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State news briefs
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WIFE HELD IN DEATH OF AFGHAN WAR VET FOUND SHOT: SACRAMENTO  (AP) — Police have arrested the wife of an Afghan war veteran on suspicion of his murder, saying her story about her husband being shot during a carjacking last month didn't add up.

Shajia Ayobi, 45, was booked into Sacramento County Jail late Thursday following another interview with investigators.

Police were unsure whether the carjacking story was a complete fabrication or whether other suspects were also involved, Sgt. Andrew Pettit said. Detectives had doubts about her version of events and had long sought to re-interview her after the Dec. 18 shooting.

"Based on her interview and inconsistent statements, things just didn't match up," said Pettit. "In these types of investigations, our detectives are very keen on details. Some of those details were not lining up with the evidence we found."

Ghulam Ayobi was found in the couple's minivan along Interstate 80 with a gunshot wound to the upper body. The former Afghan soldier, who also advised U.S. troops, later died at the hospital.

Police said they initially believed the attack was random, since they could find no other motive.

The suspect told relatives and police that the assailants wanted money and that she never got a good look at them because she was following their directions to drive, Safi previously told the newspaper. His uncle was shot when a fight broke out as the van drove east on I-80, Safi said.



MAN SUSPECTED OF SMACKING PEOPLE IN LA ARRESTED: LOS ANGELES (AP) — Los Angeles police have arrested a man they believe smacked, pushed or punched four people in unprovoked attacks near City Hall.

Police say Jermaine Moran was arrested Friday morning. He's being held on warrants unrelated to the attacks while investigators prepare to seek misdemeanor battery charges.

Police say Moran fits the description of a man who attacked three women and a man in crosswalks or on sidewalks in the Civic Center since Jan. 3.

Authorities say the victims were given a single slap, punch or push without warning.

Lt. Paul Vernon also tells City News Service that police are looking for a second man who punched a fifth victim last week. Vernon says the woman eliminated Moran as a suspect.

REPORT: LA COUNTY SHOULD NIX EAST LA CITY PROPOSAL: LOS ANGELES (AP) — The Los Angeles County consultant hired to study the proposed incorporation of East Los Angeles recommends that the county reject the idea.

In a 459-page report to be released next week, Economic & Planning Systems says a proposed City of East Los Angeles would not be able to financially support itself.

The report says the state controller also agreed, finding that cityhood proponents underestimated law enforcement costs by $10 million.

The county commission charged with approving city formation is scheduled to hold a public hearing and take a vote on the proposal next Wednesday.

East Los Angeles Residents Association President Benjamin Cardenas says he has requested the commission delay the vote for four months to investigate new sources of revenue, including asking voters to approve a utility tax.

JUDGE SENDS CALIF OZONE PLAN BACK FOR REVISION: FRESNO  (AP) — State and local air pollution districts in California's Central Valley must come up with a new plan to meet ozone emission standards after a federal appeals court ruled that the data used was out of date.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency approved the plan in 2010. But Earthjustice sued arguing that the plan and emission projections didn't match reality. To measure diesel emissions, the San Joaquin Air Pollution Control District had considered where trucks were registered — not whether they drove through the region.

On Friday, the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that the EPA's decision to use that data was "arbitrary and capricious."

Officials say the agency will need at least two years to rewrite a new plan for reducing the lung-damaging pollutant.

PROBE FINDS BELL COPS GOT UNWARRANTED BENEFITS: BELL (AP) — The California city of Bell says three former police chiefs and other employees received disability pensions worth millions of dollars that they didn't earn.

The Los Angeles Times eports an investigation has concluded that more than half of the disability retirements awarded to police officers under former city administrator Robert Rizzo shouldn't have been granted. It also concluded that workers' compensation awards for 13 officers were "exceedingly large."

The disability pensions carry big tax benefits and the workers compensation settlements are tax-free.

The California Public Employees Retirement System will now investigate.

City officials have said Rizzo used the police retirement scheme to reward allies and persuade officers he wanted off the force to leave.

Rizzo and seven other officials of the Los Angeles suburb have been charged with corruption.

WOMAN ARRESTED IN DAUGHTER'S 1970 DEATH: AUBURN  (AP) — A Northern California woman is facing a murder charge in the death of her 4-year-old daughter more than 40 years ago.

Authorities say 66-year-old Patricia Lee Thomas of Grass Valley was arrested on Thursday night. Thomas, who also goes by the name Patricia Lee Howell, is accused of killing her daughter on May 25, 1970 in Auburn in what was initially reported as a bathtub drowning.

But Placer County prosecutors and Auburn police said they recently received new information that led them to reopen the case and find additional evidence.

Auburn Police Chief John Ruffcorn declined to say what that information or additional evidence was, citing an ongoing investigation.

Thomas is scheduled to be arraigned on the murder charge on Monday.

MAN SENTENCED FOR PUNCH THAT KILLED OC BAR PATRON: SANTA ANA  (AP) — A man who killed an Orange County bar patron with a single punch has been sentenced to 10 months in jail.

Prosecutors say 24-yeara-old Oscar Medina-Perez of Huntington Beach pleaded guilty to involuntary manslaughter and was sentenced Friday.

He's expected to be deported to Mexico after completing his sentence.

Authorities say Medina-Perez was standing outside a Stanton nightclub last July when he got into an argument and punched 24-year-old Leovardo Bustos in the face.

Bustos fell to the ground, unconscious. He was taken home but was still unconscious the next morning. He was hospitalized but removed from life-support two weeks later.