LOS ANGELES (Reuters) – Fire crews in California battled on Tuesday to halt the advance of a day-old wildfire that has already destroyed about 150 homes, lapped at rural schools and caused power outages that left an evacuation shelter without electricity, authorities said.
The blaze, one of about a dozen major fires raging across the drought-parched state, prompted authorities to order the evacuation of about 1,000 households in and around the Northern California town of Weed, which has a population of about 3,000.
(Reuters) – A private autopsy has found a 22-year-old black man shot dead by police in Utah was fired at from behind six times, said a lawyer for the man’s family. Authorities say the man was shot dead when he lunged at officers with a sword.
The fatal shooting of Darrien Hunt in Saratoga Springs last Wednesday has raised tensions in the mostly white, fast-growing community 30 miles south of Salt Lake City.
LOS ANGELES (Reuters) – California state Senator Roderick Wright plans to resign from office later this month following a perjury and voter fraud conviction that saw him sentenced to 90 days in jail, he said in a letter sent on Monday.
Wright, who was convicted in January of lying about whether he lived in the district he sought to represent, was the first of three California Senate Democrats to face criminal proceedings this year. This effectively cost the party a cherished two-thirds majority in the California Senate.
LOS ANGELES (Reuters) – Songwriter Bob Crewe, who co-wrote such hits as “Can’t Take My Eyes Off You” and “Walk Like a Man” and played a key behind-the- scenes role in the rise to stardom of the Four Seasons pop group, has died at age 83, his brother said on Saturday.
Crewe died on Thursday at a nursing home in Scarborough, Maine, succumbing to complications from a fall he suffered about four years ago, said his brother and former business partner, Dan Crewe.
LOS ANGELES (Reuters) – A psychology professor from Europe accused of murder in the 1995 stabbing death of a man who she says raped her pleaded guilty to a lesser charge on Friday in Southern California, and prosecutors said she has agreed to testify against others involved in the killing.
Norma Patricia Esparza, 40, who grew up in Southern California, pleaded guilty to voluntary manslaughter and is expected to be sentenced to six years in prison, the Orange County District Attorney’s Office said in a statement.
LOS ANGELES (Reuters) – A small image of Maria Shriver on a lapel pin worn by former California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger in an official portrait has been painted over as the actor-turned-politician and his wife go through a divorce, a former aide said.
Schwarzenegger, a Republican who left office nearly four years ago, was the featured star earlier this week when the portrait was unveiled in the state capital of Sacramento.
LOS ANGELES (Reuters) – A fraternity at a Los Angeles university has agreed to disband due to the hazing-related death of a 19-year-old pledge who collapsed in the heat on a hike after his group ran out of water, the school’s president said on Friday.
The college, California State University, Northridge, was rocked by the July death of Armando Villa, who was “pledging” or joining a chapter of the Pi Kappa Phi fraternity and was made to hike in the Angeles National Forest.
LOS ANGELES (Reuters) – Former Idaho attorney Edgar Steele, who once represented the Aryan Nations white supremacist group and expressed his own anti-Semitic and racist views, has died in California while serving a 50-year prison sentence for soliciting murder, a prison official said on Friday.
Steele, 69, was taken to a hospital near the federal prison where he was incarcerated in Victorville, California, and died on Thursday, said James Engleman, a spokesman for the high-security facility. A letter to the judge in Steele’s case said a preliminary finding for the cause of death was pneumonia.
LOS ANGELES (Reuters) – Boxer Floyd Mayweather Jr.’s ex-fiancee filed a lawsuit on Thursday accusing him of humiliating her after their breakup by posting online a copy of a sonogram from when she was pregnant with twins and saying she had an abortion.
The lawsuit filed by Shantel Jackson, 29, in Los Angeles Superior Court came little more than a week before the undefeated welterweight’s Sept. 13 rematch against Marcos Maidana.
LOS ANGELES (Reuters) – A Dutch national who created and ran an elaborate online marketplace for the buying and selling of narcotics has pleaded guilty to U.S. drug trafficking and money laundering charges, prosecutors said on Wednesday.
Marc Willems, 45, of the Netherlands pleaded guilty on Tuesday to the two felony counts and admitted to launching “The Farmer’s Market,” which facilitated the sale of drugs like LSD, ecstasy and marijuana to users in the United States and dozens of other countries, the Los Angeles U.S. Attorney’s Office said.