Jurors seated in trial of woman accused of killing husband, kids

Manling Williams case heads to trial. This from Jan Williams in a Facebook post: 

Jan Williams 12 jurors and 8 alternates were chosen and sworn in today. Opening statements and testimony start tomorrow morning at 9:30 am. It’s actually starting and I must confess I feel a little nausiated. I’m going to put my feet up and try to take this all in. Monkey.
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UPDATE: Killer of El Monte auto racer remains at large

The cops say there was a struggle. They say there was no robbery. 
It appears that El Monte racing legend Hector Urias had recently installed a surveillance camera at his business on Santa Anita Avenue.
There are going to be a lot of angles to consider and paths to follow for Sheriff’s Detectives investigating the shooting death of Urias.
One thing seems certain, he had a lot of friends and will be missed in the community.
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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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Grim sleeper busted

Associated Press is reporting that Los Angeles Police Department has arrested a suspect in the Grim Sleeper case:

A law enforcement official says Los Angeles police have made
an arrest in the so-called “Grim Sleeper” serial killings in which a man is believed to
have killed 11 people since 1985.
The official, who was not authorized to speak publicly, tells The Associated Press the
arrest was made Wednesday morning. No name or other details were immediately
released.
Detectives have spent years probing at least 11 slayings between 1985 and 2007 in which the killer targeted young black women and one man.
The killer was dubbed the “Grim Sleeper” because he apparently took a 14-year hiatus in his crimes.
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Coroner releases composite based on Angeles National Forest skull

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Coroner’s officials Tuesday released a composite sketch of a woman whose body was found in the Angeles National Forest after the Station Fire.

The skeletal remains were found on Dec. 26. near the Angeles Crest Highway, coroner’s spokesman Craig Harvey said in a statement released Tuesday.

“Jane Doe 87″ was “determined to be a White or Hispanic female with an age range between 20-40 years old,” Harvey said. “The skeletal remains may have been at this location for an extended period of time, possibly several years prior to the “Station Fire” in August 2009.”

The composite drawing depicts a woman with a slight overbite and dark hair pulled back in a bun. The woman had several items of jewelry including a yellow metal band with five clear stones and six pink stones, a yellow metal band with five clear stones and six blue stones and a yelow metal band with five clear stones and six green stones.

Additionally she had a yellow metal necklace, Harvey said.

The woman’s skull was found just days after the skull of a man was located in the area near Lucas Creek, investigators said.

Detectives said the man’s skull appeared to have been pierced by a bullet.

Investigators said both sets of remains had been placed in shallow graves and had been undisturbed for some time before last year’s Station Fire, which destroyed more than 250 square miles of the Angeles National Forest.

Hikers discovered the man’s skull on Dec. 24. The woman’s skull was located after cadaver sniffing dogs were brought to the scene, officials said.

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Pot clinic shootings leave two dead

From NBC 4 Los Angeles:

Two people were shot and killed in two separate medical marijuana clinic robberies Thursday night in Los Angeles.

Los Angeles police Robbery-Homicide detectives early Friday were at  Hollywood Holistic in the 1600 block of North El Centro Avenue, where someone  was killed shortly after 9 p.m. Thursday.

At Higher Path Holistic in the 1300 block of Sunset Boulevard, near  Dodger Stadium, another person was fatally shot about 4:10 p.m. Thursday. A  second person was critically wounded.

The names of the victims were being withheld. No arrests were  made in either killing. Los Angeles police Robbery-Homicide Division  detectives were handling the investigations.

On North El Centro, “the sole employee in the store was found dead by  the owner of the store,” Sgt. Don Lawrence of the Hollywood Station said.


East LA Insider has more about the Echo Park homicide here.

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Trial begins for Monrovia pair accused of slaying Sammantha Salas

BURBANK – More than two years after 16-year-old Sammantha Salas was gunned during a string of racially charged gang shootings in Monrovia, jury selection began Wednesday in the trial of two men charged with her murder.

“Well, it’s finally happening,” said Janette Chavez, Salas’ mother.

The teenager was shot to death by two masked gunman in January 2008 as part of what investigators believe was a string of retaliatory shootings between a black and Latino gangs in Monrovia.

Two cousins, 28-year-old Nickelis Blackwell and 24-year-old Rayshawn Blackwell, are accused of shooting Salas to death as she was walking with a friend near her father’s home in unincorporated Monrovia.

Chavez spent Monday waiting for a jury to be picked, and she said that based on the evidence she heard in the preliminary hearing, she hopes that jury convicts both Blackwells of murder.

“I want them in prison for the rest of their lives so another family doesn’t have to suffer the loss that we did,” Chavez said.

The trial was moved to Burbank last week because no courtrooms in Pasadena were prepared to handle a case that attorneys believe could last three weeks, prosecutors said.

A witness in the preliminary hearing for the Blackwells said the cousins confessed to the crime the night of the shooting.

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Joran Van der Sloot “a homicidal maniac”

This from CBS, which has compiled an extensive library of stories on the case:

A private investigator who was inside the attempted FBI sting of murder suspect Joran van der Sloot says the Dutchman is a “homicidal maniac.”

Van der Sloot, 22, is being held in Peru in the death of 21-year-old business student Stephany Flores.

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The latest RICO case against La Eme and Puente 13

What probably got the federal RICO case against La Eme and Puente 13 off the ground likely boils down to one paragraph in the federal indictment:

On or about July 3, 2006, in Los Angeles County, within the Central District of California, defendants GONZALEZ, BLANCO, S. NUNEZ, and A. TORRES willfully, deliberately, and with premeditation, unlawfully killed with malice aforethought D.D., in violation of California Penal Code, Sections 21a, 31, 187, and 189.

The read the complete indictment click here.

The big question: Did inestigators rely on snitches, undercover agents, wiretaps or all three?

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