Latest California news, sports, business and entertainment


Woman leaves hospital after fatal Calif. home fire

MERCED, Calif. (AP) — Fire officials say a California woman who survived a blaze that killed her husband and two of her children has been released from the hospital.

Witnesses told the Merced Sun-Star that 31-year-old Ignacio Figueroa-Bautista died after taking the woman and an infant out of the burning Merced duplex then going back for two 5-year-old children who did not survive.

Merced fire Capt. Bill Alcorn said Friday that the infant was still in critical-but-stable condition at the Fresno Regional Medical Center burn unit. The mother was treated there and released Friday.

The cause of the fire is under investigation, but Alcorn says it apparently started in the living room.


4 die of hypothermia in SF Bay Area cold snap

(Information in the following story is from: San Jose (Calif.) Mercury News,

SAN JOSE, Calif. (AP) — Four people have died of hypothermia in the San Francisco Bay Area while the region is gripped by freezing temperatures.

Rosie Dominguez, a spokeswoman for the Santa Clara County coroner's office, confirmed the deaths and their cause but provided no further information. Dominguez referred questions to a county spokeswoman, who did not immediately return a phone call Friday afternoon.

The San Jose Mercury News reports that three of the victims died in homeless encampments while a fourth person died in a garage in the county on the south end of San Francisco Bay.

Temperatures dropped as low as 30 degrees at San Jose International Airport early Friday.


LA city attorney sues Bank of America over lending

LOS ANGELES (AP) — The Los Angeles city attorney is suing Bank of America for mortgage discrimination it claims led to a wave of foreclosures that cost the city a fortune in extra expenses and lost taxes.

The suit, filed Friday in federal court, claims B of A redlined minority neighborhoods for years, then turned around and gave blacks and Hispanics predatory home loans that they couldn't afford. The suit claims those borrowers were forced into foreclosure when the housing bubble burst and they were denied refinancing.

A message seeking comment was left for representatives of Bank of America Corp. Friday evening.

The city attorney filed similar lawsuits on Thursday against Wells Fargo & Co. and Citigroup Inc. They deny the allegations and say they're committed to fair lending.


Calif. hijack call leads police to 12 tons of pot

TUSTIN, Calif. (AP) — A Southern California truck driver who called police fearing hijackers unwittingly led officers to a 12-ton haul of pot in his own trailer.

Tustin police tell City News Service that the driver didn't know an estimated $7 million worth of marijuana was hidden in the cargo of electronics he was taking from San Diego into Orange County.

Sgt. Andrew Birozy says the driver was on the road Monday morning when two men in a van ordered him to pull over, claiming they were law enforcement officers.

The suspicious driver pulled into a local business and had an armed security guard notify police.

The men fled. Officers inspecting the goods found bricks of marijuana. They were turned over to a drug task force.


No prison time for 2 top ex-execs in NY conspiracy

NEW YORK (AP) — The founder of a California-based semiconductor company and its ex-chief financial officer won't go to prison after pleading guilty in New York to conspiring to obstruct an anticipated federal investigation.

Vitesse Semiconductor Corp. founder Louis Tomasetta (tahm-ah-SEHT'-uh) and Eugene Hovanec (HOH'-vah-nehk) were sentenced Friday in Manhattan federal court to three months of probation. They admitted in August that they conspired to destroy or falsify records related to Vitesse's April and October 2001 stock option grants.

Prosecutors say the men tried to destroy the records because they believed an investigation would occur.

The 64-year-old Tomasetta lives in Ojai (OH'-hy), Calif. The 61-year-old Hovanec lives in Westlake Village, Calif.

Vitesse was founded in 1984 to develop integrated circuits for high-performance electronics.


Calif. PUC to join in BART disabled train probe

OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) — San Francisco Bay Area Rapid Transit officials say a state agency is also looking into why a disabled train stranded hundreds of passengers in a tunnel that sent at least nine people to the hospital.

BART spokeswoman Alicia Trost said Friday that the California Public Utilities Commission will be a part of the probe on why a train became stuck in the Berkeley hills tunnel due to an electrical short causing the emergency brakes to suddenly activate on Wednesday.

Trost says the CPUC initiates an investigation whenever more than two people require medical transport after a transit incident.

