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Feb 3, 2012

Federal prosecutors close probe of Lance Armstrong team

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) – Federal prosecutors on Friday dropped an investigation centered on whether seven-time Tour De France champion Lance Armstrong and his team mates cheated the sponsor of their bike racing team with a secret doping program.

U.S. Attorney Andre Birotte Jr., in a brief written statement, did not detail the nature of the probe — saying simply that his office was “closing an investigation into members and associates of a bicycle racing team owned in part by Lance Armstrong.”

Feb 3, 2012

“Civic Center Slapper” strikes again in Los Angeles

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) – An elusive assailant known as the “Civic Center Slapper” — or possibly a copycat — has struck again in Los Angeles, punching a federal prosecutor in the jaw, police said on Thursday.

The bold attacker struck his latest victim as he walked near a federal courthouse in downtown Los Angeles on Friday evening, knocking his head into the side of the building, a police spokesman said.

Feb 2, 2012

L.A. contemporary artist Mike Kelley found dead

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) – Influential contemporary artist Mike Kelley has been found dead at his home in a Los Angeles suburb and authorities said on Wednesday they were investigating his death as a possible suicide.

Kelley, 57, was found dead in the bathtub of his home in South Pasadena by a friend on Tuesday night, Los Angeles County Coroner’s spokesman Ed Winter said.

Feb 1, 2012

California family settles lawsuit over leaked crash images

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) – The family of a teen whose mangled corpse was shown in horrific car-crash photos that went viral online has settled a lawsuit against the California Highway Patrol for $2.37 million, ending a 5-year legal battle that changed state law.

The extremely graphic pictures, taken by investigators and leaked by two dispatchers, were posted across the Internet and used to taunt family members of 18-year-old Nicole “Nikki” Catsouras following her 2006 crash on an Orange County highway.

Jan 25, 2012

John Travolta’s stolen vintage Mercedes recovered in pieces

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) – Film star John Travolta’s vintage Mercedes-Benz, stolen from a Los Angeles suburb, has been recovered in pieces and two men have been arrested, police said on Wednesday.

Travolta’s convertible 1970 Mercedes-Benz 280-SL vanished from the street in Santa Monica while the “Pulp Fiction” star was visiting a nearby Jaguar dealership in September.

Jan 25, 2012

German man pleads innocent in Los Angeles arson spree

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) – A German national pleaded innocent on Tuesday to charges stemming from a wave of fires set across Los Angeles over the New Year’s weekend in what authorities called a spasm of anti-American rage.

Harry Burkhart, 24, entered not guilty pleas to 100 counts of arson and related charges during a brief hearing in Los Angeles Superior Court and was ordered held on $7.5 million bail.

Jan 24, 2012

Accused L.A. arsonist to face 63 more counts: prosecutors

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) – A German national accused of setting dozens of fires across Los Angeles over the New Year’s weekend out of what investigators described as anti-American rage will be charged on Tuesday with another 63 criminal counts, prosecutors said.

Harry Burkhart already faces 37 counts of arson in connection with the three-day wave of fires that caused an estimated $3 million in damage and left residents of Los Angeles and surrounding communities on edge.

Jan 21, 2012

Victim identified in Hollywood severed head case

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) – A man whose severed head, hands and feet were found in the hills below the famed Hollywood sign overlooking Los Angeles was identified by the coroner’s office on Friday as 66-year-old Hervey Coronado Medellin.

A mother and daughter who were walking dogs in a popular hiking area stumbled upon the Los Angeles resident’s severed head earlier this week, and a search nearby later turned up hands and feet.

Jan 21, 2012

Police question witnesses in Hollywood severed head

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) – Authorities have identified the man whose severed head, hands and feet were found in the hills below the famed Hollywood sign overlooking Los Angeles, but declined to release his name on Friday as homicide detectives questioned witnesses in the bizarre case.

Two women walking dogs stumbled upon the decapitated head in Griffith Park earlier this week, and a search later turned up the hands and feet, which Los Angeles police said came from the same person.

Jan 20, 2012

Mystery grows over body parts found in Hollywood

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) – Police combed the hills below the famed Hollywood sign for more human body parts on Thursday as the mystery deepened surrounding the discovery there of a severed human head, feet and hands.

Authorities believe the decapitated head and other body parts came from the same victim.