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POSTED May 8, 2013 9:15 p.m.

MAN CHARGED IN BEATING OF SIKH ELDER IN FRESNO: FRESNO  (AP) — A Central California man is facing charges of attempted murder and elder abuse in connection with the beating of an 82-year-old Sikh man outside a Sikh temple in Fresno.

Sonia De La Rosa, a spokeswoman for the Fresno County district attorney, says 29-year-old Gilbert Garcia, Jr. was arraigned Wednesday and pleaded not guilty to both charges.

Investigators say Garcia, whom they describe as a transient, attacked and beat Piara Singh with a pipe outside the Nanaksar Sikh Temple around 7 a.m. Sunday. Singh was hospitalized with head wounds, broken bones and ribs.

Fresno police officials say the attack was being investigated as a possible hate crime, though prosecutors have not filed any hate crime charges so far.

Civil rights groups say Sikh men — who wear beards and turbans as part of their faith — are sometimes mistaken for Muslims and targeted in bias-motivated attacks.

RURAL CALIFORNIA MAN SHOT WIFE, 2 GIRLS: SHINGLETOWN  (AP) — Authorities in rural Northern California on Wednesday were searching for a man suspected of fatally shooting his wife and two young daughters at their home.

Shane Franklin Miller, 45, was on the loose a day after the killings in Shingletown, about 230 miles northeast of San Francisco, Shasta County sheriff's officials said.

"There is a manhunt for him right now," Lt. Dave Kent said. "He's a prime suspect. We're not looking for anybody else."

Schools in the area were under lockdown.

Kent said deputies received a call from Miller's residence around 7:45 p.m. Tuesday. When they arrived, they found the bodies of Miller's wife, Sandy, 34, and two daughters, Shelby, 8, and Shasta, 4. Shane Miller was not there.

Kent said he did not know who placed the call.

Investigators have released a photo of Miller and said he may be driving a gold-colored 2010 Dodge Mega Cab pickup with a camper shell. He's considered armed and extremely dangerous.

Miller may be heading to a cabin in Ferndale where several weapons may be stored, authorities have said.

Shingletown, which lies near the Lassen National Forest, has a population of about 2,000 people.

MALDONADO LAUNCHES DRIVE TO REPEAL INMATE SHIFT: SACRAMENTO,   (AP) — Potential GOP candidate for governor Abel Maldonado is leading a campaign to ask voters to repeal a law that has shifted responsibility for tens of thousands of criminals from state prisons to county jails.

Maldonado, a former California senator and lieutenant governor, announced Wednesday that he has formed an initiative committee to start collecting signatures to put the measure on next year's ballot.

Gov. Jerry Brown, a Democrat, pushed for the criminal justice realignment under a federal court order to reduce prison crowding. The corrections department responded to Maldonado's criticism, saying counties can rehabilitate many lower-level offenders more efficiently.

Maldonado is considering a run for governor next year against Brown, but he denied the ballot drive is related.

He says "there's a pretty good shot" that he will challenge Brown.

INTEREST GROUPS REVEAL SHARED MONEY, ELECTION ROLE: SACRAMENTO  (AP) — More than six months after the November election, two major California political interest groups are revealing the joint role they played in ousting two incumbent Democrats from the state Assembly.

The new information illustrates the complexity of how political campaigns are funded in an era of nearly unbridled independent expenditures and the difficulty in tracking the ultimate sources behind the money.

Political action committees working on behalf of the California Chamber of Commerce and an agriculture trade association have filed amended campaign finance reports in the past two weeks showing how they secretly shared hundreds of thousands of dollars.

The arrangement was not reported before the election, as required by law, so both organizations could face substantial fines if the state's political watchdog agency determines that they deliberately failed to report the exchange.

In reports filed with the secretary of state's office in the past two weeks, Jobs PAC, the chamber's campaign committee, reported that it paid for at least $100,000 in polling and mailers that were then given as "in-kind" donations to a group calling itself Family Farmers Working for a Better California. Family Farmers is run by Western Growers, a powerful agricultural trade association.

REPORT: DWP AVERAGE PAY UP 15 PERCENT IN 5 YEARS: LOS ANGELES (AP) — The city's economic woes haven't impacted salaries at the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power, where employees saw their pay increase an average of 15 percent over the last five years.

The Los Angeles Times cites records that show DWP workers got more generous pay raises than other city workers, who received an average increase of 9 percent over the same period.

The newspaper says average DWP pay rose from $88,299 in 2008 to $101,237 in 2012. By contrast the median household income in LA fell over roughly the same period, from $48,882 to $46,148.

DWP compensation has become a central issue in the mayoral election. The candidates have debated whether the city's contracts are too costly given the fiscal problems that have resulted in cuts in services.

SINGER ARRESTED IN MURDER-FOR-HIRE PLOT: OCEANSIDE  (AP) — The lead singer of the Grammy-nominated metal band As I Lay Dying was in jail Wednesday in Southern California on suspicion he tried to hire an undercover detective to kill his estranged wife.

Tim Lambesis, 32, was stopped by police while shopping in Oceanside, five days after detectives received information that the singer had solicited someone to kill his wife, who lives in the nearby beach town of Encinitas, the San Diego County Sheriff's Department said in a statement.

A task force from several law enforcement agencies launched an investigation that led to the arrest late Tuesday. The department would give no further details on the investigation.

A man who answered the phone at a number listed in the singer's name in the coastal city of Del Mar said the family was not commenting at this time.

Lambesis was scheduled to be arraigned on Thursday at the county courthouse in Vista.

 

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