The 10-car train with around 700 passengers was traveling from Pittsburg to San Francisco came to a stop when the brakes activated and created a smoky dust that made several passengers ill.


Third HIV case spurs another porn moratorium

LOS ANGELES (AP) — The advocacy group for the adult film industry has called for another moratorium on filming after an actor tested positive for HIV for the third time this year

The Free Speech Coalition said in a statement Friday that an adult performer came up positive at one of the group's testing centers, and called for a halt to filming while all possible partners are tested. Such moratoriums aren't binding, but generally bring compliance within the industry.

The group did not release the name or any details about the performer.

In August an actress who worked under the name Cameron Bay tested positive and set off a scare within the industry. Her on-screen partners were medically cleared but off-screen boyfriend and fellow performer Rod Daily announced he had also contracted HIV.


Police shoot, hurt unarmed man in LA suburb

EL MONTE, Calif. (AP) — Authorities say police in the Los Angeles suburb of El Monte shot and wounded a man who they believed had a gun but turned out to be unarmed.

The Sheriff's Department said in a statement Friday night that its homicide detectives are investigating the shooting.

The statement says El Monte officers were responding to a man with a gun call when they arrived at the scene and found a man that fit the description.

Investigators say the suspect reached into his waistband then police shot him. No weapon was found on the man.

Authorities would not immediately say how many officers fired their guns or how many shots were fired.

The suspect, whose name has not been released, is in the hospital. His condition was described only as stable.


Police: Ex-detective arrested for gang leaks

LONG BEACH, Calif. (AP) — Long Beach police say a former department detective has been arrested for passing information to a gang about a murder investigation.

Police said in a statement Friday that 42-year-old Yvonne Robinson was taken into custody at her home in Carson.

Police say Robinson, a 13-year veteran who last worked as a juvenile division detective, leaked information to the Baby Insane Crips, who counted Robinson's brother-in-law among their members.

Detectives investigating the 2009 killing of a 19-year-old man learned that suspects in the gang were getting information that appeared to come directly from the police department, and launched the investigation that led to Robinson. She was put on administrative leave last year and fired in March.

A message left at a number listed in Robinson's name was not immediately returned.


Man not guilty of stabbing girl, 12, in 1998

SAN DIEGO (AP) — A homeless man has been acquitted of stabbing to death a 12-year-old Southern California girl in her bedroom more than a decade ago.

A jury on Friday found Richard Tuite not guilty of voluntary manslaughter. His 2004 conviction had been overturned but he's already served most of the original 17-year sentence.

Prosecutors said Tuite sneaked into an Escondido bedroom in 1998 and repeatedly stabbed Stephanie Crowe.

Authorities charged the girl's teenage brother and two of his friends with the killing but dropped the charges after drops of her blood were found on Tuite's clothing. The boys' families later settled a false arrest lawsuit for $7 million.

Tuite's attorney, Brad Patton, argued the blood on the clothing was due to crime scene analysis contamination and he was never in the house.


Jay Z tops Grammy nominations with 9

Jay Z easily led Grammy Award nominations with nine, but left-of-center hip-hop stars Kendrick Lamar and Macklemore & Ryan Lewis were among a group of young performers who took many of the major nominations.

Macklemore and Lewis' gay marriage anthem "Same Love" was among song of the year nominees and the Seattle rap crew joined Los Angeles rapper Lamar with seven nominations apiece, including best album and best new artist of the year. Pharrell Williams had four major nominations among his seven and Justin Timberlake also had seven.

But like Jay Z, Timberlake was mostly relegated to the genre categories in a year he was expected to contend for major awards. He and Jay Z teamed up for two nominations apiece, but they only had one major nod between them.


Fawcett portrait worth $12M, expert tells jury

LOS ANGELES (AP) — An appraiser says an Andy Warhol portrait of Farrah Fawcett currently held by actor Ryan O'Neal is worth an estimated $12 million.

New York art appraiser Lee Drexler told a jury being asked to consider who owns the artwork that the piece is an extraordinary piece of Warhol's art.

O'Neal is being sued by the University of Texas at Austin, which wants the actor to turn over the painting because Fawcett left the school all her artwork upon her death in 2009. O'Neal contends the portrait was a gift to him from Warhol.

Drexler's opinion could be used if a jury opts to award the university damages from O'Neal.

The university rested its case after Drexler's testimony Friday.