General Crime

* Feb 5 2009 SAN JOSE MAN ACCUSED OF KIDNAPPING GRANDCHILDREN IN 1989 WAIVES EXTRADITION

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*Feb 5, 2009 OAKLAND MEHSERLE GAG HEARING POSTPONED UNTIL FEB. 13
*Feb 5, 2009 RICHMOND SUSPECT IN 2007 DONUT SHOP KILLING CHARGED WITH MURDER
*Feb 5, MORGAN HILL POLICE WARN OF UNLICENSED SALESMEN CANVASSING NEIGHBORHOODS
*Feb 5, 2009 REDWOOD CITY: DEFENSE ATTORNEYS ADDRESS JURY IN HIGHWAY 101 FATAL SHOOTING TRIAL
*Feb 5 2009 ALAMEDA: PROSECUTOR SAYS MAN MURDERED FRIEND OVER FIGHT & GIRLFRIEND

Feb 5, 2009 SAN JOSE MAN ACCUSED OF KIDNAPPING GRANDCHILDREN IN 1989 WAIVES EXTRADITION

A San Jose resident arrested Monday on suspicion of kidnapping his grandchildren from Tennessee 20 years ago will return to the state after waiving extradition today in Santa Clara County Superior Court.Marvin Maple, 73, who went by the name John Bunting while living in San Jose, appeared briefly in court this afternoon wearing jail garb and waived his right to an extradition hearing in Santa Clara County.  Mark Baskin, the children’s father, was working on his masters thesis in theology in 1988 in Louisville, Ky., Rutherford County Sheriff’s Office spokesman Dan Goodman said.His two older children, 7-year-old Robert “Bobby” Baskin and 8-year-old Katherine “Christi” Baskin, were sent to live with their grandparents, Maple and his wife, to take the burden off of Baskin while he was studying, according to Goodman.The youngest child, 5-year-old Michael, remained with his parents, Goodman said.Maple and his wife, Sandra Maple, who passed away in May 2005, then made allegations of abuse against Baskin, but the investigation into the
allegations showed no indication of abuse.The Maples were awarded temporary custody of Bobby and Christie while the situation was sorted out, and allegedly took their grandchildren from Tennessee moving out west on March 1, 1989, Goodman said.Marvin Maple apparently took on his alias with his wife and grandchildren taking the Bunting name and ended up living in South San Jose until Monday, when he was arrested.The Baskin children, now 27 and 28 years old, have also been living in San Jose, according to police. San Jose police were notified by the Rutherford County Sheriff’s Office of a tip indicating that Maple was living in San Jose, police Officer Jermaine Thomas said. Police located Maple and took him into custody. He remained in Santa Clara County jail on no-bail status until today, when he waived extradition during a hearing in Santa Clara County Superior Court.Maple will now be returned to Tennessee to face charges, Goodman said.The parents of the Baskin children are scheduled to speak Friday at 10 a.m. during a news conference at the San Jose Police Department, Room 314, 201 W. Mission St. in San Jose. Police Chief Rob Davis and Rutherford County sheriff’s officials are also scheduled to make remarks, Goodman said.

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Feb 5 2009 OAKLAND MEHSERLE GAG HEARING POSTPONED UNTIL FEB. 13

A hearing on a judge’s gag order in the murder case against former Bay Area Rapid Transit police Officer Johannes Mehserle for the shooting death of Oscar Grant III was postponed today until Feb. 13.The hearing on the gag order had been scheduled for Tuesday and briefs were to be due at noon on Friday.But Alameda County Superior Court officials said in a news release today that the hearing has been continued until 2 p.m. on Feb. 13 and media outlets and representatives who want to file briefs must file them no later than 5 p.m. on Monday in Department 11 at the Rene C. Davidson Courthouse in Oakland.Judges are supposed to make factual findings and state their reasoning before issuing gag orders, but Superior Court Judge Morris Jacobson issued a temporary gag order in Mehserle’s case last Friday without making any findings.According to a clerk’s minutes of the hearing last Friday, the order applies to “counsel, associates and agents communication with the press about this matter.”Mehserle, 27, is charged with murder for allegedly shooting and killing Grant, who was unarmed but allegedly was resisting arrest, at the Fruitvale station in Oakland early New Year’s morning even though Grant was lying face down with his hands behind his back.

