Bakers Convcited of First-Degree Murder for Killing of Journalist
Family members and friends of journalist Chauncey Bailey expressed relief Thursday that Your Black Muslim Bakery leader Yusuf Bey IV and an associate were convicted of first-degree murder for Bailey's shooting death nearly four years ago.
Prosecutor Melissa Krum told jurors during a trial that lasted two-and-a-half months that Bey, 25, ordered the killing of Bailey, 57, to prevent him from writing an article about the bakery's financial problems.
The bakery was in the midst of bankruptcy proceedings when Bailey was killed near the corner of 14th and Alice streets in downtown Oakland, only a few blocks away from where the trial was held, in broad daylight Aug. 2, 2007, and closed its doors later that year.
Krum said Bey was also upset at Bailey for writing articles about the child molestation charges that his father, bakery founder Yusuf Bey, faced when he died in 2003 at the age of 67.
Bailey's death was the first time in many years that an American journalist was killed over a domestic story. Bailey's cousin, Wendy Ashley-Johnson, said the jury's verdict sends a message that "journalists have a job to do and shouldn't be squashed."
Ashley-Johnson said, "Unfortunately, that's what happened to Chauncey and it should never happen again."
She said, "I'm glad it's over now and Chauncey can rest and we can go on with the rest of our lives." Derrick Nesbitt, who worked with Bailey on a local television show called "Soul Beat" that Bailey hosted, said, "For him to be murdered was ridiculous" and still recalls coming to the murder scene and "watching him laying there."
Nesbitt, who thanked Bailey for helping him get into the news business, said, "I miss Chauncey and his type of reporting.
In Oakland, Chauncey hasn't been replaced." Jurors, who deliberated for 10 days, convicted Bey of three counts of first-degree murder for a shooting spree in the summer of 2007.
In addition to being convicted for the death of Bailey, Bey was convicted for the fatal shootings of Odell Roberson Jr., 31, on July 8, 2007, and Michael Wills, 36, on July 12, 2007.
Bakery associate Antoine Mackey, 25, was convicted of two counts of first-degree murder for the deaths of Bailey and Wills but jurors deadlocked on a murder charge he faced for the death of Roberson.
Feds Seize $14.8M from Swiss Bank of Counterfeit Software Merchant
Federal immigration officials have seized $14.8 million from a Swiss bank account of a fugitive entrepreneur accused of selling counterfeit security software over the Internet.
Shaileskumar Jain, 41, also known as Sam Jain, formerly of Mountain View, is charged in federal court in San Jose with fraudulently gaining millions of dollars from sales of counterfeit copies of anti-virus programs made by Symantec Corp.of Cupertino.
U.S. District Judge Ronald Whyte declared him a fugitive after he failed to show up for two court hearings in January 2009.
Jain is accused in a 2008 indictment of 31 counts of fraud and trafficking in counterfeit goods in 2003.
The indictment alleges that he took in a total of $13.5 million by selling counterfeit software through several Internet websites.
Jain allegedly recruited customers through a combination of email spamming and pop-up advertising that sent viewers to his websites.
The U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's Homeland Security Investigations agency announced Thursday that the $14.
8 million was seized in a related forfeiture action. The agency said the forfeiture was completed May 31 after the Swiss government transferred the money to the U.S. Treasury in compliance with a seizure warrant issued in federal court in New York.
Joseph Vincent, assistant special agent in charge of the agency's San Jose office, said the amount seized includes the $13.5 million cited in the indictment.
Authorities are awaiting an accounting from the Swiss government as to the source of the remaining $1.3 million taken from the Swiss account, he said.
ICE Director John Morton, in a statement from his Washington, D.C., office, said authorities hope some of Jain's "ill-gotten gains will soon go to compensate the legitimate software maker that lost millions as a result of this scheme."
In the meantime, he said, "We're continuing our efforts to locate this fugitive so he can be brought to justice for his crimes."
Vincent said investigators are following up on information indicating Jain may have fled to Ukraine.
CPUC Panel Blasts PG&E
An independent panel appointed by the California Public Utilities Commission issued a report Thursday blasting PG&E's technical competence and pipeline integrity management procedures.
