Alhambra man arrested for 1981 killing after 31 years as fugitive

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ALHAMBRA — After 31-years as a fugitive, cold case homicide investigators have arrested an Alhambra man on suspicion of murdering a man on Los Angeles on New Year’s Day, 1981, authorities announced Friday.
Abraham Tovar, 73, was arrested Wednesday at his Alhambra home by detectives from the Los Angeles Police Department’s Newton Homicide Due Diligence Team, LAPD officials said in a written statement.
His brother, Andrew Tovar, was arrested, tried and convicted for the Jan. 1, 1981 slaying of 36-year-old Charles McGee at a vacant lot in the 2300 block of South Central Avenue in Los Angeles, officials said. Andrew Tovar served a state prison sentence and has since died.
Though always suspected in the killing, “Abraham Tovar was never brought to justice and remained a fugitive from the law for 31 years,” according to the LAPD statement.
Investigators picked up Abraham Tovar’s trail several months ago in Alhambra, police said. 
The three-decade-old manhunt collimated with Abraham Tovar’s arrest about 8:30 a.m. Wednesday at his home in the 1500 block of South Chapel Avenue in Alhambra, LAPD Officer Norma Eisenman said. He was taken into custody without incident.
The Due Diligence Team concluded a several-month investigation that resulted in two search warrants being issued, several days of surveillance and numerous interviews with the suspect’s family members and friends in order to locate and apprehend him,” the police statement said.
The Tovar brothers had a dispute with an unidentified man at the vacant lot where McGhee’s body was later found, officials said.
“Armed with a handgun and a hatchet, the Tovar brothers returned to the lot for revenge,” according the police statement. “However, the brothers were unable to find the person they were looking for, so they turned their anger toward Charles McGhee and (a second victim) Wayne Alexis instead.”
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Abraham shot both men, investigators said. Alexis survived his wounds and testified against Andrew Tovar during his trial.
“This is a perfect example of how, sooner or later, the long arms of the law will catch up with criminals,” the statement added.
Information on Abraham Tovar’s initial court appearance was not available Friday due to technical problems with county booking records.
A case had not been filed with the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office Friday afternoon, officials said.
PHOTOS: (above)1981 murder suspect Abraham Tovar, 73, of Alhambra shortly after his arrest Wednesday, May 16, 2012. (below) Abraham Tovar, photographed in September of 1985.
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Experts: Teachers need training to spot campus molesters

LOS ANGELES–Many school teachers across the nation are trained to pick up on clues of child abuse and neglect, but most are not trained to spot the signs of classroom pedophiles, leaving a gray area that could help teacher molesters operate undetected on campuses.

Experts say better training of school teachers and administrators in red-flag behavior could aid in catching molesters, pointing to the case of a former Los Angeles third-grade teacher who is charged with feeding some two dozen students semen-laced cookies, and blindfolding and gagging them over a five-year period.

“There are clear and consistent patterns of behavior. If you know what they are, they jump right out at you,” said Diane Cranley, founder of Talk About Abuse to Liberate Kids based in Laguna Niguel, Calif. “But there’s no awareness.”

Only a fraction of the nation’s 3 million educators are involved in any sexual misconduct with children. Although no national statistics are kept, a 2007 Associated Press investigation found 2,500 cases nationwide over five years where educators were punished for sexual abuse.

But that number is believed to be only a sliver of all sexual misconduct incidents.

…FULL STORY from the Associated Press

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$100 million worth of PCP seized in L.A. bust

LOS ANGELES — Authorities say $100 million worth of PCP and nearly $400,000 in cash has been seized at multiple locations in Los Angeles and Culver City.
The seizure is reportedly being described as a major bust of a national drug-trafficking organization that was distributing to Texas, New York, Washington D.C. and other cities.
The huge cache of PCP totals roughly 10 million individual doses, which in the Los Angeles area sell for between $10 and $20 each
The drug was found at two storage facilities and several other locations. Two assault weapons were also seized.
Two suspects were arrested Wednesday at a UPS store in Culver City where they were allegedly trying to ship narcotics.
The bust was announced by the Los Angeles Interagency Metropolitan Police Apprehension Crime Task Force.
- From the Associated Press
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UPDATE: Single-engine plane carrying 40 pounds of pot escorted to ground by F-16s after infringing on President Obama’s airspace

Defense officials scrambled to F-16 fighter jets to intercept a single-engine airplane that violated a temporary flight restriction over Los Angeles related to President Barack Obama, authorities said.
The Cessna 182 was intercepted by the fighter jets, which were dispatched from March Air Reserve Base in Riverside, shortly after 11 a.m., North American Aerospace Defense Command officials said in a written statement.
“After intercepting the aircraft, the F-16s followed it until it landed without incident at approximately (11:30 a.m.), where the plane was met by local law enforcement,” the statement said.
NORAD is responsible for safeguarding airspace over the U.S. and Canada to prevent potential air attacks.
At least one news agency reported the plane was found to be carrying a significant amount of marijuana, however that could not be confirmed Thursday afternoon.
- The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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Second accused Miramonte school teacher released from jail on bond

