General Crime

*Open Statements Heard In SJPD Officer Murder Case

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*San Jose Opening Statements Heard In Police Murder Case
*San Francisco Triple Murder Trial Begins In Federal Death Penalty Case
*Antioch School District To Hold Meeting On Music Teacher Accused Of Possessing Child Porn
*Pittsburg Police Man Killed By Officers Was Domestic Violence Suspect
*Berkeley Sexual Predator Targeting Women In Skirts Attacks 12th Victim
*San Jose Opening Statements Begin Monday In Officer’s Murder Case
*Palo Alto Man Arrested For Gun Possession Questioned On Shooting
*Antioch Man Arrested For Firing Weapon On Highway 4 Median

Opening statements were delivered today in Santa Clara County Superior Court in the trial of DeShawn Campbell, who is accused of killing a San Jose police officer in 2001.Campbell is charged with murder in the death of rookie police Officer Jeffrey Fontana, 24, who was fatally shot in October 2001 during a traffic stop on Calle Almaden in south San Jose’s Almaden neighborhood.Prosecutor Lane Liroff laid out a long series of events surrounding the shooting that left Fontana lying in the street near his police patrol car and a tan Hyundai in the early morning of Oct. 28, 2001. Earlier the night before, Liroff said Campbell had attended a Halloween party where a fight broke out. Campbell returned home to retrieve his father’s gun and retaliate against those who had “disrespected him,” Liroff said.Leaving in his father’s Hyundai, which Campbell allegedly borrowed frequently, Campbell was on his way back to the party when he was stopped by Fontana for an apparent traffic violation, according to Liroff.Campbell, a felon who made bail on a separate case but failed to show in court, had two active warrants out for his arrest at the time of Fontana’s death.Prosecutors allege that Campbell, who Liroff said “habitually” avoided arrest, shot Fontana to avoid being detained.”He was unwilling or incapable of submitting to authority,” Liroff said.Fontana was shot once just above his eye by a gunman standing less than 2 feet away, Liroff said.Evidence will prove the Colt .45 that delivered the fatal bullet wound belongs to DeShawn’s father, according to prosecutors. “He’d been known to take his father’s weapon before,” Liroff said.Campbell was arrested 11 days after the shooting.Defense attorney Ed Sousa told jurors that Campbell’s friend, Rodney McNary, shot Fontana with the Colt .45 that Campbell had been carrying.Sousa told the seven men and five women jury, who sat with four alternate jurors, that the defense concedes to several facts laid out by Liroff.Campbell and McNary had gone to a party where a fight broke out, Campbell was a felon illegally carrying a firearm, and Fontana was shot, Sousa said.The fundamental disagreement is who shot the officer, Sousa said.”The evidence is going to show that Shawn did not shoot and kill Officer Fontana,” Sousa said.Campbell handed the gun to McNary because Campbell thought they would return to the party, but McNary then fatally shot Fontana and returned the gun to Campbell to get rid of it, Sousa said.Sousa said officers stopped McNary in the area where Fontana was killed and did not consider him a suspect, despite the fact McNary’s girlfriend’s car was found less than 200 yards from the murder scene.The Police Department’s rush to make an arrest in a police officer killing led investigators to conclude that Campbell was guilty and then seek evidence to support the conclusion, Sousa challenged.”There was extraordinary urgency to catch the guy who did this,” Sousa said.As the opening statements wore on this afternoon, Judge Diane Northway had attorneys approach the bench several times.Disagreement over how Campbell’s “mild mental retardation” could be mentioned to the jury elicited objections and brief disagreements from both Liroff and Sousa.Northway suggested Campbell’s developmental disorder can be mentioned in regards to Campbell’s communication but not in regards to any alleged actions.The murder charge against Campbell includes a gun enhancement and an enhancement for killing an on-duty peace officer.However, Campbell will not be eligible for the death penalty because of Northway’s ruling that Campbell is mentally retarded.Prosecutors instead will seek a sentence of life without the possibility of parole.An appeals court in January 2008 requested Judge Diane Northway consider reopening the a hearing about Campbell’s mental capacity with new evidence after a witness gave incorrect testimony about Campbell during the first hearing.Northway changed her ruling Dec. 19, 2008, after hearing from a defense expert and ruled that Campbell is mentally retarded.The jury trial is scheduled to continue with further presentation of evidence Tuesday morning in Santa Clara County Superior Court.

