Latest Southern California news, sports, business and entertainment


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.


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.


Witnesses tell of car rampage at LA's Venice Beach

(Information in the following story is from: Los Angeles Times,

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 Tuesday 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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


California home sales drop in November

SAN DIEGO (AP) — A research firm says California home sales slid last month amid tight supplies, while prices increased.

DataQuick said Tuesday that there were 33,429 homes sold in November, down 11 percent from the same period last year.

The median sales price was $360,000, up nearly 24 percent from the same period last year and up less than 1 percent from October. It was the 12th straight month of annual price gains above 20 percent.

Lack of inventory is keeping a lid on sales. The California Association of Realtors says the state had a 3.6-month supply of unsold single-family homes in November. Supply in a normal market is considered five to seven months.


LA man charged in coach prank calls

LOS ANGELES (AP) — A Los Angeles man has been criminally charged in connection with prank phone calls to professional and college coaches about jobs.

The Los Angeles County district attorney's office says 32-year-old Kenneth Edward Tarr was charged Tuesday with one felony count of eavesdropping for allegedly making illegal recordings of more than a half-dozen calls.

Tarr was arrested earlier this month and released on bail. A telephone listing for him could not be immediately located.

Prosecutors allege that Tarr pretended to be a representative of various teams and called a number of sports coaches to gauge their interest in taking jobs. Authorities say in at least one instance he offered the victim a coaching position.

Prosecutors say the targets were from the NBA, NFL, Major League Baseball and university football programs.