Friday Morning News Roundup
Attorney For Family Says Girl Declared Brain Dead Still Alive
Ten months after doctors declared a 13-year-old Oakland girl brain dead, an attorney for her family is asking a judge to issue an order saying that she’s still alive.
Christopher Dolan, the attorney for the family of Jahi McMath, said in a court filing this week that he has evidence from medical experts that Jahi has not suffered brain death.
Alameda County Superior Court Judge Evelio Grillo, who ruled last December that there was clear and convincing evidence that she was brain dead, will hold a hearing on the family’s request next Thursday.
Jahi, an eighth-grade student at E.C. Reems Academy of Technology and Arts in Oakland, went to UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital Oakland last Dec. 9 for a tonsillectomy procedure that was intended to cure a sleep apnea problem that had made it difficult for her to sleep.
However, she suffered complications after the procedure and doctors declared her brain dead on Dec. 12.
Jahi’s family filed suit asking for a court order that would require the hospital to keep her on life support.
On Jan. 3, the family and the hospital agreed on a compromise that allowed Jahi’s mother, Nailah Winkfield, to remove Jahi from the hospital as long as she took responsibility for the child’s care.
As part of the agreement, the Alameda County Coroner’s Office issued a death certificate allowing Jahi to be released from the hospital on the condition that when her organs shut down the family would have to notify the coroner and bring her body back to Oakland.
Dolan said in a statement Thursday that Jahi has been receiving medical care for the past nine months “at an undisclosed location.”
Hit And Run Driver Wearing Clown Mask Attacks Bicyclist
A driver wearing a clown mask allegedly drove into a bicyclist in Santa Cruz last week in what police are calling a case of mistaken identity.
The hit and run collision involving a pickup truck and a bicyclist occurred on Soquel Avenue on the San Lorenzo Bridge around 8:45 a.m. on Sept. 24, according to police.
The bicyclist in the collision, a 39-year-old transient from Santa Cruz, sustained life-threatening injuries and is recovering at a Bay Area trauma center, police said.
Investigators realized the collision was an attempted homicide when witnesses told them the driver was wearing a clown mask as he drove at the bicyclist, and that he appeared to intentionally accelerate and swerve to hit him, police said.
The bicyclist was traveling east on the bridge on the westbound side, against the flow of traffic, and the truck was traveling east when the collision occurred. Witnesses said the truck driver accelerated, causing the tires to squeal, and drove on the wrong side of the road to hit the bicyclist, according to police.
Detectives located a green 1995 Chevy pickup thought to have been involved in the collision on Oct. 1 in the parking garage of the Saint George Hotel. It had damage to the right rear end, and had a clown mask still in the truck, police said.
Police found suspect Jeremy Anecito, a 28-year-old resident of the Live Oak area of Santa Cruz, staying in a room at the hotel. He was arrested on suspicion of attempted homicide.
Detectives believe Anecito mistook the bicyclist for someone with whom he had a prior dispute.
Guns Illegally Purchased In Oregon Turn Up At Oakland Crime Scenes
Several guns that turned up at Oakland crime scenes were illegally purchased in Oregon by a Patterson, California, man who was sentenced to federal prison Wednesday, according to federal prosecutors.
Charles Thornton, 39, was sentenced to 41 months in prison and three years of supervised release by U.S. District Judge Ann Aiken after reaching a plea deal with federal prosecutors earlier this year for charges of making false statements in acquiring firearms and being a felon in possession of firearms.
Thornton, described by prosecutors as a crack dealer, recruited a customer, identified by prosecutors as Eleanor Arceneaux, to purchase guns for him as he was prohibited from doing so following felony convictions for drug sales and possession in Alameda County.
Between August and October 2008, prosecutors said Arceneaux purchased 35 handguns for Thornton from southern Oregon gun dealers in exchange for crack, according to an indictment filed last year in Oregon.
Then on Oct. 13, 2008, Arceneaux, at the instruction of Thornton, reported to police in Medford, Oregon, that the guns she had purchased were stolen from her home, according to the indictment.
Several of those guns later turned up at Oakland crime scenes, according to prosecutors.
For her role in the purchases, Arceneaux reached a plea agreement with prosecutors and pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to straw purchase firearms and nine counts of making false statements in connection with the acquisition of firearms.
She was sentenced in June to 5 years’ probation, according to court records.
