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POSTED May 21, 2013 9:54 p.m.

LAWYER: TEEN USED 'MURDER KIT' ON GIRL'S PARENTS: LOS ANGELES (AP) — Prosecutors say a teenager accused of murdering his girlfriend's parents was equipped with a "murder kit" to kill the Compton couple.

Prosecutor Eric Siddall told jurors Tuesday that Giovanni Gallardo had planned his sneak attack by packing a baseball bat, a mask and rubbing alcohol.

Gallardo's public defender told jurors they'd find his client not guilty after they heard about the tragic series of events leading to the deaths of Gloria Villalta and Jose Lara.

Gallardo was 16 at the time of the 2011 killings, but is charged as an adult. He faces life in prison if convicted.

Gallardo's girlfriend, 16-year-old Cynthia Alvarez, was convicted earlier this month after blaming him for the crimes.

POINT MUGU PARK REOPENING MANY AREAS AFTER FIRE: CALABASAS (AP) — Many areas of sprawling Point Mugu State Park that have been off-limits since this month's big wildfire on the outskirts of Camarillo and Thousand Oaks will reopen in time for the Memorial Day weekend.

Parks district Superintendent Craig Sap says camping and day-use areas and the backcountry will reopen on May 24, though some trails will remain closed for repairs.

The fire erupted May 2 along U.S. 101 about 50 miles west of downtown Los Angeles. It threatened thousands of homes, but destroyed none, before burning down canyons of the western Santa Monica Mountains to the Pacific Ocean.

Specific areas reopening Friday include the Sycamore and Thornhill Broome campgrounds, the La Jolla group camp, the La Jolla and Sycamore Cove day-use areas and the Chumash Trail parking area.

LEGOLAND PAYS TRIBUTE IN BLOCKS TO BOY WHO DIED: CARLSBAD  (AP) — The models builders at Southern California's Legoland have built a figure of a 6-year-old boy who died from an autoimmune disease last year and placed it on the park's model of the U.S. Capitol.

Park spokeswoman Julie Estrada said that Mikael Larson never got to fulfill his dying wish of meeting a U.S. president, but he was a frequent visitor to Legoland in his last days.

So the park paid tribute to him by building a small Lego boy with brown hair and a red-and-white striped shirt like one he wore to the park last year and placed it on the steps of the Capitol in its "Miniland U.S.A."

SAN DIEGO AGREES TO PAY BOY HIT BY TRASH TRUCK: SAN DIEGO (AP) — San Diego has agreed to pay $18.5 million to a boy who lost a leg when he was struck by a city trash truck.

An attorney for the city said  that a tentative lawsuit settlement was reached Monday. It still needs City Council and court approval.

Luke Acuna was 9 when his left leg was amputated after a November 2011 accident. Authorities say he was skateboarding through an intersection when he was hit by a trash truck that was making a three-point turn.

The family claimed the turn was dangerous and sued the city for negligence. According to court documents, the city contended the turn was legal and the boy failed to look before crossing the road.

HUGE WIND TURBINE BLADE FALLS IN SOCAL : OCOTILLO  (AP) — Hundreds of wind farms around the world have slowed operations after huge turbine blades fell in Southern California and Iowa.

A 170-foot blade fell last week at a wind farm in Ocotillo, 70 miles east of San Diego.

The paper says turbine-maker Siemens confirmed Monday that it's sent a team of experts there to determine what happened and whether it's related to an April incident in central Iowa when the same type of blade snapped off.

Siemens also says it's curtailing operations for turbines with the B53 blade type around the world.

The estimated 700 turbines — most of them in the U.S. — will mostly continue operating but at slower speeds. However, the Ocotillo unit is completely shut down.

CALIF. TO POST RAW CAMPAIGN FILINGS ONLINE DAILY: SACRAMENTO  (AP) — California Secretary of State Debra Bowen has agreed to expand the way her office presents campaign finance data online after initially rejecting the request from a coalition of good-government groups, research organizations and newspapers, her spokeswoman said Tuesday.

The Secretary of State's Office will make California's entire campaign finance and lobbying database, known as Cal-Access, available for download on one spreadsheet daily by Labor Day. Currently, the secretary of state's office creates CD-ROMs upon request and sends them by mail for $5, or the public has to search online by each candidate, group or committee.

The change brings California more in line with the Federal Election Commission, which already makes raw data available for download online. The change will enable groups to build off the data for functions they need, he said.

UC HOSPITALS SAY PATIENTS SAFE DESPITE STRIKE : LOS ANGELES (AP) — Thousands of workers at University of California medical centers began a two-day strike on Tuesday that prompted the postponement of dozens of surgeries amid reassurances that patients were safe.

A union representing some 13,000 hospital pharmacists, nursing assistants, operating room scrubs and other health care workers began the walkout at 4 a.m. at medical facilities in San Diego, Orange, Los Angeles, Santa Monica, San Francisco and Sacramento.

Nurses were not on strike, emergency rooms were open, and about 450 union employees remained in critical jobs under court order.

The hospitals had prepared for the strike by postponing non-essential surgeries, hiring hundreds of temporary workers and having supervisors do some jobs.

 

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