Bay Area News Roundup

Bay City News
Student stabbing sentence

A former Berkeley City College student was sentenced today to 12 years in state prison for fatally stabbing University of California at Berkeley student Christopher Wootton near campus six years ago.

The sentencing ends a long legal saga for 27-year-old Andrew Hoeft-Edenfield, who was found guilty of second-degree murder on May 13, 2010, in connection with the death of 21-year-old Christopher Wootton in the early morning hours of May 3, 2008.

Hoeft-Edenfield was sentenced to a term of 16 years to life in state prison, but last year the California Supreme Court, which had
originally upheld his conviction, issued an order to show cause why he shouldn't be entitled to relief based on his allegation that his trial lawyer, Yolanda Huang, failed to provide effective legal assistance.

The matter was sent back to Alameda County Superior Court and on April 29 Judge Larry Goodman, after holding a lengthy hearing, dismissed Hoeft-Edenfield's conviction, ruling that Huang failed to warn him that he could face a life sentence if he didn't accept a manslaughter plea bargain and went to trial and was convicted of murder.

The Alameda County District Attorney's Office had fought hard to convict Hoeft-Edenfield of second-degree murder in his four-month-long trial in 2010.

But on Sept. 9 prosecutors decided not to undergo another lengthy trial and allowed Hoeft-Edenfield to plead no contest to the lesser charge of voluntary manslaughter.

Wootton, who was from Bellflower in Southern California, was only two weeks away from graduating with honors in nuclear engineering when he was stabbed during a confrontation in the parking lot of a sorority house in the 2400 block of Warring Street at about 2:45 a.m. on May 3, 2008.

According to the evidence in Hoeft-Edenfield's trial, the stabbing occurred at the end of a drunken shouting match that developed when Hoeft-Edenfield, who worked at Jamba Juice in Berkeley, and a group of his friends encountered Wootton, who was a member of the nearby Sigma Pi fraternity house, and his friends on a street near campus.

Huang, Hoeft-Edenfield's trial attorney, admitted that he stabbed Wootton but said he acted in self-defense after he was outnumbered, surrounded, kicked and stomped by Wootton and a large group of Wootton's friends.

But Judge Jeffrey Horner, who presided over Hoeft-Edenfield's trial, said that on the night of the incident Hoeft-Edenfield never called police and never claimed self-defense.

Instead, Horner said, Hoeft-Edenfield pulled out a knife, asked Wootton and his friends, "Who wants to die?" and fatally stabbed Wootton.

Hoeft-Edenfield's new attorney, Christopher Dalton, said today that he doesn't think Hoeft-Edenfield committed murder because there were "self-defense elements to the case."

Dalton said Hoeft-Edenfield "spent the last six years thinking he would never get out of prison" but will now be released in about six years after serving the rest of his term for his manslaughter conviction.

Wootton's family members attended all of Hoeft-Edenfield's trial and most of the other hearings in the case but didn't come to court for his sentencing today.

Prosecutor Stacie Pettigrew declined to comment on the case, saying she was busy with another trial, although that trial isn't in session today.


Molestation case retrial

A former Concord schoolteacher who was acquitted of 21 charges of child molestation and nearly acquitted of 95 other charges will be re-tried, the Contra Costa County District Attorney's Office has announced.

Joseph Martin, 46, of Martinez, will again go to trial on charges that he molested multiple former students at Concord's Woodside Elementary School, prosecutors said. The decision to re-try him comes two months after a jury hung over most of the charges against Martin, acquitting him of 21 charges and tilting heavily toward acquittal on 95 additional charges.

The jury voted 9-3 to acquit Martin of charges related to 10 victims and 11-1 to acquit him of charges related to the 11th victim.

However, Deputy District Attorney Derek Butts said, "The numbers don't in and of themselves tell the story."

Butts declined to say whether Martin would be retried on all 95 remaining counts.

