Public Discusses State's Parole System At State The Capitol
Emotions ran high in Sacramento Wednesday morning when the public was given the chance to voice their opinions on the state's parole system during a community discussion at the state Capitol.
The panel comes one day after El Dorado County District Attorney Vern Pierson released a report detailing the ways law enforcement failed Jaycee Dugard, who was kidnapped from South Lake Tahoe at age 11 in 1991 and held captive for 18 years at the home of Phillip and Nancy Garrido outside of Antioch.
Phillip Garrido was on parole at the time of the kidnapping, and parole agents visited the home a number of times while Dugard was living in sheds in the backyard.
"It's easy to say that he (Garrido) is an anomaly," Pierson said, but up until the day he was arrested, Garrido was considered "a shining example of a reformed criminal."
A panel of experts on sex crimes and law enforcement were called together by state Sen. Ted Gaines, R-Roseville, and Pierson, whose office recently prosecuted the Garridos, to discuss the problems with the current system and make suggestions for new legislation to improve it.
Pierson argues in his report that one of the systemic flaws is law enforcement's over-reliance on psychiatric evaluations of criminals. He said that Garrido is a prime example of a master manipulator who "gamed the system."
One of the most vocal critics of the state parole system was a former parole agent. Caroline Aguirre stepped up to the microphone and declared that the Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation has become "the department of corruption." She called the current method of determining a sex offender's chances of repeating the crime "the worst risk assessment there is."
According to Pierson's report, if Garrido were assessed Wednesday using the current risk-assessment model, he would be rated a "moderate-low" risk.
Panelist Nancy O'Malley, Alameda County's district attorney and chair of the California Sex Offender Management Board, made suggestions for a new system she referred to as a the "containment method," which would include improving information sharing among law enforcement and treatment providers, and using polygraphs and better risk-assessment tools.
Vacaville City Employee Arrested On Charges of Pedophilia
A part-time employee with the City of Vacaville was arrested Tuesday on suspicion of having sex with a 14-year-old boy, a Vacaville police sergeant said.
Katrina Herrador, 21, of Fairfield, a program leader since May in Vacaville's Teen X-treme summer camp program, was arrested Tuesday for having sex with someone under age 18, Sgt. Denise Quatman said.
She was removed from duty on Friday and resigned on Monday, Quatman said.
Herrador became acquainted with the boy who attended the camp sessions, Quatman said.
Herrador allegedly had sex with the boy last Thursday evening at her home, Quatman said.
The boy's parents discovered a suspicious text message early Friday morning that caused them to suspect an unlawful sexual relationship between Herrador and their son, Quatman said.
It does not appear there was any misconduct or criminal activity during the summer camp program sessions, Quatman said.
Teen X-treme is a summer camp for teens in grades six through nine. It includes arts and crafts, sports, field trips and swimming, according to the City of Vacaville's summer camp web site.
Anyone with information about any inappropriate behavior involving Herrador with the boy or any other summer camp participants is asked to call detective David Marsh at (707) 469-6616.
New San Francisco 49ers Stadium Plans Unveiled
Fans entering the brand new stadium for the San Francisco 49ers
four years from now in Santa Clara might feel as if they have stepped inside
a Roman amphitheatre.
One of the project's lead designers, at an unveiling of the design plan in Santa Clara Wednesday morning for the planned $987 million, 68,500-seat stadium, made the comparison while holding photos of ancient Roman amphitheatres.
"We love the metaphor because we think the 49ers' level of play elevated to a beautiful thing," designer Fernando Vasquez said. "This building will create that sense of something special."
Vasquez and his design partner Tim Cahill, both with architecture firm HNTB, said they were conscious of incorporating the California lifestyle into the plan.
The designers envisioned an open-air multi-purpose facility resembling a C-shaped bowl surrounded by ascending seating suitable for professional and college football, as well as professional soccer, motocross, concerts, and Super Bowl and World Cup events.
The venue will feature four levels of suites, and throughout the stadium, seats with colors of three different California red wines.
At its base, the building will feature retail shops that would be open year-round.
The design plan did not take parking into account because there are existing lots, garages and public transportation within a short walking distance from the stadium.
The stadium is expected to open next to the Great America theme park in time for the 2015 football season.
Vasquez and Cahill said they are continuing to fine-tune aspects of the design plan.
Father And Son Involved In Boating Collision Near Hunters Point
A father and son whose dinghy overturned in the waters near San Francisco's Hunters Point Wednesday were rescued, but one of the men has died, according to the U.S. Coast Guard.
The dinghy collided with a motor vessel around 12:25 p.m., causing the dinghy to flip over and the father and son to be thrown into the water, Coast Guard Seaman Adam Stanton said.
