Archive for the ‘District Attorney’ Category

Contra Costa DA won’t charge five suspects in Orinda Halloween shooting deaths, wants more investigation

Monday, November 18th, 2019

Five suspects arrested, not charged and set to be released are Jason Iles, Shamron Mitchell, Devin Williamson, Lebraun Wallace and Jaquez Deshawn Sweeney. Photos by CoCoSheriff.

Suspects are or will be released; Sheriff stands by his department’s investigation.

By Allen Payton

In a news release, this evening, Scott Alonso, the Public Information Officer for Contra Costa District Attorney Diana Becton, wrote, “Today the District Attorney’s Office met with members of the Contra Costa County Office of the Sheriff to review the Orinda Halloween shooting incident. No criminal charges are being filed at this time against any individual. The investigation is ongoing. Anyone with information about the case should call the Sheriff’s Homicide Unit at 925-313-2600.” (See related article)

When reached for comment, Alonso said, “We made the decision about 5:00 p.m. tonight.”

Asked if all five suspects who were arrested would be released, he responded, “That’s my understanding, yes. If they have no holds are on their records, then they will be released, tonight. If there are no charges filed against them. Four are in custody of the Contra Costa Sheriff. One is in custody of the Marin County Sheriff.”

Asked why D.A. Becton chose not to charge any of the suspects, Alonso said, “We have a really high filing standard and we need more information. We are collaboratively working with the Sheriff’s Office to see what else is out there.”

“It’s very complex. We want more witnesses to come forward. There were a lot of people at that party,” he added.

When reached for comment and asked about the suspects, Jimmy Lee, the Director of Public Affairs for the Contra Costa County Office of the Sheriff responded, “They have either been released or are in the process.”

“We stand by our investigation and the arrests were made pursuant to a judge’s order,” he continued. “Although the district attorney may want more investigation done, the persons arrested and responsible for these crimes will ultimately be held to account. The entire investigation is ongoing, as is common in these types of complex cases.”

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County inmates, including former Antioch resident, indicted for attempted murder of fellow inmate

Monday, September 23rd, 2019

By Bobbi Mauler, Contra Costa County District Attorney’s Office

Herald file photo from Antioch Police Department. No photo of Marco Salazar was available.

A Contra Costa County Grand Jury has indicted 23-year-old Brentwood resident, Marco Salazar and 37-year-old Sacramento resident, Joseph Malfitano, a former Antioch resident, for the attempted murder of an inmate at the Martinez Detention Facility. Salazar and Malfitano were also indicted on enhancements for committing that offense for the benefit of a criminal street gang and causing great bodily injury to the victim. Additionally, they were indicted on one count of street terrorism as they were found to actively participate in the gang.

On May 4, 2019, the defendants were involved in a gang related stabbing of a fellow inmate, Edward Nachor, in the neck, in the MDF. The attack was on behalf of the Norteño and Crazy Ass Latinos (CAL) gang. The victim survived the attack but, suffered great bodily injury.

The indictment was unsealed on Monday, Sept. 23, 2019 in Dept. 3 of the county court in Martinez for their arraignment. Bail is set at $2,160,000 for Salazar and Malfitano is being held without bail. Deputy District Attorney Max Laettner is prosecuting the case. DDA Laettner is assigned to the Community Violence Reduction Unit of the DA’s office.

Salazar was arrested in Brentwood in May 2016 for attempted murder after stabbing a man in a grocery store. (See related article). Malfitano was arrested in Antioch in January 2017 for identify theft. (See related article).

Case Information: People v. Salazar & Malfitano Docket Number 05-191623-8.

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Third Human Trafficking Day of Action in East County set for September 19

Wednesday, September 18th, 2019

Training session to be held at the Antioch Police Department

By Scott Alonso, Public Information Officer, Contra Costa County District Attorney

Contra Costa County District Attorney Diana Becton is proud to join Antioch Councilmember Monica Wilson, the Antioch Police Department, the Contra Costa County Family Justice Center, Community Violence Solutions, the Contra Costa Human Trafficking Task Force and the Contra Costa Human Trafficking Coalition in hosting East County’s third Human Trafficking “Day of Action” on September 19, 2019.

Inspired by California State Senate Bill 1193, the Day of Action intends to educate individuals on how to recognize signs of human trafficking and inform them on how they can help prevent it. Members of the business community are encouraged to participate by posting human trafficking awareness signs with resources for victims to reach out to. Our local businesses are the extra eyes of our community and can help significantly in combating the crime of human trafficking in Contra Costa County.

