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Stories by Eva Knott

Texts and death in Oceanside

Messages of love...and death

In 2006, when he was 17, Arturo Salazar came north from Oaxaca, Mexico. He attended El Camino High School in Oceanside where he met 15-year-old Edith Garcia. “She was the woman that I loved from ...

Head of Schools for military academy hopes for a technicality

Attorney for Jeffrey Barton will move to dismiss case

Jeffrey S. Barton was brought into a San Diego Superior Courtroom yesterday, December 15, handcuffed and wearing black-framed eyeglasses, where he pleaded not guilty to 23 counts of felony child abuse. Barton turned 57 years ...

Valley Center man pleads not guilty to making false bomb report

Frits Versteegh made first court appearance

An elderly Valley Center man accused of threatening to bomb SDG&E trucks was briefly in court this morning, December 12. Frits Versteegh, 75, pleaded not guilty to making a false bomb report, charged as a ...

Defendants in torture-murder case avoid death penalty

Persons accused in Brittany Killgore's death might face life without parole.

The possibility of the death penalty was removed from three defendants, Louis Perez, 48, Jessica Lopez, 27, and Dorothy Maraglino, 39, who learned during a hearing today that the maximum penalty they might face will ...

Chinchilla rancher Lurlie Adams passes away

"Borrowed time" runs out for elderly woman suing PETA for false claims

“She’s 90 years old. That right there seems good enough to me. You know, she’s on borrowed time if you look at statistics. So, I am concerned about having this case drag on.” A superior ...

Disgruntled and cooperative

Elderly Valley Center man allegedly threatened to bomb SDG&E

Deputies say they arrested 75-year-old Frits Versteegh late on December 4, after he reportedly sent a bomb threat by email to a news station’s website. In a press release, a San Diego County sheriff’s spokesman ...

They say Lil Vampy did the shooting

Hearing held for alleged murderers of John Fernandez

Luis Antonio Trujillo, 34, Donnie Jack Massett, 32, and Elaina Lynn Paramore, 32, are all charged with murder for benefit of a street gang in connection with a killing in 2011. There was a hearing ...

Young gangster wastes life

“The lengthy prison term is for defendants just like Mr. Flores.”

Fallbrook gang member Christopher Flores was convicted of attempted murder and sentenced to 30 years to life plus another 20 years in state prison on Monday, December 1. The total years were compounded because of ...

Former cop to go on trial again

Technicality overturns manslaughter conviction for fatal crash

Fifty-three-year-old Katherine Ann Heinzel, a former cop who was convicted of gross vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated, is due in San Diego Superior Court again on Monday, November 24. Heinzel is said to have been a ...

Life in prison? "I didn't plan this."

Destin Withers sentenced to life for murder of Mayorama Rodriguez

“There was never anything pre-meditated to murder this girl — I was driving the vehicle when this happened,” said Destin Lee Withers, 38, before he was sentenced to life in prison on November 18. The ...

Later, gangster

Thug guilty of killing a dad while young son tried pulling him away

Rene Sanchez, now 23 years old, was found guilty of shooting a man to death at a Halloween party in Escondido seven years ago; the verdict was announced late yesterday, November 19. Sanchez was 16 ...

Everyday meth snorter at age 13

With multiple convictions behind him, Gregory Smith gets another chance

Vista resident Gregory Dwight Smith, 47, was given credit for time already served and ordered into three years of formal probation in San Diego Superior Court on November 13. Smith began his criminal history when ...

No medical miracle in Valley Center

Robert Young, not a physician, accused of fake cancer cures

On November 5, Robert Oldham Young of Valley Center was ordered to face six felony charges, including practicing medicine without a license and grand theft by fraud at the end of a three-week preliminary hearing. ...

Life plus 25 years for 20-year-old

Convicted for shooting fellow gangster who wanted out

A 20-year-old Fallbrook gangster was sentenced to life in prison, plus 25 years, in San Diego Superior Court on November 7. Judge Blaine Bowman spoke to Sergio Huerta Ramirez, telling him to notice that none ...

Maybe crazy, but not insane

Bryan Chang declared sane at the time he killed his mother

After Bryan Chang admitted killing his mother, four years later, the question became: was he crazy when he killed her? This morning, November 6, after a three-week trial, a jury declared that Chang was sane ...

Solana Beach horror story continues

Bryan Chang did things too gruesome to include in a headline (warning)

In the second week of a sanity trial for admitted murderer Bryan Chang, 33, jurors heard testimony from the doctor who performed the autopsy on his mother, a computer expert who gathered email evidence, and ...