The panel found that shortcomings in those and other areas not only contributed to last year's San Bruno pipeline explosion, which left eight people dead and 35 homes destroyed, but they also have led to a flawed response to the disaster.
"We met many capable people," at PG&E, business advisor and panelist Paula Rosput Reynolds told the CPUC Thursday."
Somehow that has not created an atmosphere where inquiry, thinking and curiosity mesh together in a way that is fulsome."
She and the other four members of the panel found that PG&E's pipeline integrity management program had focused more on worker safety than the safety of the system.
The company's record keeping, organizational effectiveness, and resource allocation also came under fire, as did its response to the San Bruno explosion, the five-stage "Pipeline 2020" improvement program.
"Pipeline 2020 is not a plan," Reynolds said, calling the materials "reactive" and underdeveloped.
PG&E released a statement saying the company "strongly agrees" with the panelist's comments and will work with the CPUC to improve its pipeline safety.
"It's clear, as we've openly acknowledged, that we need to make major improvements in our operations and culture in order to deliver the performance our customers rightly expect -- and that we expect from ourselves," the company said.
Although the National Transportation Safety Board is responsible for identifying the root causes of the explosion, the independent panel found that it could not separate technical incompetence from the problems it identified with PG&E's safety record, according to the 204-page report.
Milpitas Police Investigating Thursday's Shooting
Milpitas police are investigating a shooting at an occupied house Thursday afternoon.
Officers responded around 1:45 p.m. to a report of shots fired in the 600 block of North Abbott Avenue, according to police Lt.Thomas Borck.
Witnesses told police the suspect, who hasn't been identified, fled in a black mid-size sedan.
People were inside the house at the time, but no one was injured, Borck said.
Preliminary Investigation Concludes Pedestrian Killed by Clatrain was a Man
A pedestrian who was fatally struck on a Caltrain track in Burlingame Thursday afternoon was a man, an agency spokeswoman said.
A preliminary investigation indicates the death was intentional, Caltrain spokeswoman Christine Dunn said.
The man's name has not been released.
Caltrain reopened its northbound track near Bellevue Avenue at 5:45 p.m. for trains traveling at reduced speeds, Dunn said.
Commuters were advised to expect significant delays because of the service interruptions.
San Francisco Giants fans planning to take the train to Thursday night's game were warned to make other arrangements, she said.
This is the second time in two days a person has been fatally struck by a train in Burlingame.
The southbound Baby Bullet train No.
362 hit the man Thursday at about 4:30 p.m. near Bellevue Avenue, Dunn said.
On Wednesday, a man was struck at Peninsula Avenue at about 12:20 p.m., about half a mile from where the pedestrian was hit Thursday.
It appears Wednesday's death was a suicide, Dunn said.
Thursday's death marks the ninth person to be killed on Caltrain right-of-way this year.
There were 11 fatalities on Caltrain tracks last year.
BART and the Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority were honoring Caltrain tickets.
SJ Hairstylist Killer Convicted of First-Degree Murder
Nearly 23 years after a 21-year-old hairstylist was found stabbed to death in her San Jose apartment, a jury Thursday found the suspect in the case guilty of first-degree murder for the killing.
Following a month-long trial and nearly 1.5 days of deliberation, a jury of eight men and four women convicted Charles Grant of stabbing Kristi Harris with a knife in her Bascom Avenue apartment Aug. 29, 1988.
Immediately after the verdict was read around 11 a.m., Harris' family members and friends broke into loud sobs.
"We've waited 23 years for this," Harris' sister, Dana, said.
"He took a precious life from us in a very brutal manner. I've always wanted him to feel the fear that she did."
Outside the courtroom, wearing a purple ribbon emblazoned with "J4K" or "Justice for Kristi," Harris' mother, Sharon, said she was at a loss for words.
"I'm just glad it's over with. It's taken way too long," she said.
Prosecutors said Grant killed her when she walked in on him during a robbery.
Her roommate later found her body in her apartment.
Grant was treated at Santa Clara Valley Medical Center for a laceration to his left hand on the day of the murder.
His wound required sutures and he also had a cast that was wet and damaged and required repair during the visit.
