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State news briefs
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3 CHARGED IN OAKLAND SHOOTING THAT KILLED INFANT: OAKLAND  (AP) — Three members of an infamous Oakland street gang are facing charges for their alleged roles in a shooting during the filming of rap video that left a toddler dead, authorities said Friday.

Dionte Houff, 32, and Houston Nathaniel III, 23, supposed members of the Acorn Gang, were indicted Thursday by a federal grand jury on more than two-dozen federal crimes including murder, assault, weapons violations and racketeering charges, U.S. Attorney Melinda Haag announced in Oakland.

A third alleged gang member, Frederick Coleman, 16, is facing similar charges in state court, Alameda County District Attorney Nancy O'Malley said Friday. The teenager will be charged as an adult.

Investigators believe that Coleman fired the shot that killed 1-year-old Hiram Lawrence, Jr., who was shot in the head while he was in his father's arms as the video was being produced outside a west Oakland liquor store in November.

MONTEREY COUNTY FILES CLAIM OVER DESAL PLANT: MONTEREY  (AP) — Monterey County has filed a claim blaming a local water district for a failed $400 million desalination project.

County officials allege the Marina Coast Water District manipulated the approval process for the desalination plant by paying a former county official for his influence.

The claim — filed with the water district on Monday — seeks unspecified punitive damages.

Water district General Manager Jim Heitzman declined to comment on the claim to the Monterey County Herald. The water district has filed its own claim that accuses county officials for the project's failure.

The plant would have converted ocean water into drinking water for communities on the Monterey Peninsula that are facing a state-ordered cutback on pumping from the Carmel River.

SACRAMENTO MAN ARRESTED ON SUSPICION OF STARTING FIRE: AUBURN (AP) — California authorities have arrested a Sacramento man on suspicion of starting a wildfire that destroyed a home, injured 12 people and prompted evacuations in Placer County.

Fire officials say 28-year old Byron Mason was arrested early Friday and booked into the Placer County jail on suspicion of negligently starting a wildfire.

CalFire spokesman Daniel Berlant says authorities believe Mason sparked the fire by using a pyrotechnic device along a rural road leading to a river canyon.

Berlant says the so-called Robbers Fire near Foresthill is nearing full containment after scorching more than four square miles over the last week.

All of the evacuations have been lifted as firefighters have made major gains on the blaze.

SAN JOSE COUPLE PLEADS GUILTY TO ELDER THEFT : SAN JOSE  (AP) — A San Jose couple has been convicted of scamming an elderly man out of more than $700,000 and using the money to fund a lavish lifestyle that included a Mercedes, a Cadillac Escalade and cosmetic surgery.

The San Jose Mercury News reports ( that Christina and Jimmy Bray pleaded guilty on Thursday to several counts of felony elder theft.

Authorities say 30-year-old Christina Bray — a JP Morgan Chase bank manager — tricked the 97-year-old man into signing withdrawal slips after he came in to make a deposit at the bank she worked at.

The withdrawals began in May 2011 and continued for five months. The couple was caught when they opened a joint account.

Thirty-nine-year-old Jimmy Bray faces eight years in prison and his wife six years. They are scheduled to be sentenced on Sept. 4.

RARE CAR VALUED AT $250,000 STOLEN IN SAN DIEGO: SAN DIEGO (AP) — San Diego police are on the lookout for a hot car — a really hot car.

A rare 2005 Ford GT valued at $250,000 was stolen from a storage area in Rancho Santa Fe.

San Diego Detective Timothy Coyle says it was discovered missing on July 10. It's blue with white racing stripes and a $1,000 reward is being offered for information leading to an arrest.

Only around 4,000 of the cars were built. The 550-horsepower vehicles can go from zero to 60 in under 4 seconds.

Coyle says the rare cars are getting rarer because they're notoriously difficult to drive and some people are crashing them.

FILTHY HOMELESS ENCAMPMENT STINKING UP FRESNO: FRESNO . (AP) — Even the California homeless living there are disgusted by the stench from a homeless encampment stinking up central Fresno.

The eyesore along a stretch of oleanders east of Roeding Park is strewn with garbage, clothing and syringes. It's on Union Pacific Railroad property.

Neighbors have complained about the stench and camp resident Bobby Joe Gentry says he's never seen such filth.

Adding to the misery are temperatures in the 100s.

City homeless prevention manager Gregory Barfield tells the Fresno Bee ( ) that the homeless are unable to explain why the site has become so foul.

He says the city will likely clean it up.

But a 2007 court order requires the city to post notices at homeless encampments before cleanups, so the clearing won't start for two to three weeks.

7 FUGITIVES NABBED IN 72 HOURS AT LA, OC AIRPORTS: LOS ANGELES (AP) — U.S. Customs and Border Protection officials say they have nabbed seven fugitives wanted for crimes including sexual assault and drug trafficking within 72 hours at Los Angeles International Airport and John Wayne Airport in Orange County.

Spokesman Jaime Ruiz says six of the intercepted fugitives were caught trying to re-enter the United States from overseas and the seventh was caught before he could board a flight to Guadalajara, Mexico.

OC COMPUTER PEEPER GETS YEAR IN JAIL FOR SPYWARE: SANTA ANA  (AP) — An Orange County computer repair tech was sentenced Friday to a year in jail for installing spyware on six women's computers to record their naked images for his sexual gratification, prosecutors said.

Trevor Harwell, 21, was convicted of six felony counts of computer access and fraud and ordered to complete a sex offender treatment program and five years of formal probation, spokeswoman Farrah Emami said.

Harwell illegally accessed the victims' computers while he was a technician for Rezitech Inc to install the software, which allowed him to record live and still images of them undressing from a remote computer.

The software sent fake error messages telling users to "fix their internal sensor soon," and "try putting your laptop near hot steam for several minutes to clean the sensor," prompting some victims to take their laptops into the bathroom with them when they showered, police found.

Harwell had set up alerts to be notified when victims were using their computers.