Prosecution delivers opening statement in police slashing trial

The prosecution delivered its opening statement Tuesday afternoon in the trial of a man accused of resisting arrest and slashing an Upland police officer with a pocket knife.

Johnny Joe Magallanez, 28, is accused of attacking the officer in December 2007 after the officer tried to arrest him on suspicion of burglary at Mervyn’s at 233 S. Mountain Ave.

According to online court records, Deputy District Attorney Carlo DiCesare delivered a 10-minute opening statement Tuesday afternoon in West Valley Superior Court.

Magallanez’s defense attorney, Margis Matulionis, declined to give an opening statement. He will have an opportunity to give an opening statement at the start of the defense portion of the trial.

Here’s the initial story on his arrest:

Attempted-murder count filed

Inland Valley Daily Bulletin (Ontario, CA) – Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Author: Rod Leveque, Staff Writer

RANCHO CUCAMONGA – Prosecutors filed charges of attempted murder of a peace officer, assault with a deadly weapon and resisting arrest Tuesday against a man accused of slashing a police officer on the arm at an Upland department store.

Johnny Magallanez , 27, is scheduled to be arraigned today in West Valley Superior Court.

Police say Magallanez , a parolee from the Northern California town of Corning, slashed the officer with a folding pocket knife Friday night at Mervyn’s at 233 S. Mountain Ave.

The officer’s injuries were not life-threatening. He was treated and released that night.

“The indication is that he tried to go for the officer’s neck and face,” Deputy District Attorney Carlo DiCesare said. “Fortunately, it didn’t work.”

Authorities allege Magallanez had piled up merchandise near a door inside the store when the officer approached.

The officer, believing Magallanez was preparing to steal the items, took the man outside to arrest him on suspicion of burglary. A fight ensued, and Magallanez pulled the weapon and stabbed at the officer as the two grappled, authorities said.

The officer subdued Magallanez without using any of his own weapons, police said.

DiCesare said the officer did not know Magallanez had a knife until the struggle ended and he saw his own blood.

Magallanez is being held without bail at West Valley Detention Center.

Court records indicate he was on parole stemming from a felony gun charge in Glenn County. He was sentenced to three years in prison in December 2005.

Meanwhile, prosecutors declined to file charges against Tina Magallanez , a woman who was arrested Friday alongside Johnny Magallanez . The relationship between the pair is unclear.

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DA’s office names chief deputy district attorney

Clark Hansen III has been promoted to the position of chief deputy district attorney, San Bernardino County District Attorney Michael A. Ramos announced today.

Hansen has served as a supervising deputy district attorney at multiple offices since 1990, and was hired by the district attorney’s office in 1983, according to a news release.

Hansen replaces Chief Deputy District Attorney Benjamin Gonzales, who is retiring, according to the news release.

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Police identify man who stabbed self at Claremont checkpoint

Police today identified Charles Holton of North Hollywood as the man who repeatedly slashed his own neck at a DUI checkpoint in Claremont on Friday.

Holton, 53, remains hospitalized at Pomona Valley Hospital Medical Center, but he is now alert and talking, said Claremont police Lt. Mike Ciszek.

Police diverted Holton to the secondary screening area of the checkpoint at Foothill Boulevard and Dartmouth Avenue after they learned he did not have a driver’s license.

After further checking his records, police found that Holton had an active warrant related to drunken driving, Ciszek said.

When police returned to Holton’s car, Holton had taken out a folding pocket knife and began stabbing himself. Police used Tasers to get him to stop, Ciszek said.

Holton told police that he works in the Inland Empire and was driving through Claremont on his way home from work Friday, Ciszek said.

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Defendant seeks to withdraw guilty plea in Chino Hills murder case

CHINO — A Chino Hills man who pleaded guilty last month to stabbing his girlfriend to death is now seeking to withdraw his plea.

Santiago Mauricio Morales-Garcia, 25, told a judge on Friday that when he struck the plea agreement, he believed he agreed to a prison sentence of 15 years, rather than the actual sentence of 15 years to life, said Deputy District Attorney Steve Mitchell.

