Hung jury for woman who butchered husband and smothered children

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POMONA – A jury debating the death penalty for a Rowland Heights woman convicted of killing her family deadlocked on Monday.

Following deliberations in the penalty phase of Manling Williams’ trial, the jury was hung, court officials said Monday. Eight jurors favored recommending death for Williams, while four preferred life without parole, Los Angles County District Attorney’s office officials said.

A hearing was scheduled for Jan. 11 to determine the next course of action.

“At that time, the district attorney’s office will announce whether we intend to retry the penalty phase,” said spokeswoman Shiara Davila. “In the event we do, we will do so with a brand new jury.”

Williams faced the death penalty after she was convicted on Nov. 4 of slashing to death her husband, Neal, and smothering her two sons, Devon, 7, and Ian, 3, with a pillow in their Rowland Heights home on Aug. 7, 2007.

The jury deliberated for more than two days before determining it could not reach a decision.

If the DA opts not to retry the penalty phase, Williams will be sentenced to life without the possibility of parole, Davila said.

Man believed to have died of natural causes while riding bike at Bonelli Park in San Dimas

SAN DIMAS — A 55-year-old Covina man was believed to have died of natural causes while riding his bicycle in Frank G. Bonelli Regional Park Saturday, authorities said.
James Drake Kimbrell was pronounced dead at 4:41 p.m. at the park, 120 Via Verde, Los Angeles County Department of Coroner Lt. Cheryl MacWillie said.
He was found unresponsive on a fire access road on the west end of the park, between the Puddingstone Reservoir and the 57 Freeway, where he had been riding his bicycle, Sgt. Joseph O’Conner of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Park’s Bureau said.
An autopsy was scheduled to be carried out Monday to determine an official cause of death, MacWillie said, however there were no signs of injuries or foul play.

Deputies quell dischord following Mt. SAC football game

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WALNUT — A show of force by deputies may have stopped a brawl from erupting after a football game Saturday at Mt. San Antonio College, authorities said.
Fans began arguing with each other heatedly following Mt. SAC’s 51-0 victory over Cerritos College, and sheriff’s officials were called for fear of a fight breaking out, Los Angeles County sheriff’s Sgt. Mario Estrada said.
Deputies from the sheriff’s Walnut-Diamond Bar and Industry stations responded to the stadium with less-lethal weaponry such as rubber bullets at the ready, Estrada said.
Ultimately, however, the presence of deputies seemed to calm the situation, and Estrada said no injuries were reported and no arrests were made.

PHOTO: Staff photo by Watchara Phomicinda

Two suspects in custody in Arcadia mall stabbing

ARCADIA — Two young San Gabriel men were behind bars Saturday in connection with a stabbing at the Westfield Santa Anita Shopping Mall, police said.
Henry Pang and Robert Cam, both 18, were booked on suspicion of attempted murder, Arcadia police Lt. Paul Foley said.
They are suspected of being part of a group five to seven young Asian men and one Asian woman involved in stabbing an 18-year-old Arcadia man during a fight Friday between two groups, police said.
The victim was walking with another young man and woman when the three became involved in an argument with the larger group, Sgt. Dan Crowther said.
The argument turned into a fist fight between the men in the groups, he said, which then escalated to a stabbing.
The victim was stabbed in the abdomen and suffered a cut to his chin, officials said. He was expected to survive.
Pang was arrested shortly after the incident, Foley said, and Cam — who is suspected of wielding the knife — was arrested about 2:30 p.m. Saturday at his San Gabriel home.
Both were being held in lieu of $1 million bail, authorities said, and were due for arraignment Tuesday in Pasadena Superior Court.

Man arrested after Montebello police chase suspected in attack on romantic rival

MONTEBELLO — A man wanted on suspicion of running down his ex-girlfriend’s new boyfriend with a vehicle led Montebello police on a car chase Friday before being arrested, authorities said.
Marco Mendoza, 45, of East Los Angeles was booked on suspicion of assault with a deadly weapon and felony evading, Montebello police Lt. Kelly Gordon said.
The chase started about 10 p.m. Friday at the Best Inn, 525 Washington Blvd. in Montebello, the lieutenant said, when Mendoza failed to pull over for officers while driving a van, Gordon said. Mendoza was being sought in connection with a Sept. 4 assault in East Los Angeles.
During the pursuit covered on live television, the driver of the white van sped away from police and tried to evade them on the 60 and 5 freeways.
The suspect eventually exited the freeway, wound through several alleys and struck at least one parked car before he drove into Salazar Park, near Alma Avenue and Whittier Boulevard, Gordon said.
Patrol cars blocked the path of the van. One police car pinned the driver’s door shut.
Mendoza was then arrested without further incident, examined at hospital for a pre-existing injury and jailed, Gordon said.
According to sheriff’s booking records, Mendoza was being held without bail.

