Costa Mesa man guilty of 1979 killing of nurse

August 17 2014

A brutal, 1979 cold case murder of a Torrance, LA Cnty nurse has finally been resolved with the guilty verdict announced this week in the trial of 62-year-old Costa Mesa man, Douglas Bradford. He maintained he'd been sailing alone, in the dark, when the former beauty queen was killed.

A jury found him guilty of the first-degree murder of 28-year-old Lynne Knight -originally from Canada - who he had previously dated. His sentence will be between 26 years to life. Although the investigation into Lynne's murder was reopened in 1999, Bradford wasn't charged until 2009. Investigators had long suspected him though, and picture wire his artist mother used to hang her paintings proved key evidence in the case; Lynne was garroted with identical wire.


This isn't the oldest cold case murder solved in California though. That seems to be the 1957 Hawthorne murders of two EL Segundo PD officers by Gerald Fit Mason. He was finally sentenced for the murders of officers Richard Phillips and Milton Curtis in 2003.

You can read more here about Lynne and the dedicated, decades-long search for justice by her sister, Donna Knight Wigmore.

Man shot, 7 arrested overnight in Ferguson

August 17 2014

A man was shot and critically wounded in Ferguson overnight. His identity and who fired isn't yet known. Irritant CS 'Smoke' and teargas were fired at people who refused to disperse for the curfew, and seven arrests were made.

Cpt. Ronald Johnson of the Missouri Highway Patrol said this had become necessary because some people in the crowd were armed. He'd earlier told media teargas would not be used.

Atilano will serve half of sentence for brother's killing

August 17 2014

A now 17-year-old Menifee, CA teen has been sentenced to 12 years' detention after admitting the voluntary manslaughter of his 11-year-old half brother, in July 2013. He will only serve up to six years though, as a person sentenced as a juvenile can't be held past age 23.

A huge search was launched when Terry Dewayne Smith Jnr, who his mother says had autism, was reported missing July 7th while being babysat by his elder brother, Skylor Atilano. His remains were found four days later, buried in the backyard of the family home. He had died from a blow to the head. In a strange twist, his body was found when a firefighter and psychic volunteering to search, accidentally stumbled across the family's property, and the psychic smelled decomposition.

Later, child protection services removed a daughter from the home of Terry's mother, Shawna Smith, and her partner Dennise Bugna. Terry's father has filed a wrongful death suit against them both, alleging they were grossly negligent in leaving Terry alone in the care of Skylor, who had a history of explosive outbursts.

Community of Ferguson takes a stand

August 16 2014

UPDATE: Missouri Governor Jay Nixon declares State Of Emergency and night curfew in Ferguson.

Few can have missed the turmoil taking place in Ferguson, Missouri, over the past week, ever since 18-year-old Michael Brown was shot dead by police officer Darren Wilson. Witnesses said the teen was shot while his hands were in the air and he was saying, 'Don't shoot'. A Ferguson (partially redacted) PD report (eventually released yesterday) says there was a struggle, and the officer felt he was in danger. Something else was released too, but that's separate so it's covered at the end of this article. Michael's body was left lying in the street for hours, with a family member nearby.


Outraged citizens in Ferguson took to the streets in protest at what they say is the totally unjustified shooting of an unarmed teen, and they were quickly followed by a highly militarized police presence, in armoured vehicles, gear and weaponry that frankly, made it look as though this area of Missouri had been preparing for World War 3 on its doorstep. Perhaps predictably, the results were terrible. The Mo. State Senator was tear-gassed, an Al Jazeera news crew had to flee the gas - and then police were photographed dismantling their equipment and leaving a camera pointing to the ground so it couldn't record what was happening. In addition, two journalists, the Washington Post's Wesley Lowery and the Huffington Post's Ryan Reilly, were also thrown in jail for, it seems, the offence of failing to leave a McDonald's quickly enough.

