Fog City News in Brief
By Lara Moscrip
May 23, 2007
Santa Clara County Sheriff comments on De Anza rape case
Comments from the Santa Clara County Sheriff's Office have been
stated after the district attorney dropped the high-profile De
Anza baseball rape case on Monday.
"The case is not closed at this point," Santa Clara
County Sheriff's Sgt. Ed Wise said Tuesday regarding the recently
dropped De Anza rape case.
On Monday, Santa Clara County District Attorney Dolores Carr
issued a brief statement declaring the case was lacking evidence
The district attorney's office has been tight lipped about the
case so far, releasing on Monday a two-paragraph statement.
"We're happy," attorney John Cahners said, who advised
De Anza baseball player Steve Rebagliati. Rebagliati's home on
South Buena Vista Avenue in unincorporated Santa Clara County
was the scene of a team party where the alleged March 3-4 rape
of a 17-year-old girl occurred.
Cahners said he feels the right decision was reached. As far
as silence from the district attorney, Cahners feels Carr doesn't
have to answer to the media who "weren't there" and
"didn't conduct interviews with witnesses."
After the case was turned over to the district attorney it came
back to the sheriff who was asked to continue investigations.
DNA was taken from 11 partygoers during the investigation.
"He's had this cloud over his head for months," Cahners
said regarding sophomore Rebagliati, who is relieved the case
"The legal process has clearly taken its course," De
Anza spokeswoman Marissa Spatafore said. "We really are taking
the opportunity to turn this into a learning experience for students,
Eight De Anza baseball players were suspended from play by Coach
Scott Hertler for team policy infractions following the allegations.
Concerned U.S. Coast Guard reports changes in humpback's wound
The U.S. Coast Guard said marine biologists are concerned about
the health of the mother humpback whale and her calf that have
spent the past 11 days in the Sacramento River and Delta area.
Dr. Frances Gulland, principal veterinarian of the Marine Mammal
Center, reported changes in the whales' wounds and skin condition
after observing them at Rio Vista on Tuesday, the Coast Guard
In a statement released by the Coast Guard, Gulland said, "The
wounds appear to have worsened over time and their skin has changed
from smooth and shiny to irregular and pitted."
The whales' wounds are presumed to be from a run-in with a vessel,
the Coast Guard said.
The whales were still swimming near the Rio Vista Bridge Tuesday
afternoon as pipe banging efforts on board vessels were made to
herd them closer toward the Pacific Ocean.
The Coast Guard said fresh water from the river can impede the
healing process for the whales but assessing their health is difficult
because they mask their injuries to protect themselves from predators.
A sample of skin and blubber was taken from the female adult
whale Monday and sent to a research lab at Oregon State University,
the University of Tennessee and the Northwest Fisheries Science
Center in Seattle, the Coast Guard said.
The samples will be tested to determine the whale's general health,
her nutritional status and help identify her population stock,
the Coast Guard said.
Coroner called to San Jose home following fire
A coroner was called to a fire that began at a home at 24764
Soquel San Jose Road at around 10:30 a.m. on Tuesday that so far
claimed the life of a person, according to a Cal Fire dispatcher.
Arson and bomb specialists were also been called to investigate
the blaze after witnesses reported seeing heavy black smoke and
hearing an explosion.
Fire officials pulled one body from the wreckage and used search
dogs to locate an additional person who may also have perished,
the dispatcher said.
The fire, which involved two structures, was contained at 1:30
p.m., according to the dispatcher.
San Jose gay couple announce discrimination settlement
A gay couple from San Jose Tuesday announced the settlement of
a federal discrimination lawsuit against two commercial Web sites
for people hoping to adopt children.
The lawsuit against the Web sites Adoption.com and ParentProfiles.com
was filed in federal court in San Francisco by Michael and Rich
Butler in 2004.
The couple claimed that ParentProfiles.com violated a California
anti-discrimination law by refusing to post profiles of same-sex
couples. The site is used by birth mothers searching for adoptive
parents; prospective parents pay a fee to post their profiles.
Under the settlement filed Monday, the two companies, both based
in Arizona and operated by Dale and Nathan Gwilliam, agreed to
make any services available in California equally available to
all residents of the state.
Michael Butler said, "This case was about ensuring that
these businesses stop discriminating against same-sex couples
in California by excluding them from offering loving, stable homes
Michael Butler, a stay-at-home dad, and Richard Butler, a patent
attorney, adopted a now 3-year-old daughter from other sources
while their lawsuit was pending.
