Dead body found in San Gabriel River

From City News Service:

AZUSA — A dead body was found Saturday in the San Gabriel River in Azusa, but no foul play was immediately suspected, police said.
The body was discovered just before 3 p.m. near the 3700 block of Fish Canyon Road, said Sgt. John Madaloni of the Azusa Police Department.
Someone called police and reported the body, and directed police to the location when they arrived.
“Due to the swift-running water, officers determined that the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s rescue helicopter was needed to confirm the citizen’s observation,” Madaloni said.
The body was recovered but has not yet been positively identified, Madaloni said.
An investigation into the death was under way, and the cause of death was expected to be determined by the coroner’s office, Madaloni said.
“No signs of foul play are apparent at this time,” he said.

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Man accused of stabbing wife to death near Whittier

WHITTIER – A man stabbed his wife to death before wounding himself Saturday in an unincorporated county area near Whittier, authorities said.
Officials initially described the stabbing victim only as a 45-year-old Latino woman.
The slaying was reported about 3:40 p.m. at a home in the 10700 block of Carmenita Road, near Florence Avenue, Los Angeles County sheriff’s Sgt.  Michael Thomas said in a written statement.
“The homicide was a result of a domestic dispute between the victim and her husband,” according to Lt. John Corina of the Sheriff’s Homicide Bureau. “After stabbing his wife, the suspect then intentionally stabbed himself before deputies arrived at the scene.”
The woman died at the scene, and the suspect was hospitalized in stable condition, officials said.
“Once his condition improves, the suspect will be interviewed by homicide detectives,” Corina added.
No further details were available.
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Suspects arrested in connection with Arcadia break-in

ARCADIA — Police arrested three burglary suspects in Sierra Madre Thursday following an attempted break-in in Arcadia, authorities said.
Kenneth Battle, 25, of Los Angeles, Justin Tyson, 29, of Fontana, and Dewayne Tyars, 25, of Redlands were booked on suspicion of attempted burglary and receiving stolen property, Arcadia police Sgt. Tom Le Veque said in a written statement.
A woman heard a “loud and continuous” knock at her front door in the 400 block of Arbolada Drive about 8:45 a.m. and looked through the peep hole to see a man she’d never seen before standing on her porch, Le Veque said.
She watched as the man walked to the side of her house, then returned to the front door and began knocking again, police said.
The woman woke her husband, and the couple heard people on their rear deck and inside their bathroom, the sergeant said.
The couple dialed 9-1-1 to report the burglary, he said, and while on the phone with authorities, the residents saw two men walk out of their back yard.
 Arcadia police officers confirmed that an attempted break-in had occurred, Le Veque said.
“The suspects had removed the bathroom screen and tried to open the window,” he said. “It appears that the suspects either saw or heard the residents inside the home and abandoned their attempts to gain entry, choosing to flee.”
A short time later, a Sierra Madre police officer stopped a car on Baldwin Avenue near the 210 Freeway and noticed the description of the occupants and vehicle matched that of the Arcadia burglary attempt, officials said.
“After positive identification of two of the suspects, the trio was taken into custody,” Le Veque said. “Additional evidence was found inside the vehicle and the investigation is continuing.”
According to police and sheriff’s booking records, Battle and Tyson, who are parolees, are being held without bail. Tyars was released from jail the same day of his arrest after posting $50,000 bail.
All three were due for arraignment Monday in Pasadena Superior Court.
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Officials identify Diamond Bar man killed in motorcycle crash

DIAMOND BAR — Coroner’s officials Friday released the name of a 32-year-old Diamond Bar man who died in a motorcycle crash on the 57 Freeway.
Hugh Man died at St. Jude Medical Center in Fullerton shortly after Thursday’s 1:40 p.m. crash on the southbound 57 Freeway, just south of the the 60 Freeway, Orange County Coroner’s and California Highway Patrol officials said.
He had just entered the freeway from the eastbound 60 Freeway when he crashed into the rear of a Pontiac that had just entered the southbound 57 Freeway from the westbound 60 Freeway, according to a statement from the CHP.
The driver of the Pontiac, a 51-year-old Ontario woman, was trying to pull over to the right side of the road due to mechanical problems when the collision occurred, officials added. She was not hurt.
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Whittier middle school teacher pleads not guilty to charged of lewd acts with student

