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Thursday, February 28, 2013

Judge Will Not Dismiss Charges Against Ex-Santa Ana Councilman

A judge on Thursday refused to dismiss sexual-assault and other charges against ex-Santa Ana councilman, Carols Bustamante, accused of preying on women who worked for him in the county's public works department.
Bustamante has pleaded not guilty, said that he cannot get a fair trial and asked that the case against him be thrown out. His attorney pointed to what he called "inflammatory and prejudicial" statements by Orange County District Attorney Tony Rackauckas as evidence that Bustamante was not being treated fairly.
District Attorney Rackauckas has made statements after Bustamante’s arrest saying, "We want to know how a wolf was kept in charge of his prey for so long.”
Judge Peter Wilson is presiding over the hearing and has said nothing in Rackauckas' statements was enough to invalidate the entire case, although he said he was "troubled" by the wolf remark. He also rejected Bustamante's request that the District Attorney's Office be taken off the case, saying there was no evidence of bias or conflict of interest that would justify such a move.
Bustamante declined to comment after the hearing, referring questions to his attorney. His attorney also declined to comment as he was leaving the courtroom except to say he agreed with the judge that Rackauckas' wolf comment was troubling
Rackauckas has described his office's handling of the case as "ethical and proper." He said shortly after Bustamante's arrest that he detailed the case in public because it involved a public official and allegations of crimes committed in a public office.
Bustamante is accused of sexually assaulting seven women who worked for him in the county public works department. At the time, he was the department's director of administrative services as well as a Santa Ana city councilman, both positions that he has since relinquished. 
Bustamante's attorney has said that what happened in county offices amounted to misdemeanor battery or unwanted touching, not felony sexual assault. He said the District Attorney's Office has "trashed" Bustamante's name, distributing a videotape of his arrest and making statements that could prejudice potential jurors.
But Deputy District Attorney Matt Lockhart said Rackauckas made those statements as a call to other possible victims to come forward, a call that has not yielded additional charges. Lockhart said Rackauckas made clear that his statements were accusations only and had not been proven in court. And, Lockhart said, nothing in those statements would justify dismissing all charges.
If you or a loved one is facing criminal charges contact an experienced criminal defense attorney to fight your charges and/or reduce your sentence. Call Brower & Associates, experienced and aggressive criminal defense attorneys who will fight for your rights! 

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Saturday, February 23, 2013

Former Orange County Attorney Accused of Killing Ex-Wife

Lonnie Kocontes, 55, a former Mission Viejo, was arrested Friday at his home in Safety Harbor, Florida, in connection with the death of his former wife, Micki Kanesaki, 52, of Ladera Ranch. He is charged with one felony count of special circumstances for financial gain.
Kocontes, a former Orange County attorney, is suspected of killing his wife on the night of May 25, 2006, or the morning of May 26, by strangling her and throwing her body overboard.

At the time, Kocontes reported his wife missing. He told authorities that the couple had retired to bed when about 1 a.m. Kanesaki stepped out to get a cup of tea to help her relax and never returned. But an autopsy revealed Kanesaki had been strangled. Her body was found on the morning of May 27 by the Italian coast guard, floating in the sea near Reggio di Calabria.

He is accused of financially benefiting from Kanesaki’s death because he was the beneficiary of several of their bank accounts and property and was receiving the proceeds from the sale of their home. In 2008, Kocontes is accused of attempting to transfer $1 million between various banks accounts with his new wife, Katherine. The FBI began investigating the money transfers for possible illegal activity and the U.S. attorney’s office ultimately seized the money from Kocontes’ bank account. 
On Wednesday, the district attorney filed its murder case against Kocontes. If convicted, he faces a maximum life sentence in state prison without the possibility of parole and is eligible for the death penalty, authorities said. Kocontes, who is being held without bail, also faces extradition proceedings at a date to be determined.
If you are facing a criminal charge in Orange County, contact an experienced criminal defense attorney to assist you in fighting your charges and/or reducing your sentence. Call Brower& Associates, experienced and knowledgeable criminal defense attorneys to fight for your rights.  

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Friday, February 15, 2013

70 Teen Victims Come Forward in Lewd Photos Case

An Irvine high school teacher and athletic coach has been accused of posing as a young, blond, white femal on Facebook to befriend and seduce underage boys, luring them into sending him sexually explicit pictures of themselves on the social networking site.
At least 70 victims, including teenage boys from Lake Forest, Irvine, Anaheim, Tustin and Orange, have come forward in the child-pornography case against the high school teacher. The victims range in age with the youngest victim only 14 old.
Prosecutors this week filed 140 felony counts against the Irvine high school teacher, including possession of child pornography, distributing obscene matter involving minors, exhibiting lewd material to a minor and luring a child with intent to commit a specified crime.
The accused is married, has a daughter who is about two years old and attended Cal State Fullerton, according to the 2012 Beckman High School baseball team pamphlet and a person who knows him.The social-science teacher taught at Servite in Anaheim from 2008 through last weekend.
Servite administrators were notified late Saturday of Reeder's arrest, and his employment at the Catholic school was terminated "effective immediately," they told parents in a written statement. "We take this investigation very seriously and are working closely with authorities," the statement said.
Before Servite, he taught history at Capistrano Valley Christian High in San Juan Capistrano and has been a walk-on baseball coach at Beckman High in Irvine for the past four seasons.
If you are facing a criminal charge in Orange County, contact an experienced criminal defense attorney to assist you in fighting your charges and/or reducing your sentence. Call Brower& Associates, experienced and knowledgeable criminal defense attorneys to fight for your rights.  

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Wednesday, February 6, 2013

CSU Fullerton Coach and Fiance Found, Slain in Irvine

Monica Quan, a 28-year-old woman, was found dead Sunday night along with her boyfriend, Keith Lawrence, in a parked car at an upscale Irvine condo. Quan, a former Long Beach State and Concordia basketball player, has been identified as an assistant woman’s basketball coach at Cal State Fullerton.
Police are continuing to investigate the case as a double homicide and are still searching for suspects in the slaying.
The bodies of Lawrence, 27, and Quan were found with gunshot wounds in Lawrence’s parked car at about 9:10 p.m. Sunday, authorities said.
Quan was in her second season as the assistant women’s basketball coach at Cal State Fullerton, according to a campus spokesman. She previously worked as lead assistant coach at California Lutheran University in Thousand Oaks, according to her online bio, and played for Long Beach State in 2003-05 before transferring to Concordia University in Irvine. Lawrence is a graduate of the Ventura County Sheriff’s Academy, joined USC’s Department of Public Safety in August.

Gunshots were not reported Sunday night but a passerby called police after seeing Lawrence’s body slumped over in the car, police said. Entry into the parking structure requires a key-code and there are security cameras throughout the complex, a resident said, adding that some spaces are allocated for overnight guests.

Police detectives have said that robbery does not appear to be a motive in the slaying of the young Irvine couple, and that the crime did not appear to be a murder-suicide case, although the latter has not been ruled out as a possibility. 

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