Archives : 2007 : November
Sacramento: A twenty-seven year-old woman from Sacramento with involvement in an identity theft operation has been given a sentence of twenty-seven months in a federal prison.
For the crimes of Conspiracy to Commit Bank Fraud and Possession of Stolen Mail, Michelle T. Rodriguez received a twenty-seven month sentence in federal prison. According to the District Attorney’s Office, in addition to the prison time, Rodriguez is to complete three years of supervised release, pay $200 in fines, and could potentially be forced to pay restitution.
Fake IDs Used to Steal Bank Account Information
Using bank account information from other people, Rodriguez conspired with unnamed perpetrators to manufacture checks. Authorities do have the name of the individual that allegedly helped Rodriguez obtain and steal identification and bank account information by taking other peoples’ mail, thirty-five year old Curtis Martinez of Carmichael. Rodriguez and Martinez allegedly created multiple fraudulent driver’s licenses to be able to use the stolen bank account information to cash the checks they were manufacturing.
Over 50 Victims of ID Theft in the Case
Currently, Martinez’s case and charges are still pending. Considering the fact that there are over fifty victims of this ID theft scheme, Martinez could be given a hefty prison sentence like the one given to Rodriguez.
Livingston, Merced County: Five people have been arrested for their involvement in the murder of Rosa Avila, a woman from Livingston who was allegedly killed over $750 worth of illegal drugs.
Violent Crime Related to Drugs
Four people are being charged with murder, while one other is charged as an accessory in the October 24th murder in which Avina was brutally killed by being bound, gagged, and burned alive. It is presumed that the woman was killed out of revenge for a prior incident where Avila stole marijuana and 1/8 of an ounce of methamphetamine. According to Merced County Sheriff Mark Pazin, the victim was persuaded to go to a house in Turlock where perpetrators orchestrated a false home invasion. Avila was then tied up and restrained, then transported to a remote location on South Avenue in Ballico, where she was covered in flammable liquid and set on fire.
Avina survived the flames and almost walked a full mile before losing consciousness. Tragically, she passed away 48 hours later at Santa Clara Valley Medical Center’s burn unit. Pazin also claims that Avina had met her attackers only a few short weeks before her murder, but the act of stealing from these drug traffickers was enough to want her killed.
Drug Traffickers Charged with Multiple Crimes
Alvaro Montanez Reyes, Omar Cebrero, Luis Valencia, and Urbano Ortega were all charged with First Degree Murder, Torture, Kidnapping, Mayhem, and Criminal Conspiracy for alleged involvement in Avila’s brutal homicide. Renulfo Ortega, the fifth man, is charged with Criminal Conspiracy and Accessory to murder. Authorities have labeled these five men as participants involved in a mid-level narcotics trafficking organization that lacks central leadership.
Pazin claims that the home invasion was planned to simply get Avila out of the area and kidnap her. This process points to a premeditated plan to take the life of Rosa Avila. The increasing drug trade that can be seen in Merced County is making its way into other areas, such as Stanislaus County and even Fresno. Avila’s murder is one of a few cases in the area as of recent in which the victim was set on fire.
In trying to help Police investigators link his brother to a 1983 rape and murder case of a Campbell teen, David Pearman voluntarily submitted a DNA sample. However, detectives quickly changed their focus when Pearman’s DNA sample connected him to a crime unrelated to his brother’s; Pearman’s DNA sample connected him to the rape of an 81 year-old woman from San Jose.
Both Brothers Now Facing Possible Life in Prison Sentences
Currently, both brothers face charges that could sentence them to life in prison. The brothers reside in Santa Clara County men’s jail, without the option of bail. David Tomkins, an Assistant District Attorney, says that authorities were “lucky” to have embarked on this chain of events that led to the identification of Pearman as a suspect in the case of an elderly woman being raped in 2001, unrelated to the crime to which his brother is a suspect.
46 year-old David Pearman, a.k.a. David Leonard Holland, was taken into custody and arraigned on charges related to the 2001 rape case. Pearman also has a prior felony record for Burglary. Police investigators are claiming that the voluntary DNA sample that he contributed matches that of a sample taken from the scene of the crime of the 2001 rape of an 81 year-old woman. If it weren’t for the investigation into his 53 year-old brother on an unrelated case, Police would likely have never been able to link evidence from the 2001 crime scene to Pearman. According to Tomkins, Pearman would have gotten away with this crime if authorities in the “cold case” division hadn’t been investigating Christopher Melvin Holland (Pearman’s brother) in connection with the murder of a 17 year-old.
Details of the 1983 Rape and Murder Case
The murdered 17 year-old, Cynthia Munoz, was found partially naked and stabbed to death in her Campbell home more than 24 years ago. During those 24 years that passed, Police had leads in the case but lacked sufficient evidence to bring charges against a potential suspect. However, earlier this year investigator Michael Schembri began to focus on the Munoz murder and found out that a friend of Christopher Holland bragged that he and Holland raped and murdered the 17 year-old girl in the course of a robbery for narcotics. Just as Schembri was looking further into Holland’s involvement, he was nowhere to be found. When authorities realized that they had a semen sample from the Munoz rape/murder, they located Holland’s two brothers and asked them to give DNA samples in hopes of finding a link.
