Dorner featured in Oklahoma newspaper after turning in found cash in 2002

Accused triple-murderer and fugitive Christopher Dorner, who has dominated news headlines in recent days as an intense search for him has spanned California and beyond, was featured in an Oklahoma newspaper in a much more positive light in 2002.
An news story originally written in 2002 and re-published on Indenes.com Friday gives an account of the suspect and another man finding a bank bag containing nearly $8,000 and immediately turning it in to police.
Dorner, who was in the Navy, and the other good Samaritan, a Marine, were both students at Vance Air Force Base at the time, the news agency reported.
They were reportedly driving into town Nov. 2, 2002, when they spotted a bank bag in the middle of the street.
Inside they discovered $7,792 in cash and checks that belonged to a local church, and promptly brought the money to the police department.
“The military stresses integrity,” Dorner told EnidNews.com. “There was a couple of thousand dollars, and if people are willing to give that to a church, it must be pretty important to them.”
“I didn’t work for it, so it’s not mine. And it was for the church,” he added. “It’s not so much the integrity, but it was someone else’s money. I would hope someone would do that for me.”

Original story in EnidNews.com

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LAPD officer accused of assaulting man at Whittier party

LOS ANGELES — Officials Thursday filed charges against an off-duty Los Angeles police officer accused of punching another man without warning, breaking his jaw, during a party in Whittier in July of 2011.
Donald Albert Peko, 35, was charged with battery causing serious bodily injury in Los Angeles Superior Court, Los Angeles County District Attorney’s officials said in a written statement.
The charge came more than 14 months after the date of the alleged attack.
Peko was freed from jail on a $50,000 bond and ordered to return to court Jan. 18 for arraignment, officials said.
Peko was at a family party in Whittier when he told 23-year-old Christopher Price that he could not leave the party with an open container of alcohol, the D.A,’s statement said.
“When price started to drink to finish the bottle, Peko allegedly punched him once in the jaw without warning,” according to the statement. “Price suffered a broken jaw.”
The case was investigated by the Whittier Police Department and is being prosecuted by Deputy District Attorney Geoffrey Rendon of the D.A.’s Justice System Integrity Division.
In an unrelated case, two LAPD officers were arrested by Whittier police on suspicion of beating and pistol-whipping a man outside a restaurant in the 15600 block of Whittwood Lane Jan. 26, 2010.
After a 22-month-long investigation, prosecutors declined to file charges against the two officers citing “insufficient evidence,” D.A.’s spokeswoman Sandi Gibbons said. The case was rejected in November of 2011.

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Hollywood gunman identified

HOLLYWOOD — A 26-year-old former Azusa resident who opened fire on cars randomly at a busy Hollywood intersection Friday before being fatally shot by police has been identified, officials said.
Tyler Brehm died at the scene of the bizarre incident, whichj unfolded shortly after 10 a.m. at Sunset Boulevard and Vine Street, Los Angeles County Department of Coroner’s Lt. Larry Dietz said. His current city of residency was not clear.
Azusa police described him as a former resident of an Arrow Highway apartment complex in that city.  He moved out several months ago, but it was not clear Saturday how long he had lived there.
A 40-year-old man who was struck by one of Brehm’s bullets during the rampage was hospitalized with serious injuries but expected to survive, officials said.
A motive in the shooting was unknown, however Brehm was heard screaming “kill me” and “I’m gonna die” during the rampage. 
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“Grim Sleeper” suspect’s laywer attacks LAPD release of photos

From the Associated Press:

LOS ANGELES — The attorney for a mechanic accused of the “Grim Sleeper” serial killings criticized Los Angeles police Saturday for releasing photographs of women seized at the suspect’s home.
Louisa Pensanti said the photos include family and friends of suspect Lonnie Franklin Jr. who are now under intense public and police scrutiny. She also said investigators’ comments at a recent news conference were “jeopardizing Lonnie Franklin’s chance for a fair trial.”
“Those are family photos,” she told The Associated Press, adding that Franklin’s relatives are upset that the photos were released publicly.
LAPD spokeswoman Norma Eisenman said investigators could not immediately be reached for comment.
Last week, police released the photos of about 160 women in the hopes of finding out who they are and if anything happened to them.
Police said they’ve received hundreds of calls. Several callers told investigators they were among the women in the photographs, but police must interview them individually to be sure.
Before the photos were released, investigators contacted Pensanti asking that Franklin’s wife come down to the police station to view the photographs, the lawyer said. When Pensanti instead requested a copy of the photos so she could review them privately, investigators refused, she said.
“There’s no reason she had to come down to the police department,” Pensanti said.
Franklin is accused of killing 10 women beginning in 1985, and he has pleaded not
guilty. The photos and videos were found in Franklin’s home and garage during a search after his July arrest. None of the photos depicted the alleged victims.
Investigators spent years trying to crack the case. Franklin’s arrest finally came after his son was swabbed for DNA after being arrested on an unrelated matter, and the sample connected the father to evidence from the killings.

