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City of Davis
The Davis Police Department recently acquired a $689,000 Mine-Resistant, Ambush-Protected vehicle at no cost from the military, part of a years-old federal program that lets the Defense Department dole out excess military equipment to law enforcement agencies.
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Mariel Garza/ mgarza@sacbee.com
Davis Police Department’s new armored vehicle is stashed on a side of the city yard, out of the public’s view.

After hours of discussion, the Davis City Council on Tuesday night voted to ask staff to return within 60 days with options for the military surplus armored rescue vehicle the police department recently added to their fleet.

They also agreed to meet with the police department to try and determine what type of protective vehicle they would need, and hold a community forum to discuss public safety issues related to active-shooter type incidents. The council also agreed to review the guidelines for acquisitions of such items.

Council member Robb Davis made the motion. He said he sees no way the rescue vehicle would be acceptable for the city. The council voted 4-1, with council member Brett Lee dissenting. Lee argued that the council should take more time to gather information, saying quick decisions have gotten them into difficulties in the past.

Davis police say the armored rescue vehicle is intended not for offensive use, but rather to protect occupants from gunfire and hazards.

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Sacramento Police Department
Lynnsey Evakarla Braun
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Lynnsey Evakaria Braun

The lawyer for Lynnsey Evakarla Braun argued at a preliminary hearing Tuesday that her client fired out of self-defense in the Jan. 23 killing of a man on a light-rail train in downtown Sacramento.

Assistant Public Defender Alice Michel elicited testimony from a Sacramento police detective that the slain man, Eric McCaster, 51, was carrying a whiskey flask that looked like a gun that he kept sheathed in a black holster. McCaster dropped the flask and picked it up off the train floor, and Michel suggested he displayed the object in front of Braun in the minute or so before the shooting, which the attorney said bolstered her client’s claim of self-defense.

“I don’t think that the people established that she did not shoot in reasonable self-defense,” Michel said.

Sacramento Superior Court Judge Lawrence G. Brown, after reviewing pictures of the flask, said “it certainly does look like it would be a gun in a holster,” but he said the case for self-defense was “not so cut and dried.”

Visit the Sacramento Crimemapper to see what's happening in your neighborhood

A federal judge on Tuesday threw out the death penalty of a transient who fatally stabbed a man 33 years ago on a bank of the American River in Sacramento, then fled in the victim’s car.

U.S. District Judge Lawrence K. Karlton adopted the recommendation of a magistrate judge that a lesser sentence be imposed on Larry Junior Webster, unless the Sacramento County District Attorney’s Office initiates a retrial of the penalty phase within 90 days.

“We’re glad the guilt phase was not overturned,” Chief Deputy District Attorney Steve Grippi said. “We will take a hard look at the penalty phase and decide whether we want to retry it.”

U.S. Magistrate Judge Dale A. Drozd had found that Webster, the recipient of a Bronze Star for combat bravery in the Vietnam War, was denied a fair trial in the penalty phase because his counsel was ineffective. Karlton agreed with Drozd that Webster was deprived of his Sixth Amendment right to “effective assistance of counsel” due to his lawyer’s “failure to investigate and present a mitigation case ... to the jury.”

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Sam Stanton/ sstanton@sacbee.com
Terror suspect Nicholas Teausant, 20, speaks to Sacramento Bee reporter Sam Stanton at the Sacramento County jail on Tuesday, Aug. 26, 2014. Teausant is from Lodi and is accused of plotting to travel to Syria to join ISIS.

Late on the night of March 16, as his Amtrak bus approached the Canadian border near Blaine, Wash., Nicholas Teausant says he put his plan into action.

Using a phone given to him by a friend who promised to get Teausant to Syria to join rebel forces there, the 20-year-old Lodi-area man says he sent a text message to a number he had been given, one that was supposed to connect him with someone in Canada who would take care of his travel needs.

