By On the occasion of our 20th anniversary
By Gustavo Arellano
By R. Scott Moxley
By Alfonso Delgado
By Courtney Hamilton
By Joel Beers
By Peter Maguire
By Charles Lam
Every year, we try to pick an artistic theme that'll make our Scariest People issue as ghastly as possible—say, Dia de los Muertos, zombies or the Lincoln Club. But this year, when we saw the gargantuan, disgusting, all-chin mugshot of accused child kidnapper Victor Joseph Espinoza, the idea came immediately: Garbage Pail Kids!
Of course, we didn't figure this out until about a week before deadline, which explains why we were only able to commission such few homages to Topps' cult-classic trading cards. But to make up for our fuckup, we asked actual Garbage Pail Kids artist Joe Simko to do the honors of turning four of our Scariest nominees into grotesque, hilarious caricatures. Enjoy, and don't forget to visit our Navel Gazing blog to see who's this year's inductee into the Bob Dornan Scary OC Hall of Fame!
1. VICTOR JOSEPH ESPINOZA
It's pretty frightening what the documented gang member is accused of doing: grabbing a 10-year-old boy, hoisting the lad and sniffing him. The boy managed to break away and run to his soccer coach, who tackled and briefly held down the 425-pound man, who eventually escaped. Police caught him hiding a short distance away, and 55-year-old Victor Joseph Espinoza is now up on false imprisonment and street terrorism charges, with gang and prior-strike enhancements. But vastly more scary than all that is the balloon-sized bubble of fleshy neck fat extending from just below Espinoza's chin to his upper chest. Don't look directly at it too long, for it seems to possess strange powers to get humanity to collectively vomit. Mitigating factor: Rumor has it the flapping noise of neck fat slapping against Espinoza's chest made it easier to pick up his trail—that and his being a 425-pound fat bastard.
2. ITZCOATL OCAMPO
On Oct. 25, 2011, the same night our Scariest People 2011 issue went to press, a monster stabbed Raquel Estrada, 53, and her 34-year-old son, Juan Herrera, dozens of times, leaving their lifeless bodies on the floor of their Yorba Linda home. Authorities say the same man went on to fatally stab four homeless men—James McGillivray, Lloyd "Jimmy" Middaugh, Paulus "Dutch" Smit and John Berry—over the next few months and into 2012. Police say that man is 24-year-old Itzcoatl "Izzy" Ocampo, a discharged U.S. Marine who's now facing the death penalty. Mitigating factor: It's difficult getting scared by a guy who goes by the name Izzy.
3. KILLER ANAHEIM COPS
The world reacted with shock after Anaheim police officers shot and killed unarmed Manuel Angel Diaz—then with disbelief when they did the same to Joel Acevedo the following day. But for Anaheim residents, this was the same old song. The city's officers have left a trail of dead over the past decade, killing unarmed black men (Julian Alexander), mentally disturbed white men (Roscoe Cambridge) and a hell of a lot of Mexicans. Mitigating factor: They're still better than Huntington Beach cops.
4. BRUCE JENNINGS
The fact he made, through his Costa Mesa-based Bryco Arms, "Saturday Night Special" handguns that were involved in numerous murders in the drug-fueled craziness of the 1980s is reason enough to hate Bruce Jennings. There's also the fact these guns were so cheaply made they often malfunctioned, which left 7-year-old Brandon Maxfield in a wheelchair for life. But Jennings didn't want to go down in history just for being a walking advertisement for gun control. Instead, he figured he'd double down on notoriety—by getting busted this September in Florida for possession of child pornography. According to the cops, Jennings knew the videos were of "real children who had been sexually abused," but he "did not feel guilty" about watching the films. Mitigating Factor: He gets to meet fans of his guns in prison.
5. CHURCH OF SCIENTOLOGY
Where to begin with a group that teaches that people are actually "meat bodies" inhabited by extraterrestrial "thetans" who were blasted out of an ancient volcano? Or that grabbing a pair of wired-up joysticks will help you walk the Bridge to Total Freedom, passing from the abyss of pre-clarity to Operating Thetan-hood for only a few hundred thousand dollars' worth of classes? Yet despite what seems to be a never-ending supply of bad publicity, Scientology just keeps expanding. In June, the cult unveiled its first OC "Ideal Org" in Santa Ana. Problem is, many of the folks who showed up for the unpublicized grand opening were either bussed in from out of town or protesters. Also present: then-Weekly reporter Josh Dulaney, who, for his troubles, had his picture taken by a Scientologist spy. Mitigating Factor: Hail Xenu!
