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Law Office of Ronald G. Brower Blog


Tuesday, July 26, 2011

19-Year-Old Man Murdered and Buried in Los Angeles Backyard

Pictured Above: Los Angeles County Coroner's Office. Source: Al Seib at Los Angeles Times.

Robert Charles Redd has been charged with one count of murder with special allegations that he personally and intentionally discharged a handgun. On July 18, Redd allegedly shot Joseph Rubalcava once in the head in his backyard in Pico Rivera. The 19-year-old victim was then buried in Redd's backyard. After Rubalcava was missing for several days, friends and family members got worried and started looking for Rubalcava. Last week, he was found  buried in a shallow grave in a backyard in Pico Rivera. If Redd is convicted of murder, he faces 25 years to life in prison.

California law defines murder as the unlawful killing of a human being with malice aforethought. Malice aforethought means that the act causing the death is done with a disregard for human life or involves a high degree of probability that death will result. First degree murder requires the intent to kill someone. In the case, since Rubalcava was shot in the head, a jury would likely find that the shooting was done with the intent to kill.

A common defense to murder includes lack of intent. If Redd can prove that the gun accidentally discharged, there is no intent to kill and therefore, Redd would likely be charged with a reduced crime. Another defense to murder is self defense. If Redd can prove that Rubalcava had a weapon and was trying to kill Redd and that is why Redd shot Rubalcava, he would be charged with a reduced crime. Other defenses include insanity, false confessions and illegal search and seizure.

If you or anyone you know is charged with murder, call an experienced criminal defense attorney right away to assist you in fighting your charges or reducing your sentence.


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Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Masseur Charged With Sexual Assault at Massage Spa

Pictured Above: Jason Michael Elliot. Source: Orange County District Attorney's Office.

Jason Michael Elliot has been charged with three felony counts of assault with the intent to commit a sexual offense. These charges stem from Elliot's job as a masseur at Massage Envy spa in Seal Beach, California. In November 2009, a woman contacted authorities to report that she had been sexually assaulted by Elliot during a massage. After an investigation, several women came forward alleging that they were victims as well.

Elliot worked at Massage Envy spa in Seal Beach from August 2009 to April 2010. He was fired once the company learned of these sexual offense allegations. However, he still provide massages to clients at other spa locations in Orange County. Elliot was arrested on Monday and has been charged with three counts of assault. Authorities are still looking for more victims to come forward. If Elliot is convicted of these charges, he faces eight years and eight months in state prison.

Sexual assault or battery is the unwanted sexual touching of another. Sexual assault can also be an attempted rape. If you are convicted of sexual assault, you must register as a sex offender. In addition, you face prison/jail time, have to pay fines, and face damage to your reputation and career.

If you are charged with sexual assault or any other sexual offense, please call an experienced criminal defense attorney right away to assist you in fighting your charges or reducing your sentence. Possible defenses include consent or false accusations.


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Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Drifter Bandit Charged With Robbery & Burglary, Faces 110 Years in Prison

Pictured Above: Michael David Marano. Source: Orange County Sheriff's Department.

Michael David Marano was charged with four counts of felony second-degree burglary and four counts of felony second-degree robbery this week. These charges stem from four Orange County bank robberies allegedly committed by Marano within the last several weeks. The Drifter Bandit, as Marano was called,  allegedly brandished a gun at several banks and then robbed them. He was under surveillance for several weeks before finally being arrested during a felony car stop. If Marano is charged with all of these crimes, he faces 110 years to life in state prison.

California defines burglary as the breaking and entering of a structure to commit a felony therein. First-degree burglary is burglary of a residential dwelling. Second-degree burglary is burglary of a commercial structure. Robbery is often linked to burglary, because once someone breaks into a structure, they often take another person's property by force or fear.

Defenses to robbery and burglary include lack of intent to break in, mistaken identity, or consent to enter. Being convicted of burglary or robbery can be accompanied by prison/jail time, probation, fines and restitution. Therefore, if you are charged with burglary or robbery, contact an experienced criminal defense attorney right away to defend you.

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Wednesday, July 6, 2011

PTA Members Charged With Grand Theft And Securities Fraud Relating to Ponzi Scheme

Pictured Above: Eva Perez, Maricela Barajas, Juliana Menefee. Source: Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department.

Three former PTA members of Armstrong Elementary School in Diamond Bar were charged with 22 felony counts each of grand theft of personal property and securities fraud involvement this week. Maricela Barajas, Juliana Celeste Menefee, and Eva Perez were involved in a Ponzi scheme that defrauded around 40 people out of $1 million from 2008-2010.

These women used school events to find their victims and convince them to hand over their home equity or life savings to "invest" in an alleged business that they claimed was a product distribution company. The victims were told that they would receive 100% of their investment back. When the victims starting growing suspicious because they were not receiving their payments, authorities got involved. If these women are convicted of all of the charges, they face 13 years in prison.

A ponzi scheme is an investment scam in which people seek funds from investors and pay them back with the funds of other investors. These schemes are illegal since they are a form of fraud. Fraud is the intentional deception or misrepresentation of the truth with the intent to deprive another person of something that belongs to him or to cause him injury in some other way.

Being convicted of fraud can result in prison/jail time, fines, probation and can affect your reputation in the community. Therefore, if you are charged with fraud or a white collar crime, contact an experienced criminal defense attorney right away to assist you.

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