EMF’s reach

A few months back we had a meeting with police officials from Baldwin Park and they mentioned that the city had a problem with members of the El Monte Flores gang in their city.

There are already two gangs and a tagging crew that lay claim to the city, so having members of a fourth undoubtedly makes for some headaches.

Turns out that EMF may reach all the way into Covina, at least that’s what sheriff’s deputies are telling us in the wake of arrests in the Michelle Chien murder case.

Here’s a little history of gangs in the SGV courtesy of a site that calls itself “Gangland Express.”

Regarding EMF:

El Monte is an old barrio and home to the famous El Monte dance hall wich is gone now. That is were alot of the pachucos’ idols would sing songs like, Earth Angel, Night Owl, 18 with a bullet, Duke of Earl, and Sitting in the Park. It is also home to El Monte Flores. This is one of the largest gangs from the SGV, and most spread out.

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Wanted: Lil Tiny (*Updated)


Text below is from the Sheriff’s wanted poster:

On March 19, 2008 (Wednesday) at 1140 hours, Victim Michelle Hsu was shot and killed by intruders in her Covina Hills home.

The victim was on the telephone with a 911 operator when the suspects killed her to avoid capture and arrest.

After a lengthy investigation, detectives have identified Suspect Victor Manuel Maurtua as one of five suspects involved in the murder.

Suspect Maurtua is a known El Monte Flores gang member and was last known to frequent the Baldwin Park area.



*Update: City News Service has finally picked up on this (even though they had a copy of our story since Saturday). But what’s being reported is wrong. The Sheriff’s Information Bureau told CNS that there are no other suspects identified and no arrests have been made. CNS is working to correct their report.


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Chien case update — EMF member a suspect

Of the suspected killers, only one is believed to have been a gang member. Christopher Santana, 19, of Covina is believed to have been a member of the El Monte Flores gang, said Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Lt. Dan Rosenberg.

The girls, Christine Alegre, 16, and Megali Fernandez, 17 are both from West Covina.

” We were very surprised that we were looking at two females, two teenaged girls,” Rosenberg said.


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Five persons have been charged in the March murder of Michelle Chien, aka Hsia Hong Hsu.

Here’s an excerpt of the charge sheet from the DAs office:


ALEGRE, CHRISTINE                     NO BAIL
FERNANDEZ, MEGALI                   NO BAIL

 You can see the DAs indictment on the jump

All are looking at potential death sentences. Maurtua remains at large.

*All this information jibes with a story we published Saturday indicating the arrests had ocurred.


Continue reading “FIVE CHARGED IN COVINA HILLS 187 *” »

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Monrovia man suspected MySpace molester (****UPDATED)

This from the U.S. Attorney’s office:

9626-SAFE_-_Serrano_picture-thumb-300x400.jpgA San Gabriel Valley man was indicted today for allegedly using
social networking sites on the Internet to convince high school-age girls to have sex with him and pose for pornographic pictures.

Gregory Scott Serrano, 33, of Monrovia, was indicted by a federal grand jury in Los Angeles on charges of production of child
pornography, using the Internet to entice minors to produce child
pornography and to meet for sex, receipt of child pornography,
possession of child pornography and attempted destruction of evidence.

The indictment lists 10 teenage girls as victims. However, authorities believe there are other girls who may have been victimized by Serrano.

The investigation into Serrano began in March after a 15-year-old girl reported that Serrano had taken pornographic photographs of her. According to court documents, Serrano posed as a 19-year-old and contacted the teenager after reading her profile on netlog.com and MySpace.com. After courting her via emails and cellular telephone conversations, Serrano pressed the teenager to meet him in person.

Some of serrano’s usernames included: Greg Scott, Purein10citi, citigreg1116, serranogreg, and latinoload1116.

*Serrano is charged with 23 counts in state court and 22 federal counts. Bail in the case has been set at $820,000. He’s residing at the Pitchess Detention Center in Castaic.

*Here’s what Serrano listed on his resume at LinkedIn.com

Gregory Serrano’s Experience

  • Owner

    Primerica Financial Services

    (Public Company; Financial Services industry)

    Currently holds this position

    • Culinary Delivery Specialist

Chili’s Grill and Bar

(Public Company; 5001-10,000 employees; eat; Restaurants industry)



Beginning in or about January 2007, and continuing until inor about March 12, 2008, in Los Angeles County, within theCentral District of California, and elsewhere, defendant GREGORYSCOTT SERRANO knowingly used a facility of interstate commerce,namely, the Internet and the telephone, to attempt to persuade,induce, and entice an individual who had not attained the age of18 years, namely, S.A., a 13 and then 14-year-old girl, to engagein a sexual activity for which a person could be charged with acriminal offense, namely, lewd acts on a child, in violation ofCalifornia Penal Code Section 288(C)(1), and production of childpornography, in violation of Title 18, United States Code,Section 2251(a).


***Here’s some of Greg Serrano’s Web sites:

WIndows live here.

MySpace here.

Friendster here.

LinkedIn here.

****Netlog site here.

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Update in Rowland Heights triple homicide

Prosecutors and defense attorneys agreed Tuesday to postpone a preliminary hearing for a woman accused of killing her husband and two children.