The sample from David Pearman’s brother Kenneth Holland was enough to charge Christopher Holland in Munoz’s murder, showing a link close enough to determine that it is “possible but highly improbable” that anyone but one of the Holland’s committed the crime. This provided ample evidence to put out a warrant for Christopher Holland’s arrest; Holland was arrested after police received a tip that he was hiding out in a San Jose apartment.
DNA Sample Revealed Surprises
Although police had all the evidence they needed from Kenneth Holland’s DNA sample, David Pearman’s DNA sample revealed some surprises. While Pearman and Christopher Holland are only half-brothers, making Pearman’s sample useless in the Munoz case, the procedure of entering his sample into a computer database alerted authorities to its match with the evidence taken in the 2001 rape case of the elderly woman.
Authorities now believe that they have enough evidence to charge Pearman with Burglary, Rape, and Forcible Oral Copulation. This case would have never been solved if it weren’t for the voluntary DNA sample provided in an unrelated case in which his half-brother was the prime suspect.
The San Jose Police Department has taken five runaway teens into custody in connection with a recent downtown area crime spree. One male and four females are accused of at least five incidents of assaulting, attacking, and robbing money from downtown victims in broad daylight.
Runaway Teens Survive on Robbery Money
The teenagers, three 15 year-olds, one 16 year-old and a 17 year-old, allegedly act as a group to overwhelm their victims and rob them of their money. Authorities say that all of the teenagers are runaways from the East Bay who fled group and family homes. The group would survive with the money they robbed from people, staying in motels at night. The teens have even gone as far as robbing two people in the same day.
According to Police, the first incident in the robbery spree took place on the morning of November 4th when all four girls in the group approached two other women near East William and Seventh streets. The two women were knocked to the ground, battered, and had their wallets taken from them by the four runaway girls. Another incident took place on November 7th, when three of the teenage girls assaulted a woman near Sunol Street and made her go to a nearby ATM, withdraw cash for them, and quickly fled the scene. An hour or so after this incident, the same group of three of the teen girls assaulted another woman and demanded her purse; the woman refused, tried to run away, only to be chased, beaten and robbed by the teenage girls. Police said that this particular attack was quite violent.
Bystanders Help Police Capture Teen Robbers
The group of teens did not attack only women. As a complete group of five, the teens attacked two men, beat them to the ground, and stole their wallets before all fled the scene. The most current incident in this crime spree was one in which three of the females and the sole male robbed another woman for her purse, this time striking her from behind without notice. After this incident, some bystanders called 911 and helped Police find the five teens.
Police Asking Other Victims to Come Forward
Upon investigating the robbery spree, Police believe that the teens were committing crimes in a different manner than the crude “hit and run” manner that they used. Police hypothesize that in some unreported incidents, the teen girls would pose as prostitutes, luring men to them before they beat and robbed them for their money.
At this point, Police are hoping that any victims of these robberies come forward to help them build their case against the runaway teens.
Bakersfield: A Prosecutor for the Kern County District Attorney’s office by the name of Andrea Kohler was taken into custody at a casino in Santa Barbara County. County Sheriffs say that she was arrested on suspicion of Battery on October 20th; her husband was arrested for the same charge. Neither individual was taken into custody. The report from Santa Barbara County Sheriff Office claims that Kohler and her husband got into an altercation with casino security personnel in which biting and scratching allegedly took place.
Kern County District Attorney Arrested
Forty-three year old Kohler is a Deputy District Attorney that oversees the Prison Crimes Unit. She was a prosecutor in the infamous 2006 Bruce Sons murder trial; ironically, Kohler is set to appear to the same court in Santa Maria where she participated in the Sons Trial.
Kohler and her husband were at the Chumash Casino in Santa Ynez, where the incident took place, celebrating after attending the wedding ceremony of one of her colleagues at the District Attorney’s office. According to Sergeant Erik Raney of the Santa Barbara Sheriff, a small confrontation between the Kohler couple and security for the casino lead the incident to become more serious. The Sheriff’s report claims that Andrea Kohler’s husband, Gregory Kohler, was intoxicated and exiting the casino when he intentionally kicked a sliding glass door, knocking it off its tracks. When security guards flocked to see what happened, Gregory Kohler was allegedly highly confrontational and maliciously backed one of the guards into a space where he was prevented from walking away. Andrea Kohler walked up as the incident was taking place just as other guards approached.
Husband and Wife Charged with Misdemeanors
Upon the attempt to detain the Kohlers, it is alleged that Gregory Kohler bit one of the security guards and Andrea Kohler scratched another on the neck. The entire altercation was recorded with the casino’s surveillance camera system. Both were cited for Misdemeanor Battery at the scene and allowed to go free. No formal charges have been filed at this point, but both Mr. and Mrs. Kohler are supposed to appear in a Santa Maria courthouse on November 15th.
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