Tuesday, November 19, 2013

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.

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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.”

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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.

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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.

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