A photograph of a woman's horribly bruised stomach made the rounds on twitter, after she was struck by a rubber bullet; as did a dramatic silhoutte that looked like Bob Marley, risen from his grave, hurling a tear gas canister back to whoever fired it at him.

Credit: @TinkerSec

And then things really got surreal.

People all over the world began mistaking pictures coming out of Ferguson, for pictures of Iraq, or Gaza. And Gaza citizens started tweeting advice to US citizens, about avoiding tear gas. War reporters' names began to appear on bylines, while the Governer, Jay Nixon, appeared to be obliviously attending an event elsewhere. The Mo. State Senator, Maria Chapelle-Nadal, who'd been tear gassed caught his attention though, with a tweet we daren't repeat here but can still be found on her twitter. She had understandably reached, as they say, the end of her tether. An Alderman, Antonio French, had also been arrested by this time. For, as far as we can see, the offence of writing balanced reports of what was going on, and posting extensive video coverage. We'll never know, as he was later released without charge too.

"Oh God," said Ferguson Police Chief Tom Jackson, when he learned of the arrests of journalists. Yes, well, quite. These were not battle-hardened war reporters who've learned to move the second an armed man in uniform lifts an eyebrow - these were domestic journalists, who thought they had rights to protect them. Especially while sitting in a McDonald's in Missouri.

Then, in the blink of an eye, Ferguson's armoured divisions were gone. It was time for the real heavy weaponry to be wheeled out. Highway Patrol, led by Captain Ronald Johnson, a Ferguson native. In its shirtsleeves. They went around talking to protestors, and, even worse, hugging them. Protesters gave as good as they got, talking and hugging right back. The war zone that was Ferguson was suddenly just any other US town again, with all of its problems, and its delights.

Credit: CBC CA News

Until night fell, and the shadows arose. Looters. The kind of people who think it's acceptable to sell integrity, humanity and the interests of an entire community down the river for the price of a bottle of stolen liquor or a handful of stolen lottery tickets. The kind of people who think it's acceptable to let their own cold hearts stain a community's reputation throughout the world, by threatening journalists who are there to report the situation.

Credit: Wesley Lowery

The story might have ended there, because police knew that to intervene then would have meant disaster. A full-scale battle in which lives, instead of property, would have been lost. There was no contest. Let the city's businesses be destroyed.

Step forward, the courageous, good citizens of Ferguson, Missouri. They put their bodies on the line for their town. Arm in arm, they stood in front of store doorways and blocked the looters. They followed those wanting to leave a trail of destruction, and told them it wasn't right. Those who had been up since the early hours and had finally gone home to bed, jumped right out again, to try and avert the disaster. Unarmed and with no authority except the authority of wanting to do right.

The good citizens of Ferguson didn't manage to prevent all looting last night, but they stopped a lot; armed only with courage and conviction...and in the morning, brooms and garbage bags, to clean up the wreckage. Not because they were asked or ordered - they just did it.

Credit: St Louis Post Despatch

Despite the smoke, fury and devastation, Ferguson has become a legend for the bravery of its community over the last seven days; the will to see justice done, and to do right. That's something to be proud of. Ferguson, Missouri will rise again. That's because it's never really been brought down.

* Communications from law enforcement and authoritities on Ferguson protests and the shooting of Michael Brown are some of the strangest we've ever seen. They appear to be very disjointed. A press conference was finally held Friday. Then cancelled, 15 minutes after it was due to start. Then reinstated, once all the reporters started packing up their gear.

It appeared to have been arranged because of overwhelming pressure from the community which wanted to know who shot Michael Brown, and why. Police Chief Jackson didn't take any questions and stumbled and was halting as he spoke.

Police gave out a media pack which included stills from a shoplifting incident that they say shows a towering Michael Brown grabbing and pushing the much smaller store owner into a rack, and stealing Swishers Sweet cigars. With a friend, Dorian Johnson, behind him. If correct, it's horrible, and Michael should certainly have been arrested and charged for that. In a way, it suggested that Michael's shooting was vaguely connected:

'It is worth mentioning that this incident is related to another incident...'