6. STEVE CHAVEZ LODGE
Steve Lodge has gone by Steve Lodge professionally for decades, but when he announced an Anaheim City Council run this year, he decided to use Steve Chavez Lodge. (Chavez is his birth surname.) The reason for the sudden Mexican love? Anaheim has a huge Latino electorate but no Latino council members. Activists sued to prohibit Lodge from using his newfound name for the election; they lost. But Lodge can't escape his past as a dirty Santa Ana cop who beat up a jaywalker so badly a federal jury fined him $612,000. And there was also the 2001 case in which Lodge had a man wrongfully imprisoned for murder for more than a year—until prosecutors dropped all charges Meanwhile, Lodge's campaign signs keep getting tagged with "pocho," which is Mexican Spanish for "Steve Lodge." Mitigating factor: His brother is KLAA-AM 830 morning show host Roger Lodge.
7. DANA ROHRABACHER
One trait we love in the loony congressman is his willingness to continually rewrite history. This year, Orange County's senior career politician claimed on Twitter that he never once supported President George W. Bush's decision to invade Iraq. We opened our 13 file drawers on Dana Rohrabacher (including one on his, um, special Mexican and Afghanistan vacation trips) and found he'd vocally backed Bush's decision in 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005 and 2006. He'd even ridiculously predicted the Iraqis would forever treat Americans as welcome conquerors because they wanted their country to become a capitalistic democracy. Mitigating factor: The 12-term congressman uses sock-puppet identities to write bitter comments on Weekly articles online about his lies.
8. CAT CORPSE-VIOLATING NEWPORT HARBOR HIGH KIDS
We've been as bored as the next kid in high-school science labs, but some Sailors not only photographed themselves playing with pieces of cut-up cats from dissection assignments, but they also posted them on Facebook with jokey comments. The school-board president bowed to the pressure last week, the nonprofit group says. Mitigating factor: At least the teacher figured out a way to get kids to come to class.
9. JERRY AMANTE
We first wrote about the loudmouthed Tustin councilman a few years ago when he repeatedly interrupted and mocked then-councilwoman Deborah Gavello (a bank consultant) for having the temerity to question the city's investment portfolio. But that was polite behavior compared to the assholery Jerry Amante demonstrated when he demanded the resignation of Brandman University professor Fred Smoller in the wake of a report his students presented on salaries of public officials in Southern California. The Orange County grand jury wrote he committed "malfeasance in office" by pressuring Brandman to get rid of Smoller. Didn't matter: Four days after the grand jury's report, a Republican political consulting firm hired Amante. Mitigating Factor: Smoller was secretly working for the Partnership, a cabal of ketchup providers, merchants, outdated camera-film purveyors and sausage makers that secretly controls Orange County government. Just ask Steve Rocco.
10. THE MONKEY ON NADIA MARIA LOCKYER'S BACK
This time last year, Nadia Maria Lockyer was an up-and-coming politician with a bright future. The former Santa Ana Unified School District trustee was an Alameda County supervisor married to State Treasurer Bill Lockyer. Then came meth. At an addiction-recovery center, Lockyer—Nadia, that is—began an affair with a fellow addict. He made a tape of them having sex, and the next thing you know, police are showing up at a hotel room where she has just gotten into a fight with the guy. She claims he attacked her; the guy denies it. He tells reporters about the sex tape and mails a copy of it to Mr. Lockyer, and a copy ends up on the web. Nadia tries to keep the marriage and the job, but she loses both within a few months. Then she returns to Orange County with her young child and promptly gets arrested for having a meth pipe in the house. Goodbye, governor's mansion; hello, Real Housewives of Theo Lacy. Mitigating Factor: She's still kinda cute.
11. PEDRO PIMENTEL RIOS
Back in October 1982, Pedro Pimentel Rios and several dozen other Kaibiles—the ruthless Guatemalan special forces that committed numerous atrocities in that country's civil war—surrounded a tiny jungle hamlet named Dos Erres, raped the girls and women, then systematically murdered everyone, including small children. A few days later, Rios left Guatemala to teach at the U.S. Army School of the Americas in Panama, whose list of graduates reads as though it's of Satan's cabana boys. Eventually, Rios made his way to Santa Ana and worked quietly in a factory until la migra sent his ass back to Guatemala for trial. Earlier this year, a judge sentenced him to a symbolic term of 6,000 years, roughly a life sentence for each innocent villager Rios helped to murder. Mitigating Factor: At least he's not a Mexican.