Thornton pleaded guilty to three counts of making false statements in connection with the acquisition of firearms and three counts of being a felon in possession of firearms.
D.A.’S Office Receives Domestic Violence Arrest Case Of 49ers Player Mcdonald
The Santa Clara County District Attorney’s Office has received from San Jose police the case on the Aug. 31 arrest of San Francisco 49ers defensive lineman Ray McDonald on suspicion of domestic violence, prosecutors announced Thursday.
The district attorney’s office made the announcement on Twitter this afternoon, saying that prosecutors “will review, decide whether or not to file criminal charges, or seek further investigation.”
Sean Webby, a spokesman for the office, said there would be no further comment on the case beyond the Twitter message.
49ers spokesman Bob Lange said that the team was still waiting for prosecutors to make a decision on whether or not to charge McDonald.
McDonald, 29, was arrested early in the morning of Aug. 31 on suspicion of domestic violence against his pregnant fiancée during a party at his home at 2516 Bentley Drive in San Jose, booked into the county jail and released the same day.
The 49ers have decided to allow McDonald to continue to play for the team in its four regular season games since Sept. 7 as prosecutors weigh filing any charges in the case.
Last Friday, the district attorney’s office sent a tweet stating the investigation into the McDonald matter was ongoing, a hearing scheduled for Monday had been cancelled and that no new court date would be set “unless or until charges are filed.”
San Jose police also investigated a separate incident at McDonald’s home on May 25, when officers were dispatched at 8:09 p.m. about an engaged couple having an argument “when the female subject became upset, grabbed a firearm (handgun) registered to the male subject and held it to her side,” according to a police report.
“When the male subject informed the female subject that he was going to call 911, the female subject put the firearm away and fled without incident,” police stated.
“The female subject did not make any threats or point the firearm at the male subject,” the report stated.
No arrest was made and officers reported that the gun was registered to the male subject involved, according to the report.
Capitol Corridor Train Strikes Person In San Lorenzo Area
A person was struck and killed by an Capitol Corridor train in the San Lorenzo area Thursday evening, according to an Amtrak spokesman.
The Capitol Corridor Train #544, traveling from San Jose to Sacramento, struck a person on the tracks at 6:43 p.m. north of the Hayward Amtrak station, according to Amtrak spokesman Steve Kulm.
The train, which was carrying 139 passengers, was held at the scene until local authorities could complete their work, and was released back into service just after 5:35 p.m., Kulm said.
Kulm did not have further details on the victim or investigation.
Several other trains were also delayed by the incident.
Police Sergeant Under Investigation For Gun Incident In Oregon
A Vallejo police sergeant displayed his handgun during a physical alteration involving alcohol Sunday in Bend, Ore., a Bend police lieutenant said.
Police responded at 12:07 a.m. to a report of a weapons offense by Sgt. Michael Kent Tribble, 43, near the Wells Fargo Bank in downtown Bend, Lt. Nick Parker said.
A male caller told police a police officer had displayed his handgun during a dispute, Parker said.
Police contacted witnesses and the involved parties and determined that Tribble, Stuart Epps, 34, of Bend; Humberto Rodriguez, 21, of Redmond; Kevin George Coehlo, 49, of California and Kevin K. McCarthy, 45, of Bend were involved in a dispute at the Summit Saloon and Stage, Parker said.
Epps and Rodriguez left the bar for between 45 minutes to two hours, Parker said.
Tribble, Coehlo and McCarthy also left the bar and encountered Epps and Rodriguez near the Wells Fargo Bank, Parker said. Tribble then displayed his handgun during an alleged physical altercation with Epps, Parker said.
There were no arrests and no shots were fired but intoxicants were involved in the incident, Parker said.
Tribble, Epps and Rodriguez suffered minor injuries during the dispute but no one sought medical attention, Parker said.
Parker said there were contradictory and conflicting statements during the initial investigation and interviews and a review of video evidence is still under way.
Vallejo Police Chief Joseph Kreins did not return calls today for comment on the incident.
Man Pleads Guilty To Stabbing Security Guard To Death Inside Store
A Salinas man on Wednesday agreed to plead guilty to first degree murder and serve at least 26 years in prison for the stabbing death of a security guard last year, according to the Monterey County District Attorney’s Office.
Richard Gutierrez, 23, entered the guilty plea in Monterey County Superior Court in Salinas in a deal with prosecutors in which he waived any right to appeal his first-degree murder conviction, Deputy District Attorney Rolando Mazariegos said.
