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.
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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.
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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.
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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!”
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