By allowing ads to appear on this site, you support the local businesses who, in turn, support great journalism.
State news briefs
Placeholder Image

MAN APPEALS FOR RELEASE AFTER 14 YEARS IN PRISON: PASADENA  (AP) — An attorney says a Los Angeles man who was in prison for nearly 14 years is innocent and should stay free, despite prosecutors' argument that missed deadlines for paperwork by defense lawyers mean he should remain behind bars.

City News Service reports Daniel Larsen was ordered freed from state prison in March after a federal judge ruled that his third-strike conviction for carrying a concealed weapon was unjust.

During arguments Tuesday before the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, Assistant Attorney General Stephanie Brenan says there's always been enough evidence to convict Larsen.

The 46-year-old was convicted in 1999 of carrying a knife until attorneys for the California Innocence Project found a former police chief and other witnesses who testified seeing a different man throw away the dagger.

LAPD OFFICER PLEADS NO CONTEST TO MOLESTING GIRLS: CASTAIC  (AP) — A Los Angeles police officer has pleaded no contest for allegedly sexually molesting one young girl and attempting to molest another after luring them to his home.

Prosecutors say 28-year-old Miguel Schiappapietra entered his plea Tuesday to two felony charges of lewd acts on a child under 14 years of age. He is expected to be sentenced to three years in prison and ordered to register as a sex offender when he returns Sept. 6 for sentencing.

Authorities say the two girls — ages 5 and 8 — told detectives they were lured into his home in Castaic in May, while he was off-duty.

Schiappapietra has been with the department for six years, and was working with the Foothill Division.

LAPD had no immediate comment on his job.

NOODLE FIRM PAYS $195,000 IN LABOR CASE: WEST COVINA  (AP) — A Southern California noodle company has agreed to pay more than $195,000 to dozens of current and former employees, settling a federal claim that it cheated them out of overtime pay.

The U.S. Department of Labor announced a consent judgment Tuesday with Rama Food Manufacture Corp. of Ontario and two company officers. They agreed to pay back wages and damages to 36 current and former employees. The firm also will pay more than $13,000 in penalties.

Regulators say the company paid employees straight time for working more than 40 hours per week instead of required premium

BOY DIES AFTER HE'S PINNED BY GOLF CART, CHURCH: ESCONDIDO  (AP) — The San Diego County coroner says a 4-year-old boy was killed when he was hit by a golf cart and pinned against a concrete pillar while playing outside a church during mass.

The medical examiner's office said in a statement Tuesday that Santiago Zarate of Escondido was taken to Rady Children's Hospital and declared dead about 90 minutes after the accident.

Police say Santiago and two other boys were playing on the cart outside Church of the Resurrection, and one of them most likely stepped on the cart's accelerator.

UT San Diego reports four men from inside the church pulled away the cart and freed the boy, and his family drove him to the hospital, summoning help from the fire department on the way.

NORTHERN CALIF. WILDFIRE FORCES SOME EVACUATIONS: ORLEANS  (AP) — A wildfire in the Six Rivers National Forest in Northern California that has forced the evacuation of about 50 homes was moving away from a nearby town Tuesday, officials said.

The Dance Fire had jumped Highway 96 and was moving up a gulch away from the community of Orleans, forest spokeswoman Julie Ranieri said. Orleans is located in Humboldt County about 300 miles northwest of Sacramento.

"It's progressing, and it's spotting ahead of the fire," she said.

Ranieri said two homes and several outbuildings have been destroyed since the fire began Monday evening. Power and phone lines have also been knocked down. The fire was threatening 20 other structures in addition to the 50 rural homes.

As of Tuesday morning, the blaze had burned about 350 acres. It was 10 percent contained.

FRESNO TO RAZE 3 HOMELESS CAMPS: FRESNO  (AP) — Fresno officials plan to raze three homeless encampments that they say have become magnets for crime.

City Manager Bruce Rudd told the Fresno Bee on Monday that the camps would be razed over the next six weeks. Agencies in the area would help residents find housing and other services.

City officials said the encampments have attracted drug dealers, gang members and pimps. Earlier this month, a 20-year-old man was shot and killed in one of the camps and another man was wounded. Two people have been arrested in the shooting.

Police say they have made more than 80 felony arrests at that same camp over the past three weeks.

Fresno has been sued several times by homeless advocates, who have alleged the city destroyed the personal property of homeless residents after razing the camps.

 PORN MAKER TO STOP BEN & JERRY'S SPOOFS: LOS ANGELES (AP) — The days of buying pornographic videos with names based on Ben & Jerry's ice cream flavors are over.

Caballero Video has agreed to stop marketing "Boston Cream Thigh," ''Peanut Butter D-Cup" and other films spoofing the names of the venerable Vermont ice cream maker's products.

The Los Angeles Times reported Tuesday that the agreement settles a lawsuit Ben & Jerry's brought against Caballero last year.

According to the suit, 10 titles in Caballero's "Ben & Cherry's" series besmirched the ice cream maker's name and infringed its trademark.

Not only were the names similar to real Ben & Jerry's products, but the films' packaging also mimicked Ben & Jerry's clouds-and-cows logo.

CALIF. JUDGE WON'T DISMISS CRUISE SHIP MURDER CASE: SANTA ANA  (AP) — A California judge has refused to dismiss a murder charge against a man accused of strangling his ex-wife and tossing her overboard during a Mediterranean cruise.

The Orange County judge ruled Monday that California has the right to proceed against 55-year-old Lonnie Kocontes. His attorneys say they'll appeal.

Kocontes and Micki Kanesaki were divorced but lived together on and off in Mission Viejo, Calif. They were on a cruise in 2006 when she went overboard. Her body washed ashore in Italy the next day.

An investigation began in 2008 when Kocontes began transferring more than $1 million from Kaneski's bank accounts.

Kocontes, a Florida resident, was arrested in February. He has pleaded not guilty to killing his ex-wife for financial gain.


PTSD CLAIMED IN S. CAL VET'S KILLING OF GIRLFRIEND: TORRANCE  (AP) — A lawyer is arguing that an Iraq veteran was suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder when he stabbed to death his girlfriend at their Los Angeles-area apartment.

The Torrance Daily Breeze says the claim was made Monday in the murder trial of Tymarc Warren Jr.

The former Army sergeant killed 22-year-old Eileen Garneiter in their Lawndale apartment in January 2011, weeks after she gave birth to their daughter. A relative found the baby covered in blood.

Prosecutors contend that Warren strangled and stabbed the woman because she planned to leave him.

But defense attorney Louisa Pensanti told jurors her client was damaged by serving four years in Iraq. She's arguing that he should be convicted of manslaughter, not first-degree murder.