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Feb 5 2009 RICHMOND SUSPECT IN 2007 DONUT SHOP KILLING CHARGED WITH MURDER

Prosecutors filed murder charges today against a man who allegedly killed 24-year-old Jermaine Lewis at a donut shop in Richmond in 2007, Richmond police Detective Eric Haupt said. Eugene Lunnie, a 19-year-old Richmond resident and suspected Central Richmond gang member, was arrested Tuesday night and charged today with murder and a weapons enhancement in connection with the June 14, 2007, shooting, Haupt said.
He remained in custody this afternoon and his bail has been set at $1 million, a county jail official said.The shooting happened shortly before 3 p.m. in front of multiple witnesses, police said at the time, but nobody wanted to talk to investigators Police continued to work on the case and have since uncovered new information linking Lunnie to the killing, Haupt said.  Just before the shooting, Lunnie and Lewis had allegedly gotten into an argument over a small marijuana transaction in front of Lee’s Donut Shop in the 1100 block of MacDonald Avenue, police said.The argument escalated into a small physical altercation and the Lunnie left, “which is when we believe he got the gun,” Haupt said. When Lunnie returned a short time later, he and Lewis allegedly got into a brief struggle over the gun. Lewis tried to run away, but Lunnie allegedly shot him several times, Haupt said.Lewis stumbled into the donut shop, where he collapsed and died, Haupt said.The main witness to the shooting was reluctant to talk to investigators and then three days after the killing he was severely beaten in Pittsburg, Haupt said. “The guy was beaten so bad we thought he was going to die,” Haupt said, but he eventually recovered. Police have not been able to connect the beating with the fact that the man had witnessed the killing.

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Feb 5 2009 MORGAN HILL: POLICE WARN OF UNLICENSED SALESMEN  CANVASSING NEIGHBORHOODS

Officials on Wednesday alerted Morgan Hill residents to a recent influx of phony magazine salesmen canvassing neighborhoods in order to commit petty crimes, according to police.Police released a report that detailed several incidences of petty crimes committed in the last two weeks by individuals, many of them with criminal records in other states, posing as magazine salesmen in the area to raise money for college or hospitals, according to the City of Morgan Hill Police Department.One resident reported that two men in their 20s had allegedly approached his home to solicit magazine sales, and upon leaving, attempted to steal a pair of shoes from his porch, according to police. Another Morgan Hill resident reported his mailbox being tampered with while supposed salesmen were in the area, and was subsequently contacted by credit card companies reporting unusual purchases on his accounts.Officers responded to a report of a magazine salesman at a residence on Jan. 22, and reported contacting a suspect and issuing a citation for soliciting without a permit, according to police. The driver of a van was contacted at around the same time and told police he was in the area to deliver salesmen to work the neighborhood. The suspect was also cited for unlicensed magazine sales, for driving without a license and the vehicle was impounded.Police are asking anyone contacted by magazine salesmen to inform the Morgan Hill Police Department at (408) 779-2101, while acknowledging that legitimate salespeople may also be present as valid licenses for door-to-door sales permits are available at the Morgan Hill Business License and Finance Department.

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Feb 5 2009 REDWOOD CITY: DEFENSE ATTORNEYS ADDRESS JURY IN HIGHWAY 101 FATAL SHOOTING TRIAL

