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NEWS FROM ACROSS CALIFORNIA

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POSTED May 5, 2014 7:29 p.m.

• JAMUL TODDLER RECOVERING AFTER 3 RATTLESNAKE BITES: JAMUL (AP) — A doctor says a toddler who was bitten three times by a rattlesnake is lucky to be alive.

Relatives tell KGTV in San Diego that A.J. Taylor was bitten on the stomach as he played Friday on the patio of his grandparent’s home in Jamul, about 20 miles east of San Diego. He was able to return to the home Saturday, where he is recovering nicely.

Grandmother Dian Taylor says she hopes what happened to A.J. can be a lesson to others because the heat is bringing out the rattlesnakes and they blend in so well that you can’t see them and they strike so fast, it’s hard to get away from them.

The doctor says if more venom had been released into the boy’s system, he could have died.

 

• 5 EX-LAPD RECRUITS EACH WIN $2M IN JURY VERDICT: LOS ANGELES (AP) — Five former Los Angeles Police Department recruits were each awarded more than $2 million Monday by a jury who found they were wrongfully denied temporary city jobs while recovering from police academy training injuries.

City News Service reports that the Los Angeles Superior Court jury deliberated for two days before awarding Ryan Atkins and Justin Desmond more than $2.6 million, Douglas Boss $2.5 million, Anthony Lee nearly $2.3 million and Eriberto Orea nearly $2.2 million. Most of the money was for lost future wages.

The suit, filed in November 2010, said the city should have accommodated them with other jobs until they recovered. But the city attorney’s office argued that the recruits were “conditional employees” who couldn’t perform essential functions of their job, so there was no obligation to place them elsewhere.

Attorney Matthew McNicholas, who represented the recruits, said his clients were eager to work and that hundreds of jobs were available and acceptable to them at the time.

McNicholas said Atkins resigned out of fear that he’d never get a job with the LAPD if he was terminated; the others were fired.

Lawyers for the former recruits said the LAPD used to swear in recruits on their first day at the academy, which provided them with protections such as a Board of Rights hearing prior to termination. The LAPD, however, changed that policy so that recruits could be fired as if they were at-will employees. But as part of a settlement agreement with the union, the Los Angeles Police Protective League insisted recruits be allowed to make a “lateral transfer” to another position without having to take an exam. 

 

• MAN SENTENCED TO 439 YEARS IN ELDER ATTACKS: SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — A San Francisco man has been sentenced to more than four centuries behind bars after being convicted of committing a series of attacks on elderly victims in 2008 as they came home with groceries in hand.

Judge Gil Dekreon sentenced 51-year-old Dwayne Whitaker on Monday to 439 years to life.

Whitaker had been found guilty of two counts of first-degree burglary, one count of first-degree robbery, one count of attempted robbery, two counts of assault, elder abuse with great bodily injury, and receiving or buying stolen property.

Three of the victims were older than 65, and one was 55. Three had to be hospitalized.

Prosecutors had asked for a life sentence because Whitaker had previously been convicted of crimes that counted as strikes under California’s three-strikes law.

 

• SACRAMENTO RESIDENT KILLS 2 INTRUDERS: SACRAMENTO (AP) — Sacramento policed say a preliminary investigation indicates a resident shot and killed two intruders in self-defense over the weekend.

A police statement says officers responded to a report of a burglary in progress early Sunday at a home in Sacramento. They found two males dead from gunshot wounds.

Police say an adult occupant of the home confronted the two inside the house and fired a firearm in self-defense.

 

• GOP CANDIDATE KASHKARI PUMPS $500K INTO CAMPAIGN: SACRAMENTO (AP) — Republican gubernatorial candidate Neel Kashkari said Monday that he has pumped $500,000 of his own money into his campaign and has launched his first television ad as his campaign struggles just four weeks ahead of the June primary.

The commercial, which is airing statewide, shows the former U.S. Treasury official chopping wood on property he owns near Truckee. He says career politicians don’t know how the value of a dollar.

“Career politicians are clueless about earning a dollar. All they know is how to spend yours,” Kashkari says in the 30-second spot. “I’m not a politician, so I actually understand hard work.”

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