PARKS SUPERINTENDENT KILLED IN RANCHO CARDOVA: RANCHO CORDOVA (AP) — Police on Tuesday arrested a recently laid-off park employee in the shooting death of a parks superintendent whose body was found in his bullet-riddled car in a Northern California park near the American River.
Sacramento County Sheriff's Deputy Jason Ramos, a spokesman for the Rancho Cordova Police Department, said 47-year-old Dupree Barber was arrested on suspicion of murder for the slaying of Steve Ebert.
Ebert, 59, was the superintendent of the Cordova Recreation and Parks District who oversaw maintenance of 38 parks.
Ramos said Barber had been among 18 parks employees recently laid off and that Ebert had been one of his supervisors.
"Detectives believe that Barber's loss of employment was directly related to his motive behind the commission of this crime," Ramos said.
Ramos said the passenger side of Ebert's car was found riddled with bullets and that Ebert suffered several gunshot wounds to his upper body after arriving at the park before 6 a.m. on Monday.
Police found him slumped over the steering wheel with his foot on the brake while the car was still running in Rancho Cordova's Hagan Community Park.
FRESNO COUNTY WORKERS WALK OFF JOB AGAIN: FRESNO (AP) — Hundreds of Fresno County employees didn't show up for work on the second day of a three-day union walkout.
Between 1,400 and 2,000 employees participated in the walkout Tuesday. The estimate is based on numbers from both the county and the union.
The Service Employees International Union represents about two-thirds of the county workforce, or 4,100 employees.
Those walking out are protesting pay cuts. Union worker pay was slashed 9 percent or more last month because of the county's budget woes.
County officials said the walkout had the largest impact on social service programs such as food stamps and child support, but core services were not affected.
SHERIFF'S DEPUTY PLEADS NOT GUILTY IN SHOOTING: MODESTO (AP) — A former Stanislaus County sheriff's deputy has pleaded not guilty to the remaining charges in a fatal off-duty shooting.
The 34-year-old Kari Abbey entered the plea on Monday to charges including conspiracy to commit unlawful evictions.
Abbey was also facing a murder charge in the Sept. 24, 2010 shooting death of 31-year-old Rita Elias. But a judge dismissed that charge at the end of a preliminary hearing last month, ruling that Abbey had opened fire in self-defense after Elias pointed what appeared to be a handgun, but was actually a BB gun, at her.
Elias was renting a property from Abbey and Abbey's parents in Modesto. On the day of the shooting, authorities say Abbey went there to evict Elias, and the two women got into a fight.
DEMI MOORE SEEKS TREATMENT FOR EXHAUSTION: LOS ANGELES (AP) — A spokeswoman for Demi Moore says the actress is seeking professional help to treat her exhaustion and improve her health.
Publicist Carrie Gordon says the decision is due to the stresses in Moore's life, and she looks forward to getting well.
Gordon did not release any other details about the nature or location of Moore's treatment.
The past few months have been rocky for Moore. She released a statement in November announcing she had decided to end her marriage to Ashton Kutcher following news of alleged infidelity.
BORDER PATROL SAYS ILLEGAL CROSSERS BOARDED PLANE: SAN DIEGO (AP) — A pilot allegedly tried to fly three Mexicans in a private plane after they illegally entered the United States, the latest in a string of incidents that authorities said Tuesday suggests smugglers are using aircraft to travel a remote California desert.
The pilot was apparently trying to avoid Border Patrol checkpoints on highways that run through California's Imperial Valley, said Ricardo Sandoval, an assistant special agent in charge of investigations for U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement in El Centro.
The Border Patrol said the Cessna was the fourth plane it seized in connection with smuggling migrants since last year in its El Centro sector, which stretches over 71 miles of the 1,954-mile border between the United States and Mexico. One suspected smuggler who was arrested earlier this month kept his Piper plane at the Brawley Municipal Airport.
Private planes have long been used to smuggle drugs but rarely people.
CONVICTED SEX OFFENDER TO SPEND LIFE IN PRISON: SAN DIEGO (AP) — A convicted sex offender who cut off his electronic tracking device and went on to assault four women will spend the rest of his life in prison.
Leonard Scroggins was sentenced Tuesday to 195 years to life in prison.
Last month a jury convicted the 34-year-old of seven felonies, including committing a forcible lewd act on a child, attempted kidnapping, robbery and assault with a deadly weapon.
A transient from Napa County, Scroggins cut off his ankle bracelet in May 2010.
In the following days he stole a woman's purse, tried to rob a teenage girl, tried to kidnap a girl and a woman. He was arrested after an intense manhunt.
MENDOCINO VOTES TO REVOKE POT-GROWING PERMITS: UKIAH AP) — Mendocino County lawmakers have abolished a program that allowed medical marijuana collectives to grow 99 plants at a time with county approval out of fear that federal officials would take legal action against local officials.
The Board of Supervisors voted 4-1 Tuesday to repeal a nearly two-year-old ordinance that created a process by which collectives that claimed to be growing marijuana for a number of medical marijuana patients could apply for cultivation permits that exceeded a 12-plant limit for individuals.
The Ukiah Daily Journal reports the board took the action on advice from the county's lawyer, who said representatives from U.S. Attorney Melinda Haag's office had warned that Mendocino's law was at odds with the U.S. government's position that growing marijuana is illegal.
As part of the permit program, sheriff's deputies monitored marijuana farms and tagged plants for compliance.