WHITTIER — A 29-year-old East Whittier Middle School teacher and part-time La Serna High School coach pleaded not guilty Friday to charges stemming from an alleged inappropriate relationship with a 14-year-old female student.
Jesse Serrato, of Whittier, was charged with four counts of committing lewd acts with a child in Whittier Superior Court, court officials said. He was ordered to return back to court March 22 to set a date for a preliminary hearing.
Serrato is accused of carrying on an improper relationship with a 14-year-old East Whittier Middle School student for several months, Whittier police Officer Mike Dekowski said.
He was arrested Tuesday following investigation by police and school district officials.
According to sheriff’s booking records, Serrato was being held in lieu of $200,000 bail.
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Allegedly drunken man drives onto softball field during wild ride through Covina

COVINA — A suspected drunken driver drove onto a school yard where a softball practice was being held Thursday before crashing into a wall, parked cars a residential fence, police said.
George Magellanes, 28, of Covina was booked on suspicion of drunken driving and hit-and run, Covina police Sgt. Trevor Gaumer said.
Magellanes was driving about 5 p.m. when he lost control and crashed through a chain link fence surrounding Vision of Faith International private school, at Cypress Street and Banna Avenue, the sergeant said.
He drove onto the field, “Where a softball practice was going on,” Gaumer said.
Children scattered as the car again rammed the gate again to get back onto Cypress Street, he said.
Dragging a 30-foot long metal fence post behind his car, Magellanes then continued on Cypress Avenue before turning onto an alley at Reeder Avenue, where he struck a wall, several parked cars and a residential fence, Gaumer said.
The car then came to a stop, he said, and Magellanes was quickly arrested by officers who were drawn to the area by the commotion.
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Motorcyclist killed in crash on the 57 Freeway in Diamond Bar

DIAMOND BAR — A 32-year-old Diamond Bar man died Thursday after his motorcycle collided with a car on the 57 Freeway, authorities said.
The name of the motorcyclist was withheld Thursday pending notification of his family, officials said.
The collision was reported about 1:40 p.m. on the southbound 57 Freeway, just south of the westbound 60 Freeway, California Highway Patrol Officer Monica Posada said.
The motorcyclist was entering the southbound 57 Freeway from the eastbound 60 Freeway and a 51-year-old Ontario woman in a Pontiac sedan was entering the southbound 57 Freeway from the westbound 60 Freeway when the crash occurred, CHP officials said in a written statement.
The Pontiac was ahead and to the left of the motorcycle prior to the collision, officials added.
“(The Pontiac driver) related she was trying to get (her car) to the right shoulder of southbound SR-57, south of SR-60, due to mechanical difficulties,” the statement said.
As the Pontiac was making its way to the right shoulder, the motorcycle struck it from behind, officials said. The rider was thrown from the motorcycle and into a concrete sound wall.
He was rushed to a hospital where he was pronounced dead, authorities said.
The driver of the Pontiac was not injured.
A Sig Alert was in effect for the two right lanes of the 57 Freeway, as well as the eastbound 60 Freeway transition road to the southbound 57, for about an hour after the crash, Posada said.
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CHP hosts drunk recognition class for bartenders in Santa Fe Springs

FYI, I’ve already volunteered to serve as a “test subject” the next time the CHP holds this event.
SANTA FE SPRINGS — Three beverage distribution company employees got drunk on duty Thursday — all in the interest of science and safety.
It was during a California Highway Patrol presentation to teach bartenders and restaurant workers how to tell when a customer has had too much to drink.
The event, attended by bartenders and servers from throughout the Whittier area, was held at Triangle Distributing Co. in Santa Fe Springs, which supplies beer to many local bars and restaurants.
“What we try to show you is some things to look out for,” Capt. Dan Minor of the CHP’s Santa Fe Springs office told the servers. When it comes to preventing drunken driving, “You’re the first line of defense.”
Triangle employees Max Leyva, Vince Mendez and Norm Kitano volunteered to be guinea pigs for the educational experiment, steadily drinking beer for about an hour as CHP officers and servers gauged their levels of intoxication.
“This is a sacrifice we do for our company,” Leyva quipped after downing seven beers.
Each of the three participants was given breath tests to check their blood alcohol, and CHP officers administered field sobriety tests, just like the ones done on the roadside when drunken driving is suspected.
Signs of inebriation include nystagmus, or involuntary eye movement, problems with coordination, difficulty dividing attention between tasks and altered perception of time, participants learned.
“It’s not just one thing at a time — it’s everything put together,” Officer Cory Baker said, adding that alcohol effects everyone differently.
In addition, officers also talked with servers about how not to be fooled by fake IDs, offering tips such as examining the texture and font size of ID cards and making sure the photo hasn’t been altered.
The CHP hosts similar events several times a year, Minor said. Officials especially like to hold them around holidays known for drinking, such as St. Patrick’s Day, which is March 17.
Karina Magana, a 22-year-old server at Shipmate’s Sports Bar in Cerritos, said she found the class “really helpful.”
“It really helps to see how fast the beer can hit you,” she said.
Sara Brinsfield, 22, Frank Larios, 19, and Chelsea Ramsay, 18, all Whittier residents and employees of Pizzamania in Whittier, attended the class.
“It’s good knowledge. I’d definitely recommend it,” Brinsfield said.
“We learned more of what we should look for, (like) how people walk to the bathroom,” she said.
Some servers said they were surprised to learn that a person can be convicted of drunken driving if driving under the influence of alcohol, even if their blood-alcohol level is below the legal limit of .08.
Larios said he learned some new techniques for confirming the legitimacy of ID cards.
The point of Thursday’s exercise is to try and get ahead of drunken driving-related crashed before they occur, Minor said.
“In the end, it’s all about traffic safety,” he said.
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Men convicted of shooting man who stopped them from robbing elderly woman, other charges

