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Friday, January 31, 2014

Tank Driver Arrested Death of Woman Found on the Santa Ana Freeway



An investigation that began in early December when a young woman's body was found in the middle of the I-5 freeway near Santa Ana, has come to an end with one suspect arrested.

Martha Rodezno, 51, of Los Angeles, was last seen when she angrily left a family gathering in Mission Viejo around midnight on December 9, 2013. At approximately 3:00 a.m., her body was found on the I-5 freeway in Santa Ana, 20 miles away from where she was last seen. 

What happened in between her disappearance and her death had remained a mystery to investigators until recently. Authorities were not sure if she hitchhiked, called someone for a ride, or whether she jumped out of a car or was pushed out of a vehicle. Although, authorities had distinguished her death from that of a hit-run, determining her injuries were not consistent with being struck by a vehicle.


Investigators later interviewed witnesses who said they saw Rodenzo being ejected from the passenger side of a petroleum tank trunk and that the driver continued to drive away. 

These interviews led to the arrest of Jaqwun Laerin Turner, 31, of Hawthorne, on suspicion of hit-and-run with permanent injury or death, of Martha Rodezno. 

A criminal conviction is costly. You may serve time in prison, you may have your license revoked, your career and family life will be disrupted, and your record will be stained by such convictions. Our goal at Brower and Associates is to provide an aggressive and comprehensive defense to those accused of a crime throughout Orange County. If you or a loved one has been charged with a crime, contact Brower and Associates today. 
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Thursday, January 23, 2014

Two Women Have Been Arrested and Charged in Connection with the Death of Kim Pham

Two women have been arrested and charged on the heels of a brutal beating outside of a popular Orange County nightclub. 

A woman charged in the beating death of another woman outside a Santa Ana nightclub has pleaded not guilty to murder charges. A second female suspect has been arrested, Candace Marie Brito, 27, of Santa Ana, and has been charged with one felony count of murder for her alleged role in the death of Kim Pham on Jan. 18 at The Crosby Club.


Prosecutors have charged the 25-year-old Santa Ana resident with murder for her part in the death of Kim Pham during a violent beating caught on cellphone video. Zavala, a resident of Santa Ana, argues that she herself was a victim in the fight that night.

The incident unfolded outside the restaurant and bar in the 400 block of North Broadway around 12:30 a.m. Police say that Pham, 23, was standing in line with friends outside the popular nightspot early Saturday morning when a verbal fight turned physical. The argument eventually escalated into a physical fight. Investigators say Pham was kicked and punched until she lost consciousness. Pham was declared brain dead and was removed from life support Tuesday, January 21. Pham, an Orange County local, had graduated from Chapman University with a degree in psychology. 

"We've gotten lots of people coming in, sending us their video, coming in, making voluntary statements," said Santa Ana Police Corporal Anthony Bertagna. "The detectives believe there is a lot of that information still out there."

Zavala and Brito remained in jail, held on $1 million bond. Zavala is expected to return to court on January 30.


A $10,000 reward is offered for information leading to the arrest and conviction of those responsible. Police are still looking for at least three other people connected to the case, including one woman and two men.

A criminal conviction is costly. You may serve time in prison, you may have your license revoked, your career and family life will be disrupted, and your record will be stained by such convictions. Our goal at Brower and Associates is to provide an aggressive and comprehensive defense to those accused of a crime throughout Orange County. If you or a loved one has been charged with a crime, contact Brower and Associates today. 
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Monday, January 20, 2014

Huntington Beach Teen Accused of Being a Sexual Predator

Jackson Roland Westermeyer, 18, of Huntington Beach entered his plea at the Orange County Superior Court West Justice Center in Westminster. Westermeyer is accused of exchanging vulgar photos with and soliciting sex from minors over a one-year period. The accused has pleaded not guilty Thursday to 12 criminal counts, including child annoyance, extortion, and possession of child pornography.

Police began investigating Westermeyer after receiving a tip about someone using the Kik messenger application to solicit photographs from minors, according to a release from the Huntington Beach Police Department. More specifically, police received a call Dec. 13 about a 13-year-old boy who was exchanging text messages and explicit photographs with a person he believed was a 13-year-old girl named Jesse, later identified to be Westermeyer, over the application Kik Messenger.

The victim became suspicious of Jesse's texts and informed a member of his family. Huntington Beach Police Chief Robert Handy said one of the family members began answering the text messages and arranged a meeting with the sender. The family accompanied the teen to the meeting area. Handy said the suspect arrived at the location but left before meeting the victim, though the family was able to write down the license plate number of the vehicle he was driving.

Authorities investigated the case and arrested Westermeyer on Dec. 20 on suspicion of meeting a minor for sex. Search warrants were issued for his computer, phone and electronic devices. During an interview with police in December, Westermeyer allegedly “admitted soliciting and exchanging lewd photographs with multiple juveniles,” according to the release.

Westermeyer is suspected of using social media platforms to lure victims. He allegedly adopted the account name "KatKat7777" and identified himself as a female teen named Jesse. The police chief said conversations between Westermeyer and the victims began calmly but changed in tone radically once explicit pictures were exchanged. Westermeyer is accused of threatening to post the graphic photos of his victims on social media if the victims didn't send more photos or agree to meet.


Authorities believe that at least 50 to 100 victims, including at least one on the East Coast, were contacted by the suspect, Chief Handy said at a news conference. Of the 10 who have been identified so far, nine are Huntington Beach residents. Handy said more charges could be added as authorities identify additional victims.
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Friday, January 10, 2014

Court Rules OC Sex Offender Ban Unconstitutional

A panel of California appeals court justices Friday ruled that state law preempts Orange County's regulations banning registered sex offenders from parks and beaches.

Orange County's ordinance allowed sex offenders to go to parks with written permission from the county sheriff. Orange County's restrictions, passed in 2011, were among the most aggressive in the state. More than a dozen cities within the county adopted versions of the law at the urging of the district attorney's office.

The published decision by the 4th District Court of Appeal reverses the conviction of Hugo Godinez, a registered sex offender who was convicted of a misdemeanor for violating the county ordinance after he went to a company picnic at Mile Square Regional Park in Fountain Valley in 2011. Godinez had been convicted of misdemeanor sexual battery in 2010. He was found guilty, but the Orange County Superior Court appeals panel overturned Godinez's conviction in 2012. In response, the Orange County Sheriff's Department stopped enforcing the law, and the Lake Forest City Council voted to repeal its ban. The county appeals panel said the sex offender ordinance appeared to be illegal and asked the 4th District to hear the case. The appeals court found that requirement amounts to a "de facto registration requirement" that conflicts with the state's existing sex offender registration requirements.

"Godinez argues state law preempts the county ordinance and therefore his conviction is void. We agree," the panel wrote, adding that the state Legislature has already enacted a "comprehensive statutory scheme regulating the daily life of sex offenders." The Orange County restriction conflicts with it and is therefore unconstitutional, the panel found.

If you or a loved one is facing criminal charges, call an experienced and aggressive criminal defense attorney to fight your charges and/or reduce your sentence. Call Brower & Associates, the Orange County criminal defense attorneys who will fight for your rights!


Currently, state law prohibits sex offenders from living within 2,000 feet of a park or school and requires written permission for them to enter a school, but does not ban them from visiting parks unless they are on parole for crimes against children under 14.
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