Defendant in gang beating death sentenced to 11 years in prison

A man charged with murder for his alleged connection to a 2006 beating death has been sentenced to 11 years in state prison after accepting a plea offer from prosecutors.

Sherwin Adrian Mora, 23, was arrested and charged with murder in 2007 for the killing of 22-year-old Armando Leon Hernandez.

According to the prosecutors, a 17-year-old girl befriended Hernandez on MySpace.com and lured him to her Rancho Cucamonga home, where Hernandez was beaten to death by Mora and Ivan Pierce, 23, both alleged gang members.

Hernandez and the two alleged murderers were gang rivals, prosecutors believe.

Hernandez suffered a crushed throat in the beating. His body was found on Sept. 23, 2006 by a security guard in Memorial Park in Upland.

Mora was sentenced to prison after agreeing to plead no contest to voluntary manslaughter on Feb. 20 in West Valley Superior Court.

Pierce has rejected an identical offer for 11 years in prison, said Deputy District Attorney Debbie Ploghaus.

At the conclusion of a trial in 2007, a jury deadlocked seven to five in favor of acquittal for Pierce. Prosecutors refiled charges against him.

Prosecutors intially charged the 17-year-old girl with murder, but later granted her immunity from prosecution in exchange for testimony against Mora and Piere.

Staff Writer Rod Leveque contributed to this report.

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Man takes plea bargain in case of 2007 Upland Colonies shooting death

One of two brothers charged with murder for a 2007 fatal shooting in the Upland Colonies community has accepted a plea offer from prosecutors that includes a 12-year prison sentence.

James Carroll, 27, and William Carroll, 29, were accused of shooting and killing Ryan Carson Beck, 33, on Nov. 21, 2007 after Beck came to the Carrolls’ home to allegedly confront him over a drug debt.

James Carroll pleaded guilty Feb. 20 in West Valley Superior Court to four felony counts: voluntary manslaughter, attempted murder, and two counts of assault with a deadly weapon.

William Carroll entered into a plea bargain with prosecutors in July that carried a three-year prison sentence.

If James Carroll had been convicted on prosecutors’ filed charges — one count of murder and three counts of attempted murder — he could have faced a life sentence.

When Beck and three other men visited the Carrolls’ home in the 1700 block of North Isabella Avenue the day of the incident, the brothers were armed with guns, anticipating a confrontation.

Beck arrived with a large knife intending to attack or intimidate James Carroll, one of Carroll’s roommates testified at a preliminary hearing.

In the ensuing confrontation, William Carroll suffered a large gash to his cheek, Beck was shot and killed, and two of Beck’s associates were wounded by bullets from the Carroll brothers.

Of the two brothers, James Carroll was the primary aggressor, prosecutors said. William Carroll tried to quell the violence before shooting ensued, prosecutors said.

James Carroll is set to be sentenced on May 15.

Staff Writer Rod Leveque contributed to this report.

The original version of this story incorrectly stated that the shooting happened in 2006.


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Alleged accomplice in Chino Hills bank robbery takes plea deal

One of four men accused of robbing a bank in Chino Hills in 2007 will be sentenced to 13 years in state prison after accepting a plea offer from prosecutors.

Terry Lee McAdams, 22, the alleged getaway driver in the July 3, 2007 robbery of Citibank at 14808 Pipeline Ave., agreed to plead guilty to two counts of robbery last week in West Valley Superior Court.

McAdams and the other three men, all of Compton, stole $120,000 from the bank then led police on a high-speed chase that ended when their car crashed on the 57 Freeway in Brea.

McAdams could have faced more than 20 years in prison if convicted by a jury of the eight felony counts filed by prosecutors.

The other three alleged robbers — Tiawan Merriweather, Tylin Merriweather, and Sepheren Scorza — are set to stand trial next week, said Deputy District Attorney Tom Colclough.

The four men accepted plea bargains in October 2007, but later changed their minds about the deals and were allowed by a judge to withdraw their pleas. At that time, McAdams agreed to 13 years in prison.


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Reputed identity thief gets 10-year prison sentence

A reputed identity thief has been sentenced to 10 years in state prison after pleading guilty to purchasing items from local department stores with fraudulent bank cards.

Cristina Elizabeth Gonzalez, 30, of Fontana, pleaded guilty to four felony counts Friday in West Valley Superior Court after entering into a plea bargain with prosecutors.

Gonzalez was accused of obtaining bank cards using the stolen identities of two people, then using the cards to purchase about $1,000 in goods from Macy’s and Sears stores in Rancho Cucamonga and Corona.

Gonzalez and an alleged accomplice were arrested May 28 at a Macy’s store in Rancho Cucamonga as Gonzalez was in the process of purchasing merchandise using the fraudulent cards, according to police reports attached to her case file.

Gonzalez’s alleged accomplice, 43-year-old Arthur Lance Perez of Riverside, was sentenced to 16 months in state prison in September after pleading guilty to a felony count of receiving stolen property.

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Alleged cat abuser faces new allegations

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With new allegations filed against him, a man charged with torturing and killing cats now potentially faces a longer prison sentence if convicted of animal cruelty.

Prosecutors last week amended the charges against Timothy Kooyman, adding allegations that Kooyman used scissors as a deadly weapon in the course of abusing cats in May in Rancho Cucamonga.

The four felony charges originally filed against Kooyman included a potential prison sentence of five years. With the new allegations, Kooyman, 25, faces up to seven years in prison.

Prosecutors accuse of Kooyman of luring stray cats, then breaking their legs and cutting off their tails with scissors.

Kooyman is also accused of dousing a cat in gasoline and setting it on fire, causing a small brushfire in a dry field in Rancho Cucumonga.

When Kooyman was arrested May 13, a San Bernardino County sheriff’s deputy found two abused, bloodied cats in Kooyman’s truck. The cats were later euthanized.

Deputy District Attorney Debbie Ploghaus said that when she originally filed the case, she was not aware that she could add deadly-weapons allegations in a case where an animal was the alleged victim.

Ploghaus said she added the allegations against Kooyman after finding a case that established a precedent allowing the allegations in cases involving animals.

Kooyman, who has pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity to the original felony counts, is due in West Valley Superior Court on Thursday to be arraigned on the new allegations.

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