Thursday Morning News Roundup
65-Year-Old Man Arrested On Suspicion of Strangling Wife
Santa Rosa police have identified a 65-year-old man arrested Wednesday afternoon on suspicion of strangling his wife.
Dean Howard Eliason Jr. called police at 12:18 p.m. and said he had just killed his wife, Sgt. Dave Linscomb said.
Police responded and found Eliason standing in front of his mobile home in the Rincon Valley Mobile Estates, Linscomb said.
Officers detained Eliason and found his wife, identified as 64-year-old Virginia Mary Caetano, with a ligature around her neck lying on the living room floor, Linscomb said.
The couple were residents of the mobile home park off state Highway 12 east of Mission Boulevard, Linscomb said.
Eliason was booked in the Sonoma County jail on suspicion of murder, Linscomb said.
Two Sonoma County deputy district attorneys and an investigator arrived at the tan, double-wide mobile home at 67 Cardinal Way late Wednesday afternoon.
Some neighbors said they didn't know the couple well, but believed they had lived in the mobile home park for five or six years.
Family of Victims in SF Jewelry Store Homicide Call For Justice
Dozens of family members of a 51-year-old San Francisco jewelry store employee brutally slain in a double homicide earlier this month called for justice before the suspected murderer was expected to appear in court.
Standing on the steps of the Hall of Justice at 850 Bryant St. around 12:30 p.m., as many as 25 relatives of Lina Lim, of Daly City, decried her killing, with some family members breaking down and openly wailing and weeping.
Lim and Khin Min, 35, of San Francisco, employees at Victoga Inc., a jewelry store inside the San Francisco GiftCenter & JewelryMart at 888 Brannan St. in the city's South of Market neighborhood, were killed in the July 12 attack while the store's owner, Vic Hung, was seriously injured.
He was treated for critical injuries at San Francisco Hospital.
He was released on Friday, a hospital spokesman said Wednesday.
Barry White Jr., 23, shot and stabbed the three victims at about 2 p.m. that day, according to police. Lim's cousin Ken Cui said he wants White to face the family.
He called the killing "tragic, very brutal and devastating." "We are here to find justice," he said.
Another cousin, Annie Sin, said the family has been reeling in the days since Lim's killing. "We want to know why," she said.
The family said Lim had never indicated that she was afraid at her workplace, where she had been employed for more than two decades.
Her brother Ning Zhao, speaking through a Cantonese interpreter, said he thinks about his sister constantly and that he wants justice. An uncle said Lim "was a good person. She was never angry at anybody."
He said she leaves behind her husband and an 18-year-old daughter.
Lim's youngest sister, Joanie Zhao, wearing dark sunglasses, could not contain herself and was outwardly emotional and said while crying, "I want my sister back. I want her to come home. Nothing can replace her."
According to Assistant District Attorney Scot Clark the incident started because of a dispute over the price of a piece of jewelry.
The attack that ensued was caught on three different surveillance cameras, prosecutors said.
Prosecutors allege that White waited for the other customers to leave before approaching the counter with a revolver and shooting Hung three times. He then shot at Lim once, according to prosecutors.
White then went toward the exit where Min was standing and allegedly shot her before cutting her with a folding knife, then went back to the other two victims and attacked them with the knife, nearly decapitating Hung, prosecutors said.
Prosecutors allege that he then reloaded his revolver and left the store and encountered police while covered in blood.
Police had been sent to the area on reports of shots fired.
Police claim he then shot at the officers and ran into the nearby Dos Amigos Mexican restaurant but surrendered after he ran out of ammunition.
Police said they did not shoot at White, and no officers were injured. White was arrested and taken to the hospital for minor injuries to his hands.
He was charged with 16 felony counts, including two counts of murder, seven for attempted murder, six for assault on a police officer with a firearm and one count of possessing an assault rifle, according to the district attorney's office.
Prosecutors said police found a .38 caliber revolver along with a folding knife on White after he was taken into custody. In a search of his car near the JewelryMart, authorities allegedly found an illegal AK-47 assault rifle.
He remains in jail on no bail.
Arrested Sailor Given Court Date
A sailboat skipper who was arrested by the Coast Guard outside the Golden Gate on Sunday was given an Aug. 7 date in federal court in San Francisco Wednesday for arraignment on three criminal charges.
David McCormick is accused of sending out a false distress call on Sunday morning, failing to "heave to" or stop his boat Sunday evening in response to Coast Guard orders, and assaulting a Coast Guard officer who boarded his vessel.