He said his discussions with several of the jurors and support from the victims' parents factored into the decision to re-try the defendant.

Martin was initially charged with 150 counts of inappropriately touching male students, including numerous allegations that he fondled their chests underneath their shirts.

The jury heard testimony from the purported victims, most who are now in high school and recalled how the defendant would inappropriately touch them and tell them he loved them both inside and outside of his Woodside Elementary classroom.

Martin's attorney, Patrick Clancy, has said the accusations were a result of "mass hysteria" fueled by baseless rumors and that his client was a dedicated teacher who cared about his students' success.

Clancy called the decision to re-try his client "very unfair" and said the process is "extremely expensive and hard on his family."

Martin, a married father of two, remains in county jail on $10 million bail.

His attorney added that he had never seen a case re-tried after a jury leaned so heavily toward acquittal.

Nonetheless, Clancy said he and his client are ready to go back into the courtroom.

"I seriously doubt there will be many counts or accusers left on the day of trial," he said.

The new trial is set for Nov. 3 or within 10 days of that date and is expected to last six to 10 weeks, according to Butts.


Marijuana manufacturing

State and local law enforcement agencies last Friday arrested two men in the manufacturing of concentrated marijuana in a home in Gilroy and
seized two assault weapons and about $80,000 worth of narcotics, police said.

Members of the Gilroy Police Department's Anti-Crime Team, the state Unified Narcotics Enforcement Team and the Santa Clara County Specialized Enforcement Team served a search warrant at the home in the 7200 block of Alexander Street at 5:45 p.m. Friday, police said.

Inside the residence, agents found about 33 pounds of marijuana, three-quarters of a pound of methamphetamine, a quarter pound of concentrated cannabis, known as honey oil, and a small amount of cocaine, according to police.

The officers also recovered two assault-type rifles and a handgun and located a clandestine honey oil laboratory, where butane gas is used as fuel to heat and produce the oil, police said.

Due to potentially dangerous toxic waste from the laboratory, agents contacted the state Department of Toxic Substances Control to remove the lab equipment and other materials from the property.

One of the two men living at the home, Timothy Morgan, 44, was arrested on suspicion of possessing methamphetamine for sale, having concentrated cannabis for sale, possession of cocaine, possession of illegal firearms and processing or manufacturing concentrated cannabis, police said.

The other resident, Jason Lopes, 34, was arrested on suspicion of possessing illegal firearms and possessing marijuana, according to officers.

The estimated sales value of the drugs seized was about $80,000, police said.


Woman fatally shot in Oakland

A woman was fatally shot early this morning in Oakland's Fruitvale District, according to police.

The shooting was reported at 3:26 a.m. in the 1500 block of 29th Avenue, police said.

Officers arrived and found the woman suffering from a fatal gunshot wound.

Police have announced no arrests and did not provide any description of the suspects or possible motive in the murder.

The woman has not been identified.


Police officer crashes motorcycle

An Oakley police officer is recovering today after suffering serious injuries in a motorcycle crash Wednesday morning, Contra Costa County sheriff's officials said.

The officer was riding his patrol motorcycle around 8:30 a.m. Wednesday conducting traffic enforcement near Brownstone Road and Kessler Lane.

After seeing a traffic violation he activated his motorcycle's emergency lights to conduct a traffic stop and was struck a short time later by a car, according to sheriff's spokesman Jimmy Lee.

Lee did not say whether the driver the officer was attempting to pull over hit was the one who hit him.

The officer was airlifted to a hospital to be treated for his injuries and was later released.

The California Highway Patrol is investigating the collision.


Bicyclists, pedestrians could be charged for GGB access

Charging bicyclists and pedestrians for access to the Golden Gate Bridge's sidewalk is among 45 initiatives the Bridge, Highway and Transportation District's board of directors will consider approving when it meets Friday.

The initiatives are part of the District's 2014 Strategic Financial Plan to eliminate its $142 million five-year deficit and significantly reduce a 10-year deficit projected to be $209.8 million.