Two struck, killed, while changing tire along 605 Freeway in Irwindale

IRWINDALE — Two men died on the 605 Freeway Saturday after they were struck by a car while helping one of their sons change a tire, authorities said.
Pedro Pedroza, 43, of Azusa and Ricardo Beltran, 49, of West Covina, died in the crash, California Highway Patrol and coroner’s officials said.
The crash was reported at 11:13 a.m. on the southbound 605 Freeway, just south of Arrow Highway, CHP Officer Monica Posada said.
The men had just finished changing a tire and were putting away their tools when they were struck by a Ford Taurus, CHP Sgt. Kurt Stormes said.
The driver of the Taurus lost control and struck the men while trying to avoid a collision with a tan sedan, he said.
Following the initial impact, the Taurus veered back into traffic lanes and collided with another car, Stormes said.
Besides the two men who were fatally hurt, no injuries were reported.
Pedroza died at the scene, officials said, while Beltran was rushed to Los Angeles County-USC Medical Center and pronounced dead in the emergency room.
The men drove to the scene to help one of their sons change a tire, CHP Sgt. Kurt Stormes said.
No arrests or citations were made Saturday, and nothing criminal was initially suspected, he added.
CHP officers issued a Sig-Alert for the two right lanes of the freeway until just before 2 p.m., Posada said.
The crash was being investigated by the Baldwin Park office of the CHP.

Man suspected of stabbing brother with scissors in Rosemead

ROSEMEAD — Deputies arrested a Rosemead man on suspicion of stabbing his brother several times with a pair of scissors, officials said Saturday
Deonisio Peralta, 27, was booked on suspicion of assault with a deadly weapon, Los Angeles County sheriff’s Sgt. Jeff Walker said.
His brother, 33-year-old Alejandro Garcia, suffered four to five stab wounds to his abdomen, Walker said, however the wounds were not believed to be life-threatening.
The alleged attack took place about 4:45 p.m. Friday in the 8800 block of Marshall Street, the sergeant said.
Peralta was drunk at his home when he put his arm around Garcia and became offended when the older brother told him to stop it, Walker said.
Peralta retrieved a small pair of scissors from his home and used them to attack his brother, he said.
The suspect initially fled the scene, Walker added, but as deputies were investigating the incident, Peralta returned to the home and was arrested.
According to sheriff’s booking records, Peralta was being held in lieu of $30,000 bail at the sheriff’s Temple Station jail. He was due for arraignment Tuesday in El Monte Superior Court.

UPDATE: Man fatally shot by deputies during alleged knife attack in Rowland Heights

ROWLAND HEIGHTS — A sheriff’s deputy shot a man to death late Friday as he slashed his mother’s boyfriend with a meat cleaver, authorities said.
Alexander Acosta, 31, was pronounced dead at the scene, Lt. Liam Gallagher of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Homicide Bureau said.
His mother’s boyfriend, 51-year-old Victor De La Rivas, was hospitalized in stable condition and expected to survive, the lieutenant said.
Officials from the sheriff’s Walnut-Diamond Bar Station, which patrols Rowland Heights, responded to a report of a stabbing just after 9:10 p.m. inside a large apartment complex in the 18500 block of Colima Road, Los Angeles County sheriff’s Deputy Mark Pope said in a written statement. They arrived to find the suspect stabbing his mother’s boyfriend inside her apartment.
“They observed the suspect sitting on (the) victim’s chest… slashing his head and neck with a meat cleaver,” the deputy said.
Deputies ordered the man to drop the knife, but he refused and continued slashing at the other man, Pope said.
“Fearing he was going to kill the victim, one deputy fired three rounds at the suspect with his duty weapon,” Pope said.
The wounded suspect, who was struck by all three bullets, ran to the kitchen of the apartment where he collapsed, he said.
He was pronounced dead at the scene at 9:20 p.m., according to coroner’s officials.
The stabbing victim was hospitalized with severe injuries to his head, neck and upper body, officials said, but he was expected to survive.
Friday’s violence was the result of long-running tension between the two men, Acosta’s cousin, 21-year-old Bridgett Hernandez, and Aunt, 55-year-old Ruth Robles, said.
“They were having problems, the two of them,” Robles said. “It was festering.”
De La Riva’s family members could not be reached for comment Saturday.
Hernandez and Robles said they believed Acosta had come to see his mother at her apartment after being released from prison earlier in the week when he became involved in a fight with his De La Riva.
Acosta was released from prison Wednesday or Thursday after being convicted of burglary in January of 2009, according to investigators and court records.
Acosta has a criminal record in Los Angeles County dating back to 1999 and including charges such as drug possession, petty theft, vandalism, receiving stolen property, possession of an illegal weapon and giving false information to police, court records show.
Acosta and De La Riva had fought in the past, Robles said, though never to the level of Friday night’s incident.
“We’re not saying (Acosta) was right,” Robles said. “(But) it could have been prevented.”
Robles and Hernandez said they harbored no anger toward De La Riva, nor the deputy who shot Acosta, though Hernandez said she wondered if the deputy could have stopped the attack without fatally wounding her cousin.

Deputy involved shooting in Rowland Heights Friday night

Here’s the details from Sheriff’s HQ bureau:

Deputy-Involved Shooting in Rowland Heights, Walnut Sheriff’s Station

Sheriff’s Homicide Bureau investigators are at the 18500 block of Colima Road, Rowland Heights, investigating the circumstances surrounding a Deputy-Involved Shooting.

Homicide Lieutenant Liam Gallagher reports that Walnut Sheriff’s Station deputies responded to an Assault With A Deadly Weapon (Knife) call at about 9:12PM on Friday.

Deputies found a male Hispanic adult suspect stabbing a male Hispanic adult victim. Deputies ordered the suspect to drop the knife, but he continued stabbing the victim. A deputy involved shooting occurred. The suspect was pronounced dead at the scene. The stabbing victim was transported to a local hospital and his condition is not known at this time. No deputies were injured.