West Covina courthouse flooded out

This from Judy Hammond downtown:

WEST COVINA – Until at least Thursday, August 28, 2008, the West Covina Courthouse at 1427 West Covina Parkway will remain closed due to flooding.The problem’s origin is unknown.

Case management contingencies are under discussion and will be outlined in future advisories from the Los Angeles Superior Court.

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Clark Rockefeller: “I’ve never hurt anyone”

Part two of Natalie Morales’ interview with Clark Rockefeller features an interesting confrontation between Morales and Rockefeller’s attorney Stephen Hrones.

Morales, to her credit, asks some tough questions about Rockefeller/Chichester’s relationship with John and Linda Sohus. She gets immediately interrupted and reprimanded by Hrones.

Rockefeller also shares some of his fondest childhood memories, including a trip to Mt. Rushmore in a “woody” station wagon. The interview:

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Clark Rockefeller describes pain of missing his daughter

The London Telegraph reports on a second installment of Dateline’s interview with Clark Rockefelelr, aka Christian Karl Gerhartsreiter. Here’s a bit of their story, and a photo of Rockefeller posing with reporter Natalie Morales:

The bespectacled father, who police say is actually a German-born national called Christian Karl Gerhartsreiter, gave an interview to NBC, due to be broadcast in two parts next week.


In an excerpt shown on Thursday night, Rockefeller says he hoped to live a life of obscurity in Baltimore with his daughter, Reigh Storrow Boss, who he is accused of snatching from a Boston street on July 27 before fleeing to New York and then Maryland.

During the six days they were missing, he did not think about returning Reigh to her mother, Sandra Boss, he says, because being with her was “almost like a drug”.

The couple’s marriage ended last year and Reigh was on a social worker-supervised visit to see her father from the UK at the time of the alleged kidnapping, their first contact in seven months.

Rockefeller told NBC he took his daughter to Baltimore because he could not afford the life he wanted in Boston.

Asked if he planned to go into hiding, he said “That’s perhaps an extreme way of saying it. I just wanted to live an obscure life in Baltimore.”

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“Ayudenme! No me quiero morir!”

Robert Hong pieced together a powerful account of Jennifer Avina-Ortega’s last moments. The woman was shot to death Tuesday night standing at a pay phone in the 1800 block of East Villa. Police are releasing very few details about the case, implying they are close to catching the killer or killers here’s an excerpt:

Shot in the back and bleeding profusely, Avina-Ortega crawled on the pavement and screamed out in Spanish in the moments before she died, witnesses said.

“Ayudenme!” – “Help me!” Avina-Ortega screamed. “No me quiero morir!” – “I don’t want to die!”

Seconds after the gunfire, a witness, who declined to give her name, said she saw a car speed out of the parking lot adjacent the barbershop and a small market that is part of the same building.

Then a second vehicle drove past slowly, its headlights off. The windows were rolled down and it appeared the occupants were looking at Avina-Ortega as she lay on the sidewalk.

The car turned right on Villa, then drove through a red light at Allen Avenue and kept going, witnesses said.

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A fishy story

A pair of New York teenagers used a relatively simple and accessible DNA analysis to check sushi samples at Manhattan restaurants. Their findings were pretty interesting. Amateur sleuths take note of this snippet from the New York Times:


In a tale of teenagers, sushi and science, Kate Stoeckle and Louisa Strauss, who graduated this year from the Trinity School in Manhattan, took on a freelance science project in which they checked 60 samples of seafood using a simplified genetic fingerprinting technique to see whether the fish New Yorkers buy is what they think they are getting.

They found that one-fourth of the fish samples with identifiable DNA were mislabeled. A piece of sushi sold as the luxury treat white tuna turned out to be Mozambique tilapia, a much cheaper fish that is often raised by farming. Roe supposedly from flying fish was actually from smelt. Seven of nine samples that were called red snapper were mislabeled, and they turned out to be anything from Atlantic cod to Acadian redfish, an endangered species.

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Hrones fires back

After a scathing piece in the Boston Herald about his abilities (or lack thereof) as an attorney, Stephen Hrones fired back at the paper claiming the Herald was exacting payback for his granting the Boston Globe an interview with Clark Rockefeller.

Hrones also granted Dateline an interview with his client, aka Christian Karl Gerhartsreiter. 

The Herald has had a great run of stories on the whole saga, which are collected here. Don’t forget our San Marino Mystery section here.

Here’s some of Hrones’ rant:

It’s payback,” he says of the front-page Herald story that appeared on Wednesday. “There is no question about it. The Globe interview was today and the Herald was furious.”

After losing out on the interview, the Herald retaliated with a story about his legal troubles, Hrones says.

“This isn’t a front-page story,” he says. “I did nothing wrong.”

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Clark Rockefeller — the interview

Ot Christian Karl Gerhartsreiter if you prefer…or Christopher Chichester …or Chip Smith…

Anyway, Media Bistro and the NY Post are reporting that the international man of mystery sat down for an interview with Natalie Morales. The interview will be shown on the Today show Monday, and also in a Dateline special scheduled to be aired in September.  I wrote about this in my column Tuesday. Here’s a link to that.

Here’s a snippet of Media Bistro’s brief:


He first became news after being accused of snatching his daughter off the streets of Boston which launched an intense, international manhunt. But since the capture of the man who calls himself Clark Rockefeller, new questions of a mysterious past have come to light.

NBC’s Natalie Morales sat down for an exclusive interview with Rockefller this morning at the Suffolk County Jail in Boston. The interview airs Monday and Tuesday on the Today show and will also be part of a Dateline special in September.

As for the Post, a slightly edgier take with a gallery of glam photos of an obviously made-up Rockefeller:

Morales was able to quiz the suspected kidnapper/con man about his marriage, life on the run and his murky past.

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Jennifer Avina-Ortega, 20


According to Pasadena police that’s the name of the city’s second homicide victim in 2008.

Avina-Ortega, 20, was shot to death in the 1800 block of East Villa street, officials said.

Police who found her were responding to reports of gunfire and heard the plaintive wail of a woman crying out for help. She died before midnight at Huntington Memorial Hospital, police said.

Family and friends of Avina-Ortega Wednesday gathered near where she fell. A memorial was erected and theories about here death were bandied about. Police said they have no witnesses and no motive for the shooting.



Here’s the photo caption:

Berlin Ortega writes a message on a memorial poster for her sister
Jennifer Ortega, “I Love You Jenny”, in the parking lot of Linda Rosa
Market in the 1800 block of Villa Street in Pasadena, Wednesday,
August 20, 2008.  Jennifer Ortega was shot to death at about 10 p.m.
on Tuesday night in the parking lot of Linda Rosa Market. (SGVN/Staff
Photo by Walt Mancini/SXCity)


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Young woman shot to death in Pasadena

We’ve posted a story about a young Pasadena woman who was shot to death in the 1800 block of East Villa Avenue in Pasadena Tuesday night.

The woman’s name was not released. She was taken from the scene of the shooting to Huntington Memorial Hospital where she was pronounced dead.

It is Pasadena’s second homicide in 2008.

Osman Villalobos, 18, was stabbed to death at 1388 Iowa Ave. in Pasadena on Sunday, June 16. Villalobos had been stabbed during an argument with another man over a girlfriend. Police later arrested Pasqual Diaz, 22, on suspicion of murder. 

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