By Michael Aldax
August 21, 2007
Santa Clara County Superior Court judge unseals documents
in rape case
A Santa Clara County Superior Court judge ordered court documents
unsealed Monday in a hearing for two men accused of the July 22
rape and murder of 46-year-old Sany San.
James Chadwick, attorney for a local newspaper, argued that the
documents should be made available for public access under the
First Amendment and that the information contained in the documents
would not impact the safety or ability to hold a fair trial for
the two accused men.
Julio Cesar Jovel, 30, and Luis Alberto Lorenzo, 18, sat shackled,
listening to the proceedings translated by interpreters.
Chadwick said there is intense public concern about this case
that could only be eased by more information.
Neal Kimball, supervising deputy district attorney for Santa
Clara County, argued that the defendant's access to a fair trial
and their physical safety would be jeopardized by the release
of the documents.
Deputy Public Defender Ken Mandel referred to language in the
documents as "extremely inflammatory.'' He said that the
bulk of the information in the document, except for the inflammatory
language, had already been publicly reported. Mandel also said
that his client, Lorenzo, had been assaulted in custody citing
the "nature'' of the crime as the cause for the attack.
Judge Jean High Wetenkamp ruled that the documents are to be
unsealed Friday at noon, pending any appeals by the district attorney's
office. Wetenkamp said the case had not garnered more press attention
than other similar cases that were tried successfully in the county.
Ballard declares surveillance cameras "working"
San Francisco officials plan to release the results of a report
in October regarding the effectiveness of surveillance cameras
that have been installed in the city's high-crime areas, according
to Mayor Gavin Newsom's spokesman.
"This is one tool that law enforcement can use to fight
violent crime and we believe it is worth a try," the mayor's
spokesman, Nathan Ballard, said Monday.
The 64 cameras already in use have a price tag of $500,000, Ballard
said. The city will be installing 25 new cameras in 2008.
Data collected from surveillance cameras has been used in at
least six investigations, Ballard said. One arrest has been made
definitively because of the cameras.
"We believe the program is working," Ballard said.
Cities throughout California are working to install such video
surveillance cameras on plazas and public streets without regulating
them or evaluating their effectiveness, according to an American
Civil Liberties Union report released Monday.
"We are issuing this report because we are hoping that policy
makers will take a step back and question whether this is the
road they want to take," said Mark Schlosberg, police practices
policy director of ACLU's Northern California chapter.
The 25-page report looks at the threat video surveillance cameras
pose to privacy and free speech, examines law enforcement justifications
for video surveillance programs, and reviews the findings from
an ACLU public records survey.
Antioch World Savings Bank robbed twice in one month
A World Savings bank in Antioch has been robbed twice this month,
most recently Monday morning, according to Antioch police.
Police are searching for a woman who robbed the bank at 2601
Somersville Road at around 11:25 a.m. Monday.
The suspect, said to be in her early 20s and wearing a black
shirt with a superman logo, used a deposit slip to demand money
from a teller, police said.
She fled on foot southbound from the bank with an undisclosed
sum, police said.
The same World Savings bank was also robbed at gunpoint the morning
of Aug. 6 by two men, police said.
At around 9:30 a.m., the thieves reportedly forced customers
and employees to the ground, stole cash from the teller stations
and briefly entered the vault before fleeing with an undetermined
sum, police said.
The suspects were described as two adult black men.
No one was injured in either incident, police said.
No arrests have been reported and investigations into both incidents
Zhou's father reveals results of second autopsy
The father of a 23-year-old Stanford University student who was
found dead in the trunk of her car in January still insists his
daughter was killed and he said last week an autopsy showed she
died of blunt force trauma.
Yitong Zhou said Thursday on his daughter's Web site that a second
autopsy on Mengyao "May" Zhou was performed May 10 by
a pathologist with 40 years experience.
Zhou said the autopsy disclosed multiple sites of trauma, including
the head and extremities, on his daughter's body. He said Santa
Rosa police declined twice to go to San Diego to view the forensic
Zhou also offered to exchange the second autopsy results for
the results of the autopsy conducted in Sonoma County. He said
police declined that offer.
Santa Rosa police said the Sonoma County autopsy found no visible
outward signs of trauma and no indications of foul play. Police
also said they found items in the trunk of Zhou's 2006 Toyota
that indicated she may have committed suicide. They did not elaborate
on that statement on Jan. 25 when Zhou's body was found in a parking
lot of Santa Rosa Junior College.
In February, Sonoma County coroner's Sgt. Mitch Mana said toxicology
tests revealed the presence of diphenhydramine, a prime ingredient
in the antihistamine Benadryl, a sleep aid available without a
Mana said the level of the drug found in Zhou's body was "potentially
toxic." The autopsy also found no acidic, neutral or basic
drugs or ethyl alcohol in her system.
On Friday, Santa Rosa police Sgt. Sgt. Paul Henry said the investigation
of Zhou's death is nearing completion and leads have clarified
some of the issues in the case.
Wente Vineyards gold course remains closed
The driving range at Wente Vineyards golf course in Livermore
remained closed Monday as a precautionary step while it is evaluated
after a golf cart with six people crashed Friday night, according
to the vineyard's president.
Five of the six people were injured. Three people have been released
from local hospitals but one person is still receiving treatment
Monday, President Peter Chouinard said.
"We're saddened by the accident. It definitely was traumatic
for us and the folks involved," he said.
Three people had to be extricated from the overturned six-passenger
golf cart and one person suffered major injuries following the
collision around 6:45 p.m., the California Highway Patrol reported.