“He said he was told it was just 15 years,” Mitchell said.

Morales-Garcia is charged with killing his girlfriend, 43-year-old Minerva Calzada, on Aug. 24, 2008 in the couple’s kitchen in the 4500 block of Bird Farm Road.

After he stabbed Calzada to death, Morales-Garcia stabbed himself several times in an attempt to kill himself, he told police following his arrest.

When Morales-Garcia appeared in Chino Superior Court on April 17 for a preliminary hearing, he agreed to plead guilty to murder as part of a plea agreement with prosecutors.

He was set to be sentenced on Friday, but sentencing was delayed pending a judge’s ruling on Morales-Garcia’s request to withdraw his guilty plea.

Mitchell said he opposes Morales-Garcia’s bid to withdraw his plea.

“My position is that he was adequately advised of his constitutional rights when the pled guilty, and he should be sentenced to 15 years to life,” Mitchell said.

At Friday’s hearing, the court appointed a new attorney to represent Morales-Garcia in his effort to withdraw his plea. A judge is scheduled to rule June 10 on Morales-Garcia’s motion, Mitchell said.

Neither Morales-Garcia’s new attorney or his original attorney has returned calls seeking comment today.

(4:42 UPDATE: Morales-Garcia’s new attorney, William Morales, called back a few minutes ago and declined to comment on the case.)

Calzada’s daughter told police that Morales-Garcia and Calzada were among a group of people who visited an El Monte nightclub the day of the killing.

The daughter, who lived with the couple, told police that the couple did not appear to be arguing or fighting at the nightclub. The couple left the nightclub before the daughter did, the daughter told police.

At about 7 p.m., some of the couple’s neighbors began hearing loud noises and screams coming from the couple’s home, they told police.

After his arrest, Morales-Garcia told police that Calzada first stabbed him with a knife in the couple’s kitchen.

He said he retaliated by punching her several times. Calzada fell to the ground, and Morales-Garcia kicked her in the head and stabbed her repeatedly, he told police.

Morales-Garcia then turned the knife on himself, suffering a total of 27 stab wounds during the incident, according to a police report.

Calzada’s daughter discovered the couple lying on the kitchen floor when she returned home from the nightclub at about 8 p.m., she told police.

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Chino hit-and-run defendant pleads no contest

CHINO — An 18-year-old Pomona man has pleaded no contest to three charges filed by prosecutors following a fatal hit-and-run accident here last month.

Alfredo Antonio Ramirez, 18, will face a sentence of up to two years in state prison for the April 14 incident that resulted in the death of Richard Bohannan of Chino, said Deputy District Attorney Steve Mitchell.

Bohannan, a 42-year-old father of two, was hit by Ramirez’s vehicle in the 11800 block of Pipeline Avenue as he walked to his mailbox, police said.

California Highway Patrol officers located Ramirez with the help of Bohannan’s niece, who drove the streets the day after Bohannan’s death searching for the hit-and-run driver’s vehicle.

She found a 1991 Toyota Celica in Pomona belonging to Ramirez that had body damage consistent with the crash. Ramirez surrendered to police after he learned he was a suspect.

Ramirez appeared in Chino Superior Court on Friday and reached a plea deal with Judge Gerard Brown, Mitchell said.

Ramirez pleaded no contest to three charges — a felony count of hit-and-run resulting in injury or death, a misdemeanor count of vehicular manslaughter, and an infraction for driving without car insurance, according to online court records.

In exchange for his no contest pleas, Brown told Ramirez that any potential jail or prison sentence would have a “lid” of two years, meaning his sentence won’t exceed two years, Mitchell said.

Ramirez, who remains jailed in West Valley Detention Center in Rancho Cucamonga, is scheduled to be sentenced July 22 in Chino Superior Court.

The county probation department will draft a report with a sentencing recommendation prior to the hearing, Mitchell said.

“My personal opinion is (Ramirez) should go to prison,” Mitchell said.

Ramirez’s defense attorney, Ramiro Lluis, has not returned a call seeking comment today.

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