Approving the 2014 proposed financial plan is not the approval of any one of the 45 initiatives, District official said. That approval will require further analysis and approval by the board's committee process before it goes to the full board for final approval. Some of the initiatives will require public hearings, District officials said.

Charging pedestrians and bicyclists for sidewalk access are two separate initiatives in the financial plan that will be monitored and updated annually. The plan begins in fiscal year 2015-2016 and ends on June 30, 2025.

Also included among the 45 initiatives is a multi-year bridge toll increase when the current phased-in toll increases end in 2018.

The Golden Gate Bridge, Highway and Transportation District's board will review and discuss the plan Friday. The board will then either alter the plan before taking any action and may defer approving the plan until Nov. 14.


Gang member sentenced

A judge in Monterey County Superior Court sentenced a 22-year-old gang member to 50 years to life in prison Wednesday for the execution-style murder of a pedestrian in Castroville in 2011, a prosecutor said.

Judge Pamela Butler rendered the sentence on defendant Alberto "Trigger" Cortez, of Castroville, from his conviction on first-degree murder, street terrorism, firearm and gang enhancement charges, according to Deputy District Attorney Cristina Johnson.

On May 7, 2011, 24-year-old Jose Calderon Cisneros was walking down Haight Street in front of a residence in Castroville at about 5:45 p.m. when Cortez, a gang member who was a passenger in a vehicle, decided to kill the pedestrian, prosecutors said.

In a video taken from a security camera at the residence and used as evidence by sheriff's deputies, Cisneros is seen holding up his hands in surrender as Cortez shot him repeatedly and continued to fire bullets into Cisneros' head once the victim was on the ground, Johnson said.

Butler remarked during the sentencing hearing in Salinas that the killing was senseless as the victim was merely walking down the street when Cortez opted to shoot him, Johnson said.

Cisneros, found lying on the sidewalk near the intersection of Haight and Salinas streets, was pronounced dead at the scene, according to the sheriff's office.

Deputies used the video of the shooting to identify the vehicle used by the suspects and eventually Cortez and his co-defendant Fernando Miranda, according to the district attorney's office.

Miranda, 26, of Castroville, a gang member with Cortez, drove Cortez to and from the crime scene and served as lookout for Cortez during the shooting, Johnson said.

He was on active parole for a gang-related conviction at the time and sheriff's deputies used records from the GPS bracelet he wore to place him at the scene of the homicide, she said.

Miranda pleaded guilty to charges of voluntary manslaughter and assault with a deadly weapon with gang enhancements and was sentenced by Butler last Friday to 42 years and four months in prison, according to prosecutors.


Men rescued after being stranded off Gualala Point

Three men were rescued by helicopter after their boat capsized and they were stranded in the water off of Gualala Point Wednesday, according to the Sonoma County Sheriff's Office.

The Sonoma County Sheriff's helicopter, Henry 1, along with Coast Life Support, Cal Fire, County Parks and the U.S. Coast Guard were dispatched to the rescue.

The Henry 1 crew arrived at Gualala Point at 2:05 p.m. and found a 12-foot-long rubber inflatable boat capsized about 300 yards off shore near the mouth of the Gualala River, according to the Sonoma County Sheriff's Sgt. Pete Quartarolo.

Three adult men, equipped with only one life jacket, were on top of the boat attempting to paddle with oars while the boat was floating in five- to eight-foot swells outside the surf line, Quartarolo said.

The Henry 1 crew decided to evacuate them from the disabled boat using a 100-foot-long line rescue technique due to the hazardous surf conditions and the lack of personal floatation devices present, according to Quartarolo.

The men were flown one at a time to the beach using a horse collar rescue device, and all three were released from the scene uninjured.

The men, who ranged in age from 34 years to 66 years, said they were fishing from the boat when a "rogue wave" rose over the bow and flipped them over.


