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POSTED March 20, 2012 7:41 p.m.

VIGIL TO BE HELD FOR MISSING NORTHERN CALIF. TEEN: MORGAN HILL. (AP) — A candlelight vigil will be held for a missing 15-year-old Northern California girl who disappeared while on her way to school.

The vigil is scheduled Tuesday night at the Morgan Hill Presbyterian Church for Sierra Lamar, who was last seen leaving her home and heading for school Friday morning in the suburban San Jose community of Morgan Hill.

Sgt. Jose Cardoza of the Santa Clara County sheriff's office said Tuesday that investigators are still interviewing students at Sobrato High School, where Sierra currently attends and at Washington High School in Fremont, where she attended before transferring last fall.

Investigators are also contacting registered sex offenders living in the area.

Cardoza said Tuesday that Sierra's father, Steve Wayne Lamar of Fremont, is a registered sex offender, but he has been cooperating with authorities and is not considered a person of interest in his daughter's disappearance.

COURT SETS ASIDE APPROVAL OF GAS PLANT IN OAKLEY: OAKLEY . (AP) — Pacific Gas and Electric Co.'s plans for a new natural gas power plant in Contra Costa County have suffered a setback.

A state appeals court has set aside the California utility commission's decision to allow the plant in Oakley to go online in June 2016.

The San Francisco Chronicle reports that the First District Court of Appeal in San Francisco sided with the consumer group, the Utility Reform Network, in its 3-0 ruling last week.

The group said it had not been given time to pursue additional evidence or present its findings against allowing the plant to come online in 2016.

PG&E originally proposed completing construction on the plant in 2014, but the commission rejected that plan. It approved an amended proposal five months later to allow the plant to come online two years later.

SJ POLICE UNION SUES CITY OVER BALLOT MEASURE: SAN JOSE, (AP) — San Jose's police union is suing the city over a ballot measure that would reduce pension benefits.

The San Jose Mercury News reports that the San Jose Police Officers' Association filed two separate lawsuits against the city last week in Santa Clara County Superior Court. It wants the court to order the parties back to the bargaining table and bar the ballot measure from going forward.

The measure would reduce pension benefits for new hires and require current workers to pay more or switch to a plan with reduced benefits.

City officials say the changes are needed to help balance the budget. They dispute the union's allegations that they failed to adequately discuss the changes before putting them on the ballot and should have gone to arbitration.

CALIF. MAN'S MANSLAUGHTER CONVICTION OVERTURNED: REDWOOD CITY  (AP) — Prosecutors are deciding whether to retry a Redwood City man after a state appeals court overturned his manslaughter conviction in a 2007 crash that killed an 8-year-old girl.

The 1st District Court of Appeal ruled on Monday that prosecutors violated Richard Tom's Fifth Amendment rights when they told jurors his silence after the crash incriminated him.

The court sent the case back to San Mateo County Superior Court. District Attorney Steve Wagstaffe said his office will decide in coming weeks whether to seek a retrial.

Authorities say the 50-year-old Tom broadsided a family's sedan in Redwood City while driving under the influence. Eight-year-old Sydney Ng died. Her mother and sister were seriously injured.

A jury cleared Tom of alcohol-related charges, but convicted him in 2008 of vehicular manslaughter and gross negligence. He was sentenced to seven years in prison.

POSTAL WORKER CHARGED WITH FRAUD, CONSPIRACY: OAKLAND  (AP) — Federal prosecutors have charged a U.S. Postal Service employee in Northern California with defrauding the postal service of more than $4 million by steering contracts to a trucking company he helped operate and submitting fraudulent invoices.

Balvinder Singh Chadha's company, Golden Pacific Logistics, Inc., received nearly $6.5 million from the postal service between 2005 and 2009 for truck leases, prosecutors said in court documents filed on Friday.

But about $4.5 million of the amount billed was fraudulent, overstating the number of trucks that were leased and the mileage they incurred and claiming unauthorized maintenance and service costs, according to prosecutors.

Chadha is charged with one count of wire fraud and one count of conspiracy. His wife, Jaspinder Kaur Chadha, who prosecutors said also had a stake in the trucking business, is also charged with conspiracy.

3RD ARREST MADE IN FAIRFIELD DOUBLE HOMICIDE CASE: FAIRFIELD  (AP) — Police have arrested a third suspect in connection with a double homicide in Fairfield after receiving reports the man was on a train heading to Sacramento from Nevada.

The Vallejo Times-Herald reports that 21-year-old Blake Johnson was arrested on the train as it arrived at a Sacramento station.

Police say federal agents kept an eye on Johnson as the train traveled through Nevada after a citizen reported the suspect's whereabouts.

Johnson is being held in Solano County Jail on two counts of homicide.

Fairfield police have arrested two other suspects in connection with the March 7 slayings of 24-year-old Vedell Chew and 18-year-old Bernard Knight.

Those suspects — 21-year-old Darren Trahan and 18-year-old Marcel Rutherford-Chew — were released pending further investigation after turning themselves in.

2 MEN FACE LIFE FOR STRING OF OAKLAND ROBBERIES: OAKLAND AP) — Two California men have been convicted of dozens of felonies for a residential robbery spree that mostly targeted Asian immigrants in Oakland.

The Oakland Tribune (http://bit.ly/GBNxpa) says 26-year-old Romier Simmons of Stockton and 24-year-old Christopher Malbrough of Hayward had rejected plea deals calling for 26-year prison terms.

Monday's Oakland jury convictions mean they are now facing life in prison when they are sentenced May 18.

Simmons was found guilty of 59 felony counts and Malbrough was convicted of 54 felony counts.

Prosecutors say they committed more than a dozen robberies from March to November 2010.

 

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