But Glen Lavy, a lawyer from the Arizona-based Alliance Defense
Fund who represented the two companies, called the settlement
"very unfortunate for California residents."
Lavy said that in order to comply with the settlement, ParentProfiles.com
will no longer post any profiles from California couples.
He said, "California residents will no longer have the services
of the ParentProfiles.com Web site."
Lavy said Adoption.com does not post profiles and will continue
to offer the same services as before.
The settlement came after U.S. District Phyllis Hamilton ruled
in March that California law applies to the company and that the
Butlers could take the case to a trial.
Man admits to being "the Gilligan Robber" following
for allegedly stabbing his wife
A man arrested Monday for the stabbing death of his wife admitted
to detectives that he was the serial bank robber dubbed "the
Gilligan Robber," Redwood City police Detective Jeff Price
said on Tuesday.
Following his Monday night arrest by San Mateo County sheriff's
deputies, 51-year-old Redwood City resident Robert Lomas "confessed
to being the bank robber known as Gilligan," Price confirmed.
The Gilligan Robber earned his nickname by committing 12 bank
heists in San Mateo, Santa Clara and Alameda counties since 2002,
each time wearing a floppy, fisherman-style hat. The most recent
robbery took place at a Redwood City Wells Fargo bank on May 11,
Robert Lomas will be formally charged in San Mateo County Superior
Court today for the stabbing murder of his wife Linda Lomas, San
Mateo County Sheriff's Office spokeswoman Lt. Lisa Williams said
Linda Lomas, 50, was found stabbed to death late Monday morning
inside the couple's home, an in-law unit they rented behind a
home in the 2800 block of Huntington Ave., in the unincorporated
North Fair Oaks area of Redwood City, Williams said.
Robert Lomas was arrested Monday night without incident-and without
a hat, Williams confirmed-near the Redwood Junction railroad tracks,
a few blocks away from his home. Agents from the FBI, the U.S.
Marshals Office, the California Department of Justice, California
State Parole, and county narcotics task force and probation officers
assisted in the search.
Investigators are still trying to determine the identity of a
man who made an anonymous 911 call at 10 a.m. Monday morning indicating
that police would find a body inside the residence, according
Alameda Board of Supes pass ordinance holding adults responsible
for underage drinking
The Alameda County Board of Supervisors voted unanimously Tuesday
to approve an ordinance that holds adults responsible for underage
drinking parties on property they own, lease or otherwise control.
Supervisor Alice Lai-Bitker sponsored the legislation after three
people were shot - two fatally - during a Jan. 19 party attended
by more than 100 people in San Lorenzo.
The so-called social host ordinance "brings awareness to
the important issue of underage drinking and promotes personal
responsibility for parents, friends and teenagers themselves,"
Although state law prohibits the purchase, possession and consumption
of alcohol by minors in public or commercial settings, it doesn't
prohibit youth consumption of alcohol on private property.
The ordinance aims to close that hole by allowing for civil fines
of $750 for the first offense, $1,500 for second offenses and
$2,500 for third offenses against individuals in control of private
party where underage drinking is occurring.
The only way for law enforcement in areas without such ordinances
to fight underage drinking on private land now is to charge the
adults furnishing the alcohol with contributing to the delinquency
of a minor.
Similar ordinances have been passed by more than 10 other cities
and counties in California, including Marin County in October
and Berkeley in March.
Alameda County's ordinance only applies to unincorporated areas.
It will become law in a month.
Tuesday's vote was only a formality. The Board of Supervisors
gave initial approval to the measure at its first reading last
U.S. Highway 101 reopens after big-rig cleanup
All lanes were cleared on U.S. Highway 101 in Redwood City Tuesday
afternoon after a big-rig collision prompted a nearly five-hour
cleanup operation and sent two people to local hospitals.
The collision occurred at around 1 p.m. Tuesday near the Woodside
Expressway when a cardboard-loaded southbound big-rig struck the
center divide and jackknifed, the California Highway Patrol reported.
The truck slid across the highway, struck and then jumped the
center divide, causing chunks of concrete to fly at northbound
motorists before it caught fire, according to CHP Officer Scott
A northbound vehicle being driven by a woman and her child sustained
the most damage from the flying concrete pieces, the CHP reported.
Both were taken to local hospitals. Their conditions remain unreported
The truck driver and a passenger were not injured, according
to the CHP. A Toyota also hit by the concrete was damaged but
the driver was not injured.
