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Norcal News
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DA ASSIGNS PROSECUTOR TO 1991 FIRE DEATH: MURPHYS  (AP) — A California district attorney says she has appointed a prosecutor with experience in arson investigations to the case of a New York man charged with killing his son and now under investigation in the fire death of his wife more than two decades ago.

Calaveras County District Attorney Barbara Yook said the prosecutor assigned to Karl Karlsen's case is a fire chief.

Karlsen's wife, Christina, died in a 1991 fire at her home in the small Sierra foothill town of Murphys. According to The Record, Karlsen collected on a $200,000 life insurance policy after her death. The fire was declared an accident. Karlsen has blamed it on a kerosene spill.

Meanwhile, he has pleaded not guilty in Seneca County, N.Y. to charges he murdered his son, 23-year-old Levi, for $700,000 in insurance money.

KEY FIGURE QUITS NORTHERN CALIFORNIA STUDIO DEAL: DIXON (AP) — A plan to bring a movie studio to Northern California is on hold again, after a key Hollywood figure pulled out, saying the money's not there.

Howard Kazanjian, a producer on blockbusters like "Raiders of the Lost Ark" and "Star Wars: Episode VI — Return of the Jedi," tells the Sacramento that funding for the $2.8 billion project in Dixon has not materialized.

Kazanjian said he had been promised the title of executive vice president by Carissa Carpenter, who has been trying to build a studio in the Solano County farm town and other areas for 16 years.

The newspaper says the latest development raises new questions about whether the Carpenter can deliver on the lavish studio deal.

She has made studio pitches in six Northern California towns.

2 PLEAD NOT GUILTY TO BEAR POACHING WEST OF TAHOE: SOUTH LAKE TAHOE  (AP) — Two California men have pleaded not guilty to illegally possessing bear gall bladders and claws after they were arrested in a national forest west of Lake Tahoe.

California Fish and Wildlife Warden Mark Michilizzi says Peter Vitali of Pioneer and Arthur Blake of Placerville each face one felony charge and two misdemeanors. They were arrested April 20 after the bear hunting season had closed in the Eldorado National Forest about 25 miles west of Kirkwood.

The two entered pleas at an arraignment Tuesday in El Dorado County Superior Court.

Officers say they had 20 large claws and three gall bladders apparently taken from a mother bear and two cubs.

The bile inside gall bladders is believed by some to have medicinal properties and is sold on the black market.