On August 1, 2013, at 5:12 p.m., Gutierrez entered the 99 Cent Store on Laurel Drive in Salinas and confronted 57-year-old Victor Sosa, a security guard at the store, prosecutors said.
Gutierrez attacked Sosa, stabbing him repeatedly, and customers in the store pelted the assailant with canned goods for about 20 seconds, Mazariegos said.
Gutierrez then took off his shirt and “made a display of himself” before attempting to flee the store, but Salinas police took him into custody less than 15 seconds later, the prosecutor said.
Officers recognized Gutierrez right away due to the guard’s blood that was smeared on him, Mazariegos said.
Someone in the store, which is near the Police Department, had called 911 during the attack and the area where the business is located is heavily patrolled by officers, he said.
Sosa died a short time later from multiple stab wounds, according to the district attorney’s office.
Prosecutors had a difficult time determining what Gutierrez’s motive was, but “it appears to be robbery,” Mazariegos said.
The defendant will be sentenced on Nov. 19 to 26 years to life in prison and must serve the full 26 years as part of the plea agreement, he said.
Gutierrez accepted the deal in order to avoid facing additional special circumstances charges that could carry a sentence of life without the possibility of parole or death, he said.
Two Fathers Attacked In Feud Between Families
Watsonville police have arrested four men and a boy after a feud between two families ended in the brutal assaults of the fathers of both families on Tuesday, a police reported today.
The altercations between the families started at about 5 p.m. Tuesday, when Jose Manuel Lua, 36, and Carlos Maldonado Jr., 28, engaged in a fistfight at 58 Marin St., where Lua’s family lived, police Sgt. Eric Montalbo said.
At 9:52 p.m. that evening, in an apparent act of revenge, Miguel Vega, 22, Ivan Calderon, 18, Patrick Isidro, 18, two juveniles aged 17 and 16 and possibly Lua himself, drove to Maldonado’s family home at 34 Miles Lane, Montalbo said.
The suspects got out of a car described as a white Honda, went to the home, and proceeded to beat members of the Maldonado family with bats and metal pipes. One suspect brandished a firearm, police said.
Carlos Maldonado, 52, the father of the younger Carlos Maldonado, suffered a fractured skull in the assault. He was taken to a Bay Area trauma center for treatment and later released, police said.
The assailants left the scene before police arrived, according to Montalbo.
Then at 8:01 p.m., in a reprisal, Carlos Maldonado Jr. and his brother Juan Maldonado, 27, drove to the Lua residence at 58 Marin St., broke the front window, kicked in the front door and attacked Lua, stabbing him several times in the torso, police said.
The Maldonado brothers then fled in what witnesses said was a dark-colored SUV-type of vehicle, Montalbo said.
Officers later that evening found Carlos Maldonado Jr. at 58 Miles Lane, where he was arrested on suspicion of assault with a deadly weapon, police said.
Early Wednesday morning, officers located Vega, Calderon, Isidro and the 17-year-old male juvenile across the street from 58 Miles Lane and arrested them after witnesses identified them.
All were booked on suspicion of assault with a deadly weapon and the 17-year-old was also arrested on suspicion of possessing methamphetamine, police said.
Officers also heard that Lua was present at the stabbing of the elder Maldonado and police have filed a request to arrest him as well, according to Montalbo.
Juan Maldonado is wanted for questioning by police in the assault on Marin Street and the 16-year-old boy is being sought for questioning about the assault on Miles Lane, Montalbo said.
Two Window Washers Rescued In Dramatic Operation
Two window washers who became trapped on their platform outside the 19th floor of a high-rise building in downtown Oakland Thursday morning were safely rescued by firefighters in a dramatic operation that was watched and applauded by dozens of onlookers.
The Oakland Fire Department was called to the 24-story building at 1111 Broadway at about 10:45 a.m. but the window washers had already been stranded on the platform for about two hours, Oakland fire Battalion Chief Coy Justice said.
The platform malfunctioned because of a motor problem and the two men couldn’t move up or down, Justice said.
Firefighters decided to use two hoist lines to rescue the window washers because that appeared to be the fastest and safest option, he said.
“Plan B was to cut out the windows on the 19th floor at great cost to the building owner and danger to the people below,” Justice said.
At about 11:15 a.m., firefighter Brian Fukuhara rappelled down from the roof to join the two window washers on the platform.