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Feb 23, 2009 SAN FRANCISCO TRIPLE MURDER TRIAL BEGINS IN FEDERAL DEATH PENALTY CASE

A trial in a rare federal death penalty case began in U.S. District Court in San Francisco today for an alleged drug gang member who is accused of three murders.Dennis Cyrus, 24, said by prosecutors to have belonged to the violent Page Street gang in the Western Addition district of the city, is accused of murdering three men in 2002 in aid of the federal crime of racketeering, or running a continuing criminal enterprise.If convicted, he could face a federal death penalty. Prosecutor William Frentzen told a jury in the court of U.S.District Judge Maxine Chesney during his opening statement Cyrus committed the murders at age 18 because he wanted gang status as a “head buster.”Frentzen said Cyrus bragged to other gang members about the gunshot slayings and said the murders were “for the purpose of increasing or maintaining his position with the Page Street gang.”In addition to the three murders, Cyrus is accused of racketeering, conspiracy to distribute crack cocaine, an attempted murder and using guns in violent crimes. The trial is expected to last five months.Defense attorney John Philipsborn told the jury during his opening that the shooting deaths arose from individual situations and were not connected with alleged racketeering. He said defense attorneys will question the motivation of prosecution witnesses who were given immunity from prosecution for other crimes, lesser charges or financial benefits in witness protection programs.”We want you to understand people’s motivation,” Philipsborn said.The three victims were Joseph Hearns, killed on Aug. 23; Randy Mitchell, fatally shot on Aug. 31; and Ray Jimmerson, shot to death on Sept. 8, 2002, in San Francisco.Frentzen said Hearns was the boyfriend of a woman whose previous boyfriend was an imprisoned Page Street gang member. He said Mitchell was a member of a gang in the nearby Hayes Valley district who had argued with Cyrus about whether Cyrus could sell drugs there.The prosecutor said Jimmerson, a member of the Big Block gang in the Hunters Point district, had agreed to become a government informant. In addition to being charged with killing Jimmerson as an act in aid of racketeering, Cyrus is accused in that slaying of a separate, additional charge of murdering a federal witness. That crime also carries a potential death penalty upon conviction.Several other gang members indicted with Cyrus in 2005 pleaded guilty to various crimes but Cyrus is the only one for whom prosecutors sought a death penalty. Barry Portman, the federal public defender for Northern California,said the case is the first death penalty case to go to trial in federal court in Northern California in 50 or 60 years.Death penalty murder cases are usually prosecuted in state courts. But death penalties can be sought in federal courts for certain federal crimes such as murder in aid of racketeering, murder of a government official and kidnapping or carjacking resulting in death. By coincidence, a trial in a second federal death penalty case was also scheduled to start today in another U.S. courtroom on the same floor of the Federal Building.  In that case, Emile Fort, an alleged member of the Down Below gang in Visitacion Valley district of San Francisco, is accused of murdering two teenagers and a baby in aid of racketeering. Opening statements were scheduled to begin before a jury in the court of U.S. District Judge William Alsup today, but Alsup agreed to consider a defense request to delay the trial for six months because a defense witness needs heart surgery. Telling jurors, “I’m sorry to do this to you,” he asked jurors to let him know during a court session Tuesday whether they would be available in six months. He said he will decide Tuesday whether to delay the trial.  The Fort trial is also expected to last up to five months. U.S. marshals installed extra security and a metal detector on the corridor leading to Chesney’s and Alsup’s courtrooms on the 19th floor of the Federal Building.

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Feb 23 2009 ANTIOCH: SCHOOL DISTRICT TO HOLD MEETING ON MUSIC TEACHER ACCUSED OF POSSESSING CHILD PORN

Antioch Unified School District officials plan to hold a meeting tonight to talk to parents at Carmen Dragon Elementary School about a music teacher who was arrested earlier this month on suspicion of possessing child pornography. James Carlile, 52, had worked as a music teacher in the school district for nearly 20 years, according to school district spokeswoman Deidra Powell-Williams.He was arrested Feb. 11 at his boat in Antioch where he lives during the school week, police said.Carlile had been placed on administrative leave in mid-January after district technicians noticed he had allegedly been attempting to access Web sites that contain child pornography, Powell-Williams said. Carlile had been having unrelated technical issues with his computer and had asked to have someone look at it, Powell-Williams said. After placing Carlile on leave, the district had technicians examine his computer further, and contacted Antioch police Feb. 3., Powell-Williams said. The Police Department’s forensic computer specialist allegedly found that Carlile’s computer contained pornographic images of children, police said. The computer was password-protected and Carlile appeared to be the only person who had access to it at the time, according to police.On Feb. 11, Antioch police and the Calaveras County Sheriff’s Department served a search warrant at Carlile’s home in Valley Springs and at his boat in Antioch. Carlile was arrested at his boat and booked into county jail. He later posted bail and was released, police said. Contra Costa County Deputy District Attorney Dara Cashman said today that the case had not yet been brought to the district attorney’s office for filing. Powell-Williams said Carlile worked at Belshaw Elementary School from 1990 to 1999 and Black Diamond Middle School from 1999 to 2004. He was hired at Carmen Dragon Elementary in 2005. The meeting will be held at 7p.m. in the multi-purpose room at Carman Dragon Elementary School at 4721 Vista Grande Drive in Antioch.

