Prelim in Sammantha Salas case set for Tuesday afternoon in Alhambra

The two men accused of gunning down Sammantha Salas in an unincorporated portion of Monrovia will appear in court this afternoon where evidence will be presented in the case.

I’ll update as information becomes available.
Here’s a link to coverage of the gang-related shooting that plagues Monrovia in late 2007 and early 2008.
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Bail remain $2 million for preacher accused in slaying of porn actress Felicia Tang

PASADENA – The bail amount for a Monrovia man charged with torturing and murdering his girlfriend will remain at $2 million, a superior court judge determined Tuesday.

Brian Lee Randone is charged with beating and suffocating Felicia Lee at their Monrovia home. He faces life in prison if convicted.

The 45-year-old Randone was jailed last week on $2 million bail.

The defense asked for Randone’s bail amount to be lowered to $500,000 while prosecutors asked for an increase to $3 million. Pasadena Superior Court Judge Terry Smerling decided to stick with the $2 million amount. Randone appeared in court Tuesday and declared he was not guilty in the slaying.

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Valinda domestic dispute turns to gunfire

This from late night cop reporter Ruby Gonzales:

VALINDA – A child custody dispute may have led a Chino man to shoot two of his estranged girlfriend’s relatives, lead police on a short pursuit then shoot himself in the head Monday night, deputies said.

Photo Gallery: Valinda Shootings

Bryan Ornelas, 21, was taken to Citrus Valley Medical Center, Queen of the Valley campus in West Covina where he was listed in critical condition, according to Los Angeles County sheriff’s Lt. Hiroshi Yokoyama.

Deputy Anthony Moore said the girlfriend’s father was shot in the forearm and her 16-year-old brothe

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Police seek missing elderly Covina man

COVINA — Police sought the public’s help Sunday in finding a missing 82-year-old man who suffers from dementia and requires medication for medical problems.
Pedro Cortez was last seen walking the the area of Hollenbeck Avenue and Rowland Street about 11 a.m. after walking away from his home in the 400 block of West Idahome Street, Covina police Sgt. John Zumwalt said.

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Shortly before 3 p.m., family members became concerned and called the police.
He is described as 5 feet, 1 inch tall, and about 160 pounds, police said. He has white hair and brown eyes.
Cortez was last seen wearing a white shirt, beige pants and white shoes.
Officials used an automatic phone-dialing system with a recorded message to notify about 18,000 Covina residents of the missing person, Zumwalt said.
“If you should see someone matching this description, stay with the person and please call the Covina Police Department at 626-384-5808,” he said.

PHOTO courtesy of the Covina Police Department

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Roman Polanski jailed in Switzerland

From the Associated Press

ZURICH — Director Roman Polanski was arrested by Swiss police for possible extradition to the United States for having sex in 1977 with a 13-year-old girl, authorities said Sunday.

Polanski was flying in to receive an honorary award at the Zurich Film Festival when he was apprehended Saturday at the airport, the Swiss Justice Ministry said in a statement. It said U.S. authorities have sought the arrest of the 76-year-old around the world since 2005.


“There was a valid arrest request and we knew when he was coming,” ministry spokesman Guido Balmer told The Associated Press. “That’s why he was taken into custody.”

Balmer said the U.S. would now be given time to make a formal extradition request.

Polanski fled the U.S. in 1978, a year after pleading guilty to unlawful sexual intercourse with the underage girl.

The director of such classic films as “Chinatown” and “Rosemary’s Baby” has asked a U.S. appeals court in California to overturn a judges’ refusal to throw out his case. He claims misconduct by the now-deceased judge who had arranged a plea bargain and then reneged on it.

The Swiss statement said Polanski was officially in “provisional detention for extradition,” but added that he would not be transferred to U.S. authorities until all proceedings are completed. Polanski can contest his detention and any extradition decision in the Swiss courts, it said.

Polanski has faced a U.S. arrest request since 1978 and has lived for the past three decades in France, where his career has continued to flourish. He received a directing Oscar in absentia for the 2002 movie “The Pianist.” He was not extradited from France because his crime reportedly was not covered under the U.S.’s treaties with the country.

In France, Culture Minister Frederic Mitterrand said he was “dumbfounded” by Polanski’s arrest, adding that he “strongly regrets that a new ordeal is being inflicted on someone who has already experienced so many of them.”

Mitterrand’s ministry said Sunday in a statement that he is in contact with French President Nicolas Sarkozy, “who is following the case with great attention and shares the minister’s hope that the situation can be quickly resolved.”

A native of France who was taken to Poland by his parents, Polanski escaped Krakow’s Jewish ghetto as a child and lived off the charity of strangers. His mother died at the Auschwitz Nazi death camp.

He worked his way into filmmaking in Poland, gaining an Oscar nomination for best foreign-language film in 1964 for his “Knife in the Water.” Offered entry to Hollywood, he directed the classic “Rosemary’s Baby” in 1968.

But his life was shattered again in 1969 when his wife, actress Sharon Tate, and four other people were gruesomely murdered by followers of Charles Manson. She was eight months pregnant.

He went on to make another American classic, “Chinatown,” released in 1974.

In 1977, he was accused of raping the teenager while photographing her during a modeling session. The girl said Polanski plied her with champagne and part of a Quaalude pill at Jack Nicholson’s house while the actor was away. She said that, despite her protests, he performed oral sex, intercourse and sodomy on her.

