Tuesday, December 17, 2013
Navy investigator pleads guilty in bribery case
SAN DIEGO (AP) — A senior U.S. Navy criminal investigator has pleaded guilty to bribery charges stemming from a multi-million dollar fraud probe targeting an Asian defense contractor.
John Beliveau II entered his guilty plea in federal court Tuesday in San Diego.
Beliveau acknowledged keeping Malaysian-contractor Leonard Glenn Francis abreast of the investigation in exchange for trips and prostitution services. Francis has pleaded not guilty in the case.
Beliveau could face a maximum sentence of 20 years.
The conviction is a first for federal prosecutors in the massive scandal that has ensnared six Navy officials so far and could lead to an expansion of the probe if Beliveau cooperates with authorities as part of his plea agreement.
His attorney and prosecutors declined to say whether Beliveau had agreed to help.
11 injured in oven door blast at California jail
ALAMEDA, Calif. (AP) — Fire officials say 11 people were injured, one critically, when an oven door exploded in a kitchen at a San Francisco Bay Area jail.
Alameda County Fire spokeswoman Aisha Knowles says the oven door blew off at the Santa Rita Jail around 11:40 a.m. Tuesday while inmates were baking.
Four inmates were taken to hospitals, including one with critical injuries. A deputy was among the other seven who were injured. They were treated at the jail with what appeared to be minor injuries.
Knowles says investigators will look into the possibility of a natural gas leak or arson.
According to the jail's website, it holds about 4,000 inmates in 18 housing units.
LAPD BODY CAMERAS
LAPD body cameras coming to officers downtown
LOS ANGELES (AP) — Downtown Angelenos may be the first to encounter their local Los Angeles Police Department officer equipped with a new on-body camera.
Police Commission President Steve Soboroff says Tuesday that 30 Los Angeles Police Department officers in Central Area, which covers downtown, have volunteered for field tests. They patrol major sections of the area by foot.
Sgt. Dan Gomez says the cameras will be used as soon as the department has drafted policies governing their use. According to a memo sent out by Soboroff, those details will be decided in a January meeting. The public will also be able to weigh in online and before the civilian oversight board.
Soboroff privately raised more than $1.2 million to eventually equip hundreds of officers with on-body cameras to increase accountability and reduce complaints.
Attorneys waive arguments on Jackson doctor appeal
LOS ANGELES (AP) — Attorneys have waived oral arguments on an appeal by Michael Jackson's doctor of his involuntary manslaughter conviction for the singer's death.
Murray's attorney Valerie Wass and Supervising Deputy Attorney General Victoria B. Wilson filed letters with the court Tuesday waiving arguments unless justices have specific questions.
An appeals court in Los Angeles had set arguments in former cardiologist Conrad Murray's appeal for Jan. 9.
Wass says the decision was made because both sides had filed extensive papers laying out the grounds for the appeal and why prosecutors believe it should be denied.
Murray was convicted in 2011 of giving Jackson a fatal dose of the anesthetic propofol. He was released in October after serving two years in jail.
Warhol portrait jury wraps 1st day of deliberation
LOS ANGELES (AP) — A jury deciding the ownership of an Andy Warhol portrait of Farrah Fawcett has concluded its first full day of deliberations.
The panel of six men and six women is considering whether to allow Ryan O'Neal to keep the portrait or if it belongs to the University of Texas at Austin.
Jurors received the case on Monday afternoon and have completed nearly five-and-a-half hours of deliberations.
The university is suing O'Neal to gain possession of the portrait, which it says should have been included in Fawcett's gift of all her artwork to the school. Another nearly identical portrait was given to the university and hangs in its art museum.
O'Neal, however, says the artwork was a gift from Warhol and he should be allowed to keep it.
LAX shooting suspect indicted on 1st-degree murder
LOS ANGELES (AP) — A federal grand jury has indicted a man accused of a deadly shooting spree at the Los Angeles International Airport on first-degree murder charges.
The indictment charging 23-year-old Paul Anthony Ciancia with 11 felonies was filed Tuesday in U.S. District Court.
Ciancia is charged with murder in the death of Transportation Security Administration Officer Gerardo Hernandez in the Nov. 1 shooting. If convicted, he could face the death penalty.
Ciancia is also charged with attempted murder in the shooting of two other TSA officers with a semi-automatic rifle. A passenger was also wounded.
Investigators say Ciancia had a vendetta against the federal government and targeted TSA officers when he pulled the rifle from a bag and started shooting. Ciancia was wounded by airport police as passengers scrambled to safety.
Los Angeles County Sheriff reforms hiring
LOS ANGELES (AP) — The Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department says it will reform hiring practices after revelations that 80 deputies had criminal convictions, histories of misconduct or other problem backgrounds.
Sheriff's spokesman Steve Whitmore says Tuesday that the department will add an extra layer to its hiring process — a three-member panel to review applications. The panel will include two lieutenants and a civilian.
A Los Angeles Times investigation found that 80 of the 280 employees hired by the Sheriff's Department when it absorbed the county's Office of Public Safety in 2010 had what Whitmore terms "serious problems," including on-duty misconduct, poor job performance or financial issues.
Twenty-nine of the new deputies either had been fired or pressured to resign from other law enforcement agencies.
The department is now reviewing all 80 hires.
SF BUILDING COLLAPSE
San Francisco home collapses, slides
(Information in the following story is from: San Francisco Chronicle, http://www.sfgate.com)
SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — A newspaper reports that a San Francisco home that collapsed and slid down a hill belongs to a developer who once served as president of the city's Building Inspection Commission.
According to the San Francisco Chronicle, the home in the city's Twin Peaks neighborhood is owned by 67-year-old Mel Murphy, a partner in Murphy & O'Brien Real Estate Investments. It was under renovation, a project that the Chronicle says some neighbors were not happy with.
Police say the home came down around 10:30 p.m. Monday, leading to the evacuations of at least one residence. The cause of the collapse is under investigation.
The Chronicle said Murphy did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Father guilty of killing infant daughter in S. Cal
INDIO, Calif. (AP) — A former Southern California resident has been convicted of killing his 2-month-old daughter, whose body was found in an Arkansas storage unit.
A Riverside County jury on Tuesday convicted Jason Hann of first-degree murder and assault on a child resulting in death.
Prosecutors say the 38-year-old Vermont man hit his daughter, Montana, to stop her from crying in Desert Hot Springs in 2001. Authorities say Hann and the baby's mother put the body in a plastic container and moved away. Her decomposed remains were found in 2002.
Hann already is serving 27 to 30 years for the 1999 murder of his 6-week-old son in Vermont. That killing makes him eligible for the death penalty in the current trial.
Krissy Werntz of Indiana also is charged with murder.
Ex-Energy chief Chu joins carbon capture company
WASHINGTON (AP) — Former Energy Secretary Steven Chu is joining the board of directors of a Canadian company that says it has a cost-effective way to capture and reuse carbon dioxide from power plants fired by coal and natural gas.
Vancouver-based Inventys Thermal Technologies says it has developed a process that uses less energy than conventional carbon capture techniques and is less expensive.
A Nobel Prize-winning physicist, Chu served as energy secretary in President Barack Obama's first term and now teaches physics at Stanford University. He says in an interview that he is excited to join Inventys, calling its work "a cause I believe in" with a good chance of success.
The Obama administration supports so-called carbon-capture technologies as a way to limit pollution blamed for global warming.