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POSTED April 4, 2012 8:12 p.m.

SHERIFF'S ASSOCIATION BACKS BROWN'S TAX PROPOSAL: SAN DIEGO (AP) — Gov. Jerry Brown is collecting an endorsement for his tax initiative proposal from the California State Sheriffs' Association.

The law enforcement group held its annual meeting in San Diego on Wednesday.

The association's president and Merced County Sheriff Mark Pazin told Brown that his organization voted overwhelmingly to back the initiative because it would provide the money needed to ensure California's public safety.

The Democratic governor previously shifted corrections, law enforcement and other services to cities and counties and he has promised law enforcement officials that he would provide a constitutional funding guarantee to pay for it.

Brown's tax plan would dedicate money each year to local municipalities to pay for the realignment.


JURY ACQUITS ANIMAL BROKER OF CRUELTY TO PRIMATES: LOS ANGELES (AP) — A jury in Los Angeles has acquitted a Florida animal broker of 10 counts of animal cruelty in a case involving 15 primates who died after being shuttled around the world on international flights.

A spokesman for the Los Angeles city attorney's office says the jury took less than an hour Wednesday to reach its verdicts acquitting Robert Matson Conyers of all charges.

The nearly two-week trial focused on a disastrous odyssey around the world as the monkeys were refused transit at several points, including China.

Conyers' attorney argued the broker was not responsible for what happened while the monkeys were being ferried around the world. He said they were well fed and cared for while in his control.

The monkeys suffered from neglect, starvation and hypothermia during the ordeal.

BETTY WHITE'S BRINGS HER PRANK 'POSSE' TO NBC: LOS ANGELES (AP) — Betty White is turning a team of pranksters loose on the younger generation.

The 90-year-old is the host and executive producer of "Betty White's Off Their Rockers," a new NBC show in the tradition of "Punk'd" and "Candid Camera."

White calls the show's performers her "posse." They set out to play tricks on young people.

The series is giving work to older actors who, White said, may find that "jobs don't come around as much as they used to."

White says the pranks aren't mean-spirited but do play off senior stereotypes to show how hollow they are.

"Betty White's Off Their Rockers," produced by Kinetic Content and Hallock Healey Entertainment, was adapted from a hit Belgian series. It debuts Wednesday on NBC.

WARM AND FUZZY T. REX? NEW EVIDENCE SURPRISES: LOS ANGELES (AP) — The discovery of a giant meat-eating dinosaur sporting a downy coat has some scientists reimagining the look of Tyrannosaurus rex.

With a killer jaw and sharp claws, T. rex has long been depicted in movies and popular culture as having scaly skin. But the discovery of an earlier relative suggests the king of dinosaurs may have had a softer side.

The evidence comes from the unearthing of a new tyrannosaur species in northeastern China that lived 60 million years before T. rex. The fossil record preserved remains of fluffy down, making it the largest feathered dinosaur ever found.

If a T. rex relative had feathers, why not T. rex? Scientists said the evidence is trending in that direction.

"People need to start changing their image of T. rex," said Luis Chiappe, director of the Dinosaur Institute at the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County, who was not part of the discovery team.

Much smaller dinosaurs with primitive feathers have been excavated in recent years, but this is the first direct sign of a huge, shaggy dinosaur. Scientists have long debated whether gigantic dinosaurs lost their feathers the bigger they got or were just not as extensively covered.

LANDLORD GETS PRISON FOR BOMB UNDER TENANT'S SUV: SACRAMENTO . (AP) — A Northern California landlord has been sentenced to 35 years in federal prison for planting a bomb under an ex-tenant's sport utility vehicle.

Daniel Richard Garcia was convicted in January of malicious use of explosives, possession of a destructive device and two counts of possession of unregistered destructive devices.

The San Francisco Chronicle says the 30-year-old Fairfield man was sentenced on Tuesday in Sacramento.

Prosecutors say Garcia was angry over a missing cable TV box and trash left when the tenant moved out of a rental unit.

Garcia placed the bomb under the tenant's SUV and it exploded last May, sending shrapnel into a nearby apartment building.

No one was hurt.

Garcia was arrested a month later after an eight-hour SWAT team standoff.

CALIFORNIA PASTOR HELD IN TORTURE OF 13-YEAR-OLD: CORONA  (AP) — The pastor of a Riverside County storefront church and two of his followers have pleaded not guilty to kidnapping and assaulting a 13-year-old boy.

Lonny Remmers, Nick Craig and Darryll Jeter Jr. entered their pleas Wednesday afternoon in Riverside County Superior Court.

Prosecutors say the men pinched the boy with pliers, beat him with a shovel, forced him to dig a grave and threatened him with death as a harsh form of discipline.

Police say the boy was kidnapped after his mother took him to a group home operated by the church to seek guidance on disciplinary issues with her son.


DELHI  (AP) — Authorities say two armed men stormed a Central Valley home and fatally shot a 70-year-old.

Roberto Solorio was shot dead around 1 a.m. Monday after the men broke into the home in the Merced County community of Hilmar. A 33-year-old man at the home — identified by relatives as Solorio's son-in-law— was also shot, but is expected to survive.

Merced County sheriff's officials tell the Merced Sun-Star a relative who spent time at the home may have been a medical marijuana user, and that may have somehow prompted the home invasion.

The home itself had no evidence of medical marijuana or a marijuana-growing operation.

Sheriff's officials also said none of the residents at the home appeared to have a criminal background, much money or any obvious enemies, and no items appeared to have been stolen.

Man convicted of raping disabled neighbor

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — A San Francisco man is facing 46 years to life in prison for raping a disabled neighbor two years ago.

Prosecutors say the woman, who has severe scoliosis and uses a walker to get around, was expecting a Meals on Wheels delivery when she opened the door and was confronted by 45-year-old Maurice Rodney Hickman.

He threatened the woman with a knife and choked her as he sexually attacked her.


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