A crew of 13 firefighters on the roof of the building began hoisting up one of the workers, who was double-harnessed, at about 11:30 a.m.
He reached the roof safely about four minutes later, although he dangled over the edge of the roof for a short time.
The same process was used to pull the second man to the roof by 11:41 a.m. and Fukuhara was pulled to the top about 10 minutes later.
Oakland police closed Broadway between 11th and 12th streets during the rescue, which Justice described as “a pretty sophisticated operation.”
Protesters Demand Removal Of Cpuc President Michael Peevey
A group of protesters gathered on the steps in front of the California Public Utilities Commission’s building in San Francisco Thursday morning demanding the removal of commission president Michael Peevey.
The call for Peevey’s ousting comes just weeks after San Mateo County politicians blasted the CPUC and called upon state Attorney General Kamala Harris to conduct an investigation into the commission’s allegedly unlawful relationship with PG&E in the wake of the 2010 San Bruno explosion.
The Sept. 9, 2010, explosion of a PG&E gas line in San Bruno’s Crestmoor neighborhood killed eight people, injured 66, destroyed 38 homes and severely damaged 17 others.
San Bruno Mayor Jim Ruane, Assemblyman Kevin Mullin and state Sen. Jerry Hill said last month that the CPUC illegally intervened in the penalty case against PG&E for the San Bruno gas line explosion in order to secure a more favorable ruling for PG&E. They said the commission also engaged in illegal communication with PG&E regarding rate setting.
Protesters assembled on Van Ness Avenue holding signs with slogans such as “#flushPeevey” and “Peevey Out Now” prior to the commission’s meeting.
Peevey, the former president of Edison International and its subsidiary Southern California Edison, was appointed to the position of CPUC president in 2002. His current term expires at the end of this year and he could be reappointed to a third six-year term.
The call for action comes in the wake of PG&E’s firing of three employees in September for email conversations with CPUC officials that discussed assigning administrative law judges to rate-setting cases who would be more sympathetic to PG&E’s case.
In July, San Bruno city officials obtained emails between the CPUC and PG&E that showed CPUC officials advised PG&E on how to handle legal issues and potential fines stemming from the gas pipeline explosion.
Peevey’s chief of staff, Carol Brown, resigned for her part in the email exchanges.
However, CPUC Commissioner Mike Florio, who communicated with PG&E over the judge assignment, remains in his post.
PG&E has said the utility took responsibility for the misconduct and expects a fine.
Hill, Mullin and Ruane publicly signed a letter to Harris calling for an investigation and delivered it to her office in the California State Building in San Francisco last month.
Couple Sentenced For 2012 Fatal Stabbing In Antioch
An Antioch couple was sentenced in Contra Costa County Superior Court Thursday for the fatal stabbing of a 26-year-old man two years ago.
Sean Brown, 47, received a 20-year prison sentence and 43-year-old Sonya Joseph was sentenced to four years and eight months in prison for the slaying of King Gregory Carroll, Jr. on Oct. 19, 2012.
The pair stood together in a holding area for inmates in a Martinez courtroom and watched through the bars as their sentences were read.
Last month, Brown pleaded no contest to voluntary manslaughter and enhancements for use of a knife and for prior felonies California’s Three Strikes law and Joseph entered a no contest plea to assault with a deadly weapon.
Prosecutor Simon O’Connell said Brown had been angry with Carroll, who went by Gregory or “G,” because the younger man had gotten the better of him during a fight several weeks before the killing. Joseph later told police that Brown had been stewing about the fight for weeks, the prosecutor said.
When Joseph saw Carroll sleeping on a chair outside of what O’Connell described as a “flophouse” on Manzanita Way the night of Oct. 19, 2012, she went to tell Brown, who was waiting in a car.
O’Connell said that what happened next is unclear, but the defendants say a scuffle broke out between Joseph and Carroll.
The pair told investigators that Brown arrived to find Carroll attacking his girlfriend and rushed to her defense, leading him to stab Carroll several times with a large knife, according to prosecutors.
Police found Carroll’s body at the same address several days later and were able to link Brown and Joseph to the slaying.
During their arrest, the couple was found in possession of the knife believed to have been used to kill Carroll, according to police.
Reputed Gang Member Gets Life In Prison For San Leandro Murders
An alleged gang member was sentenced Thursday to three consecutive terms of life in prison without parole for his role in a shooting after a tattoo party in San Leandro three years ago that left three people dead and three others wounded.
