in the same holding cell.

The judge told Deputy Public Defenders Stephan Willms and George Wright that he did not believe that Smith was a police informant.

“Mr. Smith does not fall into the category as a government agent,” Tomberlin said.

Willms disagreed with Tomberlin’s decision and argued that the first two phone calls Smith made to McGlaughlin were at the request of the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department. He felt there was guidance and encouragement from law enforcement.

Smith, according to Willms, believed he would be charged as an accessory in the crime and not charged with murder.

“That’s an implied benefit,” Willms argued.

Tomberlin told the defense, “I feel like what we are doing ... is beating this horse right out of its hide.”

Click here to read the rest of the story.

Girlfriend: Man killed in Montclair shooting struggled with gangs
Melissa Pinion-Whit, San Bernardino Sun

MONTCLAIR >> Adrianna Barela rushed outside when she heard sirens and cars rushing through her mobile home park late Friday afternoon.

Amid the crowd of sheriff’s deputies and curious onlookers, a boy ran up to her with heartbreaking news.

“Your boyfriend just got shot,” he told her.

She headed straight for the mobile home her boyfriend, Robert Camacho, shared with his aunt in the same park. The 17-year-old found Camacho collapsed on the floor, bleeding and barely alive.

“All I got to say was ‘I love you babe’ and I was taken out of there,” she said.

San Bernardino County sheriff’s officials say Camacho, 20, was standing with friends at a park in the 11300 block of Kingston Court — within the Peachwood mobile home community — at 4:15 p.m. when a gunman approached.

He opened fire at the crowd, striking Camacho several times, authorities said. Paramedics took him to an area hospital where he died.

Detectives aren’t sure if Camacho was the intended target.

Adrianna, her mother, Dennell Alaniz, and brother, Armando Barela, gathered at a memorial site set up at the park on Monday. Flowers and candles sat within a circle of red bricks, all with Camacho’s name or messages written in black ink.

Camacho’s mother had left a bouquet of flowers at the site earlier. Several drops of blood remained on the sidewalk nearby.

“He was really smart and he just got caught up in the wrong things, the wrong decisions,” Alaniz said.

Click here to read the rest of the story.

Family tells of grief before killer's sentencing
Jutta Biggerstaff, Hi-Desert Star

JOSHUA TREE — A Yucca Valley woman convicted of voluntary manslaughter last month faced her victim’s family Thursday in Joshua Tree Superior Court before being sentenced to 17 years in prison.

Jeanne Marie Rosser, 65, showed no visible emotion as members of 52-year-old David Wenzel’s family described how his death has impacted their lives. Karen Hughes, mother of Wenzel’s 16-year-old son, told Rosser life has been difficult for the teen since his father died.

The boy, who suffered a stroke when he was only 3 hours old, has been dealing with severe anxiety, depression and grief that has caused an increase in his seizure activity. He also began to hate school and act out, Hughes told Rosser.

“Our lives were turned upside down,” she said.

Wenzel’s son is now being home schooled, and Hughes said he has been healing in the two years since the death of his father.

“Jeanne, I pray for you daily,” she said. “Forgiving you saved me from much grief.”

Wenzel’s ex-wife, Gail Wenzel, tearfully said she also forgave Rosser and could not stay angry with her, despite the fact that she “left holes in a lot of people’s lives.”

Brenda Roberts, Wenzel’s sister-in-law, wept as she faced Rosser and spoke angrily.

“How dare you deny what you did this all these years?” she said. “I can’t forgive you.”

According to sheriff’s investigators, Wenzel was found dead of an apparent gunshot Dec. 27, 2011, in a Palm Avenue house he shared with Rosser. A sheriff’s department news release stated the couple had “ongoing domestic disturbance issues, which culminated in Rosser shooting Wenzel to death.”

The couple’s violent relationship dated back to at least October of 1995, when Rosser shot Wenzel for the first time. She claimed she feared for her life in that incident and was not charged.

Wenzel, however, was charged and convicted twice of inflicting corporal injury on a spouse, the first time in 2004 and again in 2009. Neither of those incidents involved Rosser, according to Deputy District Attorney Delaney Henretty.

Click here to read the rest of the story.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Stop the John Project Update

SAN BERNARDINO, Calif. – In an effort to reduce the demand for victims of human trafficking, the District Attorney’s Office released the names and photographs of six defendants convicted of solicitation in San Bernardino County.

Click here to access the Stop-the-John Project. All photos and information will automatically be removed after one year from the conviction date.

Friday, November 8, 2013

State Prison Commitments: October 2013

For the month of October 2013, the San Bernardino County District Attorney's Office obtained 318 state prison commitments for a total of 17,771 total months. The following is a breakdown by division:
Fontana: 53 state prison commitments for a total of 2,220 months.

19 state prison commitments for a total of 1,404 months.

Rancho Cucamonga: 81 state prison commitments for a total of 4,412 months.

San Bernardino: 83 state prison commitments for a total of 5,843 months.

Victorville: 82 state prison commitments for a total of 3,892 months.

District Attorney Finds Fatal Officer-Involved Shooting in Yucaipa Justified


Date: November 8, 2013

Ron D. Webster
Deputy District Attorney
(909) 387-8309

SAN BERNARDINO, Calif. – The San Bernardino County District Attorney’s Office has completed its review of the fatal officer-involved shooting of Theodore Wann, 24, of Yucaipa, by San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Deputy Marc Beitler on August 13, 2012.Under the facts, circumstances and the applicable law, Deputy Beitler was justified in using deadly force.

