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March 17, 2001
Deepa Bharath SANTA ANA -- Seconds after Eric Bechler told a packed courtroom that he loved his wife and did not kill her, a Superior Court judge on Friday sentenced him to life in prison without the possibility of parole. Judge Frank F. Fasel said he agreed with a 12-member jury, which on Feb. 1 found the 33-year-old man from Newport Heights guilty of first-degree murder for bludgeoning his 38-year-old wife, Pegye Bechler, on a boat and then dumping her body in the ocean in trash bags filled with weights.
By: | August 16, 2005
Testimony will continue today in a hearing in Orange County Superior Court to decide whether two men and one woman will stand trial in the alleged killing of a Newport Beach couple. Skylar DeLeon, 26, his wife Jennifer Henderson-DeLeon, 24, and John Fitzgerald Kennedy, 40, all of Long Beach, are expected to appear in court on charges of murdering Tom and Jackie Hawks, who went missing in November after allegedly selling their yacht. Two other men charged with the murders, Myron Gardner, 42, of Long Beach, and Alonso Machain, 21, of Pico Rivera, will be tried separately, a judge ruled Friday.
June 2, 2004
Deepa Bharath The defense in a high-profile gang-rape case will ask the judge today to admit testimony of a pornography expert attorneys say will contradict a witness for the prosecution who suggested the defendants drugged the girl. Greg Haidl, son of Orange County Assistant Sheriff Don Haidl, Kyle Nachreiner and Keith Spann are accused of raping an unconscious 16-year-old girl and sexually assaulting her in Don Haidl's Corona del Mar home. The jury trial for the teenagers, which began on May 3, has come to an abrupt standstill this week because defense attorney Pete Morreale's son met with a traffic accident on Friday.
By Mona Shadia | September 14, 2011
SANTA ANA - A UC Irvine professor overstepped his boundaries when he told students that no disruptions were allowed during the Israeli ambassador's visit last year, according to testimony given during Wednesday's Irvine 11 trial. According to UCI comparative literature professor Rei Terada's testimony, before introducing Ambassador Michael Oren on Feb. 8, 2010, political science professor Mark Petracca, who emceed the event, told the audience he had the highest expectation for civility for the ambassador - a level that would exceed the respect given even during a joint session of Congress.
December 9, 2003
Marisa O'Neil The new attorney for a former UC Irvine student convicted of sexually assaulting and torturing a 15-year-old-girl is seeking a new trial, this one in front of a jury. Newport Beach resident Brian Dance, 21, was convicted in July of three counts of forced penetration, one count of torture and one count each of robbery and criminal threat. He had previously waived his right to a jury trial and faces a possible life sentence for beating a girl he had met on the Internet and carving swastikas on her face on the UCI campus.
By Denys Oberman | November 1, 2012
Newport Beach city leaders are going to extraordinary lengths and expense to convince taxpayers that Measure EE is "for their protection," and that the passage of the 38 items will "increase efficiencies. " One must ask, Why? I urge citizens and voters to think about the consequences of Measure EE: Are taking away of our rights, and loosening conflict-of-interest regulations, "protections," or are they simply ways for the city to steamroller unreasonable regulations and make decisions which may not be in the public interest?
December 9, 2004
Jeff Benson Elizabeth Loftus calls it the highest national award she could receive as a psychologist, but the distinguished UC Irvine research professor might not always clearly remember being notified that she won it. If her theories come to fruition, Loftus will have to factor in the occasional mind distortion, contaminated memory and unreliability of eyewitness testimony. And maybe, just maybe, she'll determine she got caught up in the moment.
By Joseph Serna | March 31, 2010
Attorneys representing the son of a former assistant sheriff and two other men who sought to overturn their clients’ convictions and requirements to register as sex offenders have lost their appeal and now have to weigh their next legal step, attorney Dennis Fischer said Wednesday. “Understandable disappointment” is how Fischer said he felt upon learning that he and his colleagues lost their appeal in the case involving sex offender Greg Haidl and two of his friends.
By Lauren Williams | February 15, 2013
Charges against a Costa Mesa man accused in a double murder can stand, a judge ruled Friday. Orange County Superior Court Judge James Stotler denied a request to dismiss charges against Daniel Patrick Wozniak, 28, who is accused of killing his neighbor and his neighbor's tutor in 2010. Wozniak's attorney argued that police did not properly inform the defendant of his 5th Amendment — or Miranda — rights against self-incrimination before interviewing him. Prosecutors said that Wozniak eagerly asked to talk with police shortly after the crimes.
By Lauren Williams | June 20, 2012
A Costa Mesa police officer won a year-long legal battle against the city for docking his hours because of a month-long relationship he had while allegedly on duty, court documents show. Allen Rieckhof filed a lawsuit in Orange County Superior Court in June 2011, saying he was improperly suspended from 100 hours of duty because of a relationship he had with a Costa Mesa woman. In legal papers filed on his behalf, Rieckhof said the city did not follow proper protocol in implementing his suspension.
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