California marks Victims’ Rights Week with early release of politician’s son who received commutation in fatal stabbing


In a truly twisted irony, the State of California marked the start of National Crime Victims’ Rights Week Sunday by announcing the early prison release of the son of a former politician who had his already plea-bargained sentence for the fatal stabbing of 22-year-old San Diego college student Luis Santos commuted by then-governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, the Associated Press reports.

FILE - This April 7, 2016 file photo provided by the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation shows Esteban Nunez. Nunez, the son of former California state Assembly speaker Fabian Nunez, was freed from prison after his manslaughter sentence in the stabbing death of college student Luis Santos in San Diego was significantly reduced in 2011 by then-Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger. The CDCR said Sunday, April 10, 2016, that Esteban Nunez was released to parole supervision. (California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation via AP, File)

Esteban Nunez

Esteban Nunez and friend Ryan Jett stabbed Santos to death in 2008. One of the wounds pierced Santos’ heart. The killers were angry after being turned away from a party.

Both men were charged with murder, as well as assault with a deadly weapon for stabbing two other victims, who survived. But on the eve of their trial in 2010, as the LA Times reports,  both killers pleaded guilty to charges of voluntary manslaughter and assault with a deadly weapon. Each received a sentence of 16 years in prison. The plea bargain spared Nunez and Jett the possibility of a first-degree murder conviction at trial, which would have resulted in sentences of 25 years to life.

But as it turns out, Esteban Nunez is the son of former state Assembly speaker Fabian Nunez. And Fabian Nunez was a political ally of then-governor Schwarzenegger, who commuted Esteban Nunez sentence to seven years on his last day in office in 2011. He served less than six before his release over the weekend.

Per the AP:

In 2012, a Sacramento judge called the commutation “repugnant” but legal. In 2015, an appeals court wrote that “back-room dealings were apparent,” but upheld Schwarzenegger’s power to reduce the sentence.

Schwarzenegger said at the time that he acted because he thought the 16-year sentence was excessive, but he also acknowledged he was helping a friend.

Schwarzenegger explained the commutation in an August, 2011, Newsweek interview, saying, “Well, hello! I mean, of course you help a friend.”

Santos’ family receive no warning of the commutation, per the Sacramento Bee. They and San Diego District Attorney filed lawsuits seeking to invalidate the commutation, arguing that it violated the Victims Bill of Rights, also known as Marsy’s Law. Under the 2008 legislation, victims’ families have a right to be heard during post-conviction proceedings. A three-judge panel from the 3rd District Court of Appeals grudgingly upheld an earlier court finding that gubernatorial acts of clemency do not constitute “proceedings,” and therefore are not subject to the Victims Bill of Rights.

“We are compelled to conclude that, while Schwarzenegger’s conduct could be seen as deserving of censure and grossly unjust, it was not illegal,” the panel of judges wrote in their opinion.

PHOTOS via the Associated Press

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Charges filed against man accused of beating nephews to death in Arcadia

Arcadia High students and parents attend a vigil for slain students Anthony Lin, 15, and William Lin, 16, at the Arcadia, Calif. campus January 25, 2016. The brothers were allegedly beaten to death in their home by their uncle. (Photo by Leo Jarzomb/Pasadena Star-News)

Arcadia High students and parents attend a vigil for slain students Anthony Lin, 15, and William Lin, 16, at the Arcadia, Calif. campus January 25, 2016. The brothers were allegedly beaten to death in their home by their uncle. (Photo by Leo Jarzomb/Pasadena Star-News)

