Friday, September 29, 2017

Desert-Mountain Divison secures guilty verdict

Deputy DA Jamie Cimino and the Desert-Mountain Division Support Staff secured a guilty conviction in the case of Defendant Seguin Munoz for one count of Child Molesting. The 12-year-old victim was having dinner at a restaurant in Hesperia with her family when she got up to go to the bathroom to wash out her baby brother’s sippy cup.
The 29-year-old defendant, who was also there having dinner with his father and brother, got up and followed the victim to the bathroom. Munoz touched the victim’s breast, and when she tried to leave, he pushed her hand off the door handle. He then left. After deliberating for a half an hour, the jury convicted him of a charge that will require him to register as a sex offender.

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

IN THE NEWS: Redlands man convicted in 2015 murder, attempted murder case

By Gail Wesson | | The Press-Enterprise
September 26, 2017 at 10:32 pm

A jury found a 57-year-old Redlands man guilty Tuesday, Sept. 26, in the shooting death of a woman killed in November 2015 by a stray bullet authorities said was intended for someone else.

Prentice Tonell Grant Sr. was found guilty of the Nov. 20, 2015, murder of Severa Santos-Velasco, 43, of El Monte; and the attempted murder of Imhotep Rasshan, according to a Redlands Police Department social media post and court records.

The jury also found Grant guilty of possession of a dangerous weapon and various allegations that may lengthen his prison term, including use and discharge of a firearm, according to court records. No sentencing date has been set.

Santos-Velasco was handing out fliers in an alley between Oxford and Lombard drives, south of East Brockton Avenue, to help the family of Rafael Templos Arce, who was beaten to death in October 2015 nearby.

Grant was in a dispute with Rasshan at an apartment complex and opened fire on him. Santos-Velasco, who was on another property, was hit by a stray bullet.

The defendant faces up to 200 years to life in prison, according to the police statement.
Click here to read the story.
[This case was prosecuted by Deputy DA Justin Crocker and the Central Division Gang Unit]

IN THE NEWS: Guilty verdicts for Barstow mother, son in murder of family’s patriarch

By Matthew Cabe
Staff Writer                      
VICTORVILLE — A mother and son from Barstow were found guilty of murder and other felony charges Tuesday after a nearly month-long trial that detailed the 2011 death of the family’s 85-year-old patriarch. 

A jury also found Ruth Ruffalo, 87, and Marcus Razario, 56, guilty of torture, elder abuse and false imprisonment in connection to a Sept. 18, 2011, beating that left Michael Ruffalo severely injured and ultimately resulted in his death 11 days later. 

The verdict ended a family’s six-year struggle for justice, according to 

Gina Samorajski, who — with her sister, Michele Wagstaff — testified against her mother and brother during the trial. 

“I feel dad got vindicated,” Samorajski said after the hearing. “Even though my mom hates me so much, I still feel bad for her that she chose that road. My brother, I don’t know what to think about him. He’s crazy.” 

Samorajski said she believes her mother has mental problems, adding she was “really shocked” by the murder conviction for Ruth Ruffalo, who stunned her husband more than 20 times with a Taser during a violent fight between Michael Ruffalo and Razario, testimony revealed. 

Ruth Ruffalo’s mental competency was previously a concern in the case; however, she was deemed fit to 

stand trial during a 2014 hearing, according to a previous Daily Press report. 

With a bailiff standing watch behind them, Razario and Ruth Ruffalo sat in silence as San Bernardino County Superior Court Judge Charles Umeda looked through documents that contained the jury’s decision. Neither defendant showed much outward emotion when the verdicts were finally read minutes later. 

Arguably the biggest challenge for the prosecution was that Michael Ruffalo did not succumb to his injuries until nearly two weeks after the beating that left him with brain hemorrhaging, a facial laceration, broken ribs, a fractured sternum and multiple puncture wounds from the Taser. 

A San Bernardino County Sheriff-Coroner report exacerbated the challenge insofar as Michael Ruffalo’s cause of death was listed as a urinary tract infection. To counter the report, prosecutor Sean Daugherty brought in Dr. Laura Mosqueda, of the USC Leonard Davis School of Gerontology, to counter the report. 

Mosqueda testified via videothatMichaelRuffalo’s cause of death could have come from “numerous sources of infection,” including from his broken ribs and the blood that pooled in his brain. 

Dan Chambers and Michael Duncan — attorneys for Razario and Ruth Ruffalo, respectively — arguedMosqueda’sopinion was unqualified as she 

is not a forensic pathologist. They stated during opening arguments that Daugherty “shopped around” for a doctor who would testify against the conclusion of the coroner’s report. 

Both defense attorneys argued their clients acted in self defense because Michael Ruffalo brandished a gun during the brutal altercation. During his own testimony, Razario said the incident was “a struggle for my life” because he “didn’t want to get shot.” 

