Man accused of killing rabbits pleads not guilty

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RANCHO CUCAMONGA — A Victorville man accused of killing as many as 20 wild rabbits in Ontario pleaded not guilty today to five counts of animal cruelty.

A judge also turned down a prosecutor’s request to set bail for Shea Johnson, 22, who was arrested in May but released from jail on his “own recognizance” pending criminal charges. Today was his first appearance in West Valley Superior Court.

Johnson is accused of capturing wild rabbits at Fox Rent A Car, where he works as a driver, and killing the animals by hitting them with his fists or slamming them against walls and fences.

He was arrested after one of his co-workers secretly took video footage of the alleged abuse and presented it to police, authorities said.

After Johnson pleaded not guilty to criminal charges, Judge Raymond P. Van Stockum rejected Deputy District Attorney Deborah Ploghaus’ request to set Johnson’s bail at $50,000.

“He’s a danger to the community without some kind of bail being set,” Ploghaus said.

Johnson’s attorney, Alphonse Provinziano, told the judge that Johnson “is not going to re-offend in any way.”

Provinziano said Johnson has no prior criminal history, is enrolled in school, and continues to hold his job at Fox Rent A Car, 1776 E. Holt Blvd.

When Provinziano mentioned the business, Van Stockum interrupted him and asked, “Which is overrun with these animals?”

“Yes, your honor,” Provinziano said.

After the hearing, Provinziano said Johnson will not be available for an interview. He declined to discuss Johnson’s possible defense to the charges.

“At this time we’re investigating the case,” he said.

Johnson is next due in court Aug. 3.

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Man pleads not guilty to murdering wife

CHINO — A Rancho Cucamonga man pleaded not guilty on Wednesday to charges that he murdered his wife, who was fatally shot Sunday and dumped on a residential street in Ontario.

Bobby Joe Winters, 74, is accused of shooting 70-year-old Angela Winters twice at the couple’s daughter’s home in Chino, and shooting her a third time before leaving her in the 300 block of West Elm Street at about 9:30 p.m.

About an hour after shooting his wife, Winters shot himself in the chest when confronted by San Bernardino sheriff’s deputies near his home on Galatina Place.

Judge Gerard S. Brown on Wednesday turned down a request from Winters’ attorney to set bail, leaving Winters jailed without bail at West Valley Detention Center in Rancho Cucamonga.

Winters is next due Aug. 2 in Chino Superior Court.

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Arrest warrant issued after DUI suspect misses court date

RANCHO CUCAMONGA — A judge issued a $50,000 arrest warrant Wednesday for a suspected drunken driver who failed to show for a hearing in West Valley Superior Court.

Leone Tautuiaki Ahoia, 19, is charged with a felony for allegedly being under the influence of alcohol when he overturned his truck July 2 in Ontario, injuring his 17-year-old girlfriend, who was a passenger.

Police found a smashed can of beer near the overturned truck, and a test of Ahoia’s blood yielded a blood-alcohol measurement of 0.05, according to a police report in Ahoia’s court file.

Ahoia told police his truck overturned when he swerved to avoid another vehicle that cut him off, according to the report.

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Man sentenced in fatal street racing crash

POMONA — A Montclair man has been sentenced for participating in a 2002 street race in which his opponent crashed, resulting in three deaths.

Roque Torres, 28, was sentenced to five years in and four months in prison Monday by Judge Jack P. Hunt in Pomona Superior Court.

Torres pleaded no contest to three counts of voluntary manslaughter last month as part of a plea agreement with prosecutors.

On Dec. 20, 2002, Torres and another driver, 22-year-old Jamael Glenn Johnson, raced in Pomona at speeds of up to 100 mph, according to prosecutors.

Johnson’s car collided with a van at Garey Avenue and Philadelphia, killing Johnson and two passengers: Jose Issac Batres, 26, and Carlos Mendoza, 20. All three were Pomona residents.

Because Torres fled the scene after the crash, his identity as one of the drivers remained unknown until police received a tip in October 2010. Torres was arrested in February.

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Man charged with killing wife remains hospitalized

CHINO — A man accused of shooting his wife to death Sunday was unable to appear in court Tuesday because he remains hospitalized, according to a staff member in Chino Superior Court.

Bobby Joe Winters, 74, remained hospitalized at Loma Linda Medical Center, where he was being treated for a self-inflicted gunshot wound to his chest.

The San Bernardino County District Attorney’s Office on Monday charged Winters with murdering 70-year-old Angela Winters.

Bobby Joe Winters allegedly shot his wife twice at about 9:30 p.m. at the couple’s daughter’s home in Chino, then shot her a third time before dumping her body on an Ontario residential street, authorities said.

Winters then drove to his home in Rancho Cucamonga, where he shot himself in the chest after being confronted by San Bernardino County sheriff’s deputies, authorities said.

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