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LAPD releases photos of potential Grim Sleeper victims

This comes from the Robbery/Homicide Division of the Los Angeles Police Department.

Officials believe that the suspected Grim Sleeper may be responsible for several murders that have yet to be attributed to suspect Lonnie David Franklin.

On Thursday officials released several images of woman confiscated from Franklin’s South Los Angeles home.

The images are available on the LAPD website at www.lapdonline.org.

LAPD press release on the jump:

Continue reading

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TV audition ends in death of wife and arrest of husband

“America’s Got Talent” audition, ecstasy, speed, a missing woman and the arrest of a rock musician. This story has some interesting twists:

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Los Angeles police said Tuesday the wife of a man vying for a spot on “America’s Got Talent” was found dead in the stairwell of an upscale hotel where the T.V. show was holding auditions.

Covina native Laura Finley, 48, was discovered about 8:30 a.m. Saturday morning by a guest of the Millennium Biltmore Hotel.

Police said her death appeared to be accidental, but they are looking into “other possibilities” as a precaution, Los Angeles Police Lt. Paul Vernon said.

The coroner’s office is waiting for the results of toxicology tests before determining Laura Finley’s cause of death, Los Angeles County Department of Coroner Lt. Fred Corral said.

Laura Finley grew up in Covina and married her high school sweet heart, Joe Finley, four years after graduating from Northview High School in 1980, said Laura Finley’s sister, Jill Sutterlin.

“My sister loved her husband more than she loved her children and herself,” Sutterlin said. “She was his number one fan.”

Joe Finley called hotel security and reported his wife missing after he got out of bed Saturday, Vernon said.

The 47-year-old rock musician then attended an audition for the NBC reality T.V. show, Vernon said. Police later notified him about the death of his wife.

Joe Finley was arrested early Sunday on suspicion of drug possession, Vernon said.

During an interview with detectives, Joe Finley said he and his wife had consumed ecstasy before her death, Vernon said.

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LAPD releases photo of Grim Sleeper

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With all his appearances at award shows, trips with his reporter girlfriend and official appearances at big games, it’s hard to know how Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa fit an appearance at LAPD HQ into his schedule today, but he did. Here’s the latest AP story on the capture of a suspect in the Grim Sleeper serial killer case:

Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa says the arrest of a suspect in the so-called “Grim Sleeper” serial killings ends 25 years of “terror” in the city.

The mayor told a press conference Thursday that he wished to thank a special team of detectives that worked on the case full time.

Fifty-seven-year-old Lonnie Franklin Jr. was charged Wednesday with 10 counts of murder, one count of attempted murder and special circumstance allegations of multiple murders that could make him eligible for the death penalty if convicted.

The killings in South Los Angeles ranged from 1985 until 2007.

Police Chief Charlie Beck says the detective team made its investigation the largest current case in his department.

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Former LAPD Chief Gates “Seriously ill”

This from KTTV, the local Fox affiliate:

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Los Angeles – Police say former Los Angeles police Chief Daryl Gates, who resigned in the wake of the Rodney King beating, is seriously ill.

Current Chief Charlie Beck told the city Police Commission on Tuesday that the 83-year-old former chief has a serious malady and that he visited Gates in the hospital over the weekend. But he provided no details.

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LAPD catching up on DNA backlog

From the Associated Press:

LOS ANGELES — An audit says Los Angeles police have significantly reduced a backlog of DNA evidence from thousands of rape and sexual assault cases.
Controller Wendy Greuel said Thursday that the number of untested evidence kits has
dropped by 64 percent, from about 7,000 to around 2,500.
However, her audit says more precautions should be taken to prevent future backlogs.
The kits contain evidence such as body fluids or fingernail scrapings that could provide DNA
evidence of a suspect.
A proposed state bill would require police to notify the state of their progress in testing
rape evidence.
The Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department also has decades of untested rape evidence from
cases submitted to its labs by smaller police agencies.

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