Fremont burglar arrested

Video surveillance posted to social media sites effectively led to the arrest of a man suspected of burglarizing a Fremont business earlier this month, police said.

Amador Casteneda, 29, of Hayward, was allegedly seen on film burglarizing computer and video production equipment from a business in the 43100 block of Osgood Road between the hours of 2:46 a.m. and 4:30 a.m. on October 4th, according to Fremont police.

The video was shared by the owner of the business through social media and photos were subsequently shared by Fremont police on Nixle and Facebook, resulting in a tip regarding Casteneda.

Officers followed up on the information and located Casteneda near his residence and took him into custody without incident during a traffic stop, police said.

Detectives recovered the items lost from the commercial burglary in Casteneda's vehicle, while a subsequent search warrant for a storage unit belonging to Casteneda turned up property tracing him to at least nine additional burglaries that have occurred throughout the Bay Area.

Anyone with any information related to this case is asked to call Detective Shawn Decker at (510) 790-6900.


Man shot in Mission District

A man shot another man in the leg during an argument early this morning in San Francisco's Mission District, police said.

Police received a report of the shooting at about 4:15 a.m. near the intersection of 13th and Mission streets in an area beneath the Central Freeway.

According to police, the men were arguing over a campsite location when the suspect brandished a small handgun and shot the other man in the leg.

Following the shooting, the suspect fled the area in an unknown direction, police said.

The 48-year-old victim went to San Francisco General Hospital for treatment of his gunshot wound, which is not considered life-threatening, police said.

The suspect has not yet been located, police said.

Any witnesses or anyone with information about the shooting is urged to contact police at (415) 575-4444, where they can leave tips anonymously.


Grenades found in SF home

At least three training grenades were found in the basement of a home in San Francisco's Noe Valley neighborhood on Wednesday evening, police said.

Police received a call shortly before 6 p.m. from a contractor who reported finding the suspected explosive ordnance devices in the basement of a home in the 1100 block of Sanchez Street near 24th Street.

The Police Department's explosive ordnance disposal experts responded to the home and determined the devices to be training grenades, police said.


Tech company owes back wages

A U.S. Department of Labor investigation found that a Silicon Valley technology company owed more than $40,000 in back wages to several severely underpaid foreign employees.

Electronics for Imaging, also known as EFI, paid as little as $1.21 in Indian rupees to employees brought over temporarily from India to work at the company's U.S. Headquarters, according to U.S. Department of Labor officials.

The employees were technicians flown in from the employer's office in Bangalore, India, to assist with installing the company's network and server during a company headquarters move from Foster City to Fremont in late 2013.

Some of the employees worked as many as 122 hours per week, officials said.

"Business owners need to understand that when they bring employees here to the United States to work, they must pay them in accordance with U.S. labor laws," Susana Blanco, district director for the Department of Labor's Wage and Hour Division said in a statement.

As a result of the investigation, EFI paid a total of $40,156 in back wages and liquidated damages to eight employees for up to two months of work, labor officials said.

The company also paid $3,520 in penalties because of the willful nature of the violations.

The Fair Labor Standards Act requires that covered employees be paid a minimum wage of $7.25 for all hours worked, plus time and one-half of their regular rates for hours worked beyond 40 per week. Employers must also maintain accurate time and payroll records.


Wildfire detection cameras

Four high-tech, remote wildfire detection cameras have been installed on four Marin County peaks, Marin Fire Department Battalion Chief Mike Giannini said this week.

The Marin County Public Works Communications Division and Information Services and Technology Division installed the cameras on Mt. Tamalpais, Mount Barnabe, Big Rock Ridge and Point Reyes Hill over the past week, Giannini said.

The cameras on Mt. Tam and Mt. Barnabe supplement the daytime-only, volunteer-staffed fire lookouts with 24-hour coverage, and the other two cameras will expand coverage on Big Rock Ridge and Point Reyes Hill, Giannini said.