LOS ANGELES — One of two teachers accused of sexual misconduct at Miramonte Elementary School in South Los Angeles — an Alhambra man — was released from jail Friday after posting bond, authorities said.
Martin Springer, 49, was arrested one week ago after two girls came forward with allegations that he touched them inappropriately in the classroom, Los Angeles County Sheriff’s officials said.
Prosecutors have charged Springer with three counts of committing lewd acts on a child in connection with one of the girls’ allegations, Los Angeles County District Attorney’s officials said, while they declined to file charges based on the other girl’s claims.
Springer posted $300,000 bail about 2 a.m. Friday and was released from the Los Angeles jail facility where he was being housed, sheriff’s Capt. Mike Parker said.
“He was fitted with a court ordered ankle monitoring device before his release,” the captain said.
The victim was about 7 years old when the alleged molestation took place in April, May and June of 2009, according to sheriff’s and D.A.’s officials.
Springer pleaded not guilty to the charges Tuesday in Los Angeles Superior Court. He’s due back in court for a hearing Feb. 16.
If convicted as charged, Springer could face up to 12 years in prison.
The allegation against Springer came forward in the wake of the high-profile arrest of another Miramonte Elementary School teacher, 61-year-old Mark Berndt, earlier in the week on suspicion of sexually abusing 23 of his students.
Berndt remains jailed in lieu of $23 million pending his Feb. 21 arraignment, according to county booking records.
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Officials: La Puente woman, 5-year-old twins killed in triple murder-suicide

A man fatally shot his girlfriend, a La Puente woman, and their 5-year-old twins inside an SUV late Saturday before turning the gun on himself, authorities said.
The bodies of Iris Oseguera, 33, her boyfriend Salvador Acevedo, 45, and the their twins, a boy and girl whose names were not released Sunday, were discovered about 9 p.m. Saturday inside an SUV parked in the 1100 block of South Hicks Avenue, East Los Angeles, Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Deputy Lillian Peck said in a written statement.
Three teenage children who were also inside the SUV at the time of the shooting escaped unharmed, she said.
Acevedo, Oseguera, and all five children were in an SUV prior to the shooting, officials said.
“While in the vehicle, Acevedo and Oseguera became involved in a domestic dispute,” Peck said. “Acevedo produced a handgun and shot Oseguera and their twin children, striking each victim in the upper torso.”
Acevedo then dropped the three teenage children off at a relative’s home in East Los Angeles and drove away, sheriff’s officials said. The relatives immediately contacted the sheriff’s department.
A short time later, deputies discovered the SUV stopped on Hicks Avenue, with the three victims inside and Acevedo suffering from an apparently self-inflicted gunshot wound, Peck said.
Oseguera and Acevedo were pronounced dead at the scene, and the 5-year-old twins were rushed to a hospital, where they were pronounced dead.
The investigation, which was being handled by the Sheriff’s Homicide Bureau, was ongoing.
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LADOT officers accused of taking part in porno while on-duty

The Los Angeles Department of Transportation issued the following statement Sunday, on the heels of a television news report including footage of two LADOT employees apparently taking part in a pornographic film while in uniform and duty.  In the video, (sorry, you’ll have to look elsewhere for footage) the LADOT officers are seen spanking, being spanked by and fondling an adult film actress, as well as allowing her to perform sexual acts on herself inside their city vehicle.


DOT Announces Full Investigation of
Inappropriate Behavior

 

Los Angeles, (May 1, 
2011)
- The City of Los Angeles Department
of Transportation (LADOT) launched a full investigation on Thursday, April 28,
2011, allegedly involving two on-duty traffic officers, for inappropriate
behavior following a television station providing a video of two uniformed
officers appearing in an adult video. 
Amir Sedadi, LADOT Interim General Manager, issued the following
statement today:

 “Photos of what appeared to be LADOT
officers engaged in misconduct were provided anonymously to the Los Angeles
Police Department (LAPD) and forwarded to our offices earlier this year.  The still photos contained blurred faces and
did not contain any identifiable information regarding the individuals, or the
source of the photos. In fact, the photos contained faces and vehicle numbers
that were all completely blurred beyond recognition and therefore prior to viewing
a video from KNBC-TV, we were not aware of the fact that a video existed. 

After the assessment of the still
photos was conducted, while we were unable to positively identify any
individual employee, we reminded all of our traffic officers in writing about
their obligation to conduct themselves in a manner that earns and maintains the
trust, respect and confidence of those with whom we serve.  We expect our employees to conduct themselves
in a manner which will bring credit to themselves and to the Department.  Because LADOT Traffic Officers are one of the
most conspicuous representatives of City government, we expect our employees to
avoid becoming engaged in conduct which is not only inappropriate, but also
puts them in a position of compromise.