12. JOHN WESLEY MARTYNEC
He billed himself as a Seal Beach realtor who specialized in buying properties going through foreclosure, then flipping them at a profit. He convinced investors—particularly the elderly, unsuspecting kind—to fork over hundreds of thousands of dollars for such ventures. Problem is, according to Orange County district attorney's office prosecutors, John Wesley Martynec never used the cash to purchase any houses, giving his unfortunate investors phony records to cover his tracks. When they asked where their returns were, Martynec allegedly stopped taking their calls. He pleaded guilty earlier this year to fraud and awaits sentencing, but that scam was nothing compared to what got Martynec arrested again this summer: a $1.8 million scheme in which he used identity theft to create phony tenants who supposedly had to be paid to vacate properties being foreclosed on, using the cash to finance lavish renovations to his home and expensive vacations in Hawaii. Mitigating Factor: Feel the aloha, bitches!
13. JENNY REDMOND
A high-school faculty adviser who didn't want a certain candidate winning an Associated Student Body (ASB) seat rigged the results to deny victory to said student. If you've heard that one before, you've either seen Alexander Payne's movie Election or heard about last winter's controversy at Troy High School in Fullerton, where teacher Jenny Redmond pulled a Mr. McAllister, only her target was not Tracy Flick, but Ryan Daliwal, who embarrassed Troy administrators and was eventually reinstated as the rightful ASB president. Mitigating factor: Redmond was forced to step down as student-government adviser, but she was allowed to teach special-education classes on campus. Union, yes!
14. ALBERT PUJOLS
The Angels' $254 million man struggled early in his 10-year contract, batting .217 with no home runs and four RBIs in April, and failing to hit his first home run until May 6 to cap the longest long-ball drought of his career (139 at bats). It was ultimately a blip: Albert Pujols was hot the rest of May; won his first American League Player of the Week honor for July 30 to Aug. 5; and finished the season with a respectable .286 batting average, 173 hits, 50 doubles, 30 home runs, 105 RBI and 85 runs scored. But this represented the third straight season in which Pujols' homer and runs scored total dropped, the fourth such season for his batting average. Worse, the Halos finished third in the American League West and missed the playoffs. ESPN's Peter Gammons called the disappointing season the biggest story in baseball this year, and he and many others have laid the blame at the feet of "El Hombre." Mitigating factor: Two words—Mike Trout.
15. CHRISTOPHER LANZILLO
The Menifee private investigator, who has worked for a law firm that aggressively represents police unions seeking generous public contracts, spied on Costa Mesa City Councilman Jim Righeimer—bane of public-employee unions—at Skosh Monahan's in August. Christopher Lanzillo, a former Riverside police detective, tailed Righeimer driving home and called 911 to report him for alleged drunk driving. Thanks to the call, police ordered the councilman out of his house and made him perform sobriety tests in front of family and neighbors, passing without question because receipts proved he sipped only Diet Cokes at the bar. In the aftermath, Lanzillo absurdly claimed he didn't fabricate the reckless-driving tale, he didn't know the identity of the person he tailed and his actions had nothing to do with Righeimer's willingness to play hardball with police unions in contract negotiations. Mitigating factor: Lanzillo proved the adage that once an asshole cop, always an asshole cop.
16. JENNIFER TAMARA MCCLAIN
Look, we're all for love—especially wild, kinky stuff. So Jennifer Tamara McClain is our kind of woman: She knows what she wants and when she wants it and is willing to toss convention out the window. Deputy McClain repeatedly had sex—good, hot, passionate sex—with an inmate in an Orange County jail. For that feat alone, she would have made our Scariest list. But one of McClain's sex partners was Christopher Roger Brown, an incarcerated white supremacist; McClain is black. McClain found herself arrested because inmate-deputy sex is prohibited, but local prosecutors, obviously ones hoping to get locked inside the jail someday, have so far declined to file criminal charges. Mitigating factor: Who said race relations haven't improved under President Barack Obama?
17. DISNEYLAND FIREWORKS
Philosophers and holy men have long argued that turning a blind eye to injustice is morally wrong. But somehow, that doesn't seem to apply to Disneyland and its nightly fireworks, which resemble Baghdad in the spring of 2003. Even when Anaheim cops beat and harassed protesters and journalists during summer riots, the show went on. Even when parts of the city burned, a manifestation of deep-seated tensions (some of which is related to Disney receiving favoritism from city officials), the show went on. Even as Disney continues to spend thousands of dollars per showing while residents express frustration over increasing poverty and violence, the show goes on. Surprising? No. Greatest moment in Orange County history when police and rioters clashed near City Hall, and the fireworks went boom? HELL YA! Mitigating factor: Anaheim residents are now awake.