FireSafe MARIN donated the equipment and software and purchased the $207,000 camera system with help from PG&E, Giannini said.

Six fire stations cover 251 square miles of the unincorporated area and nearly 199,000 acres of the State Responsibility Area, and the four ForestWatch cameras developed by Enviro Solutions will expand protection of that area, Giannini said.

The new cameras provide Geographic Information Systems data on a fire's location.

"Marin has a recognized issue with locating fires one they've been reported. The cameras will be another tool in our tool chest to help locate fires when they are most controllable," Deputy Fire Chief Mark Brown said.

The cameras use mathematical algorithms to analyze imagery of the landscape and detect subtle changes caused by smoke, Giannini said. They also are capable of differentiating smoke from fog.

The cameras alert an operator at the fire department's emergency command center in Woodacre who can then rapidly dispatch a response to the precise location of the blaze.

The first few hours of a wild land fire are when most of the devastation occurs, Giannini said. The Oct. 14 fire at Ron's Redwoods near San Geronimo burned for several hours before it was located, Giannini said. Firefighters said the day's damp weather contained the fire to four acres.

Firefighters might not be that lucky with unreported or remote fires on warmer days, but the cameras will help the fires from getting out of control, Giannini said.

Giannini noted the October 1995 Vision Fire near Inverness burned 12,000 acres and 45 homes.


Officer arrested for burglary

Officers arrested a San Francisco man Tuesday suspected of secretly burglarizing members of a senior living apartment facility in San Mateo six separate times, police said.

Eric Gamboa, 37, was arrested at 6 p.m. Tuesday for six alleged counts of felony burglary and elder abuse. He is suspected of repeatedly using spare keys to access people's rooms while working as a maintenance employee at a senior living facility on Crystal Springs Road, according to police.

Investigating officers had met with senior building management who conducted their own investigation into Gamboa's conduct and became suspicious of him.

The building officials' investigations found that Gamboa had in fact used a spare key to enter one of the apartments in the building and steal property.

San Mateo police assumed responsibility for the investigation and determined that Gamboa was responsible for six separate burglaries where he used spare keys to steal jewelry, wristwatches, and cash from people's rooms.

San Mateo police will be conducting an extensive ongoing investigation into this incident in order to identify any and all remaining victims in this case.



Look for increasing clouds tonight followed by rain and gusty winds tomorrow morning. A Wind Advisory is in effect up for the North Bay mountains, Santa Cruz mountains, coastal North Bay and Peninsula coast 3 a.m. to noon Saturday. Cooler weather is in store for the afternoon and evening with showers & a chance of thunder.

Concord 70
Oakland 68
Redwood City 70
San Francisco 68
San Jose 70
Santa Rosa 66

Tonight: Mostly Cloudy
Lows: Mid to Upper 50s
Tomorrow: Windy, Rain to Showers
Highs: Mid 60s

East Bay
Tonight: Turning Mostly Cloudy
Lows: Upper 50s
Tomorrow: Breezy, Rain to Showers
Highs: Mid 60s to Low 70s

East Bay Valleys
Tonight: Increasing Clouds
Lows: Mid to Upper 50s
Tomorrow: Breezy, Rain to Showers
Highs: Upper 60s to Low 70s

North Bay Valleys
Tonight: Mostly Cloudy
Lows: Mid 50s
Tomorrow: Windy, Rain to Showers and Chance of Thunder
Highs: Mid to Upper 60s

Tonight: Turning Mostly Cloudy
Lows: Upper 50s
Tomorrow: Windy, Rain to Showers
Highs: Upper 60s to Low 70s

South Bay
Tonight: Increasing Clouds
Lows: Mid to Upper 50s
Tomorrow: Breezy, Rain to Showers
Highs: Low 70s

Partly Cloudy Sunday.
Highs: Mid 60s to Low 70s
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