Crews were forced to temporarily close all southbound lanes at
around 4:30 p.m. as they removed the charred wreckage of the big-rig
from the roadway.
San Francisco bakery stabbing suspect to appear in court
District Attorney Kamala Harris announced Tuesday that a parolee
who was recently released from San Quentin prison will appear
in court today to be arraigned on four felony counts in connection
with the stabbing of a 14-year-old girl at a San Francisco bakery
Scott Thomas, 26, of Van Nuys, will face two counts of attempted
murder, one count of child endangerment and one count of assault
with a deadly weapon. Thomas has also been charged with allegations
of weapon use, a knife, and great bodily injury.
Police arrested Thomas Saturday thanks to a person who witnessed
the stabbing at Creighton's Bakery at 673 Portola Drive and then
followed the suspect when he fled. The suspect eventually ran
behind the Laguna Honda Hospital, where the witness pointed him
out to police, San Francisco police Sgt. Steve Mannina said.
Another person who was in the bakery during the stabbing that
occurred just after 4 p.m. tried to intervene between the suspect
and the girl. That person also was stabbed, Mannina said. Both
people were taken to San Francisco General Hospital.
Police don't know what motivated the attack.
"It's frustrating to see those who have committed a crime
from prison, placed on parole and cycle back into the criminal
justice system," Harris said.
Senator Migden allegedly struck a guardrail before rear-ending
State Sen. Carole Migden, D-San Francisco, grazed a guardrail
west of state Highway 37 before she rear-ended a Honda sedan in
Fairfield Friday morning, California Highway Patrol officer M.A.
Williford said Tuesday.
Both Migden and witnesses confirmed Migden grazed the guardrail
located approximately one mile west of state Highway 37, according
to Williford. Williford said officers are searching the guardrail
Tuesday for paint evidence.
The CHP is interviewing as many as six witnesses to the collisions,
some of whom "had concerns with the senator's driving,"
Migden was on her way to an appointment in Marin County. She
failed to notice traffic stopping for a red light as she traveled
east on state Highway 12 at Beck Avenue, according to the California
Migden's 2007 Toyota Highlander then collided with the back of
a Honda sedan driven by 31-year-old Ellen Butawan, of Vallejo.
As a precaution, Butawan was transported to North Bay Hospital.
Migden has not been issued a citation for the collision, which
occurred at around 10:40 a.m. and caused Butawan to suffer minor
Migden reportedly was distracted by her ringing cell phone just
prior to the collision, according to a statement released by Migden's
A 2003 GMC Savanna van in front of Butawan's Honda was slightly
damaged in the collision, Williford reported. The driver was uninjured.
A routine Breathalyzer test was performed on Migden and she was
later allowed to drive her damaged car back to her home once the
hood of her SUV was repaired at the Fairfield CHP, according to
Suspect who shot Oakland officer still at large
A 26-year-old man suspected of shooting an Oakland police officer
after a traffic stop early Saturday morning is still at large,
police said on Tuesday.
Police spokesman Roland Holmgren identified the suspect as Jesse
William Mendez of San Lorenzo. Mendez has a felony conviction
for selling narcotics and misdemeanor convictions for theft, forgery
and traffic violations.
Mendez's cousin was fatally shot several hours after the traffic
stop. Police Officer Robert Roche shot the cousin -- 22-year-old
Jeremiah Dye -- with a rifle, killing him instantly, when he allegedly
refused to come out of a crawl space underneath a house and appeared
to be reaching for a gun, Holmgren said.
No gun was found, according to Holmgren.
Holmgren said Dye, a San Leandro resident, was on probation for
a robbery conviction.
According to Holmgren, Officer Kevin McDonald was in East Oakland
about 12:20 a.m. Saturday when he saw a 1980 Chevrolet Camaro
driven by Mendez ignore a stop sign at Parker Avenue and MacArthur
Boulevard. McDonald pulled Mendez over.
McDonald told investigators that as he walked to the car, Mendez
fired at least four shots at him without warning.
Authorities said one bullet hit McDonald in his protective vest
and another in his hand before the Camaro drove off. The officer
was able to radio other officers and provide descriptions of Mendez
and Dye and the license plate of the car.
McDonald later was treated and released from a hospital and is
now on leave recovering from his injuries, Holmgren said.
The Camaro was found abandoned a few blocks away and police began
searching the area.
Officers located Dye hiding in a crawl space under a house in
the 2600 block of Parker about 4:30 a.m.
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