Homicide investigators interviewed Grant a few times after the murder and he provided a blood sample.
Police arrested Grant in August 2008 after his DNA was matched to DNA evidence taken from the apartment.
Santa Clara County Superior Court Judge David Cena ordered Grant to return to court for sentencing Sept. 8.
He faces a maximum sentence of 31 years to life in prison.
San Mateo Peninsula Humane Society Holds Largest Cat
Murphy stands out among the hundred other cats up for adoption at the San Mateo Peninsula Humane Society, the adoption center vice president said.
The 6-year-old male house cat was dropped off to the Peninsula Humane Society last month weighing 31.14 pounds -- the largest domestic cat the humane society workers have seen in 20 years, Peninsula Humane Society Vice President Scott Delucchi said.
"I've never seen a cat his size," Delucchi said.
With a cat this large, the society needs to monitor his food intake, diet and exercise, Delucchi said.
His future owners will also need to be aware that the cat's extra weight puts him at higher risk for disease and health problems.
Murphy's previous owner didn't intentionally let the cat become obese, it was "something that slowly crept up," Delucchi said about the owner who surrendered Murphy to the shelter at the end of May.
Delucchi said he thinks Murphy's size will attract attention and hopefully a family to take him to a good home.
"He's different, people like different," he said.
"Especially in a shelter with almost 100 cats up for adoption he really stands out."
The Coast Guard, Oakland police and other local agencies worked to remove a car dumped in the Oakland Estuary on Thursday, a Coast Guard spokeswoman said.
Oakland police have taken over the case, but the Coast Guard, along with the Alameda County Sheriff's Office and the Oakland Fire Department headed to the estuary, which separates Oakland and Alameda, after a 3 a.m. phone call of car lights shining through the water, Petty Officer Laura Alcon said.
Police determined the car was stolen and had been dumped into the water near the Jack London Aquatic Center, Alcon said, noting police say the area is known for ditching stolen cars.
Nobody was in the car, but the Coast Guard stayed at the extrication to ensure no one was hurt, Alcon said.
Once the car was lifted from the water a tow truck took it away, she said.
Child Molester Arrested in San Jose
A man suspected of severely abusing his ex-girlfriend's 3-year-old daughter in Campbell has been arrested in San Jose, according to police.
Tips led officers to the area of Santa Teresa Boulevard and Springer Way in San Jose on Wednesday.
At about 1:35 p.m., they found George Rodriguez, 35, sitting in the passenger seat of a car and arrested him on a $125,000 warrant for child abuse and false imprisonment, according to police Capt. Charley Adams.
Last month, Rodriguez's 15-year-old son found the girl rolled up in a carpet in Rodriguez's garage at his Campbell home in the 1300 block of Pollard Road.
The child is now in protective custody.
Her mother, Jane Marin, 31, was arrested on suspicion of child endangerment, Adams said.
Detectives had searched for Rodriguez in San Jose and Sacramento based on tips and leads.
The Sacramento Police Department and sheriff's office were also involved in the search.
New Health and Low-Income Housing Complex Opens in SOMA
San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee joined city and federal officials Thursday to celebrate the opening of a new health center and low-income housing complex in the city's South of Market neighborhood.
The Westbrook Plaza complex, located at 227 Seventh St. between Folsom and Howard streets, includes a 20,000-square-foot community health clinic and 49 apartment units for rent to low-income families.
At a ribbon-cutting ceremony for the building, Lee and others cited the project as a reason why local redevelopment agencies should not be cut by Gov. Jerry Brown.
Brown has proposed eliminating the agencies, which use money to revitalize blighted urban areas, to help reduce the state's budget deficit.
Lee said more than a third of the funding for the $47 million Westbrook Plaza project came from the city's redevelopment agency.
Other speakers included officials from U.S. Sen. Dianne Feinstein's office and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, as well as the San Francisco Redevelopment Agency.
Fred Blackwell, executive director of the agency, said the project is "a shining example of what redevelopment can do, and a reason it should stick around.
" The health clinic includes space for medical exams, dental and lab work, X-rays and a public pharmacy, according to project officials.
The apartments include 1-, 2- and 3-bedroom units, community rooms and open space for households below 60 percent of the area's median income, which is $67,860 for a family of four.