The father was able to climb on top of the capsized hull, but his son, who is in his 20s, was trapped underneath the dinghy, he said.
The Coast Guard learned of the accident and dispatched a 25-foot response boat and helicopter to the scene. Both were rescued and taken to Oyster Point, where one was given CPR, San Francisco fire Lt. Mindy Talmadge said.
The victims were taken to San Francisco General Hospital by ambulance.
Wednesday afternoon, the father had been in stable condition, but Stanton said he did not know the son's condition.
Medical officials reported that one of the two men later died.
The South San Francisco Fire Department and the San Francisco Fire Department provided assistance.
The Brisbane City Police Department is investigating the capsizing and asks that anyone with information related to the accident contact the department at (415) 467-1212.
Man Shot Dead In South Richmond
An 18-year-old man was shot to death in south Richmond Wednesday afternoon in what was the third homicide in the city this week, Richmond police Detective Nicole Abetkov said.
Shortly before 12:30 p.m., police dispatchers started receiving calls reporting multiple gunshots in the 400 block of Florida Avenue. One of the callers reported that a person was down on the ground.
When officers arrived, they found the victim suffering from multiple gunshot wounds, Abetkov said.
He was taken to a nearby hospital, where he died from his injuries, Abetkov said. His name was not being released because his family had not yet been notified of his death.
Police were still interviewing witnesses Wednesday afternoon, but so far no information about any possible suspects was available.
Abetkov said investigators also did not have enough information to determine whether the shooting was part of an ongoing feud between gangs in north and central Richmond that has been behind many of the city's recent homicides, including a shooting early Monday morning that killed two people in the city's Iron Triangle neighborhood.
Wednesday's victim is the city's 24th homicide this year, compared with 21 in all of 2010.
Anyone with information about the case is asked to call Detective Tim Gray at (510) 620-6451. People who wish to remain anonymous can call the police department's tip line at (510) 232-TIPS.
Haight Street Market Employee Shoots Customer
An employee at a market on San Francisco's Haight Street accused of shooting a customer in the back during a dispute over a dog in February had attempted murder charges dropped against him Wednesday but was ordered to stand trial on lesser charges in the case.
Sam Kazzouh, 44, is accused of the Feb. 9 shooting at Fred's New Lite Market, a store located at 1416 Haight St. near Masonic Avenue that is owned by his brother Fred.
The victim, a man named Michael Stafford, got into an argument earlier that day with Sam Kazzouh, who had allegedly kicked Stafford's tan Chihuahua named Gizmo while it was in the store, police and prosecutors said.
As the argument escalated, Kazzouh allegedly retrieved a gun and fired three shots at Stafford, one of which struck him in the back. He survived the shooting but is now paralyzed as a result of his injuries, prosecutors said.
Kazzouh was arrested shortly afterward and pleaded not guilty to charges of attempted murder, assault with a deadly weapon causing great bodily injury, and discharge of a firearm in a grossly negligent manner.
At a preliminary hearing in San Francisco Superior Court Wednesday, several people testified who had been in the market before and during the argument and subsequent shooting.
Kazzouh's attorney, Christopher Hite from the public defender's office, said the testimony provided "ample evidence ... that he felt he had to defend himself."
Assistant District Attorney Michele Dawson, who is prosecuting the case, countered that Stafford was unarmed and was shot in the back while trying to flee the store.
At the end of the hearing, Judge Suzanne Bolanos said there was not sufficient evidence to hold Kazzouh on the attempted murder charge, but ordered him to stand trial on the assault and firearm charges.
Kazzouh will return to court on Aug. 17 to be formally arraigned on the assault and firearm charges.
Antioch Man On Trial For Fatal Shooting Of Son
An Antioch man was ordered Tuesday to stand trial on felony charges in connection with the accidental fatal shooting of his 2-year-old son in Antioch in December, prosecutor Paul Graves said Wednesday.
The shooting happened on Dec. 2 in the family's apartment on Lemontree Court.
The victim, Jyonn Carr, and his 4-year-old brother were alone in their parents' bedroom when a gun they were holding went off, police said.
The children's grandmother, who was watching them at the time, heard the gunshot and found Jyonn in the bedroom with a gunshot wound to his head. He died at a hospital.
Investigators determined that the children's mother had recently bought the weapon, a 9mm handgun, and that their father, Eddie Lee Carr, 28, had removed it from a safe that morning, loaded it and placed it in a drawer in the bedroom, police said.
Both parents were initially arrested, but prosecutors found that there was insufficient evidence to charge the mother.
