Court culls mountains, burn areas from jury pool in Old Fire case

SAN BERNARDINO – A Superior Court judge has ruled that residents from the local mountains and northern portions of San Bernardino and Highland will not be among potential jurors in the upcoming trial for suspected Old Fire arsonist Rickie Lee Fowler.

In discussions Friday in San Bernardino Superior Court over a defense motion to exclude jurors from those areas, Judge Michael A. Smith acknowledged that residents in those areas may be “particularly more sensitive” to fire issues.

Lawyers grappled with the idea during court appearance for Fowler where discussions occurred about how best to exclude residents from the pool of potential jurors who may been evacuated, impacted or even lost a home during the devastating wildfire.
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DUI driver convicted in Redlands fatal crash

SAN BERNARDINO – Sara Cisneros had gotten off early at her job at San Manuel Indian Casino in August 2009 for a family celebration, and she was headed home to Redlands.

But on Cisneros’ way home, a Ford F-150 pickup crossed into her traffic lanes on Orange Street, at the wash, and collided head-on into her Nissan Sentra. A 48-year-old Redlands resident and mother, she died at the scene.

The driver of the pickup, Ryan Christopher Wheatley, of Highland, was subsequently arrested on suspicion of drunken driving. Two years later, a jury found Wheatley was responsible for Cisneros’ death.
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Pomona man arraigned in embezzlement case

A former Marine from Pomona, accused of embezzling $200,000 from a Palm Desert non-profit group that provides educational scholarships to other Marines, has pleaded not guilty to the charges.

Jason Patrick Hitt appeared for arraignment on the charges Wednesday before Judge Victoria E. Cameron at Larson Justice Center, in Indio, according to court records.

Hitt, 35, pleaded not guilty to two felony counts of embezzlement and forging documents, court records indicate. He returns to court Thursday.
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Jury finds man mentally competent in “bunker killings” case

The man charged in the killing of a High Desert couple at an abandoned military bunker in 2008 has been found to be mentally competent to stand trial.

Jurors returned the verdict Wednesday in the trial for Collin Lee McGlaughlin of West Covina after receiving the case for deliberation a day earlier, in Victorville Superior Court, according to court records.

McGlaughlin, 21, returns to court Jan.27. He’s accused of shooting to death Christopher Cody Thompson, 18, and his 16-year-old girlfriend Bodhi Sherzer-Potter, following a party at the bunker near Helendale.
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Trial begins in deadly Westside beating

SAN BERNARDINO – The trial began Tuesday for two brothers accused of fatally beating a 63-year-old man after police say he held open a door for them at Jimmy’s Food Market on the city’s Westside.

Prosecutors and attorneys for Jerome Walker, 24, and Milton Walker, 23, argued several motions in San Bernardino Superior Court to decide whether some evidence would go before the jury.

The Walkers are charged with murder in the death of Nathan Macon last year.

The defense sought to allow Macon’s police citations for being drunk in public be used at trial, as well as evidence of violent acts involving family members.
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