However, the obvious inference that Michael's shooting was somehow connected to the 'strongarm' robbery was later corrected by Ferguson police. Apparently, the police officer who shot him did not suspect him of the robbery. Michael and his friend Dorian were 'blocking' the street by walking in the middle of it, and a struggle ensued when he was ordered to move to the sidewalk by police officer Wilson, according to the report.

Then again, somone claiming to be a friend of the 'significant other' of the police officer involved, has today claimed that 'We are all afraid to speak out' but she felt she had to. That Officer Wilson's version is that he did recognize Michael Brown as a suspect:

'He's looking at them and he sees he's got something in his hand - the cigars...'

She then goes on to describe how Officer Wilson's 'significant other' told her how Michael 'bumrushed' him, leading to him shooting Michael dead.

It's confusing, to say the least. No-one except maybe two or three people can pretend to know exactly what happened here. So please, follow the links in the story above to get the views of the people who are on the scene and know so much more than we do here. Form your own opinion. Just don't forget to keep some empathy in your hearts for the good citizens of Ferguson, Missouri, while you do it.

Killers meet their nemesis in OC's DA

August 11 2014

OC's Matt Murphy, Senior Deputy DA, has succesfully concluded another 'special circumstances murder for financial gain' case, the OC Weekly reports.

40-year-old Brian Hughes Benedict has been found guilty of the September, 2009 murder of his former wife Rebecca Benedict, with whom he was embroiled in a child custody and support case. Armed with a hammer, the then post-grad UCI student laid in wait when Rebecca arrived to pick up their four-year-old then, when Rebecca ran after he hit her once, chased after her and shot her in the body, face and back of the head. Two brave eyewitnesses prevented Benedict from driving off with the little boy.

Benedict faces a maximum of life without parole. His sentencing hearing is scheduled for September 12th.

Dekraai will face death penalty

August 9 2014

The possibility of the death penalty against the admitted killer of eight people on Seal Beach, CA, in 2011, will not be dismissed, a judge has ruled. The judge also declined to ban the OC District Attorney's Office from prosecuting the case, as defence had asked. Scott Dekraai is awaiting a hearing to determine whether he should face death for the killings, for which he's entered a guilty plea.

However, the judge did decide evidence of a jailhouse informant could not be used in the case against Dekraai, and that there had been failures in the prosecution's case, including failure to turn over evidence. The OC DA's office had already stated it would no longer seek to use the informant's evidence.

The LA Times Reports Judge Goethals stated: 'The "failures in this case, although disappointing, even disheartening, to any interested member of this community, were negligent rather than malicious".'

Dekraai's attorney, Assistant Public Defender Scott Sanders, said his office 'is now considering whether to ask an appellate court to consider the motions'.

Smilemakers are here again

August 9 2014

The holiday season - or Christmas - is drawing near. Or near enough, at least, that the Council on Aging Orange County (COAOC) is announcing its annual Smilemakers Comedy Night, September 6th, 2014.

Smilemakers is a great program; it ensures seniors in residential or nursing homes receive a gift and a little human comfort during the holiday season, if their own loved ones aren't able to visit. The Comedy Night helps fund that.

Tickets range from a slightly eye-watering $10,000 for corporate sponsers, to $75 for individuals. Still a lot of money for many families, but worth it if you possibly can.

'The SmileMakers Guild provides an opportunity to bring smiles and holiday cheer to some of the most venerable and vulnerable members of our community.'

'Each year the Holiday Project wraps and delivers holiday gifts to approximately 2,700 Orange County seniors who have no close family or friends and are living alone or in residential care facilities.'

The night begins with cocktails, silent auction and opportunity baskets at 5.30pm, followed by dinner 7 to 10pm, then the live auction and comedy show. Dressy but casual attire.