POMONA — A jury convicted two men Thursday of robbing an El Monte business, then shooting a good Samaritan who intervened when they tried to rob an elderly woman of her dog in Arcadia.
Kekai Larsen, 27, and Joseph Duran, 24, both  of Los Angeles, were convicted of robbery, attempted robbery, burglary and assault with a deadly weapon, court and police officials said, along with the special allegations of using and firing a gun and causing great bodily injury to a victim.
Larsen and Duran tried to steal an air compressor April 6 of last year from a business in the 9900 block of Gidley Street in El Monte, El Monte police Detective Ralph Batres said.
The business owner heard the commotion and came out to confront the thieves when they brandished a handgun and demanded his wallet, the detective said. Duran then ransacked the business for valuables.
From there, Batres said, Larsen and Duran headed to Arcadia, where they tried to rob an elderly woman of her small dog.
An Arcadia man of about 40 years old tried to help the woman when Larsen leaned out of the getaway car and shot him in the leg, police said. Both attackers then fled.
Based on license plate information garnered during the El Monte robbery, police were waiting at an Alhambra home when the car that was involved in the crimes arrived, Batres said. Larsen and Duran were not inside.
Police pulled over the car and soon learned that Larsen and Duran were at a motel in Rosemead, Batres said. They were arrested without incident, though the handgun was not recovered.
Larsen face the possibility of life in prison, and Duran faces up to 12 years behind bars when they return to Pomona Superior Court April 7 for sentencing, officials said.
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Man suspected in 26-year-old murder case; victim’s body found in forest above Azusa

LONG BEACH — After more than 25 years, a man has been arrested on suspicion of killing a woman whose body was found in the Angeles National Forest north of Azusa, authorities said.
Twenty-three-year-old aspiring model Joanne Marie Jones “seemingly disappeared in the city of Long Beach,” on April 19, 1985, Los Angeles County sheriff’s officials said in a written statement.
Two and a half decades after leads dried up, Stafford Joel Spicer, 59, of Las Vegas was arrested Tuesday and booked on suspicion of murder, officials said.
He’s accused of stabbing Jones to death after she left her boyfriend’s Long Beach home on her way to work in West Covina on April 19, 1985, officials said.
Though Spicer was arrested while driving Jones’ 1978 Chevrolet Camaro days after she went missing, based on the information detectives had at the time, “There was insufficient evidence to pursue murder charges against Spicer in a court of law,” the statement said.
Jones’ body was found abandoned in a remote area near Highway 39 and East Fork Road in the Angeles National Forest north of Azusa on June 8, 1985, officials said.
“In 2009, Sheriff’s Homicide Cold Case Detective Steve Davis re-opened this case,” the sheriff’s statement said. “He uncovered additional biological evidence (DNA), and along with advances in technology and additional investigative follow-up, the case was presented to the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office, which determined there was sufficient evidence for a homicide case to be filed.”
Las Vegas Metropolitan Police and sheriff’s homicide investigators served a warrant at Spicer’s Las Vegas home and arrested him without incident about 5 p.m. Tuesday, authorities added.
He’s being held in Las Vegas pending extradition to California, officials said.
“The motto of the Sheriff’s Cold Case Homicide Unit is ‘Time is on our side,’” Captain Mike Parker of the Sheriff’s Headquarters Bureau said. “Homicide cases are never closed until they are solved.”
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