A training session will be presented from 2:00 to 2:30 p.m. at the Antioch Police Department, located at 300 L. Street in Antioch. From there, attendees will form teams and talk with local businesses about putting up posters with resource information for people who may be experiencing forced or coerced labor or commercial sex. The outreach will occur from 2:30 to 4:00 p.m. The public is encouraged to attend and join with law enforcement, city leaders and community organizers to make a difference in our community.

Co-sponsors of the event include Brentwood City Councilmember Karen Rarey, Oakley City Councilmember Sue Higgins and Pittsburg City Councilmember Holland White.

If you or someone you know is being forced to engage in an activity and cannot leave, whether it is commercial sex or labor – call the national Human Trafficking Resource Center at 1-888-373-7888 or text “Be Free” or 233733.

Local resources include Community Violence Solutions and Contra Costa’s Family Justice Centers – with a new location at 3501 Lone Tree Way. Antioch, CA 94509.

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Antioch man, a convicted felon indicted for possession of multiple firearms, machine gun; creating untraceable firearms

Thursday, September 12th, 2019

Illegal guns confiscated from suspect. Photo by APD

By Scott Alonso, Public Information Officer, Contra Costa District Attorney

Earlier this week a Contra Costa grand jury indictment was unsealed with multiple criminal counts against defendant Terry Ferguson, a 34-year-old resident of Antioch. The allegations include possession of a controlled substance with a firearm, possession of a machine gun, and possession of heroin. He also had multiple firearms in his possession. Ferguson allegedly used equipment to create untraceable firearms and converting a firearm into a machine gun. (See related article).

Ferguson was initially charged in a criminal complaint on March 27, 2019. The indictment included multiple charges for his alleged possession of firearms and ammunition as a previously convicted felon. In 2008 and 2014 he was convicted of felonies related to the possession of a controlled substance, child abuse and evading a peace officer while driving in a reckless manner. (See related article).

In March 2019, the Antioch Police Department served a search warrant at Ferguson’s residence. Officers at the scene found multiple firearms and ammunition in the defendant’s possession. The firearms recovered were a SKS rifle, two AR-15 rifles, a handgun with a selector switch, and a Ruger Mark IV .22 caliber pistol.

This week, Ferguson appeared for an arraignment in Department 3 of the Contra Costa County Superior Court before the Honorable Patricia Scanlon. Ferguson pleaded not guilty to the charges alleged in the indictment. Deputy District Attorney Jeffery Kolko is the prosecutor assigned to the case on behalf of the People. DDA Holmes is with our Community Violence Reduction Unit.

Case information: People v. Terry Domino Ferguson, Docket Number 05-191614-7

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Antioch man charged with robbery and carjacking victims while posing as female on multiple apps

Wednesday, July 3rd, 2019

By Scott Alonso, Public Information Officer, Contra Costa District Attorney

Earlier this week, the Contra Costa County District Attorney’s Office charged Hakeem Doeparker of Antioch with multiple felonies including a series of carjackings, attempted extortion, second degree robbery and criminal threats. The criminal complaint filed against Doeparker also alleges multiple enhancements for the defendant’s use of a firearm during the commission of these alleged crimes. Doeparker pleaded not guilty on July 2 to the charges our Office filed against him. He remains in custody and his bail is $787,000.

Doeparker allegedly used female profiles on apps such as Skout and MeetMe! to arrange meetings with unsuspecting male victims. After instructing victims to go to a particular address on Tehachapi Court in Antioch, Doeparker would approach them from behind, point a gun (often with a green laser) at the victim, and threaten to shoot or kill them if they did not hand over either money or their car keys.

The current charges relate to four known victims, with those offenses occurring throughout the month of June 2019. All victims were able to get away unharmed, though the defendant did succeed in taking money and two cars. The cars were later recovered by Antioch police officers near the defendant’s residence.

Doeparker attended Skyline High School in Oakland where he played football and was on the track team, according to his Facebook profile and Athletic.net.

The District Attorney’s office is actively working with Antioch Police Department on the case. The investigation is ongoing, and police believe there may be several additional victims in the Bay Area. Victims and anyone else with information are encouraged to contact Antioch Police Department Detective Adrian Gonzalez at 925-779-6923.

The public is also urged to exercise caution when arranging meetings with unknown persons through various phone apps, as this is increasingly becoming a strategy used to set up unsuspecting victims.

Case information: People v. Hakeem Zimikael Doeparker, Docket Number 04-197157-1

Allen Payton contributed to this report.

