Drunken driver sentenced to almost eight years in deadly crash in San Bernardino

A drunken driver who pleaded guilty last month to charges stemming from a collision with an Omnitrans bus which killed his girlfriend was sentenced Friday to state prison.

John Barrios Gonzales, 24, was sentenced to seven years and eight months in prison under the terms of a plea bargain he reached with prosecutors on Aug. 18 in San Bernardino Superior Court.

Gonzales had pleaded guilty to two counts of drunk driving causing bodily injury, with additional allegations on one of the counts, according to the District Attorney’s Office. Two other counts — one count of gross vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated and another DUI count — were dismissed under the plea bargain, court records indicate.

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Testimony underway in trial for man suspected of killing estranged wife’s lover

Witness testimony is underway in a trial for Joe Anthony Sanchez, who is suspected of fatally stabbing a man he found in his estranged wife’s bed in August 2007.

Lawyer’s opening remarks and testimony from initial witnesses kicked off the trial Monday before Judge Arthur Harrison in San Bernardino Superior Court.

Sanchez, 29, faces charges in the death of 28-year-old Jose Alonso Madrigal and the attempted murder of his wife, Charity Sanchez, when he encountered the pair in August 2007 at the San Bernardino home the married couple had shared.

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Man accused of Upland murder testifies, denies responsibility for shooting

A man accused of shooting one man to death and nearly killing another in Upland last year testified Tuesday that he is being wrongly accused of murder.

Michael Terrell Moore said the actual shooter, an acquaintance he knew by the nickname “Yogi,” was standing only a few feet away from him when “Yogi” fired several rounds from a handgun at a passing car.

Steve Reina, the driver, was shot in the back of the head but survived despite losing an eye. Daniel Gonzalez, 19, was killed after being shot in the back.

On the afternoon of March 10, 2007, Moore and eight to 10 other young men were standing at the intersection of Diamond Court and Vallejo Way in the Diamond Court Apartments in Upland.

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Man accused of trying to kill his wife rejects plea deal

Oscar Gonzalez rejected a plea deal this morning in West Valley Superior Court, and as a result his attempted murder trial will proceed.

Gonzalez, 46, was originally charged in February 2006 with kidnapping and attempted murder for allegedly attacking his wife.

He was convicted by a jury of kidnapping, a felony, in November 2007. But the jury failed to reach a verdict on the attempted murder charge and a mistrial was declared. The district attorney’s office refiled the attempted murder case.

Gonzalez’s trial for attempted murder is expected to begin Monday in Judge Michael Libutti’s courtroom.

Gonzalez was custody during this morning’s hearing, wearing green jail clothing indicating that he is in protective custody.

Libutti told Gonzalez during the hearing that this morning would be he last opportunity to accept the plea offer, and he asked him directly whether he wanted to accept or reject the offer.

“I reject,” Gonzalez said through a court interpreter.

After Gonzalez rejected the offer, Deputy District Attorney Michelle Daly told Libutti she expected the prosecution’s portion of the case to take six to seven days.

Gonzalez’s defense attorney, Robert Von Schlichting, told the judge he expected to take a maximum of three days for his defense.

Click here to view the online case report from the records Web site for San Bernardino County Superior Court.

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Former Yucca Valley airport manager used embezzled funds to buy property

Prosecutors say a former Yucca Valley airport manager, who pleaded guilty to embezzlement charges, must cooperate with them about real estate purchases to get the full benefit of his plea bargain.

Richard Paul Demel, who once managed the High Desert airport, pleaded guilty to seven counts of theft in a $1.3 million embezzlement case Monday in Joshua Tree Superior Court.

Under the terms of his plea bargain, the 51-year-old Demel will spend four years in state prison, get fined $323,491 and be required to pay the missing money back as restitution when he is sentenced Dec. 4, according to the District Attorney’s Office.

But before sentencing, Demel must cooperate with prosecutors to ensure there is marketable title on various properties he purchased with the money, explained Deputy District Attorney Lewis Cope, in a telephone conversation Monday.

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