Jurors heard closing arguments in San Mateo County Superior Court this morning from the defense attorneys of two 19-year-old men on trial for the fatal shooting of another man on U.S. Highway 101 in 2007.Doyal Malcolm Webber and Mohammad Rabah have been charged with murder for the Sept. 30 shooting death of 25-year-old Lon Dell Wilson while the men drove alongside each other in separate cars northbound on Highway 101 in Burlingame.Rabah is believed to have been the driver of the car from which Webber fired the gun. Two other cars that also contained Webber and Rabah’s friends were traveling nearby on the highway. During the trial, Webber testified that Wilson was driving erratically and aggressively, and that Webber fired four or five shots at Wilson to protect himself and his friends, including a 4-year-old child traveling in one of the cars.A bullet struck Wilson in the right arm and traveled to his chest. He then lost control of his silver 1990 Honda Accord and the car flipped several times, landing beside the highway, where he crawled out of the car and called 911. Emergency personnel transported Wilson to San Francisco General Hospital where he died shortly after midnight.Webber has testified that it was Wilson who was harassing them on the highway, and that he thought Wilson was reaching for something — possibly a gun — in his car when he shot him.Defense Attorney Kevin Nowack this morning echoed Webber’s testimony that Webber shot Wilson in defense of others.”A person is entitled to stand his ground … until the threat of death or great bodily injury has passed,” Nowack told the jurors.”You can defend (yourself),” he added. “You don’t have to call the police if someone is threatening you. You don’t have to consider options.”Deputy District Attorney Joseph Cannon, however, said it was Webber, Rabah and their friends who were acting aggressively toward Wilson on
the highway that night. “They saw an opportunity to shoot, and they took it,” Cannon said to the jurors. “We know what they’re thinking by the actions they took before, during and after the shooting.”Cannon cited Webber telling his friends who were there that night to keep quiet to police, and talking about buying a plane ticket to Egypt as implications of his guilt as well. “What happened on the road that night is the heart and soul of the case,” Nowack contradicted during his closing arguments. He said just because Webber may have intended to flee does not imply he is guilty of murder. “This was a fast-moving, scary event,” Nowack said. “Lon Dell Wilson was the aggressor. (Webber) had 30 to 60 seconds to determine if Wilson had a gun.”Wilson’s older sister Linda Wilson said outside the courtroom, “It is unfair how the defense has stripped his character.”Wilson worked for PepsiCo Inc. at a Hayward factory and was studying criminal law when he was killed, according to Linda Wilson.She said she was very close to her brother, and since his death
her family has met weekly to help each other process what happened.Rabah’s defense attorney Ian Loveseth also told jurors this morning his client is innocent, and Rabah’s younger brother was driving the car that night. Loveseth said Rabah initially told investigators he was the driver to save his younger brother.”It’s understandable that he wanted to protect his brother,” Loveseth said to the jurors. “Imagine coming home and telling your father” what happened, Loveseth said. He added, imagine having to tell your father that you got your younger brother involved too.Webber and Rabah remain in custody without bail. They each face life in prison without the possibility of parole if convicted.

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Feb 5, 2009 ALAMEDA: PROSECUTOR SAYS MAN MURDERED FRIEND OVER FIGHT AND GIRLFRIEND

A prosecutor alleged today that an Alameda man killed a friend last August because the friend flirted with the man’s girlfriend and sided with another man in a fight.In his opening statement in the trial of 20-year-old Michael James Edgar in Alameda County Superior Court, prosecutor Jim Meehan told jurors that he thinks there is sufficient evidence to find Edgar guilty of charges that he murdered 19-year-old Troy Lancaster in the center courtyard complex of the Esperanza Housing Complex in the early morning hours of Aug. 4. Meehan said Edgar and Lancaster, who attended Alameda High School and the College of Alameda and worked at the Alameda Theatre and Cineplex, were friends but Edgar became upset at Lancaster when Lancaster accused him of taking “a cheap shot” at another man at the end of a fight.The prosecutor said the third man, who was a mutual friend of Edgar and Lancaster, had beaten up Edgar in two fights that night but Edgar kicked the man in the face at the end of the second fight when the man was resting on the ground at the end of the fight. Edgar accused Lancaster of “turning on him,” Meehan said.Later that night, Lancaster visited Edgar’s girlfriend at her home at the Esperanza Housing Complex, which is located on Alameda’s west end, near the former U.S. Navy base, according to Meehan.Meehan said the girlfriend, who is 17, “liked Michael (Edgar) better” but was friends with Lancaster and “liked to kick it with him” and invited him over because she wanted him to deliver her job application at the cinema complex where he worked. Meehan said, “Troy wanted to be more than friends” with the girlfriend and some of his text messages to her that night “were sexually explicit.”He said the girlfriend then “let Michael know that Troy was hitting on her.”The prosecutor said Lancaster and the girlfriend met at the housing complex’s courtyard but Edgar showed up a short while later, walked up to Lancaster and shot him twice at short range. Lancaster was still alive when police arrived at the scene about 2:50 a.m. on Aug. 4 and was taken to Highland Hospital in Oakland, where he was put on life support. He died later that day at 4:20 p.m.Meehan told jurors that eyewitness accounts and Edgar’s own statements afterward are sufficient evidence to prove that Edgar murdered Lancaster.But in a brief opening statement, Edgar’s lawyer, David Bryon, told jurors to “thoughtfully consider the evidence” before coming to any conclusions about the case.Bryon said Edgar isn’t required to testify in his trial and a decision hasn’t yet been made about whether he will do so. “It may be that (at the end of the case) we will just argue that the prosecution’s case is inadequate,” Bryon said.

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