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Law Office of Ronald G. Brower Blog


Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Suspects Plead Not Guilty to UCLA Student's Death

Last week, authorities discovered the body of Andrea Del Vesco, 21, in her burnt Westwood apartment. Yesterday, prosecutors charged two men—Alberto Hinojosa Medina and Eric Marquez—with her murder.

Ms. Del Vesco was a fourth-year student at UCLA studying psychology and Spanish; she was from Austin, Texas.

The prosecution asserts that Mr. Medina, 22, and a student at Fresno State University, burglarized Ms. Del Vesco’s apartment, murdered her and then burned her apartment. He is charged with burglary, murder and arson.

Mr. Medina is being held without bail and if convicted he could face the death penalty. Prosecutors have not said yet whether they will seek the death penalty.

Eric Marquez, also 22, was charged with murder and burglary. Mr. Marquez, also a UCLA student, is being held on over $1 million bail and faces a maximum sentence of life imprisonment.

According to reports, LAPD Chief Charlie Beck said the amount of forensic evidence against the two men is “considerable.”

Both Mr. Medina and Mr. Marquez plead not guilty to the charges at their arraignment.

Ronald G. Brower is a criminal defense attorney in Southern California with over three decades of experience representing people charged with a range of crimes, including murder.

If you or someone you know is being investigated for or has been charged with a crime, contact the Law Office of Ronald G. Brower to speak with an experienced criminal defense lawyer.

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Former Raider Re-Tried for Murder

Photo Credit: LA Times (March 7, 2011)

After numerous years since the alleged murders occurred, and three years since the mistrial of one victim in 2012, the re-trial of former Oakland Raider Anthony Wayne Smith began this past Monday in Lancaster Superior Court.

Mr. Smith is accused of killing four men between 1999 and 2008 in Los Angeles and in the Antelope Valley.

In 2012, Mr. Smith, now 48, was tried for the 2008 murder of Maurilio Ponce, but a jury hung 8-4 in favor of Mr. Smith’s guilt resulted in a mistrial.

Subsequent investigation into the older murders led to new developments, which caused the government to combine this trial for all of the murders allegedly committed by Mr. Smith.

During opening arguments, the prosecution emphasized the amount of evidence that would prove Mr. Smith’s guilt, including inculpatory evidence about the location of his car and suspicious calls made from his cell phone.

The defense, however, contended that there is neither any DNA or forensic evidence nor any eyewitnesses to connect Mr. Smith to the murder. The defense also asserted that reports provided by later witnesses do not fit the description of Mr. Smith.

If convicted Mr. Smith faces the possibility of life imprisonment without the possibility of parole. The trial is expected to last for at least a month.

Ronald G. Brower is a criminal defense attorney in Orange County, California with more than 30 years of experience representing individuals charged with a range of crimes, including the most serious.

Contact the Law Office of Ronald G. Brower to speak with an experienced criminal defense attorney.

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Friday, September 18, 2015

Palm Springs Man Acquitted of Serious Charges

Jeffrey G. Woodfield of Palm Springs, a man accused of numerous crimes ranging from making threats of physical injury to attempted murder, was acquitted by a jury today of the most serious charges brought against him.

In Riverside County Superior Court, a jury has been deliberating over the numerous charges since the trial concluded. Jurors have already decided Mr. Woodfield was not guilty of attempted murder and assault with a deadly weapon.

The remaining charges about which the jury must deliberate include kidnapping, robbery, preventing a victim from seeking help, domestic abuse within seven years of another domestic abuse, and assault likely to cause great bodily injury.

If the jury is unable to decide on those counts, then the trial judge could declare a mistrial. Should that occur, the prosecution will have the option to try those charges against Mr. Woodfield again.

The prosecution argued that Mr. Woodfield forcibly removed his girlfriend from a restaurant, pushed her into his car, and then beat and choked her until she was eventually able to get away.

The defense contends that the government overcharged Mr. Woodfield and that there was no evidence to support the attempted murder or assault with a deadly weapon charges. Mr. Woodfield previously pled guilty in 2014 to a misdemeanor assault of a female.

Prosecutors wield enormous discretion and authority in our criminal justice system, a system that is complex and not user-friendly.

If you have been charged with a crime or are under investigation, contact the Law Office of Ronald G. Brower to speak with an experienced criminal defense attorney.

Attorney Ronald G. Brower has represented criminal defendants for over 30 years in a wide range of cases. He practices in Southern California and is based out of Orange County.

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Friday, September 11, 2015

Sherman Oaks Man Re-Arrested and Released

Photo Credit: LAPD
Michael Bernback, the Sherman Oaks man arrested on August 13, 2015 and accused of sexual assault, is under further investigation after being re-arrested on September 3.

Mr. Bernback was released from custody that same day after posting $2.1 million in bail. On September 3, the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office charged Mr. Bernback with eight felonies.

Most of the charges were sexual assault, rape, or another sex crime. Additionally, Mr. Bernback is charged with three misdemeanors related to controlled substances. He allegedly possessed ecstasy, GHB, and cocaine.

The government alleges Mr. Bernback sexually assaulted three women. However, the LAPD is investigating to determine if there are other victims involved in this case.

Sexual assault cases, like other major crimes, have the potential to generate publicity in the media. The publicity can be stigmatizing for the accused, while the legal consequences of a conviction for a sex crime are very serious.

If you or someone you know is under investigation or has been charged with a crime, it is critical to speak with a criminal defense lawyer as soon and as early in the process as possible.

It is important to know about your rights and to protect them.

Ronald G. Brower is an experienced criminal defense attorney in the Southern California area. He handles all types of criminal cases, including the most serious like homicide, rape, and other sexual assault matters.

Contact the Law Office of Ronald G. Brower today to speak with an experienced lawyer.
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