Best Defender Bytes: Crime after Crime

January 31, 2017


Filed under: California Defense Attorney — fayarfa @ 8:45 am

SANTA ANA, Calif. – A man is scheduled to face trial on Monday for the shooting-murder of his sister’s boyfriend before fleeing to Mexico. Adan Rodriguez Leon, 34, Santa Ana, was charged on April 13, 2015, with one felony count of murder and a sentencing enhancement for personal discharge of a firearm causing death. If convicted, Leon faces a maximum sentence of 52 years to life in state prison. The defendant is being held on $5 million bail, and opening statements are scheduled to begin Monday, Jan. 30, 2017, at 9:00 a.m. in Department C-44, Central Justice Center, Santa Ana.

At approximately 2:30 p.m. on April 8, 2015, Leon is accused of going to the home of his sister’s boyfriend, 39-year-old Paul Guzman, in Santa Ana. The defendant is accused of contacting Guzman and walking down the sidewalk with him. Leon is accused of pulling out a loaded firearm, shooting the victim multiple times, and fleeing the scene.

The Santa Ana Police Department (SAPD) was contacted and began investigating this case. SAPD obtained an arrest warrant for the defendant within hours after the shooting. On April 10, 2015, authorities in Mexico detained the defendant on the warrant. SAPD took custody of the defendant on April 12, 2015.

Senior Deputy District Attorney Keith Burke of the Homicide Unit is prosecuting this case

Orange County District Attorney / Case # 15CF0763 / January 27, 2017

North Hollywood Man Sentenced for Red Line Subway Murder

Filed under: California Defense Attorney — fayarfa @ 8:44 am

A 27-year-old man was sentenced today to 26 years to life in state prison for stabbing a man to death on the Red Line subway train three years ago, the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office announced.

Deputy District Attorney Jacob Yim said Angelo Correa of North Hollywood was found guilty on Jan. 19 of one count of first-degree murder with a knife-use allegation.

According to witness testimony, Correa had been belligerent toward passengers before exchanging words with José Velasco, 33, at about 9:20 a.m. on Jan. 13, 2014, while the train was stopped at the Vermont/Santa Monica station.

The defendant and Velasco briefly looked at each other before Correa pulled out a folding knife and stabbed the victim in the neck, killing him, according to trial testimony.

The Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department investigated the case.

Los Angeles County District Attorney / January 30, 2017

Bus Driver Sentenced to Prison for Student’s Death in Whittier

Filed under: California Defense Attorney — fayarfa @ 8:42 am

A 37-year-old man was sentenced today to two years in state prison for leaving a special needs student in a parked bus for hours, which led to the student’s death, the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office announced.

On Jan. 6, Armando Abel Ramirez of Rialto pleaded guilty to one felony count of dependent adult abuse resulting in death in case VA141515.

Deputy District Attorney Michael DeRose of the Victim Impact Program, who prosecuted the case, said in the afternoon of Sept. 11, 2015, police were dispatched to a bus yard in Whittier where they found special needs student Hun Jun “Paul” Lee laying on the floor of a parked bus.

All of the windows in the bus were closed and the temperature that day was near 96 degrees Fahrenheit. Paramedics were called, but Lee, 19, was pronounced dead at the scene, the prosecutor said.

Law enforcement immediately began an investigation into Lee’s death and learned the Sierra Adult School student could not verbally communicate and needed special care.

Additionally, police discovered on the day of the incident, Ramirez was a substitute driver for Lee’s bus. Ramirez also was working a split shift, according to the prosecutor.


January 30, 2017

Jamaican National Indicted in Federal Drug Case for Allegedly Supplying Flight Attendant with nearly 60 Pounds of Cocaine

Filed under: California Defense Attorney — fayarfa @ 12:09 am

LOS ANGELES – A federal grand jury has named a Jamaican man in an indictment that accuses him of supplying a Jet Blue flight attendant with nearly 60 pounds of cocaine that she attempted to smuggle on to a plane at Los Angeles International Airport.

Gaston Brown, 39, of Jamaica, was charged yesterday with one count of conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute cocaine, and one count of possession with intent to distribute cocaine.

Brown is currently serving a one-year-and-one-day federal prison sentence after being convicted in the Southern District of Florida of illegal re-entry after deportation. A federal judge yesterday issued a writ directing that Brown be brought to Los Angeles for an arraignment, which will likely be in mid-February.

Brown allegedly supplied the narcotics to Marsha Gay Reynolds, a former JetBlue flight attendant, who pleaded guilty last month to federal drug charges and admitted she attempted to bring the narcotics through a security checkpoint at LAX by using her “known crewmember” credentials.