ARCADIA >> Prosecutors have filed murder charges against a San Gabriel Valley man accused of beating his two teenage nephews to death with a bolt cutter at their home in Arcadia last weekend, officials said Thursday.
Deyun Shi, also known as Jeff Shi, 44, was charged with two counts of murder, along with a count of domestic violence causing great bodily injury, as he awaits extradition proceedings in Hong Kong, where he was captured the day after the double-slaying, Los Angeles County District Attorney’s officials said.
Deyun_ShiThe murder charges listed in an extradition arrest warrant obtained Wednesday are accompanied by “an allegation that the defendant used a deadly and dangerous weapon, a bolt cutter, in the commission of the crimes,” district attorney’s office spokesman Ricardo Santiago said in a written statement.
The domestic assault charge stems from an alleged attack on Shi’s estranged wife at her La Cañada home on Jan. 21, the day before the bodies of his nephews Anthony Lin, 15, and his brother William Lin, 16, were found by their mother at the family’s home in the 400 block of Fairview Avenue in Arcadia.
In the domestic attack, Shi is accused of striking his estranged wife with a maul, or wood-splitting hammer, according to Los Angeles County sheriff’s and district attorney’s officials.
Arraignment was to be scheduled later pending extradition proceedings, officials said.
“If convicted as charged, Shi faces a maximum sentence of life in state prison,” Santiago said.
Deputies began seeking Shi late Jan 21, after he allegedly attacked his wife with a wood-splitting tool, Lt. Eddie Hernandez of the sheriff’s Homicide Bureau said. The woman suffered serious but non-life-threatening injuries.
The parents of the Lin brothers had gone to check on the injured victim late on Jan. 21, Hernandez said. They returned home in the early morning hours Jan. 22 and did not notice anything wrong before they went to bed.
About 12:40 p.m., Anthony and William’s mother awoke and discovered her sons dead, officials said. One of the boys was found on the first floor of the two-story apartment situated on top of a parking garage. The other brother’s body was found upstairs.
Shi is married to the sister of the slain brothers’ father, Hernandez said.
The manhunt for Shi intensified following the discovery of his nephews’ body.
His alleged violent crime spree began after he learned his wife had filed for divorce and obtained a restraining order against him, investigators said.
He was detained when his airplane landed in Hong Kong, officials said. Detectives initially said his ultimate destination may have been Beijing.
Officials said Shi had been staying with a friend in Alhambra and conducted business in San Gabriel at the time of the crimes.
Community members honored the Lin brothers Monday during a vigil at their school, Arcadia High School, where Anthony was a freshman and William was a junior, according to Arcadia Unified School District officials.



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Cops arrest one in Ontario triple slaying

An Upland man was arrested in connection with the Monday morning slaying of three in Ontario. This from the Inland Valley Daily Bulletin.

Steven David James Carter, 34, was booked into West Valley Detention Center in Rancho Cucamonga. Court records show he is scheduled to appear in court Wednesday, although it is unclear if he has been charged in the case.

Officers said they plan to recommend to the San Bernardino County District Attorney’s Office that Carter be charged with three counts of murder.

Police came to a home in the 1000 block of South Magnolia Avenue at 6:15

Steven David James Carter

Police investigated the triple homicide Monday after receiving a report of an unconscious man lying in the driveway.
The man was dead of what investigators suspect was a gunshot wound. Police found two more bodies inside the home, but are unsure about their cause of death.

Officers identified one of the men in the house as Brandon Perez, 31, of Ontario. He resided in the home and appeared to be the target of the robbery, police said. The other man in the residence, one of Carter’s accomplices, was 25-year-old Albert Lamar Thomas of Ontario.

Police withheld the name of the third man because his relatives have not been notified.

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Source: Allan Munnecke, Pasadena man suspected in cold case homicide, dies on operating table

Alan Munnecke

Longtime Tournament of Roses Association member Richard Allan Munnecke, arrested in February in connection with the 2004 slaying of Rose Parade volunteer Donna Lee Kelly, has died, according to an email sent to friends of his family.

…Gail Munnecke called this morning to share the sad news that her husband Allan died during heart surgery yesterday. A memorial service will be held November 30 at San Marino Community Church.
Our most heart-felt condolences to Gail and her loved ones.

Munnecke was connected to the slaying via DNA, officials said.

In February deputies served a search warrant at Munnecke’s home in the 800 block of North Almansor Street in Alhambra. Subsequently, they arrested the 71-year-old on suspicion of murder in Kelly’s slaying.

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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

LAPD press release on the jump:

Continue reading “LAPD releases photos of potential Grim Sleeper victims” »

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Busy day in the SGV

Deputies shoot a burg suspect in Azusa;

Shooting in Rosemead leaves six injured; one gravely;
Dead woman turns up in Morris Dam; Sheriff’s dive team headed up Highway 39 to search for second car
Housekeeper accused of burg string that extends over a decade;
Monrovia man arrested in connection with San Bernardino County homicide;
Suspected “Baby Boomer” Bandit caught in Pasadena.
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Thursday’s column (Northwest)

By some estimates there are as many as 400 members of the Denver Lanes street gang living in Pasadena.

A blood gang that probably originated in Los Angeles, PDL is often responsible for much of the violence that occurs in Northwest Pasadena.

Needless to say, the streets, apartments and housing projects PDL claims as its turf don’t often make New Year’s Day television broadcasts highlighting the wonders of the Rose City.

Neither does much of the rest of the city north of the 210 Freeway for that matter. Where turf is claimed by gangs like the Pasadena Latin Kings, the Raymond Avenue Crips, Northside Pasadena, the Villa Boyz, Varrio Pasadena Rifa, the Summit Street Smokers, Pepper Street, Squiggly Lane and the Project Gangsters.