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Contra Costa DA receives $1 million grant to initiate its first ever pre-filing youth diversion program

Saturday, June 29th, 2019

By Scott Alonso, Public Information Officer, Contra Costa County District Attorney

Earlier this month, the Board of State and Community Corrections awarded the Contra Costa County District Attorney’s Office $1 million to establish a county-wide juvenile diversion pre-filing program. This diversion program will be the first county-wide program for Contra Costa County and comes on the announcement earlier this spring that our Office was starting a pilot program in Richmond for the fall of 2019. The BSCC grant will enable the pilot program in Richmond to be expanded and eventually taken county-wide.

The District Attorney’s Office joins the Contra Costa County Department of Probation, the RYSE Youth center, and Impact Justice to initiate a restorative justice program that will redirect youth from the juvenile and criminal justice system over a period of four years. The program will work with young people who have committed crimes and bring them together with those they have impacted in the community in order to atone for damages made and rebuild relationships.

“I am proud to have this program for the first-time ever in our county’s history. Our Office has a crucial role to play in reducing the pipeline into the juvenile justice system while at the same time reducing disparities in the entire criminal justice system. We have to invest in our youth to ensure they have other opportunities in their lives,” said District Attorney Diana Becton.

With the help of RYSE, the program hopes to lower recidivism rates, increase victim satisfaction, improve the youths’ relationships with their families, and lower incarceration and probation costs. Youth will learn about accountability and healing, as well as, how to establish trusting relationships with adults and authority figures. During the restorative justice process, RYSE will provide the victim and the youth offender with wrap-around services along with a facilitator for each person involved in the case.

By providing troubled youths with more resources and opportunities, Contra Costa hopes to divert up to 230 youths away from the juvenile justice system. A similar program in the Bay Area proved to be successful. Alameda County’s restorative justice program was remarkably successful as recidivism rates decreased; youths who participated in the program were 44 percent less likely to recidivate compared to similarly situated probation youth. The program carries a one-time cost of $4,500 per case while probation costs $23,000 per year and incarceration costs nearly $500,000 annually.

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Operation Broken Heart results in child exploitation arrests in county, two in Antioch

Monday, June 24th, 2019

By Scott Alonso, Public Information Officer, Contra Costa County District Attorney

Investigators with the Contra Costa County Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force recently participated in Operation Broken Heart, a nationwide effort to investigate technology facilitated crimes against children, including those who receive and distribute child pornography. Throughout April and May, the team conducted investigations of subjects who distributed child pornography over the internet and focused on individuals traveling to Contra Costa County to meet minors to engage in sexual activity.

In addition to the proactive investigations the ICAC team participated in, a significant school outreach program was also undertaken to teach parents and student about the risks associated with smartphones and social media. During the last year, investigators and prosecutors delivered presentations at multiple schools and community organizations, reaching thousands of parents, students and educators.

Some notable arrests and investigations conducted during Operation Broken Heart include:

-On April 11, 2019, Investigators arrested Gerald Jue of Danville, California. During the investigation, investigators learned Jue was accessing the internet and searching for child pornography. Jue is a third and fourth grade teacher in the Fremont School District. When a search warrant was served at Jue’s residence, a computer was seized that contained evidence of Jue’s internet searches as well as web pages containing child pornography. Jue was indicted by a federal Grand Jury in Oakland, Ca on June 6, 2019 and arrested on June 7, 2019. He was subsequently released on bond and is awaiting trial. This case was investigated by the ICAC Task Force and the United States Secret Service.

-On May 2, 2019, investigators arrested Sonny Mitchell, a registered sex offender from Antioch, California. During the course of the two-month investigation, it was discovered that Mitchell was distributing child pornography via the Facebook Messenger platform. When a search warrant was executed at Mitchell’s residence, investigators seized a device that contained additional images of child pornography. Mitchell was indicted by a federal Grand Jury in Oakland, California on May 9, 2019 and remains in custody. This case was investigated by the ICAC Task Force and the United States Secret Service.

-On May 3, 2019, investigators arrested William Cashell of Walnut Creek, California. In April 2019, Yahoo sent tips to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children when child pornography was found in Cashell’s e-mail account. During a warrant at Cashell’s apartment, investigators located an iPhone which was later determined to contain images of child pornography. Cashell’s is charged with one count of possession of child pornography by the Contra Costa County District Attorney’s Office and a warrant has been issued for his arrest. This case was investigated by the Contra Costa County Sheriff’s Office and the ICAC Task Force.

