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Saturday, November 30, 2013

Suspect in OC Slayings Dies While In-Custody from Suspected Ajax Poisoning

The suspect jailed in connection with the slaying of six people in Orange County died after deputies discovered he was ill in his cell. It is believed that the accused Orange County serial killer died after swallowing Ajax, a household cleanser.

Investigators believe Itzcoatl "Izzy" Ocampo, accumulated enough Ajax powder for a lethal dose that he then ingested. Deputies found Ocampo in his single-man cell at Central Jail in Santa Ana about 6:35 p.m. Wednesday, shaking and vomiting. Ocampo, 25, was taken to Western Medical Center in Santa Ana, where he died in the intensive care unit about 1:40 p.m. Thursday.

Ocampo, a former Marine, was accused of killing six people, including four homeless men, a woman and her son. He was scheduled to appear in court for a pre-trial hearing in January. He was arrested in January 2012 after a series of slayings in north Orange County and had set a personal goal of 16 killings, authorities said.

Prosecutors allege that the killings carried out by Ocampo started on Oct. 25, 2011, with the stabbing death of a high school friend's brother, Juan Herrera, 34, and their mother, Raquel Estrada, 53, in their Yorba Linda home. The killings continued on the street with the slayings of four homeless men.

Ocampo told police he targeted homeless people because they were "available and vulnerable" and he believed he was performing a public service because their presence was a "blight" on the community, authorities said. Between December 2011 and January 2012, Ocampo was accused of fatally stabbing James Patrick McGillivray, 53; Lloyd Middaugh, 42; Paulus "Dutch" Smit, 57; and John Berry, 64, in separate incidents. All of the men were homeless.

Orange County prosecutors had been seeking the death penalty against Ocampo.

Charges of violent crimes such a murder, assault, and batter should be taken seriously, and traversed with the help of experienced criminal defense attorneys. If you or a loved one has been charged with criminal conduct, contact the experienced and aggressive criminal defense attorneys at Brower & Associates.
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Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Six More Arrests Made in Huntington Beach Riots

Several more arrests have been made in connection with the violent mob that ended the U.S. Open Surf Competition in Huntington Beach this past summer.
In July, a mob erupted among a crowd of thousands gathered for the Vans U.S. Open of Surfing, which includes surfing, skateboarding and BMX biking events, possibly after a fistfight in downtown Huntington Beach.

People in the mob strapped bandanas across their faces and threw rocks and bottles at police officers. Police donned riot gear and fired back with pepper balls.

The violent crowd raged through the streets after the surfing competition, clashing with police, toppling portable toilets, fighting in the streets and apparently wrecking and looting at least one business, according to police and witnesses.

Police made eight arrests on suspicion of failure to disperse, according to a Huntington Beach Police Department statement. Six more arrests have been made in connection to the Huntington Beach riots after the U.S. Open of Surfing.
Most recently, the Huntington Beach Police Depart arrested six more individuals in connection with the riot. The latest arrests by Huntington Beach police bring the total number of arrests to 20.
Investigators did not release the identities of three of the six arrested because they were minors. The other three were identified as 24-year-old Vincent Trujillo of Huntington Beach, 25-year-old Shayne Cody Baldwin of Stanton and 26-year-old Andrew Wilson Millard of Victorville. Police only released Millard's booking photo in a statement released on Tuesday.
The charges involved include felony and misdemeanor vandalism, participating in or inciting a riot, refusing to disperse, felony arson and assault on a peace officer.

Huntington Beach police say they are still investigating the July disturbance.

If you or a loved one has been arrested or charged with a crime, it is important that you are represented by an aggressive and experienced criminal defense attorney who will fight for your rights and/or reduce your charges. The experienced criminal defense attorneys at Brower and Associates are ready to fight for you, call Brower and Associates for help with your case. 
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Friday, November 22, 2013

OC Crime Lab DUI Test Results

State officials are being asked to review the work of the Orange County Crime Lab after more errors were found in its blood-alcohol testing — mistakes that could potentially affect dozens of DUI cases.