A full investigation was launched after
the video of the incident was provided by KNBC-TV this past week.  After we were provided the names of the
individuals allegedly involved in the misconduct, both employees were immediately
placed on administrative leave.  
Because we take the incident so seriously, and in order to ensure that
the investigation is done thoroughly, a request was made and granted for the
Los Angeles Police Department, City Attorney, and Personnel Department to
assist in the investigation and provide recommendations. The investigation is
designed to seek the truth and establish all the circumstances involved in this
very serious incident. 

I want to make it clear; LADOT
does not condone or tolerate unacceptable or inappropriate behavior from any of
our employees.  The allegations involving
two individuals in no way should be taken as representative of the nearly 600
professional Traffic Officers in the Department. 

While I am not able to release the
names of the individuals involved due to personnel rules and legal statutes, I
can assure everyone that once the investigation is completed, and if the
allegations of inappropriate behavior are sustained, swift and appropriate
disciplinary action will occur.  Finally, I want to thank KNBC-TV for providing
us the information that is allowing this investigation to proceed and I pledge
that we will complete the detailed review of this incident in a timely manner.”

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Cooley warns proposed prison transfer will “wreak havoc” on criminal justice system

Statement from the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office:
LOS ANGELES – Saying it would “wreak havoc” in the criminal justice system, District Attorney Steve Cooley warned today that a state budget proposal to transfer thousands of convicted felons and parolees to county custody and supervision threatens the safety of citizens.
The realignment proposal is a public safety nightmare,” Cooley told the Assembly Budget Subcommittee during a late afternoon hearing in the Board of Supervisors hearing room at the Kenneth Hahn Hall of Administration.
The hearing is on Gov. Jerry Brown’s budget proposal that would transfer responsibility for specified “lower-level offenders” and parolees from the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) to individual counties.
Cooley noted that Los Angeles County already faces a severe and chronic jail overcrowding problem that prompted a more than 20-year-old ongoing federal court-mandated population cap on the jail population. This has resulted in many incidents of early release of county jail prisoners over the years.
The District Attorney said that the county’s jails, according to the Sheriff’s own statistics, house about 18,000 inmates. About 90 percent are pre-trial detainees, leaving some 1,800 beds for post-conviction sentencing. Filling those beds now are those sentenced to misdemeanor terms, those sentenced to jail for violating probation, or defendants who have been given a jail term as a condition of a felony probation. These sentenced prisoners are routinely released early.
Cooley estimated that under the Governor’s proposal, up to 9,000 convicted felons would be required to serve their sentences in Los Angeles County. “There is no room in the jails for them,” he said. “Nor is there room for an estimated 6,500 Los Angeles County parole violators who would receive jail terms in lieu of prison under the proposal,” he added.
The District Attorney warned that under the Governor’s budget proposal, “Society will not be adequately protected. Convicted felons will not be adequately punished…Tens of thousands of convicted felons will be on the streets with minimal supervision, threatening all Californians.
“…The Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office and all other criminal justice entities from law enforcement to the courts would require substantial additional staffing to handle the predictable, significant increase in criminal filings due to felons serving very little or no time in custody,” Cooley warned as he urged the subcommittee to reject the budget proposal.
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Officials failed to collect DNA from Grim Sleeper serial killer suspect

From the Associated Press:

LOS ANGELES — Los Angeles authorities missed a chance to collect a DNA sample from a suspected serial killer before he allegedly killed his last known victim.
A newspaper reported Wednesday that the DNA profile of Lonnie Franklin Jr. was supposed to be collected under a state law that went into effect in November 2004.
Proposition 69 required the Los Angeles County Probation Department to gather DNA samples from tens of thousands of local offenders who were on probation.
Though Franklin was on probation following a 2003 conviction for receiving stolen property, his DNA was never taken.
The probation department says it took time after the law’s approval to implement the new requirements.
Franklin’s last alleged victim was killed New Year’s Day 2007.

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Afghanistan-bound Marines learn from LAPD officers

From the Associated Press:

LOS ANGELES — Some 70 Camp Pendleton Marines have been patrolling the streets of Los Angeles’ toughest neighborhoods with the LAPD to learn skills they hope to apply in Afghanistan.
The Marines say learning to work like a cop on a beat will help them better track the Taliban, build relationships with Afghans leery of foreign troops and make them better teachers as they try to professionalize an Afghan police force beset by corruption.
The weeklong exercise — unbeknownst to the public — involved Marines dressed in jeans and T-shirts observing drugs busts, witnessing prostitution arrests and even following a murder case. It was the largest group of Marines to embed with the city’s officers.

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