For more details contact Charlotte Finklea on 714.479.0122. Or email

We can't attend at bobharrodmissing, but we have spent at least 10 seconds deciding - we were supposed to be on vacation right now (first for many years) and it's gone so wrong we can't even leave the house. Should we be sad, or glad we have a little bit of saved spare cash now, that could be donated to a good cause for seniors in OC?

Guess what we decided? There's really no place like home, anyhow.

Suspected serial killer victims 'can't be found' in landfill

August 3 2014

Orange County investigators, after consultation with prosecutors, are not going to conduct landfill searches for four suspected victims of alleged serial killers Steven Dean Gordon and Franc Cano, the OC Register reports.

'Authorities determined that a search would be unlikely to locate the bodies or any additional evidence, (Police Lt.) Dunn said.'

It's likely that the huge logistics of such searches, together with the cost, balanced against the chances of success, made the operation unviable. It seems like prosecutors must be confident they have a strong case against the alleged killers, who were on probation and wearing ankle bracelets at the time the murders are thought to have been committed.

Registered sex offenders Cano and Gordon have been charged with the rape and murder of missing Kianna Jackson, 20, Josephine Vargas, 34, and Martha Anaya, 28, as well as that of Jarrae Nykkole Estepp, whose body was horrifically discovered by a worker on a conveyor belt in an Anaheim recycling plant. Police believe there is a fourth victim, for reasons they haven't yet revealed, but have been unable to identify her yet.

Anybody who can help with that should contact Orange County Crimestoppers - which is completely anonymous - here. The unidentified woman is thought to be small, black, in her early 20s and with several tattoos. She may have links to Compton.

Tox report: sad surprise in death of firefighter

August 2 2014

Toxicology reports from the Ventura County Medical Examiner has, sadly, revealed that Arcadia firefighter Mike Herdman had ecstasy, Adderall and alcohol in his system when he died during a hiking trip in early June.

Mike died from injuries sustained during a fall as he ran after his runaway dog, Duke, but the findings may shed light on why there was such an impulsive, barefoot pursuit in the dangerous terrain.

In the wilderness, even highly experienced and seasoned hikers can come to harm. It's painful to learn that something may have impaired Mike's ability to judge just enough to have cost him his life. He paid the very highest price for any lapse of judgement and this news doesn't alter the fact he died trying to rescue his dog. Mike's loss remains the greatest tragedy to all who knew and loved him, and all the people whose lives and homes he would have continued to fight to save, had he lived.

Guilty verdict in Maribel Ramos murder trial

July 29 2014

Kwang Chol Joy has been found guilty of the felony murder of 36 year old Iraq Army veteran Maribel Ramos, who went missing from her home in Orange, OC in May last year, after asking room mate Chol Joy to leave her apartment. He couldn't pay his share of the rent, and had also become obsessed with Maribel.

Credit: KTLA

Maribel's body wasn't found for two weeks in a remote area of Modjeska Canyon, off Santiago Canyon Road, and though it wasn't possible to ascertain her cause of death, investigators had been able to locate her because of the internet searches Chol Joy carried out - which virtually pinpointed where they might find her body. He also researched decomposition times.

Maribel had also made a distraught, 911 call before she vanished, saying she was in fear of her life.

Chol Joy also made investigators and friends suspicious because of his odd online postings before her body was found. You can read about them here.

Julie Harrod-Michaels seems to contradict her husband's account of when Bob went missing

July 27 2014

On Monday July 27th 2009, when Bob disappeared, none of his family living in SoCal reported him missing. That includes his three adult daughters, his adult grandson and his only son-in-law, Jeff Michaels, who was working in Bob's house that day. The reporting was left to Mrs Fontelle Harrod, who was thousands of miles away, in Missouri. She only found out Bob had disappeared when Bob's youngest daughter, Julie Michaels called her, that night. Julie's married to son-in-law Jeff Michaels, the last known person to have seen Bob Harrod alive, who was working in Bob's house that day.

