Rowland Heights doctor accused of three murders due in court

LOS ANGELES — A Rowland Heights doctor charged with three counts of murder and other crimes after patients in her care overdosed on prescription painkillers was is due in court Friday for a preliminary hearing, officials said.
Dr. Hsiuying “Lisa” Tseng has been held in lieu of $3 million bail since her March 1 arrest on suspicion of the murders of three patients in her car: Vu Nguyen, 29, of Lake Forest, who died on March 2, 2009; Steven Ogle, 25, of Palm Desert, who died on April 9, 2009; and Joseph Rovero III, 21, of San Ramon, who died on Dec. 18, 2009. 
She is accused of prescribing large amounts of powerful painkillers to the men without a medical need, according to Los Angeles County District Attorney’s officials.
She was expected to appear in Los Angeles Superior Court Friday morning for her preliminary hearing on the murder charges, as well as 20 other charges related to prescribing drugs by fraud, officials said.
She has already been found civilly liable in connection with the painkiller overdose deaths of five other young men she was treating in a lawsuit.
If convicted as charged, Tseng faces up to 45 years to life in prison.
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Man sentenced for exposing self to teen at Monterey Park gym

ALHAMBRA — A registered sex offender was sent to prison Wednesday for exposing himself to a teenage boy at a Monterey Park gym last month, officials said.
Javier DeLeon Magdaleno, a 54-year-old transient, pleaded “no contest” to a count of felony indecent exposure with a prior conviction for a sex crime involving a juvenile, Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office spokeswoman Sandi Gibbons said.
Felony charges of lewd acts with a child and child molestation were dismissed Wednesday in Alhambra Superior Court, she said.
Magdeleno was arrested April 16 in Rosemead after he exposed himself to a 15-year-old boy at an L.A. Fitness gym, 416 S. Atlantic Boulevard in Monterey Park, Monterey Park police officials said.
The boy immediately reported the incident to police, officials added.
After entering his plea, Magdaleno was immediately sentenced to 16 months in state prison, with 90 days credit for time already served.
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Allegedly stolen iguana reunited with burglary victim

Deputies Thursday jailed a Downey man on suspicion of burglary and other crimes and reunited a Bellflower auto shop owner with his pet iguana, which was stolen late last year.
“Lizard” the iguana, which the auto shop owner had kept as a pet for more than 17 years, went missing following a break-in late Dec. 9 or early Dec. 10, 2011, at the auto shop 9800 block of Park Street, according to Los Angeles County sheriff’s officials.
Other than the reptile, nothing else appeared to have been stolen from the shop, Lt. Steve Sciacca said in a written statement.
Evidence gathered at the scene of the burglary led detective to identify 19-year-old Jesus Alcaraz of Downey as a suspect in the burglary, Sciacca said. Gang investigators from the sheriff’s Lakewood Station recognized Alcaraz from previous encounters.
“Investigators served a search warrant on Alcaraz’s residence in Downey and recovered the victim’s pet iguana, a loaded handgun that was illegally possessed by Alcaraz, marijuana, hashish oil, and gang paraphernalia,” Sciacca said. The iguana was returned to its owner.
According to county booking records, Alcaraz was being held in lieu of $35,000 bail pending a scheduled arraignment Monday in Downey Superior Court.
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Man wounded in leg in Pasadena shooting

PASADENA — A man suffered a gunshot wound to his leg following a shooting Thursday in a residential neighborhood, police said.
Few details were available regarding the 11:33 a.m. shooting in the 1400 block of El Sereno Avenue as the victim did not appear to be cooperating with investigators, Pasadena police Lt. Rick Aversano said.
Police responded to a report of a shooting when they discovered a man in his 20s suffering from a gunshot wound to one of his legs, the lieutenant said.
The man would not give police an account of what took place or a description of his attacker, officials said.
Officials hospitalized the wounded man with what were believed to be non-life-threatening injuries, Aversano said.
The investigation was ongoing.
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Detectives continue seeking clues in slaying of El Monte woman