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Feb 23, 2009 PITTSBURG POLICE: MAN KILLED BY OFFICERS WAS ARMED DOMESTIC VIOLENCE SUSPECT

A man suspected of abusing his wife was shot and killed by Pittsburg police Sunday evening following a chase that began in Pittsburg and ended in Port Costa in unincorporated Contra Costa County, a police spokesman said today.Pittsburg police Lt. Brian Addington said 28-year-old Sean Paul Burns was shot in the 9000 block of Carquinez Scenic Drive after allegedly pointing a handgun at officers. Addington said the incident began at about 4 p.m. Sunday when Burns’ wife came to the Pittsburg Police Department to report that she had been the victim of “substantial physical and verbal abuse” by Burns over the past year. Physical evidence indicated that the woman, who had been married to Burns for about three years, had been abused in the past week, so officers prepared to arrest Burns on suspicion of assault with a deadly weapon, spousal abuse, false imprisonment and torture, Addington said.However, Burns’ wife warned police that Burns had two weapons and was possibly suicidal, Addington said.When police went to Burns’ home on Jensen Circle around 7 p.m., they found Burns in his pickup truck outside the home, Addington said. He refused to surrender and led police on a lengthy chase that ended in Port Costa. Addington said Burns pointed his handgun at his head at several points during the chase, but that after he was stopped on Carquinez Scenic Drive, he suddenly pointed his gun at officers. Six officers fired their weapons at Burns, according to Addington, who said the officers were forced to shoot at Burns “to protect their own lives.”Contra Costa County sheriff’s spokesman Jimmy Lee said the shooting occurred shortly after 7:30 p.m.. Burns was transported to Contra Costa Regional Medical Center in Martinez, where he was pronounced dead, Addington said. When officers searched Burns’ black Dodge Dakota pickup truck after the shooting, they found a fully loaded .40-caliber Glock and more than 500 rounds of ammunition, as well as a 7.62mm SKS rifle with 400 rounds of ammunition, Addington said. The six officers who fired at Burns have been placed on paid administrative leave pending the results of an investigation into the shooting, Addington said. He did not have details on how many rounds were fired or how many times Burns was hit. Addington said Burns was employed and had come off an overnight shift that ended Sunday morning. He said it does not appear Burns has a criminal history.

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Feb 23, 2009 BERKELEY: SEXUAL PREDATOR TARGETING WOMEN IN SKIRTS ATTACKS 12TH VICTIM

An alleged sexual predator who is targeting women wearing skirts near the University of California at Berkeley campus has assaulted a 12th victim, police said today.The latest attack happened Friday at about 1 a.m.The victim was walking alone in the 2100 block of Haste Street near the university’s South Campus when a man came up behind her and attempted to grab her dress, police said.When the man was unsuccessful, he continued walking past the woman and then fled west on Durant Avenue and then south on Fulton Street. Two witnesses chased him and directed officers to where he was last seen, but police were not able to find him, police said.Witnesses described the suspect as a white man in his 20s about 5 feet 10 inches tall, weighing 160 to 170 pounds with a medium build and dark, wavy hair.He is believed to be responsible for 13 attacks on 12 victims in the area since September. One victim was attacked twice in the same block in a two-and-a-half-month period, Frankel said. In every case, the suspect has walked up behind college-age women who were wearing skirts, stuck his hands up their skirts and attempted to digitally penetrate them, Frankel said.He has been successful in seven out of the 13 attacks, Frankel said.All of the attacks happened between 10 p.m. and 2:30 a.m. and in every instance the victims were wearing skirts, Frankel said.Police are asking for the community’s help in catching the suspect. Anyone who can identify him or who has witnessed an attack is asked to call the Berkeley police Sex Crimes Detail at (510) 981-5735.Police are also encouraging victims to report attacks immediately.