Someone claiming to be middle daughter Roberta Brady posted, Jeff Michaels was fixing a leaky shower that day. Mrs Harrod has told media, she thinks Bob was murdered 'in that bathroom up there'.

Bob's youngest daughter, Julie (Harrod) Michaels, of Running Springs, San Bernardino County, gave a TV interview to media the day after Bob disappeared. She said she thought he'd gone missing at 'Maybe one? Noon?'. However her husband, Jeff Michaels, gave police a Home Depot receipt stamped at 3.02pm, as an 'alibi' that he'd been out of the house when Bob went missing. The housekeeper says she arrived at noon and Bob was gone, and Jeff Michaels drove up about 15 minutes later. Go figure.

Seems strange police didn't pick up on those inconsistencies straight away. Maybe the OC Cold Case Unit will be better at tracking what's happening to Bob Harrod's fortune now. That could turn up a clue or two, as things seem to be moving on the money front. Never forget, Bob Harrod was at least a millionaire, and police think, 'the details lie in the battle for the money'. See the Websleuths link here, for more details.

Five years ago today, somebody disappeared Bob Harrod

July 27 2014

Five years ago today, Bob Harrod was busy preparing his Placentia, Orange County home for the return of his beloved new bride, Fontelle. They'd been married and living together for a month, but while Fontelle was back in Missouri, packing her things and saying goodbye, he wanted to fix things up as a welcome for when she returned. Bob and Fontelle are both Missouri natives, but Bob had left for California to train as a marine, many decades before. That's how the young sweethearts had lost each other the first time. They were never going to let that happen again.

Five years ago today:

It was the last but one day before the house on Carnation Drive would once again have two occupants, and Bob would never be alone again.

It was the last but one day that the millionaire Bob would have his fortune all to himself - in the future, he'd be sharing it with his new wife. Maybe even his newly acquired step-children and step-grandchildren too, as Bob liked to lend a helping hand to others.

It was the last but one day where Bob's 'reasonable needs' that he was permitted to draw on from the family trust set up for his children, would be those of a single man who lived very sparingly. In future he'd be spending money and having fun with his new wife - he'd already started, in fact.

It was the first working day after a weekend meeting with his adult children, who'd wanted information about the will and family trust he'd set up with his first, deceased wife - their mother.

It was the first of only two days that week that Bob would have to finish his 'to do' list, before his new wife returned. Adding Fontelle's name to his bank accounts was on that list.

It was the last but one day where anyone could say Bob wasn't in his right mind, or was unfit to handle his own affairs, and it would just be his word against theirs - in future, he'd have a strong and loyal wife with to back him up and care for him.

It was the last day Bob could be almost guaranteed not to have non-family visitors all day - or would have been, if his housekeeper hadn't unexpectedly asked to bring her usual Tuesday visit forward to that Monday.

It was the last but one day left for Bob's son-in-law to finish up the small repairs Bob had asked him to carry out, before Fontelle's return, which meant he needed to be in the home.

Five years ago today, was probably the last day of Bob Harrod's life. He didn't know it at 10am, when police told a reporter his last verified call was taken. By 12 Noon, when his housekeeper says she arrived and found him missing, he probably did.

Five years ago today, police think someone probably murdered Bob Harrod, and 'the details lie in the battle for the money' and his 'close circle'.

On this day five years on, is it possible that there is a person walking free in Southern California right now, who murdered defenceless 81 year-old Bob Harrod, knows where his remains are, and was the deadliest of all competitors in that 'battle for the money'?

Did somebody decide on 27th July, 2009, that Bob Harrod would never live to see Noon?

One day away from the fifth anniversary

July 26 2014

There is only one day to go before July 27th is reached and millionaire Bob Harrod will have been missing five long years. Five years - a landmark maybe, in legal terms.