The three charges were lodged in a criminal complaint filed in U.S. District Court in San Francisco by federal prosecutors on Monday. U.S. Coast Guard Investigative Service special agent Brandon Trinidad alleged in an affidavit filed with the complaint that McCormick told officers that "any attempt to board my vessel is an act of war."
At a court session Wednesday, U.S. Magistrate Joseph Spero scheduled the Aug. 7 hearing for arraignment as well as a status conference on McCormick's immigration situation.
McCormick holds passports from both New Zealand and Ireland, Coast Guard Lt. j.g. Mark Leahey said on Monday. Assistant U.S. Attorney Joshua Eaton said although Spero granted McCormick release in the criminal case on $100,000 bond, McCormick was retained in custody Wednesday because of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement hold.
Trinidad said in the affidavit that a man with an Australian accent, who he believes to be McCormick, sent out a mayday call at 9 a.m.
Sunday, saying another man had fallen overboard and asking the Coast Guard to send a boat to help.
"Oh he's over mate and he needs some help. He's over, um, in the fog somewhere in the Bay," the caller said, according to the affidavit.
The Coast Guard launched a helicopter to search, Trinidad said.
At about noon, the man informed the Coast Guard that his "best mate" had been found, Trinidad said. Half an hour later, McCormick activated an emergency radio beacon indicating his position, Trinidad said.
At the time, McCormick's 45-foot sailboat was moored in Richardson Bay off Sausalito, according to Leahey.
When Coast Guard officers asked to come aboard for a safety inspection, McCormick refused and told the officers, "This is a peace ship and any attempt to board my vessel is an act of war," and said he had weapons on board to defend himself, according to the affidavit.
McCormick cut his anchor line, raised his sails and was pursued by several Coast Guard vessels, Trinidad wrote.
Leahey said on Monday that the chase began at about 4 p.m. on Sunday. At 7 p.m., crew members from a Coast Guard cutter pulled along McCormick's boat about 2.5 miles southwest of the Golden Gate Bridge.
After several officers boarded the sailboat and the lead officer attempted to handcuff him, McCormick allegedly hit that officer in the face three times, Trinidad said.
McCormick bought his boat in Alameda and berthed it in Berkeley, according to the Coast Guard.
San Pablo Mother Charged With Manslaughter
A mother has been charged with manslaughter for a deadly rollover crash in Richmond earlier this year that endangered several children and left her 5-year-old daughter dead.
The Contra Costa County District Attorney's Office Wednesday charged San Pablo resident Arkita Myers, 30, with vehicular manslaughter with gross negligence, involuntary manslaughter and four felony counts of child endangerment, Richmond police Sgt. Nicole Abetkov said.
Officers arrested Myers at her home Wednesday around 3:40 p.m. and took her to county jail, where she is being held on $2.2 million bail, Abetkov said.
Police said Myers was at the wheel of her SUV on Richmond Parkway at Hilltop Drive around 8:10 a.m. on May 20 when she lost control of the car.
The SUV rolled over, ejecting Myers' daughter, 5-year-old Xaniah Jackson and injuring a 7-year-old, two teenagers and another adult in the car, none of whom were wearing seatbelts, police said.
Police said Myers was the only person in the car who was wearing a seatbelt and was uninjured.
Officers found Xaniah in the roadway suffering from traumatic head injuries. She died at a hospital a short time later.
Investigators determined that Myers was not under the influence of drugs or alcohol at the time of the crash, but believe that she was speeding, Abetkov said.
The investigation also confirmed that none of the children in the car were buckled up or in a car seat, the sergeant said.
"None of the children were restrained properly, they were not in car seats, they were not in seatbelts and if they were...that five-year-old wouldn't have been ejected," Abetkov said. "We understand the loss of a child is something no one wants to go through, but this is a parent who has the responsibility to ensure the safety and health of their own child," she said.
A court date has not yet been set for her arraignment, according to the district attorney's office.
Lawsuit Against America's Cup Could Delay Races
A New York state judge Wednesday scheduled an Aug. 23 hearing on an African-American sailing group's bid for a preliminary injunction that, if granted, would delay the September opening of the America's Cup races in San Francisco.
The African Diaspora Maritime Corp. claims in a lawsuit filed in New York in 2011 that the Golden Gate Yacht Club, the host of this year's race, unfairly denied it a chance to compete to be the American defender in the race.
The Aug. 23 hearing was scheduled Wednesday by Judge Barbara Kapnick in New York City, said Andrew Kratenstein, a lawyer for the Raleigh, N.C.-based maritime group.
