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Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Former UCR Student Found Guilty of Murder-for-Hire, Released Tuesday

Barbara Wu, 23, a former UC Riverside student, was sentenced to three years and four months in prison on Monday, January 26. Wu had been accused of trying to have two of her ex-boyfriends murdered for ending their relationship with her. As of Tuesday afternoon, Wu was released from prison, after spending only 20 months incarcerated.

She was arrested and held without bail for solicitation of murder and stalking just a few weeks short of graduating from UC Riverside.

In 2013, following a bad breakup, prosecutors say Wu asked one former boyfriend to kidnap and kill another and dispose of his body. Once the former boyfriend reported Wu’s actions to the police, he was asked to wear a wire during his next encounter with Wu. It was during this encounter that Wu incriminated herself. After the news broke, another former boyfriend came forward with a similar story.

Wu accepted a plea bargain and pleaded guilty on January 15, 2015, to lesser charges. Under the plea agreement with the Riverside County DA’s Office, Wu plead guilty to a lesser charge of solicitation to commit assault and was sentenced to three years and four months. Wu will not be able to contact her victims for 10 years as part of a protective order issued by the judge.

Wu had already spent 610 days at the Smith Correctional Facility in Banning, which was credited. The 610 days was doubled under a state law intended to reduce prison overcrowding, resulting in more than three years total credit. She was released Tuesday for time already served.

In statements to reporters, Wu says she plans to return to college and finish her degree in political science.

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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Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Former Marine Found Guilty in DUI, Killing Three Marines

Jared Ray Hale, 27, was found guilty in December of driving under the influence in a 2012 Valentine’s Day Crash that killed his three passengers: Sgt. Jeremiah Callahan, 23; Cpl. Christopher Arzola, 21; and Cpl. Jason Chleborad, 22.
Additionally, the jury found that Hale drove with a blood alcohol level over .15 percent, more than twice the legal limit. Hale was supposed to be designated driver that evening, however, prosecutors said he was drinking heavily that night. Jurors deliberated for less than a day before finding that Hale’s blood alcohol level was more than twice the legal limit when he lost control of his car and crashed into a tree on a rainy Valentine’s Day night. 
Callahan and Arzola died at the scene. Chleborad was taken to Mission Hospital, where he died an hour later. Hale suffered brain trauma and was in a coma for a month.
He faces a maximum sentence of 12 years in state prison when he returns to court on January 30th. However, the sergeant will ask for treatment in lieu of prison time at his sentencing Friday, his attorney said.
Hale’s attorney argues he was diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder after serving in heavy combat in Sangin, Afghanistan, under the 3rd Battalion, 5th Marine Regiment. After he returned home, he began self-medicating with alcohol, his lawyer said.
His attorney further argued the sergeant should receive treatment for alcohol addiction rather than prison time, citing a California penal code that asks courts to consider whether the offense was committed as a result of trauma or injury from service in the military.
He is scheduled to be sentenced on January 30, Friday, in the Westminster Courthouse.

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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Monday, January 26, 2015

Santa Ana Mother Found Guilty of Murdering Her Infant Daughter

Lucero Carrera, a Santa Ana mother, was found guilty of first-degree murder in the drowning of her infant daughter, Kimberly.
On June 29, 2012, Carrera’s mother, Estela, returned from a quick trip to the store to find Carrera in the room the two shared with the baby. Estella testified, through an interpreter, she had asked Carrera where the baby was. Carrera said to her she had drowned the infant girl.
Estela testified that she returned home to find the infant’s lifeless body floating face-down in the bathtub. Her hysterical screams drew the attention of neighbors, one of whom called 911.
When paramedics arrived to the home, they noticed an empty bottle of bipolar medication prescribed to Carrera. Carrera admitted to ingesting 30 pills in an attempt to commit suicide.
Carrera was diagnosed with bipolar disorder more than a decade ago. According to official, she had been hospitalized several times and attempted suicide. Soon after Kimberly's birth, Carrera reportedly stopped taking her medication.
Carrera later told police that she had held Kimberly down and drowned her in the bathtub so the infant "wouldn't suffer what I suffered."

The prosecutor and Carrera's own attorney, Deputy Public Defender Kira Rubin, both acknowledged that the woman killed her 2-month-old daughter following a long battle with mental illness. However, the attorneys did not agree on whether Carrera was guilty of first or second-degree murder. Unlike second-degree murder, first-degree murder requires, premeditation. Rubin contended that, as a result of her mental disorder, Carrera was not able to form premeditation for murder. Senior Deputy District Attorney Jim Mendelson disagreed, telling the jury that Carrera told officers she knew she was going to drown Kimberly.
After deliberation, the jury found Carrera guilty of first-degree murder of her infant.

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Friday, January 23, 2015

Child Porn Investigation Leads to OC CEO's Arrest

Qayed Murtaza Shareef, 39, a CEO of an Irvine tech company Adaptive Media, is facing 33 felonies, including more than two dozen counts of lewd or lascivious acts with a minor. He also faces charges of possession of child pornography and sending harmful matter to a minor with the intent of seduction. Investigators say they're looking for other possible victims.

Shareef is suspected of using a social messaging application to convince two young boys to trade explicit photos and video with him. Prosecutors alleged he pretended to be a teenage boy named Jeremy Stevens to contact a 9- and 10-year-old boy in Virginia.Authorities say the 39-year-old gave instructions to the boys to record each other and to him send the photos and videos.

The alleged interaction occurred between Christmas day and December 29, 2013. His arrest this week came after a year of investigation. Prosecutors alleged Shareef also recorded sex acts he performed on himself and sent video of that to the boys. Authorities admit there is no indication Shareef had physical contact with the boys. However, under California law, a lewd or lascivious act can occur if someone willfully causes a child to touch their body or another child’s body in an effort to arouse someone’s sexual desires.

Shareef pleaded not guilty to the charges, and is being held on $2 million bail. If convicted, Shareef faces up to 752 years to life in state prison. Shareef is married, has a child and lives in Aliso Viejo.

Lt. Jeff Hallock of the Orange County Sheriff's Department said Shareef likely had more knowledge on how to evade law enforcement because he "has an expertise in computers and IP addresses and Internet."

Shareef, who has pleaded not guilty, is expected to return to court on March 27. He is being held on $2 million bail.

Charges of criminal conduct 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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