Just weeks after the Crime Lab acknowledged that one machine was incorrectly calibrated, and thus provided inaccurate blood-alcohol test results, auditors discovered a second machine also had calibration error that could produce incorrect blood alcohol readings. 

Bruce Houlihan, lab director, said the latest problem was uncovered while conducting a five-year audit of the lab's work in the aftermath of the initial error. Auditors, he said, discovered that a second machine at the lab had a calibration error that could produce blood-alcohol readings that were off by .001 of a percentage point. The faulty reading occurred between December 2012 and May 2013.

During that period, the lab examined about 7,000 samples with the instrument, and the calibration error affected about 1,000 of those tested. But because the blood alcohol in each case is tested on two separate instruments and then averaged, it's estimated that only about one-tenth of those tests were affected.

The inaccuracies resulting from the second incorrectly calibrated machine could affect blood-alcohol test results in 2,200 driving-under-the-influence cases. Prosecutors responded by sending letters to drivers charged with DUIs, including 900 who already had been convicted.

After the initial errors were discovered this month, prosecutors sent letters to people charged with DUIs and advised them that their cases were among those with miscalculations. In those cases the machine had increased the blood-alcohol readings.

Now, Sheriff Sandra Hutchens and the county Board of Supervisors have requested that the state department of health review the lab's procedures and case standards and present the results to elected leaders, officials said.

Houlihan said the blood-alcohol readings were underestimated in about 100 cases and will have to be corrected. In nine of those cases, the blood-alcohol reading will actually increase from .07% to .08%, the level at which a person is considered legally drunk. That means new charges could be filed against drivers initially thought to have been legally sober. 

Farrah Emami, a spokeswoman for the Orange County district attorney's office, has said the office "will review any cases they provided to the office with new numbers. 

Crime lab officials blamed the earlier botched results on "human error" over a nearly five-month period. But they insisted the miscalculations affected only about 200 cases. As few as 20 people could see their blood-alcohol test levels drop below .08% and have their cases potentially dismissed. 

Driving under the influence is both a criminal and a civil matter. If you or a loved one is accused of driving under the influence, call Brower & Associates to handle you case. The Law Offices of Brower & Associates applies an aggressive defense of individuals, resulting in a high success rate. 
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Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Husband and Wife Allegedly Plant Drugs in PTA Volunteers Car, Face Trial

Till criminal charges do we part: An Irvine couple faced serious charges after planting drugs in a PTA volunteer’s vehicle. The wife, Jill Bjorkholm Easter, 40, pled guilty, but her husband, Kent Wycliffe Easter, 40, is denying all charges.
Kent Easter is accused of felony false imprisonment for his alleged role in having school volunteer Kelli Peters arrested after he called police to report she had drugs in the back seat of her car. His wife, Jill, who was accused of planting the drugs, pleaded guilty last month to false imprisonment.
The case stems from a 2010 disagreement between Jill Easter and Peters, in which Jill Easter said the after-school volunteer did not bring her son out quickly enough when she went to pick him up at Plaza Vista Elementary. Following the incident, the husband and wife duo tried to get Peters fired, got a restraining order and filed a lawsuit against the volunteer, prosecutors said.
However, Kent Easter contends he had no idea his wife had planted the drugs. The Irvine father says it was truly his wife who masterminded the plot, his attorney told jurors Wednesday. Kent Easter alleges that his wife coerced him to report the drugs she claimed to have seen in Peters' car.
According to the accused’s attorney, Kent Easter was in bed sick when his wife put bags with marijuana, marijuana pipe, Vicodin, and Percocet in the back seat of Peters' car. The next afternoon, Kent Easter called Irvine police from a public phone, giving authorities a false name and address.
Prosecutors allege Kent Easter remained in contact with his wife during the call, texting her as the plot unfolded. Video of him entering the Island Hotel in Newport Beach where the call was made was played Wednesday. Prosecutors maintain that Kent Easter was aware of the scheme.

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!

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