-On May 16, 2019, investigators executed a search warrant in the 2400 block of L Street in Antioch related to a child pornography possession investigation. ICAC Investigators found evidence the suspect, Henry Cordon, a 34-year-old resident of Antioch, California and formally of Orange Park, Florida, kept images of child pornography stored in his various e-mail accounts. Additionally, during the search warrant Cordon confessed to sexually assaulting a child under the age of ten in 2009 while living in Orange Park, Florida. Cordon produced at least one image of the sexual assault of that child. Cordon was indicted by a federal Grand Jury in Oakland, California on May 30, 2019 for Receipt and Possession of Child Pornography. Cordon remains in custody and is currently under investigation in both California and Florida for other offenses related to crimes against children. This case was investigated by the Contra Costa County Sheriff’s Office, the ICAC Task Force and Homeland Security Investigations.

The Silicon Valley Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force is managed by the San Jose Police Department. In Contra Costa County, detectives and investigators from the Walnut Creek, Concord and Moraga Police Departments, the Contra Costa County Sheriff’s Office, Contra Costa County Probation Department and Contra Costa County District Attorney’s Office participate in the task force along with Special Agents from the United States Department of Homeland Security and the United States Secret Service.

Parents are encouraged to discuss online safety with their children and can visit the website www.kidsmartz.org for further information. If you believe your school or community organization would benefit from a smartphone and social media awareness presentation, please contact Senior Inspector Darryl Holcombe at dholcombe@contracostada.org.

 

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Contra Costa DA files Grand Jury Accusation against County Assessor Kramer for “willful or corrupt misconduct”

Wednesday, June 5th, 2019

Gus Kramer from the County Assessor’s webpage.

Kramer welcomes opportunity to face his accusers

By Scott Alonso, Public Information Officer, Contra Costa District Attorney

Today, Wed., June 5, 2019 the Contra Costa County District Attorney Office’s filed a Grand Jury Accusation against Contra Costa County Assessor Gus Kramer for “willful or corrupt” misconduct while serving as the county’s elected assessor (Government Code §§ 3060 et seq). Contra Costa County’s Civil Grand Jury asserts that the defendant violated state law in creating a hostile work environment for multiple employees in the Assessor’s Office. Due to state law, our Office must accept, serve and file the accusation against the defendant. If a jury finds Mr. Kramer violated the law and if he is convicted, he will be removed from his position as the county’s elected assessor.

The Accusation alleges misconduct by Kramer which occurred from December 2013 through 2019. The Grand Jury Accusation alleges that Mr. Kramer made sexual comments towards female employees and his disparaging remarks targeted one of the victim’s ethnicity. The Civil Grand Jury found this alleged conduct was “hostile or abusive” against four employees. As a result, the Civil Grand Jury through its investigation found that this conduct by Mr. Kramer created a hostile work environment for his employees and is therefore a violation of the Fair Housing and Employment Act.

Due to the sensitive nature of the allegations and to protect the privacy of the victims we will not be releasing any of their names.

Earlier this morning Senior Deputy District Attorney Christopher Walpole presented the filing before Contra Costa County Superior Court Judge Theresa Canepa in Department 35. Our Office was not involved and did not participate in the investigation by the Civil Grand Jury. The District Attorney requested a judicial hearing to determine if the Office will be recused from the remainder of this proceeding.

The foreperson for the 2018-2019 Grand Jury is Richard S. Nakano. State law lists the requirements for the Civil Grand Jury and District Attorney’s Office to process an accusation against a public official.

UPDATE: When reached for comment Kramer stated, “I welcome the opportunity to face my accusers after all these years of these behind doors accusations. When the facts come out, I have had not one, I have had not two, but I have had three independent investigations done by the county and I have been exonerated for sexual harassment, hostile work environment, and retaliation.”

“The sad part in all of this, the Grand Jury Foreman refused to hear my witnesses who would have refuted their claims. Worse he refused to give me the time I requested to present my side. They gave me two hours. I requested eight hours. The other side had more than 10 hours. Nor did he share all the information I provided him” he continued.” “The Grand Jury Foreman is guilty of obstruction of justice.”

When this is all over, the East Bay Times, the Board of Supervisors and their appointees on the Grand Jury are going to be ashamed of themselves for the unwarranted prosecution and persecution of the County Assessor,” Kramer stated. “The saddest part of this is corruption in government is alive and well on our Board of Supervisors.”

Allen Payton contributed to this report.

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