Wednesday, December 18, 2013
MEGA MILLIONS JACKPOT
2 winners in $636M Mega Millions drawing
DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — Lottery officials say winning ticket tickets have been sold in California and Georgia for the $636 million Mega Millions jackpot, the second-largest lottery prize in U.S. history.
The winning numbers were: 8, 14, 17, 20, 39; Mega Ball: 7.
Paula Otto, the Virginia Lottery's executive director and the lead director of Mega Millions, said that $336 million in tickets were sold for yesterday's drawing — they had projected $319 million.
California Lottery spokesman Alex Traverso said last night that one ticket was sold at Jennifer's Gift Shop in San Jose, Calif.
Otto didn't know yet where in Georgia the ticket had been sold.
The jackpot resets to $15 million for the next drawing, which is on Friday night.
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 yesterday 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.
BIG SUR FIRE
Officials: Big Sur fire is 20 percent contained
BIG SUR, Calif. (AP) — A wildfire that has burned more than a dozen homes in the Big Sur area of central California is now 20 percent contained.
Los Padres National Forest spokeswoman Lynn Olson says the blaze that began early Monday has destroyed 22 buildings. About 14 of those structures were homes, including that of Big Sur Fire Chief Martha Karstens.
No injuries have been reported.
The fire has burned about 769 acres, or a little over a square mile. The cause is still under investigation.
Big Sur is a popular tourist destination along the Central California coast with high-end resorts and beautiful views of the Pacific Ocean.
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 yesterday 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.
FATAL DOG MAULING
2-year-old's uncle to stand trial in dog mauling
(Information in the following story is from: The Press-Enterprise, http://www.pe.com)
COLTON, Calif. (AP) — The uncle of a 2-year-old boy who was mauled to death by five pit bulls in a Southern California yard has been ordered to stand trial on a felony charge of child cruelty.
The Riverside Press-Enterprise reports that San Bernardino Superior Court Judge Douglas N. Gericke found enough evidence yesterday to try 23-year-old Marco Zamudio for the September mauling.
The judge found insufficient evidence for a sentencing enhancement of child cruelty.
Zamudio has pleaded not guilty.
Two-year-old Samuel Zamudio leaned out a window at the Colton home of his grandmother, whose dogs dragged him across the backyard. The grandmother was arrested along with Zamudio but wasn't charged because authorities say she wasn't home and responsible for the boy at the time of the attack.
VENICE BOARDWALK CRASH
Witnesses tell of car rampage at LA's Venice Beach
(Information in the following story is from: Los Angeles Times, http://www.latimes.com)
LOS ANGELES (AP) — Four tourists have testified about how their fun day at Los Angeles' Venice Beach boardwalk was transformed into a scene of horror as a car plowed through a summer crowd.
The testimony was presented yesterday to a judge who will decide whether a transient from Colorado must stand trial on murder and assault charges.
An Italian woman on her honeymoon was killed and 16 other people were injured in the Aug. 3 incident.
One witness said he saw 38-year-old defendant Nathan Campbell behind the wheel and smiling as he plowed into people.
Campbell has pleaded not guilty and his attorney has called it a horrible accident.
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 yesterday morning 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.
CALIFORNIA PRISONS-PAROLE CHANGES
Parole board to set minimums for life-term inmates
(Information in the following story is from: Los Angeles Times, http://www.latimes.com)
SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — Under a legal settlement, California is agreeing to change its policy for considering when murderers and others serving life sentences should be eligible for parole.
But corrections experts differ on whether the change could lead to shorter prison terms for thousands of inmates.
Under a settlement approved Monday by a state appeals court judge, the Board of Parole Hearings will more quickly set the minimum time that should be served before an inmate is considered for release.
The minimum time is not binding on parole decisions but sets a guideline for how much time a convict ought to serve.
Before, the board generally waited to set minimum terms until it decided an inmate was suitable for parole. Now it will set the minimum term at the inmate's first parole hearing.
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 yesterday 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.
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 yesterday 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.
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.
Woman's body found at S. Cal trash plant
(Information in the following story is from: San Gabriel Valley Tribune.)
INDUSTRY, Calif. (AP) — Authorities say workers sorting trash at a Southern California plant got a shock when they found a human body on the conveyor belt.
The San Gabriel Valley Tribune says the body of a woman was discovered shortly after 8:30 yesterday morning at Athens Services in the City of Industry east of Los Angeles.
Los Angeles County sheriff's investigators say she appeared to be 40 to 50 years old but authorities haven't identified her and it's unclear how she died.
Athens Executive Vice President Gary Clifford tells the paper that the body apparently came in with the trash.
It's not the first body found at the facility. A man's corpse and those of two infant girls have turned up since 2002.
LA County authorities seize 96 dogs and cats
LAKE LOS ANGELES, Calif. (AP) — Authorities say they've rescued 96 dogs and cats who were living in filthy conditions at two Southern California homes.
Los Angeles County's animal control department says the animals, many of them sick, were seized Monday from two homes in the unincorporated Lake Los Angeles area near Palmdale.
Acting on a tip, animal control officers and district attorney's investigators found the animals and also a dead cat.
A woman living in one home was arrested and could face animal cruelty charges. Her name wasn't immediately released.
The animals will receive veterinary care but they're being held as evidence and aren't immediately available for adoption.