Carr, however, was charged with two counts of child endangerment, one of which carries an enhancement for causing death; being a felon in possession of a firearm; criminal storage of a firearm and possession of cocaine, Graves said.
A preliminary hearing was held Tuesday during which a judge ordered Carr held for trial on all counts, Graves said.
Carr is scheduled to be arraigned on Aug. 22 in Contra Costa County Superior Court.
Oakland Man Hits and Kills Bicyclist With His Car
An Oakland man accused of hitting and killing a bicyclist with his car in San Francisco's North of Panhandle neighborhood last year was ordered Wednesday to stand trial in the case.
On the night of Aug. 13, 2010, Joshua Calder, 37, was driving south on Masonic Avenue near Turk Street when he allegedly struck 21-year-old Nils Linke, who was visiting the U.S. from Germany.
According to police and prosecutors, Linke was also riding south on Masonic Avenue and was struck from behind by an older-model Mercedes-Benz. He was pronounced dead at the scene.
Calder allegedly fled the scene, but was found about two blocks away after witnesses gave police a description of the vehicle.
He pleaded not guilty to charges of vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated, drunken driving, and hit-and-run, prosecutors said.
At the preliminary hearing in the case, which started on July 25 but was delayed for a week before it finished Wednesday, Calder's defense attorney Daniel Barton admitted that his client had been drinking before the crash but denied that his blood-alcohol content was above the legal limit.
Assistant District Attorney Todd Barrett countered that Calder had the equivalent of seven alcoholic drinks in his system, as well as THC from smoking marijuana.
Barrett alleged that Calder had been speeding and had swerved in the road prior to striking Linke, but Barton said that there is insufficient evidence that Calder had been driving negligently prior to the accident.
San Francisco Superior Court Judge Newton Lam ordered Calder to stand trial on all of the charges, noting that police investigators found no skid marks on the road that would indicate that he was driving safely and tried to stop before striking Linke.
Calder will return to court on Sept. 1 to be formally arraigned on the charges.
Hunter Bitten By Wounded Wild Boar At Lake Sonoma
A hunter was injured Wednesday morning when he was bitten by a wounded wild boar at Lake Sonoma, a Cloverdale fire official said.
The elderly man, a resident of Middletown in Lake County, was hunting wild pigs with three other men in the Yorty Creek day use area off of Hot Springs Road near the Dry Creek arm of the lake.
Cloverdale Fire Protection District engineer Peter Avansino said that at about 10:30 a.m., one of the hunters shot the pig with a rifle, and the hunters then tracked the wounded animal into a canyon.
"It got backed into a corner, charged the hunters and bit the man in his hand and upper leg," Avansino said.
The hunters then killed the pig.
One of the hunters hiked up to a ridge and called 911 on a cellphone, Avansino said.
A Cal Fire helicopter landed nearby, and rescue personnel hiked down to the injured hunter, secured him to a stretcher and carried him back up to the ridge.
The man was flown by REACH helicopter to Santa Rosa Memorial Hospital, Avansino said. His name has not been released.
The other three hunters left the scene with the dead pig.
In addition to Cal Fire and the Cloverdale Fire Protection District, the Sonoma County Sheriff's Office, U.S. Army Corps of engineers and the Geyserville Fire Protection District responded to the incident.
8-Year-Old Boy Honored For Saving Two From Drowning
The mother of 8-year-old Ishaan Singh, San Jose's hero of the week after he helped save a 3-year-old girl and her grandfather from drowning, said her son asked her if he could show up at a news conference held in his honor Wednesday in a limousine.
He did not get his limo ride, but awaiting Ishaan at San Jose's Fire Station 14 was Fire Chief William McDonald with a plaque honoring him for his efforts in saving the lives of a friend's little sister and her 69-year-old grandfather at an apartment complex at 355 South Kiely Blvd. on Monday.
"We are really proud of your actions," McDonald told him.
And the fire chief was not the only one to shower accolades on the Eisenhower Elementary School fourth-grader. Ishaan's parents, Sarbjit Singh, 33, and Manjit Kaur, 32, praised their son for his "quick thinking" and "good heart."
Ishaan shyly thanked the crowd of firemen and reporters and said he also was "very proud" of himself.
"I was not scared," he said. "I was being brave."
On Monday morning, Kaur had taken Ishaan and his 4-year-old sister Ramneek down to the pool. At about 1 p.m., as she was preparing to leave, Kaur noticed two bodies floating in the pool and asked a friend, "What type of swimming is that?"
Then she realized they were not swimming, but were actually drowning.
Not knowing how to swim herself, Kaur immediately called out to Ishaan to jump in and help them.