"This case is as serious as it gets"

Former Army Navy Academy administrator faces 23 child-abuse charges

The attorney for 56-year-old Jeffrey Barton, former administrator at the Army Navy Academy in Carlsbad, abruptly cancelled a bail hearing on Friday, October 24, immediately after a judge said he would allow news cameras to ...

"She was killed in a frenzy"

Vista man who used shopping cart to dump body found guilty

A man accused of wheeling his deceased girlfriend down the street in a shopping cart to dump her body near a trash bin was found guilty of first-degree murder this week. Kirk Leon Stapleton, 54, ...

A bona fide chinchilla rescue, asserts PETA

Animal-rights group says Vista breeder’s methods were cruel

An attorney in Virginia who stated that he represented PETA for more than 30 years, Philip J. Hirschkop, responded to questions about a multimillion-dollar civil suit filed in San Diego County last week by attorneys ...

Dueling sanity experts expected

Bryan Chang used a hammer to kill his mother, attorneys say

The young man had delusions that his mother was “destroying him” so he had to “destroy her,” according to a defense attorney who spoke at the beginning of a sanity-murder-trial yesterday afternoon, October 21. Bryan ...

Former chinchilla rancher sues PETA for millions

Foundation portrayed Lurlie Adams in a "false light," say attorneys

Two attorneys for an elderly Vista woman who filed a lawsuit claiming defamation and one attorney responding for the PETA Foundation were in court today, October 16. The attorneys for Lurlie Adams, who sold her ...

Long's tales

Dennis Long took more than $1 million from churchgoers, prosecutor says

New details about a million-dollar scam perpetrated by a Carlsbad man will be revealed at a preliminary hearing early next year, according to a statement by prosecutor Anna Winn on October 14. Dennis Eugene Long, ...

Can’t leave the country, can’t go to L.A.

Julie Harper faces trial again, accused of second-degree murder

Even though a jury acquitted her of first-degree murder at the end of a trial two weeks ago, Carlsbad housewife Julie Harper could still face the possibility of 40 years in prison if she is ...

Death for all three of them?

Alleged murderers of Brittany Killgore could face ultimate penalty

Louis Ray Perez, 48, Dorothy Gracemarie Maraglino, 39, and Jessica Lynn Lopez, 27, were all in court on Friday, October 10. The defendants deny all accusations pertaining to the kidnapping, torturing, and murder of a ...

Who did it then, Frank?

Escondido man denies hammer and knife attack on wife last month

Frank Brauns, 43, denies hammering and stabbing his wife after an argument two weeks ago in Escondido. On October 7, he was listening to testimony against him at a preliminary hearing in San Diego Superior ...

Someone pleads guilty to first-degree murder

Brian Chang admits killing his mother in Solana Beach in 2010

This morning, October 7, in San Diego Superior Court, a Los Angeles man admitted murdering his mother in her million-dollar Solana Beach home nearly five years ago. Brian Chang, now 33, pleaded guilty to first-degree ...

No, the prosecution will not rest

Accused murderer Diego Martinez faces new charges in Oceanside shooting

Diego Arturo Martinez, who was acquitted of murder and attempted murder at the end of a trial three months ago, had new charges filed against him in court on Tuesday, September 30. During a three-week ...

Don’t kill your annoying brother

San Marcos incident yields six years in prison for big bro

Michael Vincent Young, 57, was sentenced to six years prison on September 30 for killing his brother Robb “without malice.” Young told investigators that tension had been building for a long time between he and ...

Julie Harper not guilty of first-degree murder

Jurors deadlocked on lesser homicide charges

Julie Harper was declared not guilty of first-degree murder in the shooting death of her husband Jason, in court today, October 1, 2014. The defendant’s parents, John and Donna Cihak, were in the courtroom to ...

Her husband, the rapist

Julie Harper claims she shot him before he could attack her again

Forty-one-year-old accused murderer Julie Harper was in the witness box all day yesterday, September 24. She said she began the morning of August 7, 2012, with another argument with her husband; he was angry, she ...

Justice for mom found dead in bed

Conservatorship required for young man accused of matricide

After a court hearing on September 19, it was concluded that 29-year-old David Leroy Lucero, arrested on suspicion of killing his mother more than four years ago, should be confined to a psychiatric hospital. “The ...

A derringer for my daughter

John Cihak testifies in Julie Harper’s murder trial

The father of accused murderer Julie Harper said it was “the worst day of my life” when his daughter showed up to his office and told him that she had shot her husband. “She said, ...

He's dead. "Good good good good!”

Mother-in-law admits reloading to kill son-in-law

Four neighbors testified that they heard gunshots at about 8 a.m. the morning of February 11, 2014, in a quiet residential area of Fallbrook. One of the 911 calls was played in court on September ...

