Woman accused in dismemberment slaying makes court appearance


RANCHO CUCAMONGA — A Riverside County woman accused of murdering and dismembering her boyfriend appeared in court today for a brief hearing in which attorneys told a judge of their progress in the case.

An attorney for Carmen Montelongo, 44, said she was waiting for prosecutors to turn over remaining “discovery,” such as police reports, about the investigation into Samuel Wiggins Jr.’s slaying.

Prosecutors believe Montelongo fatally stabbed Wiggins, 62, in April or early May at his Diamond Bar home.

She then allegedly cut off Wiggins’ head and arms and concealed the body parts in large flower pots that she brought to a relative’s home in Bell Gardens on May 8.

She allegedly buried the rest of Wiggins’ remains in early May in the backyard of a relative’s home in the 700 block of North Holmes Avenue in Ontario.

She was arrested on May 29 when she returned to the Ontario home, exhumed Wiggins’ body, and loaded the partial remains into a trash can that she wheeled 200 yards down residential streets.

One of her cousins lives at the home, and he called police after he saw Montelongo exhume Wiggins’ body.

Montelongo, of Jurupa Valley, has pleaded not guilty to criminal charges.

Deputy District Attorney Erica Gallegos said the investigation into Wiggins’ death is not complete, and she’s awaiting a final coroner’s report as well as reports from the Los Angeles County sheriff’s investigation into Wiggins’ finances.

Montelongo allegedly spent her ex-boyfriend’s money after his death.

Also addressed during today’s hearing in West Valley Superior Court was Montelongo’s true last name. Some authorities have identified her as Montenegro.

Her attorney, Rebecca Taft, told Judge Michael Libutti that her client’s name includes both Montelongo and Montenegro, which respectively are her mother and father’s last names.

Montelongo told Libutti her full name includes both names, with Montelongo appearing first.

Montelongo is next due in court Aug. 17. She remained jailed without bail today at West Valley Detention Center in Rancho Cucamonga.

Alleged drunk driver charged in motorcyclist’s death

RANCHO CUCAMONGA — An alleged drunk driver from Montclair has been charged with vehicular manslaughter for allegedly killing a motorcyclist in a May traffic collision.

Chris David Wilcox, 33, allegedly collided with motorcyclist Sebastian Bobby Orioli Jr. on May 25 at Euclid Avenue and Holt Boulevard in Ontario.

Orioli, of Upland, was thrown from his Harley-Davidson motorcycle when he collided with Wilcox’s 1999 Chevrolet Tahoe at about 5:30 p.m.

Orioli, 38, suffered severe injuries and later died at Loma Linda Medical Center, according to a police report in Wilcox’s court file.

Wilcox failed field sobriety tests, and breath tests at the scene yielded blood-alcohol measurements of 0.26 and 0.24, about three times the legal limit of 0.08, according to the police report.

Wilcox has pleaded not guilty to criminal charges, and is next due July 27 in West Valley Superior Court.

He remained jailed Friday in lieu of $500,000 bail at West Valley Detention Center in Rancho Cucamonga.

According to the police report, Wilcox made an illegal left-hand turn from southbound Euclid onto Holt.

As he entered the intersection, the passenger side of his vehicle was struck by Orioli, who was traveling north on Euclid and had the right-of-way, according to the report.

Wilcox suffered minor scrapes to one of his arms in the collision, possibly from when an airbag deployed in his car.

At the time of the collision, Wilcox, a manager at Old World Delicatessen in West Covina, was driving his children to hockey practice, according to the police report.

He told police he only drank one glass of wine prior to the incident. He said he drank wine while he was at work about three hours before the crash.

In addition to vehicular manslaughter, prosecutors have charged Wilcox with a DUI-related felony and two counts of felony child abuse. Wilcox’s two young children were in his car at the time of the incident.

Former Fontana school administrator admits embezzlement

FONTANA — A former administrator at the Fontana Unified School District pleaded no contest this week to embezzling about $8,500 from the district.

Shawn Kingsley, former director of maintenance and operations, entered his plea to a misdemeanor count of embezzlement Thursday in Fontana Superior Court.

Kingsley, 56, of Fontana was sentenced by Judge Phillip Morris to 45 days in jail, and was placed on probation for three years, according to court records.

Kingsley was charged in January after a Fontana police investigation revealed evidence that he took about $8,500 generated through sales of the district’s scrap metal.

According to a police report in Kingsley’s court file, he used the embezzled money for personal expenses, including donations to his church, Cross Pointe Community Church in Fontana.

Kingsley’s embezzlement reportedly began in 2007, when he was named director of maintenance and operations, and continued until November 2010, when police received a tip about the embezzlement from a district employee.

Kingsley, a district employee of 28 years, was initially placed on administrative leave. He later resigned.