The move is one of several delays in the case since Man-ling Williams was arrested in connection with slaying of her husband Neal and children Ian and Devon. 

This small note comes from Jan WIlliams, mother of Neal grandmother of Ian and Devon. Jan attends each hearing in the case and reports to Crime Scene readers on the state of the case:

At a hearing today it was determined that they need to set another date in order to set a date for the preliminary.  Next check in hearing date is June 26.  Jan

My comment: Sounds like something from the court of the Queen of Hearts in Wonderland.

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Fish wrap *

Former Pomona teacher Steven Petralia is set to be sentenced in Superior Court *tomorrow.

A wrong way crash on the Southbound 605 kills a driver.  Just minutes before the accident, Anissa Rivera, our “Mom’s the word” blogger describes her family’s close call.

APU students are causing a parking problem in the neighborhood.

The search for more Manson Family victims at Barker Ranch in Inyo was a big zip.

Sheriff’s Department about to release more information in the March slaying of a Covina Hills woman who was on the phone with 9-1-1 when she was shot to death.


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On the prowl

9610-coyote-thumb-300x225.jpgThis is one fat coyote. Believe it or not he was prowling Los Feliz Monday night at the intersection of North New Hampshire and Finley Avenue.

I pretty sure he had at least one friend, but the other coyote was sneakier and didn’t want his picture taken.

Now I know why there’s no stray cats in the neighborhood. I’d been wondering recently what happened to  this crazy homeless woman that hangs out nearby. She must be smarter than I thought. Who wants to sleep outside with these guys on the prowl? 

Apparently this has been reported before on an Atwater Village blog and may be fall out from the Griffith Park fire.

As for other sightings, coyotes make regular appearances in Arcadia. This from a city Web page dealing with animal control:

There are regular sightings of coyotes in the foothill areas of Arcadia, and along the horse trail and wash.  Residents should report sightings wherein a coyote seems to be unusually aggressive, sick or injured to the Pasadena Humane Society at 792-7151, extension 110, or to the Arcadia Police Department at 574-5150.


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On the lookout


Reporter Caroline An encountered these two dogs on Woodland Avenue Saturday as she was reporting on the Sierra Madre mudslides. An told me she didn’t even notice the dogs at first, but was instead “transfixed” by some nearby spring flowers.

Here’s her description of the photo:

Two lovely, cuddly dogs kept watch on Woodland Avenue Saturday morning. One of the streets affected by mudsliudes and hail that occurred Thursday. 

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Tuesday’s column

We call it the “breakfast test.”

It’s a really simple test and applies to stories that have a certain gore factor.

Here’s the rule: If you are writing something for the newspaper that you wouldn’t want to read over a bowl of Cheerios, find a way to make it more palatable.

The rule applies to photos too, and ultimately makes for some interesting decisions. I’ve been thinking about the breakfast test for the better part of the last week, especially after seeing a pair of brutal photographs and reviewing a video of a child molestation.

The photos depicted dead bodies.

One was a picture of Glenn Patrick Rose, who was shot to death on May 13 after a confrontation with Los Angeles County sheriff’s deputies and California Highway Patrol officers. The shooting occurred in an alleyway off First Avenue in Covina just north of Puente Avenue.

Investigators left Rose’s body uncovered for several hours after the shooting. Reporter Amanda Baumfeld and photographer Walt Mancini each took several disturbing pictures of the scene.

Both said later it was nearly impossible to photograph the investigation without getting a picture of Rose’s body. Investigators said they left the body uncovered because they didn’t think any children would happen across the scene.

Mancini ultimately came up with a photo of several police cars blocking a garage that served as our illustration of the story in the next day’s newspaper.

The second series of photos came from reporter Brian Day, who used a point-and-shoot to get photos from a crime scene in the 1100 block of North Stimpson Avenue in La Puente.

Day’s photos depicted the body of Gabriel Guzman Martinez, 19, who was dragged to his death on May 18 by a runaway pick-up truck. The next day, Day returned to the scene and grabbed some photos of a memorial to Martinez. Ultimately we used those to illustrate the story.

I did alter one of Day’s photos and posted it on the Crime Scene blog. There I asked for reader input. Here’s a reader’s comment on that post:

“Altered it slightly? It’s an entirely different picture without the body. Imagine if photos from every battle since the Civil War were altered, we’d never know what really happened, their history would be in question,” wrote someone identified as “Patrick.” “A journalistic photo should be shown exactly the way it was taken, unaltered. If you don’t want to offend anyone don’t show the picture.”

As for the videotaped molestation, it occurred inside a bookstore at the Santa Anita mall in Arcadia. A man, identified by police as registered sex offender Jaime Elvis Elizondo, 33, of San Gabriel can be seen in the tape sizing up a young girl several times prior to the molestation.

Again, Brian Day wrote the story; here’s how he described the attack:

“Elizondo is suspected of ‘touching his exposed genitals up against a young female child’ … , according to Arcadia police Lt. Ron Buckholtz.”

Several minutes later, I viewed the videotape and a handful of screen captures that accompanied it on a disc provided by the Arcadia Police Department.

Based on what I read in Day’s story, I elected not to put the video on the Internet even though it was not visibly explicit.

I learned later that several local television news outlets chose to air the video. Perhaps they didn’t know the details, but it didn’t pass my breakfast test.

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