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CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
December 19, 2009 | By Jack Leonard
A former security guard accused of fatally shooting an 18-year-old college student in a Palmdale parking lot nearly a decade ago was convicted of murder Friday, authorities said. The verdict caps a lengthy legal saga that began when Raymond Lee Jennings first reported finding Michelle O'Keefe's body during a routine patrol of the park-and-ride lot. Investigators found the victim, a student at Antelope Valley College, slumped in the front seat of her Ford Mustang. She had been shot four times in the chest and face.
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CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
April 11, 2014
Van Vlahakis Ecology-minded entrepreneur founded Earth Friendly Products Van Vlahakis, 79, an ecology-minded entrepreneur who manufactured and marketed environmentally safe cleaning products, including the best-selling ECOS laundry detergent, died Sunday at his home in Key Largo, Fla., his family said. The cause of death was not known. The Greek-born Vlahakis founded Venus Laboratories in the garage of his Chicago home in 1967. A decade later he changed the name to Earth Friendly Products and opened a headquarters and factory in Garden Grove.
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CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
December 1, 1993 | ALAN ABRAHAMSON, TIMES STAFF WRITER
The Menendez family estate, once valued at up to $14 million, is virtually depleted, it was disclosed Tuesday at Lyle and Erik Menendez's murder trial. Shrunken by taxes, legal fees and other costs, Jose and Kitty Menendez's estate is worth no more than $800,000--and has debts at least that high, defense lawyer Leslie Abramson said in court. Probate records are sealed and the defense had kept financial figures secret throughout the trial.
WORLD
April 10, 2014 | By Robyn Dixon
PRETORIA, South Africa - The prosecutor in the murder trial of South African Olympic athlete Oscar Pistorius accused him of repeatedly lying to the court and offering versions of events so improbable that "nobody would think it is reasonably or possibly true. " Pistorius, on trial in Pretoria's high court on a charge that he murdered his girlfriend, Reeva Steenkamp, denied Thursday that he pulled the trigger of a gun that went off in his hand in a crowded upscale South African restaurant in early 2013, a contention the prosecution described as impossible.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
August 4, 1993 | ALAN ABRAHAMSON, TIMES STAFF WRITER
Prosecutors on Tuesday displayed a series of graphic autopsy photos for jurors in the murder trial of Lyle and Erik Menendez that appeared to reduce the brothers to tears. The color pictures show that their father, Jose Menendez, was hit six times and their mother, Kitty Menendez, 10 times with shotgun blasts. Jose Menendez suffered a fatal shot to the back of his head, a coroner's deputy testified as prosecutors posted a picture of the wound.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
September 14, 1993 | ALAN ABRAHAMSON, TIMES STAFF WRITER
Lyle Menendez testified Monday that his mother was "very strange" and frequently violent and that she--like his father--sexually abused him. Until he was 13, his mother would wash his body "everywhere," he said. She also would invite him into bed with her and he would touch her "everywhere," he testified. "I took it to be love," Lyle Menendez said, adding, "She was enjoying it." But he was not enjoying it, he said, so he stopped the activities, which enraged her.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
August 31, 1993 | ALAN ABRAHAMSON, TIMES STAFF WRITER
Kitty Menendez, who over the years was needy, pathetic, athletic, disorganized, suspicious and spacey, "all kinds of contradictory things," simply seemed strange three weeks before her sons killed her, a former neighbor testified Monday. Called by the defense as Lyle and Erik Menendez's murder trial resumed after a four-day recess, Alicia Hercz said Kitty Menendez "kept staring" into space when they met Aug. 1, 1989, at the Menendez home in Beverly Hills.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
October 13, 1993 | ALAN ABRAHAMSON, TIMES STAFF WRITER
At age 13, Erik Menendez confided that his father was molesting him, a cousin testified Tuesday. With the defense in the Menendez brothers' murder trial seeking to corroborate controversial claims of abuse, cousin Andres (Andy) Cano testified that Erik Menendez told him that his father gave him genital "massages."
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
March 26, 1991 | LILY DIZON, TIMES STAFF WRITER
Reputed underworld figure Robert (Fat Bobby) Paduano, accused of trying to take over the Newport Beach drug trade, pleaded guilty Monday to 43 felony counts of residential robberies, extortion, conspiracy to sell cocaine and false imprisonment. As part of an agreement with county prosecutors, Paduano was sentenced to eight years in state prison. Paduano's guilty plea came after a lively and unusual exchange between the defendant and Deputy Dist. Atty. Christopher J. Evans.
NEWS
November 12, 1992 | MARK I. PINSKY, TIMES STAFF WRITER
James Newman Hood sits in a quaint, ornate courtroom, rocking slowly in his wooden chair, as lawyers and witnesses chart his descent from the golden existence and happy family life he once knew to the prospect of financial ruin and a life behind bars.
WORLD
April 7, 2014 | By Robyn Dixon
PRETORIA, South Africa - Two distinct portraits are emerging at the Pretoria High Court murder trial of South African Olympian Oscar Pistorius. The prosecution's portrayal of Pistorius as an aggressive, gun-loving, controlling man with a quick temper was countered Monday by the athlete, who testified for the first time in the month-old trial. Pistorius described himself as a serious, deeply religious good Samaritan, racked with crippling remorse about fatally shooting his girlfriend, Reeva Steenkamp, in the early hours of Valentine's Day 2013.