“This case demonstrates law enforcement’s commitment to disrupting dangerous drug trafficking networks,” said United States Attorney Eileen M. Decker. “After making the large seizure of narcotics at LAX, investigators continued to look into this matter, which resulted in the indictment of a defendant who was trafficking a significant amount of cocaine.”



Filed under: California Defense Attorney — fayarfa @ 12:06 am

FULLERTON, Calif. – A man was sentenced to four years in state prison today for manufacturing an explosive device in his mobile home in Anaheim while streaming on Facebook Live. Jeff Edward Reece, 34, pleaded guilty to one felony count of possession of an explosive and one felony count of attempted arson of an inhabited property.

On Oct. 28, 2016, at approximately 7:30 p.m., the Anaheim Police Department (APD) received a call from a concerned citizen about Reece. The defendant made threats and turned on his stove burners, filling his mobile home with gas, while streaming video of the event on Facebook Live. Officers responded to his residence on Coronet Avenue in Anaheim and evacuated neighboring mobile homes. The defendant continued to stream on Facebook Live while constructing an explosive device known as a Molotov cocktail, which is a fuel-filled bottle. After two hours of negotiation with APD, Reece was taken to be treated at a nearby hospital.

On Nov. 2, 2016, Reece was arrested by APD, who investigated this case.

The Orange County District Attorney’s Office encourages the public to report dangerous activities that they see in person or online to their local police department for the safety of the community.

Senior Deputy District Attorney Jess Rodriguez of the Special Prosecutions Unit prosecuted this case.

Orange County District Attorney / Case # 16NF3001 / January 27, 2017


Filed under: California Defense Attorney — fayarfa @ 12:03 am

SANTA ANA, Calif. – Two Colorado men were sentenced to five and eight years in state prison today for human trafficking, pimping, and pandering a 17-year-old girl. Jahsee Elan Brewster, 33, Denver, Colorado, and Clifton Haralson, 34, Colorado, were found guilty by a jury on Nov. 16, 2016, of one felony count of human trafficking of a minor, one felony count of pimping a minor, one felony count of pandering by procuring, and one felony count of carrying a loaded unregistered firearm in public. Brewster was sentenced to five years in state prison and mandatory lifetime sex offender registration, and Haralson was sentenced today to eight years in state prison and mandatory lifetime sex offender registration.

Co-defendant Jovon Andrew Williams, 21, Denver, Colorado, pleaded guilty on Oct. 13, 2016, to one felony count of pandering and was sentenced on Nov. 18, 2016, to three years in state prison.

Circumstances of the Case

Between March 17, 2016, and March 30, 2016, Brewster, Haralson, and Williams traveled with 17-year-old Jane Doe from Colorado to areas known for prostitution and human trafficking in Orange County. Brewster rented motel rooms in his name and drove the defendants and the victim to various locations in Orange County for the purpose of trafficking Jane Doe. Haralson posted online advertisements soliciting commercial sex for Jane Doe, arranged dates, and collected the money she received from sex purchasers. Williams facilitated by pandering Jane Doe.

On March 30, 2016, members of the Orange County Human Trafficking Task Force (OCHTTF) set up a meeting with Jane Doe at a motel in Anaheim. Members of the OCHTTF investigated this case and contacted the defendants, who were sitting in a vehicle near the motel with a loaded and unregistered firearm in the glovebox. The defendants were subsequently arrested at the scene.


January 27, 2017

‘Wife’ of Man Facing Charges of Conspiring with Shooter in San Bernardino Attack Pleads Guilty to Entering into Sham Marriage

Filed under: California Defense Attorney — fayarfa @ 12:09 am

RIVERSIDE, California – Mariyah Chernykh today pleaded guilty to federal immigration fraud charges and admitted entering into a sham marriage with Enrique Marquez Jr., who is facing charges of conspiring with the male shooter in the December 2, 2015 attack in San Bernardino.

Chernykh, 26, of Ontario, pleaded guilty this afternoon before United States District Judge Jesus Bernal to charges of conspiracy, perjury, and false statements.

As a result of her guilty pleas, Chernykh faces a statutory maximum sentence of 20 years in federal prison and a fine of up to $1 million. Judge Bernal is scheduled to sentence the defendant on November 20, 2017.

Chernykh is the second person to plead guilty in the immigration fraud scheme. On January 10, Syed Raheel Farook, the brother of deceased San Bernardino attacker Syed Rizwan Farook, pleaded guilty to being part of the conspiracy.