Some wear red like the Bloods. Some wear blue like the Crips. Others, like the Project Gangsters, simply wear black.

On a summer day in the Northwest, families sweltering in cramped apartments seek refuge on rickety balconies. A cop drives by in an unmarked car and gets mad-dogged by an old woman who mouths obscenities before flipping the bird.

Down the road on Orange Grove Boulevard, the passenger in a car traveling the opposite direction hangs out the window and contorts his hand into an unmistakable gang sign.

On Howard Street, a group of young men shoot craps as they banter with the cop about the neighborhood.

Outside a Washington Boulevard apartment complex, a guy once named in an


injunction against the PDL gang tells the cop his brother will be “out in a minute.” In other words, his brother is doing prison time and probably has two or three years to go before he’s eligible for parole.

On another street the cop points out the luxury Lexus that belongs to the PDL’s shot-caller. Near Robinson Road, he points out a yellow mansion with exterior spiral staircases and white trim. It’s surrounded by a 6-foot-high, wrought-iron fence.

“They shoot pornos there,” he says. “Or at least they used to.”

Up on Woodbury, the detective talks to a young girl about her family. She says many of her relatives are unavailable. But, “They’ll be back in a minute.”

Elsewhere drug deals go down in alleyways and driveways. The sight of a white, unmarked patrol car sends the actors scurrying in various directions.

Up the road, a “basehead” looks lost standing outside an abandoned house. A couple of doors down three generations of a family that’s well-known to cops in Northwest Pasadena gathers on their front lawn and driveway.

Most everywhere the detective gets stares and dirty looks.

Somehow the neighborhood has been a breeding ground for violence and bad behavior for as long as most remember. This is where gangs like PDL thrive.

“The gangs are constantly struggling for power in the community,” Pasadena police Detective Kevin Gomez recently explained in a preliminary hearing for Dwayne Rice and Charles Wetstone, a pair of PDLs accused in the execution murder of Squiggly Lane rival David Crosby.

“The larger the territory, the more opportunities for the gang,” he continued.

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Latino gangs targeted in hate crime sweep

While local public officials continue to deny the existence of brown on black hate crime, the FBI cracked down on a Hawaiian Gardens gang responsible for several heinous crimes.

From the Associated Press:

Federal and local agencies were conducting a series of arrests targeting members and associates of the Varrio Hawaiian Gardens street gang, U.S. Attorney’s Office spokesman Thom Mrozek said.

A series of federal racketeering indictments was due to be unsealed later Thursday, detailing firearms, narcotics and other charges related to the attacks, Mrozek said.

Further details were not released, but Mrozek said the indictments would detail the attacks on several black victims.

The indictments mark at least the second time in less than two years that federal authorities have alleged that Latino gang members attacked black residents because of their race. Local officials have tried to downplay any racial tensions.

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Sheriff Dept. putting down cases with license plate reader

There’s a unit of the Sheriff’s Department called Advance Protection and Surveillance. Over the past two years they’ve put some license plate readers in the field and they’ve had some pretty impressive results.
The manufacturer of the device, Federal Signal, claims that the department has caught a serial rape suspect and a man suspected in three homicides using the technology.
Here’s a portion of a press release from

Recently, the Federal Signal ALPR network has assisted LASD in solving two key cases. A serial rapist in South Los Angeles approached female pedestrians and forced them into his vehicle at gunpoint. A victim obtained a license plate number and provided police with a vehicle description; however, the address for the registered owner of the vehicle was no longer correct. With the help of Federal Signal’s ALPR Back Office System Software (BOSS) by PIPS, investigators pinpointed prior vehicle sightings, which led them to the suspect’s workplace. The employer provided a cell phone number for the suspect, which enabled police to locate the suspect and make an arrest.

In another case, a shooting left one victim dead. Witnesses provided police with a partial license plate and vehicle description. A query of this data in the Federal Signal BOSS system provided investigators with a full license plate number which enabled them to identify the suspect. Surveillance was established on the suspect’s address, and the suspect was in custody less than 24-hours after the shooting. The suspect was also wanted in connection with three other homicides.
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Homeless homicides

Not a lot of new stuff to report in the Long Beach case of five people shot to death at a homeless encampment in Long Beach. Here’s what LA homeless blog is reporting:

18832-homelesshomicides-thumb-300x168.jpgJust like the murder three weeks ago of a homeless man in the Rampart area of Los Angeles, the police have not figured out who murdered the five homeless persons in Long Beach, a large city just south of Los Angeles.

Of course, having five people shot to death has rattled this local neighborhood.

KCBS2/KCAL9 has video from the crime scene here.

Here’s the latest story from our sister paper the Long Beach Press-Telegram:


Continue reading “Homeless homicides” »

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