18. CARLOS BUSTAMANTE
The Santa Ana councilman was once pegged as the GOP's Great Brown Hope—but that was before Carlos Bustamante exposed himself as a pervert. His rising star fell to earth in 2008 after he cracked a crude joke about just-appointed Sheriff Sandra Hutchens in front of a Los Angeles Times reporter; that fuckup cost him seats on state boards. But his latest screwup might cost Busty his freedom: This summer, the district attorney's office arrested him on multiple felony charges, alleging he sexually harassed, groped, stalked and wrongfully imprisoned female workers in his capacity as a county public-works executive. Mitigating factor: Carlos isn't even the biggest asshole in his family; his twin, Alfonso, drives around Santa Ana in a Bentley and is facing his own sexy allegations.
20. JOANNE BUSCH
For five days in 2004 Prince Edward Maryland tortured, raped and sodomized his wife in her Lake Forest home, nearly beating her to death. Maryland—an unapologetic, vicious serial woman abuser and drug addict—was sentenced to more than 140 years in prison for his horrific crimes. Skip ahead to this year, when we found the still-unapologetic inmate publishing job ads luring women to send him résumés and raising money online for himself under the pretence of anti-domestic violence charities. As we prepared to inform the public of the con game, Joanne Busch, a UCLA nurse who was aiding Maryland, angrily threatened to sue us for interfering with Maryland's desire to "stop domestic violence before it starts." Mitigating factor: Maryland will never, ever leave prison alive to beat the hell out of another woman.
21. KATHERINE DAIGLE
She doesn't make our scary list for being a Republican decoy placed on the Irvine ballot by Larry Agran's slimy Democrat machine to split GOP votes with Steven Choi and ensure Agran's win in the mayoral race. Katherine Daigle wouldn't have made the list even for pretending that she—an unknown person with no political experience and no campaign money—is a legitimate candidate with expectations of winning. She is frightening because when asked at a public forum how she would improve public education, Daigle thought she was being asked to pick sides: education good vs. education bad. She is, she enthusiastically assured the audience during a rambling answer, pro-education. Whew! Mitigating factor: After she sabotages Choi for Agran on Nov. 6, Daigle will disappear back into obscurity.
22. WE [HEART] FULLERTON POLICE
During the Aug. 7 meeting of the Fullerton City Council, dozens of residents who had never once complained about the brutal beating death of Kelly Thomas flooded the council chambers. Clad in identical blue T-shirts reading, "We [Heart] Fullerton Police," they gushed, one by one, about how wonderful the department was, even though the police department had terrorized residents for decades. Joining the charade were councilman Doug Chafee (who donned one of the T-shirts) and Mayor Sharon Quirk Silva. And while form-fitting T-shirts look great on buxom young ladies, wouldn't you know that no one in this group fit that description. Mitigating factor: The T-shirts will provide comfort to the city's poor once these idiots donate them to Goodwill.
23. ZAKARIA BOTROS HENEIN
The Coptic cleric insulted Muhammad and Islam so nastily in his native Egypt during the 1990s that he was eventually exiled. So where did Zakaria Botros Henein decide to move? Orange County! Henein reportedly influenced the makers of the amateurish Innocence of Muslims film that sparked worldwide protests, plus he runs Westminster-based Alfady Christian TV, through which he continues to trash Islam. Mitigating factor: The film brought together leaders of OC's Muslim and Coptic communities to foster better relations.
24. CANYON HIGH SCHOOL CLASS OF 2012
Ditch Day, class photo, epic prank, sneaking in vodka to Grad Nite at Disneyland—the traditions of high-school seniors are legion. For the graduating classes of the Anaheim Hills school for the past couple of years, their ritual was a day on which everyone dressed as Mexicans—or rather the spoiled-brat version of what they think are "Mexicans." Guys dressed as gang members and wore mustaches and sombreros; girls pushed strollers and dressed as cholas. Confronted with their latent bigotry, Canyon High School students defended their actions with the usual YOLO excuses until chastened school officials vowed future seniors would have to take a Chicano Studies class, a punishment that ensures no Comanche will ever do this again. Mitigating factor: Most of these students are heading to community college anyway, where they'll have to explain their actions to real-life Mexicans.