Polanski was allowed to plead guilty to one of six charges, unlawful sexual intercourse, and was sent to prison for 42 days of evaluation.

Lawyers agreed that would be his full sentence, but the judge tried to renege on the plea bargain. Aware the judge would sentence him to more prison time and require his voluntary deportation, Polanski fled to France.

The victim, Samantha Geimer, who long ago identified herself publicly, has joined in Polanski’s bid for dismissal, saying she wants the case to be over. She sued Polanski and reached an undisclosed settlement.

Festival organizers said Polanski’s detention had caused “shock and dismay,” but that they would go ahead with Sunday’s planned retrospective of the director’s work.

The Swiss Directors Association sharply criticized authorities for what it deemed “not only a grotesque farce of justice, but also an immense cultural scandal.”

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Two teens stabbed during Azusa brawl

AZUSA — Two teenage boys were stabbed and two men were injured during a large brawl between two groups of partygoers Saturday, police said.
Police responded to reports of a large fight shortly after 10 p.m. in the 500 block of N. Barbara Avenue, Azusa police Sgt. Andy Sutcliffe said in a written statement.
“As officers arrived they saw roughly 15 subjects fighting in the middle of the street,” the statement said.
The brawlers scattered when police arrived, and officers found two teenagers who had been stabbed in the torso, Sgt. John Madaloni said.
Two injured men were also found at the scene, officials said. One had a cut to his head from being struck with an object, and another complained of pain from being struck repeatedly.
All four injured people were hospitalized and expected to survive, Sutcliffe said.
The fight was apparently between two groups of people attending two house parties that were “more or less across the street from each other,” Madaloni said.
A knife was recovered from the scene, he added, however no arrests had been made Sunday. The victims did not appear to be cooperating with investigators.
It was not clear what the groups were fighting over, and no further details were available Sunday.
Police are seeking witnesses to the fight, and anyone with information is asked to call the Azusa Police Department.

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Kidnapping reported in Hacienda Heights

INDUSTRY — Deputies responded to a report that a woman was briefly kidnapped, driven just over a mile away and released.
The incident was reported about 4 p.m., Los Angeles County sheriff’s Lt. Pete Cacheiro said.
A white woman in her 30s called police to report she was forcefully abducted from the parking lot of the City Lights Cocktail Lounge, 1257 S. Hacienda Blvd., the lieutenant said.
The woman said two Latino men in a full-size Chevrolet pickup truck beckoned her to their vehicle and asked her for directions, Cacheiro said.
As she spoke to the men, they seized her by the hair and forced her into the car, he said.
The woman reported that she was driven to a nearby Chevron gas station on 7th Avenue near the 60 Freeway and released, Cacheiro said. The men apparently made no demands for money or property, and the woman was not injured.
No further details were available.

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Husband, wife struck by car in Alhambra

ALHAMBRA — A car struck a husband and wife as they crossed the street Friday, sending both to the hospital with serious injuries, police said.
The man and woman, who were estimated to be in their 20s, were listed in “guarded but stable condition” at a hospital Saturday, Alhambra police traffic investigator Cpl. J. Mallette said.
The crash was reported about 7:30 p.m. on Valley Boulevard at Eighth Street, Alhambra police Lt. Dan Rodriguez said in a written statement.
The husband and wife had just left a grocery store and were crossing Valley Boulevard in a crosswalk when they were struck by a westbound sedan, officials said.
There are stop signs on Eighth Street at the intersection, but not on Valley Boulevard, Mallette said.
The driver, a man in his 20s, remained at the scene and no arrests were made, he added.
Mallette said the cause of the crash remained under investigation Saturday.

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Man rescued from wreckage after crash

GLENDORA — A man was hospitalized with major injuries Saturday after spending an unknown amount of time trapped in his wrecked car, officials said.
A passer-by called the California Highway Patrol about 7 a.m. to report seeing a car that had driven off the connector road between the northbound 57 Freeway and the eastbound 210 Freeway, CHP Sgt. John Escobedo said.
The crash is believed to have occurred in the early-morning hours, though it was not clear Saturday exactly what time, he said.
The car, a Nissan Maxima, hit a tree after leaving the road, Escobedo said.
“Use of a seat belt definitely assisted in him surviving this collision, Escobedo said. The vehicle sustained major damage.”
The injured man was described as a Rancho Cucamonga resident in his 30s, the sergeant added.
The cause of the crash remained under investigation.

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West Covina teen killed in Industry crash

INDUSTRY — A West Covina teen died early Saturday after crashing his SUV into a parked big rig on the 605 Freeway, authorities said.
Christopher Kar Leung Ng, 18, was pronounced dead following the crash, California Highway Patrol officials said in a written statement.
The crash was reported about 3:15 a.m. on the northbound 605 Freeway at the 60 Freeway.
“This impact was so severe, the Mercedes lodged underneath the trailer and Mr. Ng was extracted from the vehicle over an hour later,” the statement said.
Ng was driving his Mercedes-Benz SUV north on the freeway at high speed when he allowed the SUV to drift toward the right shoulder, according to the CHP statement.
The SUV struck the rear of a big rig that had pulled over onto the shoulder, officials said, which was being driven by a 55-year-old Washington man. The truck driver was not hurt.
Ng was not wearing a seat belt, officials said.

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