The friend “told me that if I get myself out of the country everything will be taken care of, they’ll pay for me to go over there, they’ll give me a gun,” Teausant said during a pair of interviews from the Sacramento County jail, where he has been held since April on a charge that he was trying to join forces with a foreign terror group.

“They’ll give me everything I could possibly want,” Teausant remembered his friend saying. “They’ll take care of my family, and that I can always come back to America when this is over.”

California Earthquake
Ben Margot/AP Photo
An upper corner of the Napa County Courthouse displays structural damage after an earthquake on Sunday, Aug. 24, 2014, in Napa, Calif.
California Earthquake
Ben Margot/AP Photo
A carport is seen collapsed onto vehicles Sunday, Aug. 24, 2014, in Napa, Calif. Officials say an earthquake with a preliminary magnitude of 6.0 has been reported in California's northern San Francisco Bay area.

The Office of the State Fire Marshal restricted use of the Napa County Hall of Justice and Jail Annex after a safety inspection Tuesday morning found that the exterior and interior walls of the building had sustained minor damage in Sunday’s earthquake, county officials reported.

The building is at 1125 Third St. in Napa. Restricted use, commonly referred to as “yellow-tagged,” is for buildings that have been damaged, but the extent of damage does not preclude the building from being occupied, according to a county news release. The facility includes the Hall of Justice, constructed in 1974, and the Jail Annex, built in 1989.

The area has experienced numerous aftershocks since Sunday’s 6.0 earthquake. The U.S. Geological Survey reported a 3.9 aftershock early Tuesday morning about seven miles south of Napa.

“The department continues to provide services that meet required standards for jail operations,” Lenard Vare, director of corrections, said in a written statement. “Inmates are receiving meals, access to showers, and medical and mental health services. The telephone system is in service and inmates are able to reach their loved ones. The safety of staff and inmates is the department’s top priority.”

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Freddie Gladdis/ Davis Enterprise
Daniel William Marsh, right, speaking during a 2013 court appearance, pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity to murder charges associated with the stabbing deaths of an elderly Davis couple.

Yolo County prosecutors preparing for a Davis teenager’s murder trial hurled misconduct accusations Friday against a public defender before a judge admonished lawyers on both sides to avoid personal attacks.

The scrum happened as the two sides moved toward Monday’s start of Daniel William Marsh’s double-murder trial in Yolo Superior Court. The Davis teenager stands accused of stabbing to death Oliver Northup, 87, and Claudia Maupin, 76, in the bedroom of their south Davis condominium in April 2013.

Marsh, 17, has pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity to the killings and remains held in Yolo County juvenile custody. He faces a life sentence if convicted.

Prosecutors charged that Marsh’s attorney, Deputy Public Defender Ronald Johnson, intentionally withheld nearly 500 pages of medical and mental health records related to Marsh along with interviews with Marsh’s family. They called on Yolo Superior Court Judge David Reed to sanction Johnson.

Roseville fire crews and hazardous materials specialists are assessing risks following a fire in a machine at a recycling facility Tuesday morning.

The city fire department responded at 9:14 a.m. to a water flow activation alarm at Sims Recycling Solutions in the 8000 block of Washington Boulevard. When crews arrived, they found a fire inside a machine used to break apart electronics.

Because of complexities involved in accessing the fire and the unknown materials that were burning, the incident was upgraded to a high level hazardous materials incident, according to a fire department news release. Crews from the Sacramento Metropolitan Fire District’s hazmat team were dispatched to assist in assessing the incident.

Officials said the fire was suppressed and contained to the affected machine, and crews were working Tuesday afternoon to assess any risks that might be present. Hazmat specialists monitoring the air quality at the scene have found no risks to the community, according to the news release. There were no reports of injuries to employees of the recycling firm or to firefighters.

A man shot and wounded by a California Highway Patrol officer during a Yolo County traffic stop last week faces arrest on suspicion of possessing a weapon and driving under the influence, a CHP official said Monday.