WORLD
April 6, 2014 | By Robyn Dixon
PRETORIA, South Africa - Johan Gerber is a shy, neat man with iron-gray hair, a ready smile and a quiet voice. But on the streets, he has taken to carrying an open pocket knife with a mean 4-inch blade, concealed in an envelope and ready to use. Last month, three men accosted him in broad daylight, one of whom hit him in the stomach and grabbed his cellphone. A few years back, eight men surrounded him, held a knife to his throat and stole his wallet. His car and two trailers also have been stolen.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
March 27, 2014 | By Howard Blume
A groundbreaking, two-month trial challenging teacher job protections in California concluded Thursday with both sides asserting that the interests of students are at stake. The case, Vergara vs. California, seeks to overturn a set of laws that affect how teachers are fired, laid off and granted tenure. The Silicon Valley-based group Students Matter brought the lawsuit on behalf of nine plaintiffs, contending that the regulations hinder the removal of ineffective teachers. The result is a workforce with thousands of "grossly ineffective" teachers, which disproportionately hurts low-income and minority students, attorneys said.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
March 26, 2014 | By Adolfo Flores
An Anaheim councilwoman is being asked to resign following her online remarks that the fatal police shooting of a 21-year-old man had "saved us a trial. " Lucille Kring, who is running for mayor in the resort city, quickly apologized for her comments, but some residents said it was too late and urged her to step down instead. The relationship between police and residents in the densely packed core of Orange County's largest city has been strained for years and came to a head in the summer of 2012 when a series of shootings ignited days of street protests and angry demonstrations.
WORLD
March 19, 2014 | By Robyn Dixon
JOHANNESBURG, South Africa - The final, horrific moments in Reeva Steenkamp's life came into focus Wednesday at the murder trial of South African Olympic sprinter Oscar Pistorius, as a ballistics expert offered graphic testimony on how she died. Ballistics expert Chris Mangena told the court that Steenkamp, Pistorius' girlfriend, was standing, facing the door, when he shot her for the first time. The bullet, a Black Talon-style projectile designed to open up and cause maximum tissue damage - with six sharp talons blossoming in a star shape upon impact with flesh - struck her in the hip, shattering the bone and breaking up inside her. She immediately collapsed backwards into a sitting position on a magazine rack behind her in the toilet off the bathroom, he said.
NATIONAL
March 19, 2014 | By Tina Susman
NEW YORK - A cleric who gave a rousing speech urging jihad against "Jews, Christians and America" after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks testified at his terrorism trial Wednesday that he was speaking for Muslims, not for Al Qaeda, even though he delivered his message while sitting beside Osama bin Laden outside his mountain hide-out in Afghanistan. Sulaiman abu Ghaith held the witness stand for about four hours after defense attorney Stanley Cohen surprised the courtroom by calling the defendant to testify on his own behalf - something Cohen said he had done only twice in his 30-year career.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
October 1, 1991 | ANDREA FORD, TIMES STAFF WRITER
A videotape played Monday in a Los Angeles courtroom showed that Latasha Harlins had turned away from a scuffle with a Korean grocer when the black teen-ager was shot in the back of the head. "This is not television. This is not the movies. This is real life," Deputy District Attorney Roxane Carvajal had warned the jury. "You will see Latasha being killed. She will die in front of your eyes."
NEWS
January 11, 1994 | MICHAEL ROSS, TIMES STAFF WRITER
In a case that has captured the lurid fascination of a nation, a 24-year-old manicurist from Venezuela went on trial in a small Virginia courthouse Monday for cutting off her husband's penis to avenge what her lawyers say was years of abuse and rape. Looking tired but composed, Lorena Bobbitt was whisked through a phalanx of TV cameras and reporters in Manassas, Va.
WORLD
March 17, 2014 | By Robyn Dixon, This post has been corrected. See the note at the bottom for details.
JOHANNESBURG, South Africa -- Police photographs show unexplained drops of blood on the wall above the left-hand bedside table and bed headboard and on the duvet in the main bedroom of South African Olympic athlete Oscar Pistorius, according to evidence at his trial Monday. The blood spatters appear to have been some distance from the trail of blood leading from the bathroom out into the hall, left when Pistorius carried his dying girlfriend, Reeva Steenkamp, down stairs from the bathroom where he shot her. Pistorius has pleaded not guilty to Steenkamp's murder.
WORLD
March 14, 2014 | By Robyn Dixon
JOHANNESBURG, South Africa -- Police investigating the shooting of model and lawyer Reeva Steenkamp by her boyfriend, South African Olympian Oscar Pistorius, had to open another investigation into themselves -- over the disappearance of a valuable watch from the scene when only police were present. The embarrassing revelation that police apparently stole a watch valued at $5,000 to $10,000, part of Friday's testimony in Pistorius' murder trial, came with South African newspapers complaining of police ineptitude.
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