If granted, the preliminary injunction would be in effect until a trial is held on the group's lawsuit, which seeks a ruling requiring the San Francisco-based yacht club to reopen the application process for cup defenders.
Kratenstein said it would be up to the judge to schedule the date of such a trial, but it could not be held before the Sept. 7 opening of the races.
Although the race has been three years in the making, Kratenstein said an injunction delaying it would be justified because the chance to participate is "a unique opportunity that comes only once every several years" and money couldn't compensate for the loss of that opportunity.
The purpose of the group is to train young African-Americans as competitive race sailors and to act as a role model, according to a declaration filed by its president, Charles Kithcart.
Kithcart said Wednesday, "Our group is the American story. We want to spark people's imagination." He said, "Of course we're pleased" with the upcoming court date, but added, "We're disappointed we have to go to these extremes to participate in this sport in a free country."
The American defender selected by the yacht club is Larry Ellison's Oracle Team USA, which won the previous international competition in 2010.
The challenger is being determined in the current Louis Vuitton Cup races in San Francisco Bay.
GGYC Vice Commodore Tom Ehman said Wednesday he was "absolutely certain" the America's Cup races will launch as scheduled on Sept. 7. "I think ADM has very little chance to succeed with a preliminary injunction and even less chance to proceed in a trial," Ehman said.
The setting of the injunction hearing comes after a New York state appeals court ruled on June 25 that the lawsuit could proceed on one of its three original claims.
That claim is that by turning down ADM's application, the yacht club acted in bad faith and broke a contract it created when it developed a protocol for selecting a cup defender.
Petaluma Police Officer Pleads No Contest To Charges
A Petaluma police officer pleaded no contest to an alcohol related reckless driving charge that occurred in 2012, police said.
Petaluma police Officer Ryan McGreevy, 35, crashed a motor scooter at a Petaluma Police Department sponsored golf tournament at the Rooster Run Golf Club in Petaluma on Oct. 5, 2012.
The crash happened on the fairway.
He was taken to Petaluma Valley Medical Center then to Santa Rosa Memorial Hospital for treatment of his injuries, his attorney Michael Li said.
McGreevy was not given field sobriety tests at the golf club, but a blood draw at the Petaluma hospital indicated his blood-alcohol level was 0.11 percent, Li said.
Deputy District Attorney Brian Staebell said McGreevy's actual blood-alcohol level might have been 0.09 percent because hospitals usually take a blood serum reading, which is usually higher than the whole blood reading commonly used to determine one's sobriety.
One is considered intoxicated at 0.08 percent. "It was probably 0.09 percent. At most it was 0.11 percent," Staebell said.
The California Highway Patrol conducted an investigation, filed a 70-page report with the Sonoma County District Attorney's Office and recommended McGreevy be charged with DUI.
The prosecution charged him with misdemeanor DUI and misdemeanor DUI with a blood alcohol level greater than 0.08 percent.
McGreevy's trial on those two charges was scheduled to start Sept. 6. He pleaded no contest Tuesday to a "wet reckless" charge -- a lesser DUI offense that entails reckless driving involving alcohol, Staebell and Li said. Sonoma County Superior Court Judge Patrick Broderick sentenced McGreevy to two years probation and an $850 fine.
McGreevy also was ordered to attend DUI education classes.
Staebell said McGreevy did not receive special treatment because he is a police officer.
"We treat every single individual the same. The issue for us is what is the evidence?" Staebell said.
He said the accuracy of the alcohol-blood level readings and the reluctance of hospital employees to testify about a patient's medical records led the prosecution to offer McGreevy a plea deal.
Petaluma police Lt. Tim Lyons said that at the conclusion of a separate administrative investigation of McGreevy's conduct and the events that led to his prosecution, the department plans to take action in accordance with collective bargaining agreements, Petaluma personnel rules and state law as outlined in the Peace Officer Bill of Rights.
The outcome of the administrative process is confidential under state law, Lyons said.
Petaluma Police Chief Patrick Williams said the department is taking the incident seriously and understands members of the community who have expressed disappointment in the officer's behavior.
The Petaluma Police Department is the lead agency in Sonoma County's "Avoid the 13" DUI enforcements that wrap around holidays.
High School Wrestling Coach In Napa Arrested For Child Pornography
Napa police have arrested a high school wrestling coach on suspicion of sending and possessing child pornography.
Richard "Scott" Rachfal, 43, was arrested Tuesday morning at his residence in the 4100 block of Fairfax Drive in Napa, Lt. Debbie Peecook said.
Napa police had determined that someone at that residence was involved in peer-to-peer file sharing of child pornography, specifically on July 4 and 5, Peecook said.