The cart was traveling downhill as it approached a left curve
in the trail. The driver then apparently hit the brakes before
turning the golf cart left along the curve, according to the CHP.
The cart flipped to its right and trapped the driver and two
passengers, the CHP reported.
The driver and five passengers in the golf cart were employees
of Wente Vineyards, according to the CHP.
The official cause of the crash remains under investigation.
Pedestrian advocates call recent deaths "unacceptable"
Pedestrian advocates in San Francisco are asking the city Monday
to pay more attention to preventing and investigating pedestrian
deaths after three people were struck and killed by vehicles within
"The events of this past week have been unacceptable,"
said Manish Champsee, president of Walk San Francisco, a pedestrian
Walk San Francisco is calling for better San Francisco Municipal
Railway driver training and a reduction in the distractions that
operators have while driving, like talking on cell phones.
"We wouldn't allow people to drive Muni buses while drunk,
so we shouldn't allow them to do so while talking on their cell
phone," Champsee said in a prepared statement.
On July 14, Marina Vafiadis, 83, died after being struck by a
San Francisco police are also investigating two fatal hit-and-run
accidents that occurred during the weekend.
Mark Ashley, a 27-year-old Canadian Navy lieutenant, was struck
and killed by a Mercedes Benz while crossing the Embarcadero early
Saturday, according to the San Francisco medical examiner.
On Sunday, Roger Tennyson, 77, of San Francisco, was fatally
struck in the 100 block of Sanchez Street near his house at about
1:30 a.m., according to police. Tennyson died at the scene.
Walk San Francisco is calling on the city to investigate the
crimes. The group has also asked the mayor's office to offer a
reward for information leading to the arrest of those responsible.
Hayward man convicted for murder, eligible for death penalty
A Hayward man who previously had been convicted of raping two
women and abusing his ex-wife was convicted Monday of first-degree
murder with special circumstances for strangling a 33-year-old
Hayward woman 12 years ago.
The special circumstances clause, which is committing murder
during the course of a rape, makes Carl Molano, 50, eligible for
the death penalty when the penalty phase of his trial in Alameda
County Superior Court begins on Sept. 25.
Jurors deliberated for only a day and a half before convicting
Molano of strangling Suzanne McKenna with her panties, bra and
a leather shoelace from a moccasin in her Hayward home on June
According to Alameda County Deputy District Attorney James Meehan,
authorities didn't have any leads in the case until May of 2001,
when Molano's ex-wife, Brenda Molano, came forward with information
that implicated him in the death of McKenna, a neighbor who worked
as a waitress at a Carrows restaurant in Castro Valley.
Brenda Molano was a key prosecution witness in the trial, Meehan
Carl Molano wasn't arrested until March 31, 2003, after DNA evidence
connected him to the crime, Meehan said.
Molano was at San Quentin State Prison at the time because he
had violated his parole for his conviction for felony spousal
abuse for choking his ex-wife 10 months after McKenna was killed,
according to Meehan.
Molano also has been convicted of raping and sodomizing a 20-year-old
woman in Long Beach in 1982 and of raping and stabbing a 60-year-old
woman in Oakland in 1987.
Meehan said Molano's two prior rape victims testified about the
incidents during the current murder trial and "provided very
powerful evidence about his propensity to commit rape."
Meehan said prosecutors consider Molano to be a sexual predator
and are seeking the death penalty both because of the circumstances
of McKenna's death as well as the fact that Molano has two prior
convictions for violent rapes.
Santa Cruz purse thieves beaten by victim's husband and off-duty
Three men who allegedly tried to steal a woman's purse from her
lap not only learned that crime doesn't pay, but that it can sometimes
The men were chased and beaten by an angry husband and an off-duty
lawman Saturday night in the 300 block of Cedar Street, police
Santa Cruz police responded to reports of a fight at about 7:40
p.m. and encountered the 56-year-old husband of the robbery victim,
an off-duty Santa Clara County district attorney investigator
and three men allegedly involved in the purse theft.
One of the suspects was bleeding from the mouth as a result of
a blow he took during the scuffle, which Santa Cruz police spokesman
Zach Friend described as a "street fight.''
The husband chased one of the suspects who reportedly snatched
his wife's purse as she got out of a parked car, police said.
Two other men joined the attack on the husband. That's when the
off-duty investigator left his car and charged into the fracas.
Carlos David Zamarripa, 26, Juan Diego Araque, 19, and Edmundo
Vasquez, 24, were arrested after being detained by the off-duty
investigator and the husband.
Both the investigator and the husband sustained minor injuries
in the fight, according to Santa Cruz police.
Los Gatos father faces felony DUI and child endangerment
A Los Gatos father is facing felony DUI and child endangerment
charges Monday after his 7-year-old daughter suffered a severe
concussion and cuts and bruises to her body after she fell from
the back of his truck.
Michael James Bankosh, 37, was driving home Saturday after taking
his daughters, 7 and 9, for a pizza dinner in Los Gatos when his
7-year-old fell from his 2004 Dodge truck and landed on her head.
The girl fell as Bankosh made a left turn on Canon Drive about
a quarter-mile from Overlook Drive.
Bankosh stopped the car and found his daughter in the street
unconscious, but breathing, and called 911.
"They had some dinner in town and he had a few beers,''
California Highway Patrol Officer Todd Thibodeau said.
The girls' mother was contacted and she asked officers to place
the 9-year-old girl into the custody of her friend, according
to the CHP. The girl is reported to be in stable condition, Thibodeau
In light of Saturday's events, the CHP strongly urges people
to be aware of the dangers of riding in the backs of trucks and
the potential consequences of driving under the influence of drugs
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