Law enforcement has said, the details lie in the battle for the money in Bob's case. Mrs Fontelle Harrod stood to lose by Bob's disappearance and death, because he hadn't had time to include her in his will. But who stood to gain?

Are those details beginning to emerge now, after five long years? Every dollar and cent of them?

Daughter begs Hesperia thieves to return Mom's ashes

July 26 2014

A burglary victim in Hesperia, San Bernardino County, is begging the thieves to return a priceless item that they stole - the urn containing her mother's ashes.

Although Vanessa Llanas was horrified to find her home had been ransacked and stripped of electronic goods and other valuables while she was away attending a family wedding, it's the loss of the urn that has broken her heart.

Credit: NBC Los Angeles

The dark blue casket it was in also contained a cross and flowers from the memorial ceremony for her mother, Yolanda Melina Bedoy, who died at just age 50 from Lupus, three years ago.

At the video link here a tearful Vanessa tells reporters that her mother was cremated beause she said she always wanted to be home with her grandkids. Police did recover some stolen items from a dumpster in Victorville but, sadly, not the urn.

Brito and Zavala guilty of manslaughter

July 25 2014

In a case that brought even the prosecutor to tears, two women have been convicted of voluntary manslaughter in the beating to death of 23 year-old aspiring journalist and writer Kim Pham, outside a Santa Ana nightclub once known as the Crosby, now the The North Left.

Although it wasn't disputed Kim threw the first blow, what should have been a fight ending up in pulled hair, scratches, black eyes and indignity, ended up in death because tiny Kim was kicked to death while she was on the ground.

'After the defendants were lead away, prosecutor Troy Pino became emotional when saying the lesson of the case should be to just "walk away" when things escalate while drinking... "Don’t get offended, walk away. Just walk away... You have one young woman who is dead," Pino said, tearing up. "And two young women who have been convicted of a homicide. Nobody wins."

He's wrong of course. Kim's thoughtfullness for her fellow human beings meant her organs were donated, so that in death, she gifted life. That's undoubtedly a win for her, as well as the organ recipients.

Candace Marie Brito and Vanesa Tapia Zavala will now serve up to 11 years in prison, although they could have faced life if the jury had found them guilty on the 2nd degree murder charges prosecution had brought.

Sentencing is scheduled September 12th.

Missing John Preciado was run down

July 20 2014

An elderly Mentone, San Bernardino man who went missing in the early hours Friday 18th July, was tragically run down and killed the same day, it's been revealed.

John Preciado, 86, was discovered to be missing from his residential care home at breakfast time, and while staff, law enforcement and family searched, poor John was run down and killed only a couple of miles from his old home in a San Bernardino. The driver failed to stop or report the accident.

'San Bernardino police say Preciado was crossing West Rialto Avenue in the middle of the 700 block when he was struck by an eastbound car, possibly an older model Toyota, around 8:50 p.m.', The San Bernardino Sun reports.

Anyone with information on this collision or the hit and run vehicle is encouraged to contact the San Bernardino Police Department. [071914 1030 TC].

Accused says kick not aimed at Kim

July 20 2014

The OC Weekly reports that in the Kim Pham Santa Ana nightclub murder trial, Vanesa Zavala has been subject to a strong cross examination by OC Deputy DA Troy Pino, during which she broke down in tears and could scarcely be heard.

Zavala's claims that she was actually kicking out towards Kim's male friend, Binh Dinh, in self-defence were rejected by the prosecutor. He asked why, if that was the case, she'd never mentioned being 'rushed' by Dinh, in her statement to police. He also led her, step by step, through video footage of herself where she appeared to pull and throw Kim (who was tusseling on the floor with a woman who's never been found) by her hair, and prepare to kick her.

You can read the full details here. Defence has now rested for Zavala and will present its case for her fellow accused, Candace Brito, Monday.

