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."