25. JAMES ROBERT READE
It takes a special kind of scary to exploit the killing of an unarmed man, but that's the type of creep James Robert Reade is. Shortly after the death-by-cop of Manuel Angel Diaz, the trailer-park resident bought a web domain using Diaz's full name so he could post photos of one of the Weekly's female interns. Even creepier is his treatment of Diaz's grieving mother, Genevieve Huizar. During an Anaheim City Council meeting in which she addressed council members, Reade shouted, "You're a terrible mother," then quickly headed for the exit as the crowd booed loudly. His obsession with Diaz and Huizar is so pathetic that Reade remains the only person in this rag's history to be banned from commenting on our blogs—and we allow neo-Nazis, pedophile apologists, even Republicans. Mitigating Factor: He would make a great Travis Bickle in a community-theater production of Taxi Driver.
26. DAVID WHITING
When local law enforcement wants to see its backslapping press releases turned directly into alleged real journalism, it turns to Orange County Register columnist David Whiting. To Whiting—a man we christened the new "Bootlicker" after former columnist Gordon Dillow retired—men in uniform never do anything wrong; if they did, it's okay because they always have good intentions. It's a mindset that allows Whiting to strenuously defend cops who ganged up to beat to death an unarmed, tiny homeless man in Fullerton. It's a mindset that causes Whiting to answer critics of regular excessive force in our jails by parachuting in, spending a couple of hours with deputies, then report with enthusiasm that he saw no unnecessary violence, so it must not happen. Mitigating factor: Whiting's lisp is somewhat sexy.
28. JOSE F. MORENO
By day, Dr. Jose F. Moreno is an Anaheim City School District board member, a Long Beach State professor who helps to run a dual-immersion language program in Anaheim elementary schools and chairs longtime Latino civic group Los Amigos; in his off time, he's trying to position himself as OC's Great Brown Father. Moreno is the lead plaintiff in an ACLU-filed lawsuit trying to force ward elections for Anaheim council races by crying lack of diversity; the lawsuit is so ahistorical and riddled with errors it comes off as the self-serving springboard it is for Moreno to run for a seat in 2014. When city residents yearned for stirring oration during its long, hot summer, Moreno instead delivered a boring mix of academic jargon and yaktivist gobbledygook. And woe to those who stand in his way: Moreno led a push to stop Weekly Mexican In Chief Gustavo Arellano from delivering a speech at a Chapman University education conference (Gustavo's alma mater and where he's currently a lecturer), claiming he had badmouthed Los Amigos. Conference organizers refused, showing how little power Moreno actually has. Mitigating factor: He has a good head of hair, which is required for all aspiring race hustlers.
29. LOS ALAMITOS RACE COURSE
It is one of America's premier quarter-horse racing tracks—and Los Alamitos Race Course was allegedly where the fearsome Zetas drug cartel operated for years. Federal authorities say the Zetas laundered money through a company called Tremor Enterprises run by the brother of the cartel's second-in-command; he ran horses with such unassuming names as El Sicario ("The Assassin"), Mr. Ease Cartel (which won a Los Al race as recently as this summer), Number One Cartel and Forty Force, Zeta-40 being the nickname of the mastermind behind the scheme. Mitigating factor: [Censored because we all want to keep our heads.]
30. RAINER KLAUS REINSCHEID
UC Irvine professor Rainer Klaus Reinsheid is accused of starting fires at University High School, the home of the high school's assistant principal and the Mason Park Preserve. Officials discovered private emails written by Reinscheid, detailing his thoughts about "getting a dozen machine guns" and going to the Irvine school to "shoot at least 200 students before killing myself." He penned the notes a month after his 14-year-old son hanged himself, reportedly after being tormented and bullied. Mitigating factor: The alleged actions of Reinscheid are scary, but the consequence of untreated mental illness is what's truly terrifying.
31. SHAHEEN SADEGHI
Cool: The Costa Mesa-based developer created the LAB and the Camp "anti-malls," funky-hipster meccas that have become the antithesis of OC's ubiquitous beige-stucco shopping centers. And now he's trying to do the same with downtown Anaheim. Not so cool: Shaheen Sadeghi has been accused of stealing ideas from indie business owners and preying on inexperienced entrepreneurs. He's known to lure new companies into his retail centers, but if these "little guys" turn out to be "weak tenants," in his words, he'll push them out, typically by spiking the rent. One former tenant summed it up best: "Shaheen is not out to enhance the community—he's out for Shaheen, period." Mitigating factor: He recycles.
This article appeared in print as "Child Molesters, Serial Killers and Dana Rohrabacher: Our picks for OC's Scariest People 2012!"