60455-Marlene Estrada, 31, of El Monte-thumb-300x389-60454.jpg
EL MONTE — Investigators have renewed their call for the public’s help to solve the mysterious slaying of a 31-year-old El Monte woman found shot to death in a wash of the Rio Hondo River last year.
A person walking a dog first reported finding the body of Marlene Estrada just after 9 a.m. on Nov. 27 of last year, Los Angeles County sheriff’s officials said. She had been shot numerous times.
The body was discovered in the middle of the wash, which was dry at the time, just northeast of the intersection of Santa Anita Avenue and Lower Azusa Road, according to Detective Steve Blagg of the Sheriff’s Homicide Bureau.
“We believe, based on witness reports, she was actually killed around 11:30 p.m. or midnight on the 26th,” Blagg said.
Area residents told detectives they recalled hearing gunshots in the area around that time, though no one called 9-1-1 to report them, officials said.
Stairs line both sides of the wash in the area where Estrada’s body was discovered, Blagg said. “People use it as a common thoroughfare.”
Though the exact motive in the killing remained a mystery, investigators said they did not suspect the killing was gang-related.
“We believe it might be, based on as many times as she was shot, something more personal,” Blagg said.
Estrada was shot more than 10 times all over her body, Los Angeles County Department of Coroner Assistant Chief of Operations Ed Winter said. She was shot in the chest, abdomen, back arms and legs.
Robbery was ruled out as a motive in the killing as well, as nothing appeared to have been taken from Estrada.
“We definitely know it wasn’t a drive-by,” the detective said. “It wasn’t anything random. We believe she was specifically targeted.”
But the underlying dispute believed to be behind the killing remained unknown to investigators, though Blagg said someone likely does have information that could bring Estrada’s killer to justice.
“Our belief is that someone in that El Monte area knows what happened,” he said.
In hopes of bringing out new information from the public, Blagg said, detectives released a surveillance photograph taken of Estrada at an area market, only hours before she is believed to have been slain and wearing the same clothing in which she was killed.
Estrada was grew up in both the El Monte and La Puente areas, said her father, Mario Estrada.
She attended Arroyo High School in El Monte for the 9th and 10th grades and and took part in cheerleading, Mario Estrada said. She moved back to La Puente and attended Workman High School School for her junior and senior years before graduating in 1998.
“She was really sweet,” the father said. “She had a forgiving personality. When she walked in a room, she just lit up the room — a great smile. She was really friendly. A hard-working girl.”
“She was a really good dresser,” Mario Estrada added. She was into fashion.”
After graduating high school, Marlene Estrada completed a medical assistant training program but decided that was not the career for her, Mario Estrada said. She then took various jobs to pay the bills as she decided on a new career, and had been staying among friends and family members in El Monte.
She was especially close to her oldest brother, Jesse, Mario Estrada said.
“We had a lot of inside jokes on things,” the brother said. “The jokes would go on for years.”
“She was really protective, really funny, really into fashion, Jesse Estrada said, adding that she would often make comments to him when she didn’t approve of his clothing choice.
“She was really outgoing,” Jesse Estrada said. “In high school, she was always going out to have fun. (She was) really sociable.”
Marlene Estrada is also survived by her mother, Carol Rodriguez, her step-mother, Leslie Estrada, half-brother Matthew Estrada, and half-sisters Marissa Estrada and Lauren Estrada, family members said. Marlene Estrada was the eldest of her siblings.
The father said he, too, was baffled by his daughter’s slaying.
When her body was discovered, she had her clothing packed into a bag as if she was moving, he said.
She had no gang ties, he said, and family members knew of no one who wished her harm.
Based on the sheriff’s investigation, Mario Estrada said, “I know she knew them. I just can’t figure out why.”
Anyone with information was asked to contact Detective Blagg at 323-890-5562.
60457-Marlene Estrada, 31, of El Monte surveillance photo-thumb-300x199-60456.jpg
PHOTOS: 
(TOP) 2. Marlene Estrada, 31, of El Monte was found shot to death in a wash of
the Rio Hondo River on the morning of Nov. 27, 2011. Her slaying
remains unsolved. (Courtesy)

(BOTTOM) Marlene Estrada is pictured here on surveillance footage at a
market, apparently only hours before her slaying, which detectives
believe took place late Nov. 26. (Courtesy)


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Officials: Man shot by police in Montebello was armed

