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NEWS FROM ACROSS CALIFORNIA

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POSTED August 1, 2014 10:32 p.m.

RARE WHALE FOSSIL PULLED FROM BACKYARD: RANCHO PALOS VERDES  (AP) — A search-and-rescue team pulled a rare half-ton whale fossil from a Southern California backyard Friday, a feat that the team agreed to take on as a makeshift training mission.

The 16- to 17-million-year-old fossil from a baleen whale is one of about 20 baleen fossils known to exist, Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County paleontologist Howell Thomas said. Baleen is a filter made of soft tissue that is used to sift out prey, like krill, from seawater.

The fossil, lodged in a 1,000-pound (454-kilogram) boulder, was hoisted from a ravine by Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department search-and-rescue volunteers. Using pulleys and a steel trolley, crews pulled the fossil up a steep backyard slope and into a truck bound for the museum.

Gary Johnson, 53, first discovered the fossil when he was a teen exploring the creek behind his family’s home.

At the time, he called another local museum to come inspect the find, but officials passed on adding it to their collection. In January, a 12-million-year-old sperm whale fossil was recovered at a nearby school, prompting Johnson to call the Natural History Museum.

 

FRESNO BUYING 100 ON-BODY CAMERAS FOR OFFICERS: FRESNO . (AP) — Fresno officials have approved the purchase of 100 on-body cameras for police officers.

The total cost of $159,732 — with $70,000 from a state grant and the rest from the city — includes video storage.

Chief Jerry Dyer says the cameras, which will arrive in a month, will record officers’ interaction with citizens.

He says such a record will improve the public’s trust in police performance.

Dyer says his goal is to eventually have all 715 officers wearing cameras.

 

KILLER GIVEN ADDITIONAL DEATH SENTENCES : LOS ANGELES (AP) — Chester D. Turner is no stranger to murder or the punishment that comes with it. He squeezed the life out of more than a dozen women during a decade of terror, and two juries decided he should die for his crimes.

So it was merely a formality Friday that Turner, already on death row for 10 murders, was given four more death sentences for what a prosecutor called the city’s most prolific serial killing.

Turner, 47, looked straight at Judge Robert Perry as he handed down the penalty for the string of inner-city killings during the crack cocaine epidemic. As Turner was led from court, he cursed at the prosecution and said, “I’ll be back.”

Turner is one of at least three men blamed for a series of killings once thought to be the work of a solo killer dubbed the “Southside Slayer.” More than 100 women in South Los Angeles were killed during the violent era when highly addictive crack made people desperate enough to turn to prostitution to support their habit or led to other crimes.

Turner was convicted of 14 of those slayings, plus the killing of a pregnant victim’s fetus, from 1987 and 1998, making him the city’s most prolific killer, prosecutor Robert Grace said.

 

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