The complex was jointly developed by the South of Market Health Center and Mercy Housing California, and is named after Eloise Westbrook, a housing and health care activist.
Lee said the collaboration on the project shows "we will take care of the most needy and we'll do it the right way, together."
Publishers Challenge Constitutionality of SF Yellow Pages Ban
A constitutional challenge to San Francisco's so-called Yellow Pages law claims the ordinance "harms the neediest city residents most of all."
The lawsuit, filed in U.S. District Court in San Francisco late Tuesday, alleges the law will hurt San Francisco's "poorest, oldest and least English-proficient" residents.
It was filed by the New Jersey-based Local Search Association, formerly known as the Yellow Pages Association, a trade group of publishers of print and electronic commercial search directories.
The suit is slated for a case management hearing before U.S. Magistrate Elizabeth Laporte on Sept. 20.
The law, passed by the Board of Supervisors and signed by Mayor Ed Lee last month, will restrict the distribution of Yellow Pages phone books in the city.
Under a three-year pilot program scheduled to go into effect next year, distributors of printed commercial telephone directories will be prohibited from leaving the books on doorsteps unless residents agree in advance or in person to accept them.
The lawsuit charges that the measure will hurt vulnerable low-income and elderly people who may not have access to the Internet and who depend on the Yellow Pages when they urgently need services such as medical aid, emergency repairs, a lawyer or a funeral home.
The suit also claims the ordinance violates two federal and state constitutional rights of the publishers: the First Amendment right of free speech and the 14th Amendment right of equal treatment under the law.
It charges that Yellow Pages publishers are unfairly singled out for the ban while publishers of advertising circulars are not prohibited from distributing their materials.
The law, proposed by Board of Supervisors President David Chiu, is intended to cut down on blight and the costs of recycling unwanted phone books.
Castro Community Debates Whether to Hold Meeting About Rainbow Flag
The iconic rainbow flag that flies over the Castro in San Francisco was the Thursday night's Castro/Upper Market Community Benefit District meeting as the board decides whether to ask the Department of Public Works to convene a meeting on the flag.
Concern over who controls the flag came to a head in March when community members requested that the flag operators, the Merchants of Upper Market and Castro, lower the flag to mark the death of gay icon and actress Elizabeth Taylor, Castro Benefit District executive director Andrea Aiello said.
MUMC denied the request, the group's president Steve Adams said.
The group receives up to 10 requests each month to lower the flag for various reasons, and the board has to limit the number of lowerings.
"For us, the flag is a source of pride. People want it up as much as possible," Adams said.
For the past 12 years, the Merchants of Upper Market and Castro have had control of the flag, located at the corner of Market and Castro streets, Adams said.
The flagpole is on city land, but the merchants' association funds the insurance and upkeep of the rainbow flag in a "public-private partnership," which Adams considers of benefit to the city's Department of Public Works.
A DPW spokeswoman said the city maintains the area and landscaping around the flag, but has an agreement with MUMC that it is responsible for the flag and pole.
Teen Injured in Horseback Riding Accident Reunited with Pony
A Martinez teenager who was in a coma for 14 months after suffering a brain injury in a horseback riding accident has been reunited with the Shetland pony she cared for as a child.
Allison Angove, 18, cared for Blackie when she was about 12 years old.
Her mother said she hopes the miniature horse will help Angove heal as she prepares to come home from her care center in Walnut Creek at the end of the summer.
The Shetland pony was brought to Angove through the SonRise Equestrian Foundation, Executive Director Alana Koski said.
The foundation is a Danville-based nonprofit organization that arranges miniature horses to visit children who are terminally ill, autistic, at-risk, or recovering from injury to create a loving connection between the two, Koski said.
When Angove's mother contacted the organization to arrange a visit, they discovered Angove had previously cared for one of the horses, she said.
Angove was comatose until May 2010 after she suffered injuries during a warm-up for a show jumping event in Fresno in 2009, family friend Jackie Mann said.
She was 16 years old when her horse Skylar slipped and fell, throwing Angove off.
Although she was wearing a helmet, she suffered serious brain trauma, Mann said.