MONTEBELLO — Police shot and wounded a suspect who pulled a gun as they tried to detain him late Wednesday, officials said Thursday.
The suspect, whose name and age were not released, suffered a single gunshot wound to his torso in the incident and was hospitalized in stable condition, according to Los Angeles County Sheriff’s officials, who are assisting Montebello police in the investigation.
Montebello police officers responded to a report of a “man with a gun” call shortly before 10:30 in the 400 block of Lohart Avenue, sheriff’s Lt. Margarito Robles said in a written statement.
Officers saw a person matching the description of the armed suspect running from the area and jumping a fence into Reggie Rodriguez Park, in the 200 block of West Mines Avenue, the lieutenant said.
“Officers approached the male, who produced a handgun. An officer-involved shooting occurred,” Robles said.
“The male was struck once by gunfire in the upper torso,” he added. “No officers were injured.”
Investigators recovered a handgun from the scene, officials said.
As with any police officer-involved shooting involving a Los Angeles County police agency, multiple parallel investigations have begun, officials said.
In addition to an internal investigation by the Montebello Police Department, the shooting initiated investigation by the Sheriff’s Homicide Bureau, the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office and the County of Los Angeles Office of Independent Review.
Anyone with information regarding the incident was asked to call sheriff’s homicide detectives at 323-890-5500. Tips can also be submitted anonymously by calling L.A. Crime Stoppers at 800-8477.
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Man robs Pasadena bank branch

PASADENA — A man used a note and a handgun to rob a Citibank branch Saturday, police said Sunday.
A robber entered the bank branch, at the corner of Foothill and Rosemead boulevards, about noon and handed a teller a note demanding cash, Pasadena police Lt. Diego Torres said.
The robber brandished a handgun during the crime as well, the lieutenant said.
He fled with about $6,500 in stolen money, Torres said. No getaway car was seen.
Police described the robber as a white man, 5 feet 7 inches to 5 feet 8 inches tall, of medium build, wearing a green jacket, a white baseball cap and sunglasses.
The FBI has joined Pasadena police in the case, as is customary in bank robbery investigation.
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Teenage bicyclist injured in Glendora crash

GLENDORA — A teenage girl was flown to a hospital in unknown condition after taking a spill on her bicycle late Saturday at South Hills Park, officials said.
The incident was reported about 8:20 p.m. at the south end of the park, near Bonnie Cove Avenue and the 210 Freeway, Glendora police Lt. Larry Lamborghini said.
“We received a call regarding a 16-year-old female who had crashed while riding her bicycle on a paved road that leads into and out of South Hills (Park),” the lieutenant said.
No other vehicles were involved in the crash, he added.
The girl was conscious at the scene, officials said, however because she suffered head injuries, rescuers flew her by helicopter to Los Angeles County-USC Medical Center as a precaution.
Her exact condition was unclear Sunday.
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UPDATE: Woman at motel robbed by masked gunman in Duarte

DUARTE — A masked, armed man robbed a woman of her purse in the lobby of a Duarte motel Sunday, officials said.
The heist was reported about 11:20 a.m. at the Days Inn, 1533 Huntington Drive, Los Angeles County sheriff’s Sgt. Tony Haynes said.
The robber was described only as a man wearing a ski mask, wearing black clothing and carrying a gun.
The robber escaped with a woman’s purse, containing personal items and a small amount of money, and was last seen running on the east side of the building, deputies said.
No injuries were reported.
A similar crime was reported earlier this month on May 18 in South El Monte, though it was not clear whether it was related to Sunday’s robbery.
In the South El Monte crime, two robbers — a black man and a black woman — wearing ski masks and armed with a handgun robbed a man and woman about 8:30 a.m. in the lobby of the Ramada Hotel, 1089 Santa Anita Avenue, according to Lt. Ignacio Somoano.
The two robbers were last seen fleeing the area in a black Honda driven by a Latina woman, officials added.
Anyone with information on either crime is asked to call the sheriff’s Temple Station at 626-285-7171.
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Man wounded in La Habra shooting

LA HABRA — Police are seeking clues in the shooting of a 23-year-old La Habra man late Saturday.
Police responded to a report of a shooting victim about 8:30 p.m. in the 1000 block of Encinitas Street, La Habra police Sgt. Jeff Baylos said.
“When they arrived, they located a male adult with a single gunshot wound to his torso,” the sergeant said.
The wounded man was taken to an area trauma center where he was listed in stable condition, police said.
No motive or suspect description in the shooting was available, Baylos said.
Anyone with information was asked to call La Habra police detectives Costanzo or Shea at 562-905-9750, or tips can be submitted to the La Habra Police Department’s anonymous tip hotline at 562-905-9611.
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