The third defendant in the case – Tatiana Farook, the wife of Syed Raheel Farook – still faces charges contained in a grand jury indictment and is scheduled to go on trial on March 28.


Man Who Illegally Accessed Email Belonging to More Than 300 Illinois People, including Many Celebrities, Sentenced to Federal Prison

Filed under: California Defense Attorney — fayarfa @ 12:06 am

LOS ANGELES – An Illinois man who admitted responsibility for a phishing scheme that gave him illegal access to over 300 Apple iCloud and Gmail accounts, including those belonging to members of the entertainment industry in Los Angeles, has been sentenced to nine months in federal prison.

Edward Majerczyk, 29, of Chicago, was sentenced yesterday in Chicago by United States District Judge Charles P. Kocoras, who said the defendant’s crime was “abhorrent.”

Majerczyk pleaded guilty in September to a felony violation of the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act, specifically, one count of unauthorized access to a protected computer to obtain information. Majerczyk was charged by federal prosecutors in Los Angeles, but the case was transferred to the Northern District of Illinois, where the defendant pleaded guilty and was sentenced.

“This defendant engaged in a computer hacking scheme that not only gave him access to his victims’ computers, it also gave him access to the most personal details of their lives,” said United States Attorney Eileen M. Decker. “This was a deep intrusion into the victims’ privacy and a violation of federal law.”



Filed under: California Defense Attorney — fayarfa @ 12:03 am

SANTA ANA, Calif. – A third-striker gang member on parole is scheduled to be arraigned today for attempting to murder a father and his son by shooting at them in a Santa Ana gang safety zone for the benefit of his gang. John Salgado, 31, Santa Ana, is charged with two felony counts of attempted premeditated murder, two felony counts of assault with a semiautomatic firearm, two felony counts of shooting at an occupied motor vehicle, two felony counts of possession of a firearm by a felon, one felony count of felon carrying a loaded firearm in public, and one felony count of possession of ammunition by a prohibited person, with sentencing enhancements for personal discharge of a firearm and criminal street gang activity. Salgado also faces sentencing enhancements for two prior serious and violent felony strike convictions for assault with a deadly weapon for the benefit of a criminal street gang and second degree robbery in 2007 in Orange County, and not remaining free for five years or more after serving a prison sentence. If convicted, the defendant faces a maximum sentence of life in state prison. Salgado is scheduled to be arraigned today, Jan. 26, 2017, in Department CJ-1, Central Jail, Santa Ana. The time is to be determined.

At the time of the crime, Salgado had been out of prison on parole for approximately six months as part of a 10-year sentence and was wearing a GPS ankle monitor.

On Jan. 6, 2017, at approximately 9:45 p.m., John Doe 1 and his son, minor teen John Doe 2, were waiting in an idling vehicle for their family member to exit a nearby residence. Salgado is accused of approaching the car, brandishing a firearm, and asking the victims where they are from. John Doe 2 began to drive away from the defendant, and Salgado is accused of firing three shots at the victims. All three rounds struck the vehicle, and one went through a rear seat headrest into the rearview mirror, narrowly missing the victims. Salgado is accused of fleeing the scene, and the Santa Ana Police Department (SAPD) identified him during their investigation.

On Jan. 24, 2017, Salgado is accused of possessing a firearm and ammunition at his home in violation of his felony status. The defendant was subsequently arrested by SAPD, who investigated this case.


January 26, 2017

Mission Viejo Man Sentenced to 6½ Years in Federal Prison for Orchestrating $2.3 Million Real Estate Investment Fraud Scheme

Filed under: California Defense Attorney — fayarfa @ 12:09 am

LOS ANGELES – A Mission Viejo man who admitted taking more than $2.3 million from investors in a fraudulent real estate investment scheme has been sentenced to 78 months in federal prison.

Francisco “Frank” Hobson, 40, who admitted to engaging in a fraudulent scheme in which he used real estate investor funds to pay for personal expenses and to make Ponzi-style payments to other investors, was sentenced yesterday by United States District Judge Percy Anderson. In addition to the 6½-year prison sentence, Judge Anderson ordered Hobson to pay approximately $1.61 million in restitution to 26 victims.

Hobson pleaded guilty in October to one count of wire fraud, admitting that he solicited money from investors with false promises to purchases properties, including a residence in Lakewood that was not actually for sale and a non-existent home in Downey.

Calling the defendant’s crimes “cold-hearted,” Judge Anderson said that Hobson was motivated by a desire for “a bigger house and bigger car,” and that Hobson’s actions demonstrated that he was “totally absorbed in his self and family at the expense of victims.”

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