By Dan Whitcomb
(Reuters) – A federal judge on Thursday struck down a Texas law requiring voters to show identification at polls, saying it placed an unconstitutional burden on voters and discriminated against minorities.
In a ruling that follows a two-week trial in Corpus Christi of a lawsuit challenging the law, U.S. District Judge Nelva Gonzales Ramos also found that it amounted to an unconstitutional poll tax.
LOS ANGELES (Reuters) – A man accused of killing a Southern California transgender activist and dumping her body behind a fast-food restaurant was charged with murder on Thursday, but prosecutors said they lacked evidence to prove the case was a hate crime.
Randy Lee Parkerson, 38, was charged with a single count of murder in the slaying of Zoraida Reyes, whose body was found behind a Dairy Queen restaurant in Anaheim this summer, Orange County prosecutors said.
LOS ANGELES (Reuters) – A 38-year-old man has been arrested in the murder of a transgender and immigrant rights activist who was found slain behind a Southern California fast food restaurant in June, police said on Wednesday.
Randy Lee Parkerson was taken into custody on Tuesday in his vehicle in the city of Anaheim, not far from where the body of 29-year-old Zoraida Reyes was discovered on the morning of June 12, Lt. Bob Dunn of the Anaheim Police Department said in a written statement.
LOS ANGELES (Reuters) – The family of a federal security screener who was fatally shot when a gunman opened fire in a terminal at Los Angeles International Airport last year has sued the city and its police department, alleging that security failures led to his death.
Gerardo Hernandez, 53, became the first U.S. Transportation Security Administration agent slain in the line of duty when he was shot 12 times at point-blank range in Terminal 3 of the airport as he stood at the entrance to a security checkpoint.
LOS ANGELES (Reuters) – An air tanker plane being used to fight a wildfire in Yosemite National Park crashed in flames on Tuesday, but the fate of the pilot was not immediately known, officials for the park and the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection said.
Cal Fire spokesman Daniel Berlant said in a tweet that the plane went down near the so-called Dog Rock Fire and that the condition of the pilot was “undetermined.”
LOS ANGELES (Reuters) – The FBI has joined the search for a college student from Saudi Arabia who went missing from his Southern California home last month and has not been seen since, a spokeswoman for the agency said on Friday.
Abdullah Abdullatif Alkadi, 23, was last seen at his home in the Los Angeles suburb of Reseda at around noon on Sept. 17, according to the Los Angeles Police Department.
LOS ANGELES (Reuters) – Authorities offered a $100,000 reward on Tuesday for the so-called “AK-47 Bandit,” who carried an assault rifle in a string of bank robberies across the U.S. West, in one case opening fire and seriously wounding a police officer.
The suspect, who disguises himself with a black ski mask and gloves and sometimes wears body armor or a vest emblazoned with the word “Sheriff,” has not been identified but should be considered armed and dangerous, the FBI said in a written statement announcing the reward.
LOS ANGELES (Reuters) – A California district attorney said on Tuesday he would drop murder charges against the husband and brother-in-law of a woman killed in 1989 after learning the lead prosecutor in the case had an affair with a criminalist who handled much of the evidence.
Santa Clara County District Attorney Jeff Rosen said the “undisclosed and improper” relationship had forced him to seek a dismissal of the charges in the 25-year-old killing of Cathy Zimmer. The trial had not yet begun in the case.
LOS ANGELES (Reuters) – Los Angeles has scrapped a 1950s rule requiring its skyscrapers to have flat roofs and helipads, giving architects a freer hand to shape the skyline of America’s second-largest city.
The city of Los Angeles has ordered that all high-rise buildings have a flat roof and helipads since 1958. It has been the only major U.S. city with such an ordinance, which was intended to accommodate fire-fighting and life-saving equipment.
LOS ANGELES (Reuters) – Two men accused of seeking to join al Qaeda and training to carry out attacks on U.S. military bases and personnel in the Middle East were convicted on federal charges in California Thursday after a trial of more than six weeks, prosecutors said.
A U.S. District Court jury in Riverside, California, found Sohiel Omar Kabir, 36, guilty of conspiring to provide material support and resources to al Qaeda and conspiring to kill officers and employees of the U.S. government.