Heath Austin Nunes, 38, of Lincoln, allegedly drew a gun on officers during a stop around 11:30 p.m. on Aug. 18 between Main Street and County Road 102 near Woodland. Nunes was airlifted to UC Davis Medical Center, where he was hospitalized in critical but stable condition after the incident.

Officer Pedro Leon, a CHP spokesman based in Woodland, said Monday afternoon that authorities plan to arrest Nunes once he is released from the hospital “for possessing the weapon and driving under the influence.”

Leon said that Nunes was transferred last week in stable condition to Sacramento Kaiser Permanente Medical Center, south Sacramento, where he remains hospitalized.

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Sacramento police
Jeffrey Kocher

Sacramento police have arrested a man after he allegedly broke into a business and drove around on a forklift.

Officers responded to a U-Haul business in the 1600 block of El Camino Avenue about 2:30 a.m. Monday for a report of a man riding a forklift on the property after breaking into the business.

Police took Jeffrey Paul Kocher, 40, into custody and booked him into Sacramento County Jail on suspicion of burglary and tampering, breaking or removing parts. Officers believe that Kocher entered the business through the roll-up doors and started the forklift up.

At one point the forklift broke a window on one of the U-haul trucks, police said.

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Google Maps/
The smoke was reported at about 5:30 a.m. Tuesday at a Department of Justice building, 4949 Broadway. Minimal damage was reported.

Smoke from an electrical outlet led to the temporary evacuation of a state building on Broadway early this morning.

The smoke was reported at about 5:30 a.m. Tuesday at a Department of Justice building, 4949 Broadway. Minimal damage was reported.

There were no visible flames, according to a Sacramento Fire Department spokesman.

G3R2S5G29.3Multimedia Photojournalist
Manny Crisostomo/ mcrisostomo@sacbee.com
Defendant Larry Jones, with his attorney, Michael Wise, during the first day of the barbershop murder trial at the Gordon D. Schaber Sacramento County Courthouse in Sacramento, Calif., on Monday, June 19, 2014.
G3R2S5G21.3Multimedia Photojournalist
Manny Crisostomo/mcrisostomo@sacbee.com

Mike Wise’s life changed a little bit last week, when a Sacramento Superior Court jury found his client innocent of all charges in a high-profile murder case.

It’s not like it never happens, but when it does, it can sure light up a defense lawyer’s telephone, just like it did for Wise in the days after the jury acquitted his client, Larry Dean Jones Jr., in the barbershop murder trial.

Wise, 46, is now on a short list of 10 local defense lawyers who have beaten murder charges filed against their clients in more than 150 homicide cases that went to trial in Sacramento over the past five years, according to a Sacramento Bee analysis.

Only one other acquittal came in a similarly high-profile case, when Matthew Scoble, who is now a federal public defender, won a jury’s exoneration of Lang Vue in the shooting death of state correctional officer Steve Lo. Lang Vue’s cousin, Chu Vue, a former Sacramento sheriff’s deputy, and Chu Vue’s two brothers were convicted in the case.

Second-degree murderer Christopher Dunaway, who stabbed a man 23 times when he killed him 20 years ago in southeast Sacramento, has cleared his first hurdle to get out of prison.

At the end of a hearing June 11, a two-member panel of California’s Board of Parole Hearings voted to grant Dunaway his freedom. The decision, however, first must be reviewed by the full parole board before Gov. Jerry Brown upholds or reverses it.

Sacramento District Attorney Jan Scully has urged the governor to keep Dunaway locked up. On Monday, she released a letter she wrote to the governor last week that characterized Dunaway as a callous killer, a liar and as a manipulator who hoodwinked the parole panel.

“It is the strong and considered opinion of this office that the decision to grant parole to inmate Dunaway was wrong, places the public at great risk, and was arrived at through an analysis that focused solely on his youth rather than the cold, calculating and vicious manner in which he committed his crime,” Scully’s letter said.

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