Michael Ruffalo let go the gun after his wife stunned him with the Taser, but Razario continued to beat and slap his father even though the “threat was over,” according to Daugherty, who told jurors nothing Razarior or Ruth Ruffalo did was consistent with self-defense. 

Sentencing was scheduled for Dec. 8 after both defendants waived time following the verdicts. Duncan told Umeda time was needed to address the “psychological and medical issues” of Ruth Ruffalo.
Click here to read to rest of the story. 

Desert-Mountain Division secures guilty verdict

The Desert-Mountain Division Gang Unit secured a guilty verdict in the case of Tajay Johnson and Kevin Harriston (pictured left) who—along with two other individuals—carjacked a victim. The defendants drove the victim to an ATM where he was forced to give up his card and PIN to get money.
After this theft, Defendant Harriston repeatedly used the stun gun on the victim causing burn marks throughout the victim’s body, including the victim’s face. The defendants then drove the victim to Las Vegas, where they repeated the theft. Fortunately, the victim was able to escape and call the police and three of the four individuals were identified and arrested.
During testimony, the victim told the jurors that when the stun gun was used on him he felt like he was less than human.
34-year-old Diego Dominguez Jr. was sentenced to life in prison Friday for the 2014 shooting death of 45-year-old Dean Vedol Sena outside a convenience store.

Dominguez had entered Brothers Liquor in Rancho Cucamonga, pulled out a handgun and demanded money from the one of the clerks. One of the clerks complied, but a second clerk ran outside and notified Sena, who was working as a security guard. When Sena entered the store, Dominguez shot him multiple times.

Before fleeing the scene, the defendant shot the victim again as he laid on the ground begging for his life. Dominguez was eventually apprehended by San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Deputies.

This case was prosecuted by Deputy DA Kent Williams and the West Valley Division Support Staff.

Monday, September 25, 2017

Gang member convicted of first degree murder faces 50 years to life in state prison

SAN BERNARDINO, Calif.  – A criminal street gang member was convicted Wednesday of first degree murder for the 2015 shooting murder of 26-year-old Jamil Terry.
A jury found 21-year-old Gary Lee (pictured left) of San Bernardino guilty of one count of Murder and found true a gun and gang allegation.
On the night of Dec. 17, 2015, the victim was gunned down by members of a local gang while he was hanging out with friends outside his apartment. Three assailants—later identified as members of a local gang—were seen on video exiting a rented truck and then opening fire on the victim. One of the shooters used an AK-47 assault rifle that the gang referred to as the “BK” for “Biscuit Killer.”
Biscuit is a derogatory term for a rival gang member. Over 17 rounds were fired in a short duration, with over 15 rounds coming from the AK-47. One of the armor piercing rounds from the AK-47 killed Jamil Terry almost instantly. At the time of the shooting, no one could see who the shooters were as it was dark and the shooters were 50 yards away. 
The video footage was also too grainy to make any identifications or to find plates on the truck.  The case at that point went cold until the initiation of “Operation No Boundaries.”
“Operation No Boundaries” was a multi-agency task force created in June 2016 that focused on the most violent criminal street gangs in San Bernardino, and it consisted of multiple agencies, including the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department, San Bernardino Police Department, and several other local and federal agencies. 
During “Operation No Boundaries” the Task Force found an AK-47 at a gang member’s home that came back after ballistic analysis as being used at the murder scene of victim Jamil Terry.  Along with the ballistic test, further evidence ultimately placed Lee at the scene of the crime.
“This is yet another great result stemming from the collaborative efforts our office has with local law enforcement,” said District Attorney Mike Ramos. “We will continue pushing forward to make sure those criminals who terrorize our neighborhoods are held accountable. Simply put, we will find you. We will charge you if you break the law, and we will not be intimidated. Our law-abiding citizens deserve nothing less.”
Sentencing for Lee is scheduled Dec. 1 in Dept. S18 at the San Bernardino Justice Center. Lee is facing 50 years to life in state prison.

Monday, September 11, 2017

Consumer & Environmental Protection Unit Attends Conference to Assist Service Members and Their Families

Lead DDA Douglas Poston poses with service members from Ft. Irwin  
Lead Deputy DA Douglas Poston, who heads up the Consumer & Environmental Protection Unit, was in Los Angeles last week for the Consumer Protection for Military Service Members Conference. 
The workshop brought together military personnel, JAGs, consumer protection agencies and prosecutors to identify, prevent and address consumer fraud and other issues affecting service members and their families.

According to Poston, the event was well attended by local, state and federal agencies, and a lot of good ideas were exchanged and contacts made. 

"With multiple military bases in San Bernardino County, it is important to make available our resources and skill to protect those men and women who protect our very freedoms," Poston said.

We Will Never Forget

SOURCE: United States v. w:en:Zacarias Moussaoui (Criminal No. 01-455-A), Prosecution Trial Exhibits, Exhibit number P200336

Today we honor those who died on 9/11 and the brave men and women who put their lives in danger to protect and serve