Pistol-packing housewife

“She couldn’t take it anymore.”

Julie Harper killed her husband Jason with a two-shot derringer that her father had given her for self-protection when she was going to college in the 1990s, according to her attorney who spoke to jurors ...

Julie Harper may claim self-defense

Jury selection for Carlsbad murder trial set for next week

In court on September 3, there were many hints that a Carlsbad housewife accused of murder would take the witness box in her own defense during her upcoming trial. Julie Elizabeth Harper, now 41, is ...

Killer of the mother of his children

Arturo Salazar sentenced to 26 years to life

An Oceanside man who murdered the mother of his two children and then hid her body under the bed was sentenced to 26 years to life in prison today, August 26. Last month, a jury ...

Rum and hammer

Rummed-up son abused his parents

“They just said you’re not allowed to drink around us, so I just said, ‘Fine,’” Greg Foley recalled. “I just didn’t let them know that I was drinking because it would upset them.” He just ...

Pumpkin patch blooms at Bates

Free family fun in Valley Center

There are many bright blooms and small, pale pumpkins underneath the broad leaves of the pumpkin plants on the 100-acre Bates Nut Farm in August. On a recent weekend, a man who identified himself as ...

Serrato's legal hotspot cools

Charges dismissed against man accused of re-igniting California wildfire

Arson charges against Alberto Serrato, 57, were dismissed in San Diego Superior Court on August 13. Serrato had been accused of re-igniting a brush fire three months ago, while fires raged across North County. Serrato, ...

Trial for Los Angeles man accused of killing mom in Solana Beach to begin

Jury selection will begin next week in San Diego Superior Court.

A Los Angeles man accused of beating his mother to death in her million-dollar Solana Beach home more than four years ago is set to go on trial this month. Potential jurors are expected to ...

All the girls were ripping

Oceanside's 2014 Supergirl Pro showcased local and international surf talent

“All the girls were ripping,” said 24-year-old Sara Taylor, who won her round during the first day of the 2014 Supergirl Pro, a three-day all-women’s surf competition in Oceanside on August 8, 2014. Taylor, who ...

Nephew testifies for accused arsonist

“After they took uncle to court, I drunk his beer.”

“I called my uncle Albert up, said, ‘Hey, there’s a fire over here, come check it out,’” Fernando Juarez testified for the defense during the trial of his uncle, Alberto Beltran Serrato, on August 6. ...

Like a Boy Scout

Accused of arson, suspect says he was throwing dirt on a fire

Two Oceanside police officers testified during a trial today, August 5, that they saw a man put handfuls of dry brush onto a smoldering spot, twice, until the area re-ignited into flame. “I still remember ...

Only Bloods in their streets

Beaten, stomped, stabbed, and left for dead in Oceanside

Two reputed gang members, Roland Isaac Seau, 24, and David Lemoe Tua, 31, were ordered to face murder and attempted-murder charges after a multi-day hearing that ended late on Thursday, July 31. Both Seau and ...

Bad son

Oceanside man on trial for allegedly attacking parents

Gregory Dale Foley, 56, pleads not-guilty to the attempted murder of his 81-year-old mother and cruelty to his 86-year-old father, in a trial that began yesterday, July 29, 2014. The prosecutor played a chilling 911 ...

Not going to stick up for evil no more

Sergio Ramirez denies trying to kill his homie who wanted out of “the life”

Testimony began on July 17 in a trial for a man who admits being a street hood for the Varrio Fallbrook Locos gang. Some witnesses have been so fearful that they suffered almost complete memory ...

Pistol-packing grandma?

Alleged murderer of son-in-law has mental competency questioned

Legal proceedings against a 63-year-old woman accused of reloading her five-shot revolver twice to finish killing her son-in-law were put on hold today, July 8. The attorney for Cynthia Kaye Cdebaca asked for the case ...

Libby Lake mayhem

Justice sought for multiple gunshot victims

A subpoenaed witness who refused to testify on July 7 was handcuffed and taken into custody at the start of a hearing in which four young men are accused of a double murder in connection ...

Not guilty, but still jailed

Oceanside man who admitted double shooting is acquitted

On July 1, court observers were stunned when a jury declared an Oceanside man not guilty of two charges, even though the defendant took the witness box and admitted shooting two persons. The jury foreman ...

Cop-tosser gets a year in the clink

Vista gang member threw female deputy to the ground, so she shot him

A Vista man who admitted felony assault on a deputy — during a confrontation more than a year ago in which he ended up with a bullet in his chest — was sentenced to time ...

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