Vet's body buried in moving ceremony

July 20 2014

When airman Thomas Stanley Lyons was buried with full military honours in Lake Worth, Florida, last Friday, the ceremony was described as a positive one, despite the sorrow. Because Tommy, as his family call him, had been missing for 60 years; ever since the C-124 Globemaster carrying him and 51 other men crashed into a glacier in Alaska in 1952.

Credit: Lyons Family/Palm Beach Post

The aircraft was discovered two years ago but the recovery and identification of the remains of the 17 men found was only possible this year. Tommy's wallet with his papers and ID were still perfectly intact. Although Tommy was a Brooklyn boy, his sister Geraldine Evans asked that he be interred in South Florida National Cemetery, closer to her present, Boca Raton home.

Extended family members were present, as well as men who had served with Tommy. Perhaps the saddest note was struck by Tommy's nephew, who revealed that Tommy's mom had lived to be 101, and only missed her son's return by a year and a half.

A video of the arrival of Tommy's casket at the airport can be seen here.

Sobs in court as Kim's injured face shown

July 13 2014

The murder trial has begun in the case of two women accused of the nightclub beating death of Annie Kim Pham last January. In an ironic coincidence, the nightclub in question - The Crosby - which the owners closed permanently, reopened with a burst of publicity as The North Left, at the same time. It remains under the same ownership.

Defence for the accused, Candace Brito and Vanesa Zavala, have made it clear they will argue that Kim Pham '...didn't deserve to die, but the fact is she died because she took umbrage over a bump," and 'the victim was the aggressor'. Both accused have entered not guilty pleas to murder and assault charges.

The nature of the defence means the trial is likely to be extremely tough for the family and friends of Kim, whose death ultimately gifted life to the recipients of the organs she had previously chosen to donate. Wednesday, there was sobbing in court as a photograph of Kim's bruised and battered face was shown.

Credit: CBS News

During the opening days of the trial video footage was repeatedly played that showed Kim fighting on the floor with a third woman she is said to have struck first, but it is two others - who prosecutors say are Zavala and Brito - who run up and seem to kick and punch Kim in the head, from a standing position. Both defence and prosecution are using cell phone footage as crucial evidence in the case.

One eyewitness testified he only saw Brito kick Kim in the head, another (who also videoed the fight) said he saw the two accused strike out, but didn't see if the blows landed. Defence say the eyewitness to the kick, the nightclub security guard, has changed his story as he originally told police he saw a 'bleached blonde'. Both defendants have dark brown hair.

Senior Deputy Dist. Atty. Troy Pino said it is Zavala who launched the final kick that saw Kim collapse and go limp on the ground. The OC Coroner's report on Kim ruled that she died of blunt force injury to the head, but could not distinguish if one or a combination of blows led to her death.

Perhaps the most telling part of the footage shown to the jury was the sound of one of Kim's friends screaming: 'It’s over. It’s over! Get the (expletive) off her!'

The trial continues Monday.

Ashton Sachs searched Wiki murder info

July 13 2014

Newly released Grand Jury transcripts have shed light on the prosecution case against Ashton Sachs, in the shooting dead of his parents and paralyzing of his 8 year-old brother in San Juan Capistrano, last February.

The LA Times reports that Sachs only came under suspicion when his cell phone records revealed he'd looked up degrees of murder and booked airline tickets back to his apartment in Seattle from CA. He had also arranged for his vehicle, which he'd left outside one of his parents' many places of business, to be brought back to Seattle.

Sachs is said to have blamed his parents for his 'messed up life', depression and favoring his siblings, and to have paced the floor for 15 mins after breaking into their home, before deciding to shoot them dead.

Sachs is alleged to have shot his mother eight times, his father seven, his brother twice (leaving him permanently paralyzed) and shot at his sister once, missing her. His sister, 17, testified she did not see who shot at her and found her little brother lying bleeding on the hallway floor, where he had managed to drag himself.