Paul Stevenson, 23, of Oakland, who was sentenced by Alameda County Superior Court Judge Kevin Murphy, was one of three reputed members of the Oakland-based Mob Squad who were convicted on April 18 of three counts of murder and four counts of attempted murder for the shooting. It occurred in a parking lot outside a warehouse in the 2600 block of Alvarado Street in the early morning hours of Oct. 2, 2011.
Also convicted were 24-year-old Anthony Perry of Oakland, the reputed leader of the gang, and reputed associate Aaron Stewart, 22, of
In addition to the murder and attempted murder counts, the three men were convicted of the special circumstance of committing multiple murders, an outcome mandating that they all face life in prison without the possibility of parole.
Prosecutor Jimmie Wilson told jurors during the trial for the three men that the shooting was “a gang-related assassination” and the alleged Mob Squad members targeted a member of the rival FE gang because they were upset about a confrontation with the other group at a San Francisco nightclub several months earlier.
Wilson said the instigator of the shooting was Perry, who he said is the leader of the Mob Squad gang and is known as “A-1” and “A-Uno.”
Wilson said Perry, Stewart and Stevenson saw 23-year-old Joshua Alford of Oakland at the tattoo party and decided to kill him because he belonged to the FE gang and had been present at the earlier confrontation in San Francisco.
Guns were pulled out and displayed in the San Francisco incident but no shots were fired and there weren’t any fights, Wilson said.
After the tattoo party ended, Perry, Stewart and Stevenson all armed themselves with guns, surrounded a green Ford Explorer that had been blocked from leaving the warehouse’s parking lot by another car and opened fire, Wilson said.
In addition to Alford, the shooting claimed the lives of 16-year-old Leneasha Northington, a student at San Leandro High School, and 19-year-old Shanice Kiel of San Francisco, who had been accepted at San Francisco State University.
Three other people who were inside the Ford Explorer were wounded and another person was uninjured.
750,000 Festival-Goers Expected In Golden Gate Park For Hardly Strictly Bluegrass This Weekend
More than 100 musical artists are scheduled to perform across seven stages at San Francisco’s annual Hardly Strictly Bluegrass Festival in the city’s Golden Gate Park this weekend.
Starting Friday, the free, annual festival held in Hellman Hollow and Marx and Lindley Meadows in Golden Gate Park is expected to draw roughly 750,000 people.
The family-friendly festival features a wide-range of musical styles including jazz, country and alternative rock, in addition to bluegrass.
Headliners across the three-day festival include musicians Ryan Adams, Conor Oberst, Emmylou Harris and more.
Founded by the late Warren Hellman, Hardly Strictly Bluegrass is now in its 14th year.
On Friday morning, from 10:30 a.m. to noon, musical acts The Aquabats and P.M.W. will entertain thousands of Bay Area middle school students.
The student-centric event will be held in conjunction with the Daniel Pearl World Music Days, an international network of concerts that harness the power of music to spread tolerance and hope throughout the world, according to event organizers.
According to the San Francisco Recreation and Park Department, the festival will feature a pop-up museum in Hellman’s honor. The museum will display memorabilia collected over Hellman’s lifetime, as well as mementos from past Hardly Strictly Bluegrass festivals.
The festival runs from 10:30 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Friday and 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday.
Much of JFK Drive and surrounding streets in Golden Gate Park will be closed during the festival days and festival-goers are advised to take public transit, bicycle or walk as traffic in the area is expected to be heavy and parking will be extremely limited.
Additional Muni bus service and Golden Gate Park shuttle service will be running and extensive bike parking will be available.
Over 50 vendors will be selling food and drink at the event. While alcohol will not be sold at the festival, beer and wine in non-glass containers are allowed inside the park, according to event organizers.
The full festival lineup and additional information can be viewed at hardlystrictlybluegrass.com.
Weather Forecast For The San Francisco Bay Area
Sunny skies are likely in the Bay Area this morning. Highs are expected to be in the 80s to lower 90s with northerly winds of up to 10 mph.
Clear skies are likely in the Bay Area this evening. Lows are expected to be near 60, with westerly winds of up to 10 mph.
Sunny skies are likely Saturday morning. Highs are expected to be in the lower 70s to mid-80s with northerly winds of up to 15 mph.