Judge Morris ordered Kingsley to report to Glen Helen Rehabilitation Center in Devore by Oct. 14 to begin serving his jail sentence, which he is eligible to complete through a work release program, according to court records.

Kingsley must finish serving his jail sentence by April 14, 2012, according to court records.

Alleged drunk driver charged with manslaughter in fatal Ontario crash

RANCHO CUCAMONGA — An 18-year-old Ontario man has been charged with gross vehicular manslaughter for allegedly losing control of his car while driving drunk and colliding with another vehicle, killing a passenger.

Jairo Gutierrez Zavala’s blood-alcohol content was 0.10 on May 19 when he allegedly lost control of his 1999 Dodge Durango in Ontario, according to a police report in his court file.

He collided with a 1996 Honda sedan at Euclid Avenue and Philadelphia Street, killing a man in the back seat.

Jose Cortez, 60, of Ontario was pronounced dead at the scene shortly after the 9 p.m. crash.

Zavala has pleaded not guilty to manslaughter and two DUI-related felonies, and he remained jailed today in lieu of $750,000 bail at West Valley Detention Center in Rancho Cucamonga.

He is next due July 27 in West Valley Superior Court.

Witnesses told police the crash occurred when Zavala tried to make a right turn or U-turn from from southbound Euclid, according to the police report.

Zavala tried to accelerate quickly and lost control of his car, witnesses said.

He narrowly missed a traffic signal and decorative boulder in the median of Euclid before colliding with the Honda, which was waiting to make a left turn onto Euclid from the westbound lanes of Philadelphia, according to the report.

Zavala’s car overturned after the collision, but he suffered minor injuries and was able to crawl to safety from underneath the vehicle.

The Honda was struck on the rear driver’s side, where Cortez was sitting.

Cortez’s daughter-in-law was driving the car, his son was in the front passenger seat, and his grandson was beside him in the back seat, according to the police report. None were seriously injured.

Zavala told police he drank four or five beers with friends after work.

Montclair man convicted of sexually abusing stepdaughter

41105-Juan Trujillo Barajas.jpg

RANCHO CUCAMONGA — A jury found a Montclair man guilty today of sexually abusing his stepdaughter.

Juan Trujillo Barajas, 40, was convicted of 24 felony counts, including continuous sexual abuse of a child, after jurors deliberated about four hours in West Valley Superior Court.

Barajas’ 16-year-old stepdaughter accused him of first abusing her when she was 12, with the abuse escalating at age 13 when he began forcing her to have sex several times a week. Barajas was arrested May 12, 2010 after the girl first disclosed the alleged abuse to a relative.

The forced intercourse took place at a home where the girl lived with Barajas, her mother and her siblings, as well as at a Baldwin Park Mexican restaurant where Barajas and the girl worked, the girl said.

Relatives and other supporters of Barajas cried as the verdicts were read by a courtroom clerk. Barajas and his stepdaughter, who was in the audience, did not visibly react.

The girl’s mother — Barajas’ husband — said after the hearing that the guilty verdicts were an injustice. She and other members of her family believe the girl lied about the alleged abuse.

“All we know is there’s no evidence that points to what they’re saying is true,” said Magdalena Perez, one of Barajas’ relatives.

The jury of six men and six women convicted Barajas of one count of continuous sexual abuse of a child, two counts of lewd or lascivious acts with a child under 14, 13 counts of lewd or lascivious acts with a child of 14 or 15 years old, six counts of forcible rape, and two counts of oral copulation by threat.

Barajas is scheduled to be sentenced Sept. 2 by Judge Stephan G. Saleson.

Deputy District Attorney Karen Schmauss said Barajas faces a maximum sentence of about 80 years in prison.

Barajas rejected a plea agreement from prosecutors before the trial that carried a three-year prison term, said Schmauss and Barajas’ attorney, Thomas Avdeef.

Avdeef said after the hearing that he believes Barajas is not guilty.

“I didn’t see any evidence that he did it,” he said.

In his closing argument to jurors on Tuesday, Avdeef said the girl falsely accused of Barajas of sexually abusing her after she learned that Barajas was not her real father.

The disclosure made the girl angry at Barajas and her mother, said Avdeef, who called the alleged victim a “mentally troubled teenager.”

“Jane Doe is a liar,” Avdeef said.

Avdeef noted that his client did not confess to police, nor were there any witnesses to the alleged abuse or physical evidence to support the girl’s claims.

In her final remarks to the jury, Schmauss said the girl’s accusations against Barajas were consistent and believable. She downplayed the significance of the case’s lack of eyewitnesses.

“He is not going to rape that child in front of witnesses,” Schmauss said. “It’s not that kind of crime.”

Church choir director pleads guilty to lewd acts with choirgirl


RANCHO CUCAMONGA — A church choir director pleaded guilty Monday to charges that he committed lewd sexual acts with a 15-year-old choirgirl.