Police seized computers containing digital files of pornography from the residence and determined Rachfal was the suspect who downloaded and distributed the pornography, Peecook said.
Rachfal, a commercial photographer whose business is "Scott Shot Me Photography," cooperated with the investigation and admitted downloading child pornography for five or six years, but he said he did not take any of the child pornography photos, Peecook said.
On his business website, Rachfal says he has been a professional photographer for 14 years.
Rachfal was a part-time wrestling coach at Justin Siena High School in Napa between 2008 and February of this year, the school's athletics director Michael Fisher said.
Rachfal was planning to coach wrestling in the fall at St. Helena High School, Fisher said.
East Palo Alto Man Arrested On Suspicion Of Wednesday Shooting
A man was arrested on suspicion of shooting another man in the leg in East Palo Alto Wednesday afternoon, according to police.
Officer Lydia Cardoza was flagged down at the shooting scene in the 600 block of Bell Street at 3:10 p.m. and found the 20-year-old victim, police said.
He was taken to a hospital in stable condition.
The investigation revealed that a potential suspect was hiding in a home in the 1500 block of Ursula Way and a team of law enforcement agencies - including assistance from the sheriff's office and police from Menlo Park and Palo Alto - arrested a suspect.
The suspect was identified by police as 32-year-old Ernesto Cuellar of East Palo Alto.
Police have not determined the motive for the shooting.
Anyone who witnessed the incident ahs been asked to call Detective Tommy Phengsene at (650) 798-5947.
Joe Tuman Announces His Candidacy For 2014 Oakland Mayoral Race
College professor and political commentator Joe Tuman, who finished fourth in the 2010 Oakland mayoral race, announced Wednesday that he will run against Mayor Jean Quan in the 2014 election.
Speaking at a news conference outside Oakland City Hall after he filed papers to formally enter the race, Tuman said his campaign will focus on public safety, which he said is "the real issue" that the city faces.
Tuman, who received only 12 percent of the vote in the 10-candidate race in 2010, said Oakland residents should ask themselves if they feel safer than they do in 2011, when Quan took office.
Answering that question himself, Tuman said he believes most of the city's residents "feel worse, not better."
He said, "What we need in this city is to recalibrate a new normal so that hearing gunshots and sirens at 3 a.m. is unusual and we don't have the worst robbery rate in the Bay Area if not California."
Tuman, who is department chair and professor of communication studies at San Francisco State University and has been a political analyst for KPIX television and KCBS radio, said he has "great respect" for Quan for her hard work and integrity but he doesn't think she's done a good job in fighting crime.
Tuman said if he's elected mayor he would work to hire up to 350 more police officers over three or four years by increasing the number of police training academies the city holds every year.
He said he would pay for hiring more police officers by asking voters to approve a parcel tax and by possibly selling city assets, including the Oakland Coliseum complex.
Public safety is the biggest issue in Oakland because "it's the most basic obligation of government," Tuman said.
He said running against Quan "is not personal" but he's opposing her because he wants to "arrest a city in free fall" and he believes her public safety results "are not adequate."
Tuman said he doesn't want any of Oakland's three professional sports teams to leave the city but he also doesn't want to spend public money to keep them.
Handicapping Oakland's chances of keeping the teams, Tuman said the Warriors "may be leaving us, unfortunately" because they've announced plans to move to San Francisco but he thinks there's a good chance that the A's and Raiders will stay.
He said, "The Raiders are the most likely to stay because their image is connected to being in Oakland, which is a tough blue-collar town."
Turning to Oakland's economy, Tuman said he agrees with Quan that it's improving but he thinks that's mainly because the state's economy is improving, not because of anything the city is doing to boost its economy.
"I think it's telling that unemployment in Oakland is higher than other cities and the economic recovery rate is better in other cities such as Emeryville and Berkeley," Tuman said.
Quan has already set up a "Re-Elect Oakland Mayor Jean Quan 2014" website but has not formally announced her candidacy for re-election.
Sean Maher, a spokesman for Quan, said she is "focused on being the Mayor" for the time being, which has been "a lot of work lately."
Bay Area Weather Report
Mostly cloudy skies and patchy fog are expected in the Bay Area this morning.
Highs are likely to be in the 50s to upper 60s, with westerly winds up to 20 mph. Mostly cloudy skies are expected this evening, with patchy fog after midnight. Lows are likely to be in the mid 50s, with southwest winds up to 20 mph.
Mostly cloudy skies and patchy fog are likely Friday morning. Highs are expected to be in the upper 50s to mid 60s, with southwest winds up to 20 mph.
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