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POSTED June 20, 2013 8:57 p.m.

MAN CONVICTED FOR DEATH OF GIRLFRIEND IN TRASH CAN: PLEASANTON  (AP) — A man in Northern California has been convicted in the death of his live-in girlfriend whose body was found in a trash can.

The Contra Costa Times  reports that 35-year-old Javier Prado Sandoval of Stockton was sentenced to 15 years to life in prison after pleading guilty to second-degree murder last week in San Joaquin County Superior Court.

The body of his girlfriend, 25-year-old Ana Flores-Pineda, was discovered badly decomposed in a 45-gallon trash can in May as authorities were not able to identify her for months.

Prosecutors say Sandoval and Flores-Pineda dated for years as she was murdered at their home in Stockton and her body was dumped in Pleasanton.

Sandoval was arrested on Halloween after authorities linked him to the murder through his girlfriend's DNA, tracing his cell phone and lies he told to her family and co-workers.

SF PARK TARGETED BY TREE VANDALS: SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Vandals are going after saplings in San Francisco's Golden Gate Park.

Park officials tell the San Francisco Chronicle more than 200 trees have been vandalized since September, with the most recent episode in May. Each tree costs $250, putting the damage at more than $50,000.

Golden Gate Park Manager Eric Andersen says the trees' tops are snapped off, making them vulnerable to disease and rot. Most of the trees that have been targeted are between 3 and 5 years old and were part of reforestation plots.

Park rangers and police have no leads on the attacks. They are asking the public to be vigilant and report any information they have.

STRAWBERRY GROWER FINED, TOLD TO DESTROY CROP: WATSONVILLE  (AP) — A Central Coast strawberry farmer has agreed to pay a fine and destroy some of his berries after state regulators found he used an illegal pesticide on them.

The California Department of Pesticide Regulation announced a settlement agreement with Lorenzo Lopez of Watsonville-based V.L. Farms on Thursday. They say Lopez acknowledged illegally using the insecticide methomyl and has agreed to destroy 10 acres of his 20-acre farm in addition to a $15,000 fine.

Methomyl was once used by California growers to control lygus bugs in strawberries, but DPR stopped allowing its use in 2010.

The agency says it discovered methomyl residue on the strawberries in April during routine produce residue sampling at a food warehouse in Southern California. DPR says it then traced the berries to Lopez.

 

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