Mark William Michaels, 53, pleaded guilty in West Valley Superior Court to three counts of lewd or lascivious acts with a child of 14 or 15 years.

Michaels’ pleas came as part of plea agreement with prosecutors that carries a prison sentence of four years and four months, and requires that Michaels register as a sex offender for life, according to a document in Michaels’ court file that details the agreement.

Michaels is scheduled to be sentenced Aug. 25.

Michaels was arrested June 4 after a Montclair police officer saw him allegedly committing lewd acts with the girl in a car parked in an alley behind businesses in the 10200 block of Central Avenue.

Michaels and the girl were both parishioners at Bethany Baptist Church, 9950 Monte Vista Ave. in Montclair. They met two years ago, police said.

Prosecutors initially charged Michaels, of Upland, with nine felonies, but as part of the plea agreement they agreed to drop all counts besides the ones to which Michaels pleaded guilty.

Michaels remained jailed today in lieu of $250,000 bail at West Valley Detention Center in Rancho Cucamonga.

Final defendant sentenced in Ted Greene Park slayings

POMONA — The final defendant charged in connection with the shooting deaths of two teens last year at Ted Greene Park has been sentenced to prison.

Devin Adel Omar, 17, was sentenced to nine years in state prison on June 29 by Commissioner Wade Olson after he pleaded no contest to voluntary manslaughter in Pomona Superior Court.

Omar’s plea came four weeks after five other teens charged in the case pleaded no contest to voluntary manslaughter and received similar prison sentences.

Timmy Moore, 17, and Prithesh Dunn, 15, died after they were shot the afternoon of Jan. 29, 2010 during what authorities described as a fight between rival gangs at the park, located at Orange Grove and La Verne avenues in Pomona.

The accused shooter, 15-year-old Denzel Isaiah Omar, fired 13 rounds with a .22-caliber rifle after a member of the other gang waved a gun above his head, police said. A third teen was wounded by the gunfire.

On June 1, Denzel Omar and four other teens charged in the case were sentenced to prison terms ranging from three to 12 years.

Besides Denzel Omar, the teens who were sentenced June 1 are Johnny Moore, 17, Davontay Jenkins, 17, Samuel Boyd, 18, and Dayveon Thomas, 18.

Driver pleads not guilty to DUI in rollover crash

RANCHO CUCAMONGA — An alleged drunk driver pleaded not guilty to criminal charges this morning in connection with a crash last week in which his girlfriend, a passenger, was seriously injured.

Leone Tautuiaki Ahoia, 19, was arraigned in West Valley Superior Court on a felony count of DUI causing bodily injury. Prosecutors filed the case Wednesday.

Ahoia’s Ford F-150 overturned at about 6 a.m. Saturday in the area of Grove Avenue and State Street in Ontario.

Ahoia, of Norwalk, told police his truck overturned when he swerved to avoid a vehicle that cut him off, according to a police report contained in his court file.

Ahoia’s 17-year-old girlfriend, who authorities have not identified, suffered major head injuries in the crash, according to the report.

Police found a smashed 12-ounce can of Bud Light at the crash scene, and Ahoia told police he drank two Bud Lights during a barbecue the previous day, according to the report.

A test of Ahoia’s blood yielded a blood-alcohol measurement of 0.05, according to the report.

Ahoia told police he attended a barbecue at his uncle’s home in Riverside on Friday, then drove to his aunt’s home in Ontario to spend the night, the report says.

He said he left his aunt’s home shortly before the crash because his girlfriend wanted to buy food and go to her cousin’s home, according to the report.

Ahoia remained jailed Thursday in lieu of $50,000 bail at West Valley Detention Center in Rancho Cucamonga. He is next due in court July 13.

Three sentenced to prison for holding immigrants captive

RANCHO CUCAMONGA — Three Mexican citizens were sentenced to three years in state prison after pleading no contest to charges that they held three illegal immigrants captive for ransom.

The men were sentenced by Judge Raymond P. Van Stockum June 30 in West Valley Superior Court after pleading no contest to false imprisonment.

Jose DeJesus Horta Gutterrez, 34, Leonardo Rios Sanchez, 24, and Alvaro Barajas, 38, were arrested June 17 after San Bernardino County sheriff’s deputies found them with the captives at a home in Rancho Cucamonga.

Deputies went to the home after receiving a phone call from one of the captives. The captives, all Mexican citizens who were smuggled across the border, were being held by the defendants in lieu of $1,000, according to authorities.

Two other immigrants were in the home when deputies arrived in the 13000 block of Arrow Route, though they were not being held by the defendants for further payment, authorities said.

The five immigrants were taken into custody at the time of the defendants’ arrest, and may be deported, authorities said.

Before they were smuggled into the United States, each immigrant paid between $2,000 and $3,000 for assistance crossing the border, authorities said.