• Convicted killer sprung from state’s death row: SAN JOSE (AP) — A man convicted of killing two San Jose jewelers more than 25 years ago has been released from death row.
Miguel Bacigalupo has been spared the possibility of execution because prosecutorial misconduct was found to have marred his 1987 trial.
The District Attorney’s Office on Tuesday notified a judge that it will not retry the penalty phase of Bacigalupo’s murder case. Prosecutors said they were satisfied he will spend the rest of his life in prison unless he can overturn his murder convictions in further appeals.
In 2012, the California Supreme Court tossed out the death penalty for Bacigalupo. The high court said prosecutors failed to disclose credible information that he carried out the 1983 murders of brothers Orestes Guerrero and Jose Luis Guerrero under threats from the Colombian mafia.
• Guilty plea in NorCal ax rampage killings: MOUNTAIN GATE (AP) — A Northern California man has pleaded guilty to two counts of first-degree murder in the slayings of two men whom authorities say he hacked to death with an ax during a 2012 rampage.
The Record Searchlight of Redding reportsthat 37-year-old Thomas McDonald entered the plea on Tuesday in Shasta County Superior Court, stipulating he was insane at the time of the killing. He will be sent to a state mental hospital for a maximum sentence of 50 years to life.
Authorities say McDonald, of Mountain Gate, suspected one of his roommates was stealing from him when he went on the rampage in February 2012. He allegedly stabbed two men with a fork before randomly attacking and killing 54-year-old Karl Bradshaw and 84-year-old Ralph Torborg with a splitting maul, a long ax used to split logs.
•Gubernatorial candidate Kashkari raises nearly $1M: SACRAMENTO (AP) — Former U.S. Treasury official Neel Kashkari is reporting that he has raised nearly $1 million during the first two weeks of his campaign for California governor.
The $976,000 reported Wednesday includes contributions from former Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson and his wife, Kashkari’s parents and several bankers at Goldman Sachs, Kashkari’s former employer.
The report demonstrates Kashkari’s ability to attract the kind of money that has been elusive for other Republican candidates, including state Assemblyman Tim Donnelly of Twin Peaks and former Lt. Gov. Abel Maldonado, who dropped out last month amid lackluster fundraising.
Meanwhile, Gov. Jerry Brown, a Democrat and heavy favorite to win re-election, has nearly $17 million in the bank.
• 29 cited, released in Keystone protest in SF: SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Authorities in San Francisco have cited more than two-dozen demonstrators for blocking entrances to the Federal Building in protest of the proposed Keystone XL oil pipeline.
Police and officers from the Federal Protective Services cited 29 protesters and immediately released them.
The $7 billion Keystone XL pipeline would carry oil from tar sands in western Canada to refineries along the Texas Gulf Coast. The project has lingered for more than five years and has become a symbol of the debate over climate change. A 30-day public comment period on a final environmental impact report on the project began Wednesday.
Pipeline supporters say it will create thousands of jobs and move the U.S. toward North American energy independence.
Opponents say the pipeline would carry “dirty oil” that contributes to global warming.