Sachs has pleaded not guilty. He is due to be arraigned late July.

Construction workers save senior lady from inferno

July 11 2014

There's a wonderful story coming out of Kansas city, MO, today.

An explosive fire in a resident's garage was spotted by Chris Mitchell and some other construction workers nearby. They leapt to the rescue of the senior lady inside, a Mrs Able.

She slammed the door in their faces, afraid.

They persevered though, and got her out, just in time. The lady in question is very grateful now, and unharmed but a little shaken up, we are told.

Credit: KCTV5

Read the story on KCTV5, here. It's a good one. And to the cheerful, unassuming construction workers of KC - time you got some Superhero logos on those t-shirts of yours. Congratulations and well done. We often only get a chance to be heroes once in our lives; you grabbed yours with both hands.

* Just noticed - their t-shirts already read 'Frontline' and one almost says hero, apart from one letter. What a coincidence!

Update: 'Ma'am, your house is on fire.'

Only in Missouri! Mrs Able's promised to bake her hometown heroes an apple pie - bet it'll be a good one. Read here.

Mike Herdman died instantly in cliff fall

July 5 2014

The Ventura County Medical Examiner's Office has ruled that much-loved Arcadia firefighter Mike Herdman died instantly, in a tragic, accidental fall from a cliff while searching for his lost dog, Duke, who was eventually rescued.

Although it hasn't been possible to establish exactly when he died, the Medical Examiner is sure that the nature of Mike's injuries meant his death would have been immediate.

Once again, we can only state our admiration for everyone who tried so hard to find Mike and his dog, from his hiking companion Taylor Byars, to the many, many SAR and LE professionals, as well as members of the public.

Mike leaves behind a wife and six year-old daughter. Our deepest condolences to them and the rest of his family and friends. Donations to the family can be made here at the Fire Family Foundation and should be earmarked 'Mike Herdman'.

Missing Claudio Cuajicalco Leonardo goes home

July 5 2014

An amazing community and country-to-country effort has helped reunite a missing man with his family in Mexico, 12 years after he went missing, the OC Register is reporting.

Claudio was working in Stanton, then just seemed to completely disappear and his family back in Mexico didn't hear from him for years. A kind Anaheim resident, Luz Vanegas, spotted a distressed-looking Claudio at a bus stop recently... and you can read the rest of the touching story of how the Salvation Army, Mexican Consulate, and simple good samaritans, helped reunite Mr Cuajicalco Leonardo with his grateful family, at the OC Register, here.

What woman found in rural OC may have looked like

July 5 2014

Back in March, we ran a news story that OC Sheriff's Office were appealing for help identifying a female's body found in Casper's Wilderness Park. Although found January 6th, details had only just been released and the biggest clues seemed to be her Auburn brand windbreaker-style jacket with 'Coach Williams' logo (and a volleyball or water polo ball), and a distinctive gold dental bridge on her left lower jaw.

Officials have now released drawings of what she may have looked like. A petite female aged at least 30, with shoulder length, wavy dark brown hair with light highlights, who may have broken her nose at some point.

Credit: OCSD

Her remains are thought to have been in the park at least six months, so it is likely to be someone who disappeared before around July 2013.

Credit: OCSD

In addition to the jacket, the deceased was wearing:

  • A pair of dark, athletic yoga style pants made of spandex/cotton with light colored stripes down the side of both legs and a rear positioned zipper. The inseam measured approximately 29”-30”.
  • A pinkish speckled short sleeved or tank top t-shirt with a black line design
  • A bright green hair scrunchie band

More photographs of the clothing can be seen here.

Anyone with information is asked to call the Orange County Sheriff’s Department Homicide Unit at (714) 647-7055. Anonymous tips may also be submitted to Orange County Crime Stoppers at 855-TIP-OCCS (855-847-6227) or online, here.

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