Ishaan dove in and pushed the little girl to the side of the pool while other residents helped pull her out. Meanwhile, a woman dove in and pushed the grandfather to the side of the pool, and he was also pulled from the water.
Bystanders administered chest compressions on both the man and the little girl until firefighters arrived.
Firefighters arrived within four minutes and found the man and child lying by the side of the pool. They were breathing but were unconscious and unresponsive.
The little girl is doing well but, as of Wednesday afternoon, her grandfather is still hospitalized and in serious condition.
36 Million Pounds Of Ground Turkey Recalled After Salmonella Outbreak Sickens One Person In The Bay Area
Following a national Salmonella outbreak that has sickened one person in the Bay Area, 36 million pounds of ground turkey were recalled according to the California Department of Health.
The voluntary recall from Cargill Meat Solutions Corp. on fresh and frozen ground turkey, which has been linked to the Salmonella Heidelberg bacteria, affected items produced in the company's Springdale, Ark., plant, said Patrick Kennelly, chief of the Food Safety Section of the California Department of Public Health.
Of the six cases of Salmonella Heidelberg in the state, one victim from San Francisco reported the infection in June, health department officials said.
State health officials have also confirmed that one fatality from the contamination was reported in Sacramento, where another non-fatal case was also identified. Both had exposure to ground turkey, Kennelly said.
Salmonella Heidelberg, which is resistant to many commonly prescribed medications, has also infected individuals in Los Angeles, Riverside and San Diego counties.
On Monday, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the U.S. Department of Agriculture identified ground turkey as a possible source of the contamination.
Eileen Shields, spokeswoman for the San Francisco Department of Public Health, said she did not know if ground turkey was a factor in the city's reported infection.
Since the outbreak was first reported in March, 77 people in 26 states have fallen ill, according to the health department. California is one of five states with six or more cases of the bacteria.
The one reported instance in San Francisco does not yet necessitate an investigation, city health officials said.
The state health department is advising safeguards against Salmonella infection. Officials recommend thoroughly cooking poultry to 165 degrees, washing all surfaces immediately after contact with raw meat or poultry, and refrigerating raw and cooked meat within two hours of purchasing or cooking.
Ground turkey distributed by Honeysuckle White, Riverside and Kroger brands in California dated from Feb. 20 through Aug. 2 have been affected by the recall. For a full list of recalled items, consumers can visit www.cargill.com.
Former Pet Store Employee Will Receive $1.1 Million For Brain Damage Sustained During Investigation
A former pet store employee will receive nearly $1.1 million for the permanent brain damage he suffered when he fell 15 feet and hit his head while helping a Fremont police officer investigate the theft of 17 high-end puppies at the store, his attorney said Wednesday.
Omid Mehdavi, a 30-year-old Hayward man, will get $700,000 from the city of Fremont and $375,000 from the owners of the Mowry East Shopping Center, where the accident occurred at the Puppy Love Boutique on Nov. 20, 2008.
Mehdavi's attorney, Lewis Van Blois, said Mehdavi had previously settled with the shopping center's owners and reached a settlement with Fremont officials on Monday just before a trial was set to start in Alameda County Superior Court.
Fremont police Officer Christine Leopardi went to the store to investigate the theft of Dalmatians, Saint Bernards, Pekinese poodles and schnauzers that were valued at between $650 and $1,100 each.
Van Blois said Leopardi sent Mehdavi up to the pet store's roof to investigate the point of entry of the burglary.
He said Mehdavi had used a 14-foot ladder to get up to the roof's first level and was backing up to position it so he could use it to get up to the second level when he crashed through a skylight and fell to the pavement below.
Van Blois said Leopardi "failed to exercise ordinary care" when she directed Mehdavi to inspect the roof for her and watched him back up for seven seconds without warning him that he was approaching the skylight and might fall through.
But the city of Fremont's attorney, Gregory Fox, said Leopardi had only asked Mehdavi for a smaller ladder to get over the 6-foot wall to the roof's second level and was surprised when he used the 14-foot ladder again.
Fox also said Mehdavi had walked by the skylight a few minutes earlier and should have been aware that it was there.
"He wasn't looking where he was going," Fox said.
Bay Area Weather Forecast
The Bay Area is forecast to be cloudy with patchy fog and drizzle this morning, becoming partly cloudy, with highs near 60.
It is expected to be partly cloudy this evening, becoming cloudy with patchy fog and drizzle expected after midnight. Lows are expected to be in the lower 50s.
Friday is expected to be cloudy with patchy fog and drizzle in the morning, becoming sunny, with highs in the upper 50s to mid 60s.
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