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Feb 22, 2009 SAN JOSE OPENING STATEMENTS BEGIN MONDAY IN OFFICER KILLING CASE

Opening statements are scheduled to begin Monday morning in the trial of a man accused of killing a San Jose police officer in 2001, according to the Santa Clara County District Attorney’s Office.DeShawn Campbell is charged with murder in the death of San Jose police Officer Jeffrey Fontana,who was fatally shot in October 2001 during a routine traffic stop on Calle Almaden in south San Jose’s Almaden neighborhood.The case has been bogged down in the courts for years, and in January the Santa Clara County District Attorney’s Office withdrew its request for the death penalty following a judge’s ruling that Campbell is mentally retarded.”I continue to believe that the death penalty is an appropriate penalty in certain cases, including this one,” District Attorney Dolores Carr said after announcing the decision last month.Prosecutors instead will seek a sentence of life without the possibility of parole.An appeals court in January 2008 requested Judge Diane Northway consider reopening the hearing with new evidence after a witness gave incorrect testimony about Campbell during the first hearing. Northway changed her ruling Dec. 19, 2008, after hearing from a defense expert and ruled that Campbell is mentally retarded.Because an appeal on the ruling would delay the seven-year-old case even further and would likely be fruitless, the case went to trial in January beginning with jury selection, prosecutor Lane Liroff said.Jury selection was completed Feb. 10, and the seven men and five women jury will hear opening statements and the beginning of evidence Monday, District Attorney’s Office spokeswoman Amy Cornell said. Four alternate jurors, including three women and one man, will also sit in the jury box.Opening statements are scheduled to begin at 9 a.m. in Department 38 of Santa Clara County Superior Court, 190 W. Hedding St., in San Jose.

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Feb 22, 2009 SALINAS: MAN ARRESTED AFTER HANDGUN FOUND DURING TRAFFIC STOP

A 27-year-old Salinas man was arrested Friday after a loaded handgun was found in his vehicle during a routine traffic stop, according to police.Franco Correa was arrested after being stopped for a routine
traffic violation at about 4:50 p.m. Friday, police said.Correa, a known gang member, was found to be on probation, and police found the gun during a search of his car.Correa was taken into custody without incident, but during a subsequent search of his home, a second handgun was found. The handgun found in his car also turned out to be reported stolen, according to police.Correa was booked into Monterey County Jail on a variety of gun and gang-related charges.

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Feb 22 2009 EAST PALO ALTO: MAN ARRESTED FOR GUN POSSESSION QUESTIONED ON SHOOTING

A 20-year-old man was arrested for possession of a handgun Saturday, and is being questioned in connection with a shooting that left his cousin hospitalized, according to East Palo Alto police.The shooting was reported early Saturday in the 2500 block of Annapolis Street, according to police.At about 3:25 a.m., East Palo Alto police received information that a gunshot victim had arrived at a local hospital.Later, at about 5:10 a.m., Mountain View police contacted East Palo Alto police, who were sent to the 2500 block of Annapolis Street to check the area for vehicles that were reported leaving a public disturbance.At about 10:30 a.m., a vehicle was stopped that matched the description given by Mountain View police. The driver of the vehicle, Tuutakihihifo Tuipulotu, was found to be in possession of a handgun and was arrested.After Tuipulotu was arrested, it was discovered that he was the cousin of the 22-year-old man who was hospitalized with a gunshot wound. Tuipulotu is being questioned about his possible involvement in the incident, according police.Detectives from East Palo Alto are investigating the incident and are attempting to develop leads and a motive. They are also seeking witnesses who may have seen the shooting.Anyone who may have witnessed or has any knowledge about the crime is urged to call Detective David Carson at (650) 853-5957.

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Feb 22 2009 ANTIOCH: MAN ARRESTED FOR FIRING WEAPON ON HIGHWAY 4 MEDIAN

Antioch police have arrested a man they say was firing a weapon while walking on the median of state Highway 4 on Friday.Craig Johnson, 49, of Pittsburg was firing a weapon aimed at the ground, and not at passing vehicles, according to a witness report Antioch police officers responding to the incident stopped freeway traffic in both directions to investigate. They found Johnson hiding in some shrubbery on the highway median and took him into custody,according to the police report. Officers found the weapon on the ground nearby.Police said they have no motive for Johnson’s actions and do not know of any injuries resulting from the incident.

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