The report of the written case evaluation is available at by selecting Press Releases under the Newsroom tab at the top of the home page.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

How to Talk About Bullying

Parents, school staff, and other caring adults have a role to play in preventing bullying. They can:

Help kids
understand bullying. Talk about what bullying is and how to stand up to it safely. Tell kids bullying is unacceptable. Make sure kids know how to get help.

Keep the lines of communication open. Check in with kids often. Listen to them. Know their friends, ask about school, and understand their concerns.

Encourage kids to do what they love. Special activities, interests, and hobbies can boost confidence, help kids make friends, and protect them from bullying behavior.

Model how to treat others with kindness and respect.


For more information and tips, please
click here:

Inside the News: November 5, 2013

Deputies seek suspects in AV party shooting
Daily Press Staff Report
November 04, 2013 8:10 PM

APPLE VALLEY • San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department officials are asking for the public’s help as they seek suspects in a house party shooting that wounded one person over the weekend.

On Saturday at about 12:12 a.m., deputies from the Apple Valley Station responded to a home in the 21200 block of Nandina Street in southern Apple Valley, east of Kiowa Road and just north of Tussing Ranch Road.

There was a party at the location and a fight broke out, according to a sheriff’s news release. The people causing the disturbance were asked to leave the party and got into a vehicle, the release stated.

Someone inside the vehicle fired several shots into a crowd of people, and an unidentified female victim was later flown to a local hospital with gunshot injuries, according to the release.

Anyone with information about the investigation is asked to call Detective Darren Gilmore at the Apple Valley Station at 760-240-7000. Callers wishing to remain anonymous can call the WeTip hotline at 800-782-7463 or leave information at

Suspect in bullying video charged
By Melissa Pinion-Whitt and Michel Nolan

SAN BERNARDINO » The teenage suspect in a bullying case at Cajon High School that ended up on a Facebook page on Friday alleg­edly showing him punching an­other student in the back of the head on video was charged Satur­day with battery and challenging someone to fight, the district’s po­lice chief said Monday.

“This is our first incident with the perpetrator, and as far as we are concerned, this is an isolated incident,” according to Joe Pau­lino, San Bernardino City Unified School District police chief.

As of Monday afternoon, the suspect was still in juvenile hall, Paulino said.

“We are viewing this as an as­sault, which is a criminal act,” said SBCUSD spokeswoman Linda Bar­dere.“He is not yet facing disciplinary charges from the district because he is still in custody,” she said.

“And once he is released, he could face disciplinary action from the district that could include sus­pension.”

Cajon High School students viewed a video presentation about bullying at the beginning of the school year, according to Bardere.

“Students went through a presentation that addresses bullying, which we consider a serious offense,” she said.

On Friday, a video surfaced showing one male student punching another in the back of the head.

The video was posted on Facebook, showing the boy following another student for about a minute around the Cajon campus, then pushing and eventually hitting the other boy.

The video was gone by Saturday but not before school officials heard about it. After an investigation, “the juvenile was arrested and booked at Juvenile Hall,” Bardere said earlier.

Both boys are freshmen, according to Bardere.
The victim is 15, the suspect is 14.

“Students learn about the positive and how to deal with conflict in a peaceful way,” she said, adding that Cajon observes the Code of the West, which is 10 behavioral supports for acting in a socially acceptable way. Click here to read the rest of the story.

Burned body found after Apple Valley house fire
Rebecca Howes, Daily Press

APPLE VALLEY • San Bernardino County Sheriff-Coroner officials confirmed Monday that a burned body was found in a home destroyed by arson near Highway 18 and Rancherias Road on Halloween.

Coroner officials said a body was found in the home and the case was being investigated as a homicide, but they had not made a positive identification of the body as of Monday afternoon.

Sheriff’s deputies served a search warrant for a parolee in the 20000 block of Highway 18 at about 4 p.m. Oct. 31, and a fire broke out at the home.

Apple Valley Station spokeswoman Trish Hill said the fire was intentionally set in the back bedroom of the home in an apparent attempt to destroy evidence. The blaze quickly got out of control and engulfed the home.

Authorities did not disclose information about a body being found in the home at the time of the incident.

“We just served the search warrants,” Sgt. John Charbonneau of the Sheriff’s Department said Monday. “Once it was determined to be a homicide we turned it over to (homicide detectives).”

Click here to read the rest of the story.

Deputies inform businesses about illegal designer drugs
By Jim Steinberg, San Bernardino Sun

Three teams of San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department narcotics officers fanned out Wednesday for a county-wide law enforcement education lesson to some smoke shops and convenience marts that they believe have been selling illegal synthetic drugs.

The visitation by plainclothes officers included two smoke shops in Highland and other vendors in Grand Terrace, Bloomington, Barstow, Hinkley, Twentynine Palms and Joshua Tree, sheriff’s department officials said.

“Some business owners may not understand exactly what they are selling,” said Sheriff John McMahon, in a prepared statement. “We want to educate them on the law and the dangers of synthetic drugs so they do not put the residents of this county -- or their business -- in jeopardy.”

The illegal items fall into two broad categories, “spice” and “bath salts,” which collectively are often called “designer drugs.”