See the updates at the end of this post about one of the eight parties shut out from the $1 million Christopher Dorner reward going to court to stop the distribution of funds today, and a judge in Los Angeles shutting him down.
The Los Angeles Police Department on Thursday released a three-judge panel's determination on the distribution of the $1 million reward for information leading to the capture of Christopher Jordan Dorner--a reward that included $100,000 from the city of Irvine. Twelve parties had sought chunks of the reward, but the judges settled on three. "We acknowledge the decision of the panel and the judges' wisdom," Irvine Mayor Steven Choi says in an Irvine Police statement.
Choi continued: "We appreciate all of those who came forward during this manhunt. And, personally, I will always remember the first two victims, our youthful and wonderful Irvine residents, Keith Lawrence and his fiancée, Monica Quan. Theirs were lives not lived."
Dorner, a former La Palma resident and ex-LAPD officer out for cop blood, is presumed to have killed Lawrence, Quan and two law enforcement officers before meeting his fiery end in Big Bear on Feb. 12. Irvine had agreed to participate in the reward process and deposit $100,000 on April 5 with the understanding the panel of judges would decide who received the bounty.
The panel decided 80 percent will be awarded to James and Karen Reynolds, the couple who confronted Dorner inside their cabin in Big Bear Lake and were tied up by Dorner at gunpoint. After Dorner stole their vehicle, the Reynolds were able to escape and report the vehicle description to law enforcement, which eventually led to the standoff where Dorner is believed to have taken own life.
Daniel McGowan, the Big Bear Lake ski resort employee who first reported seeing Dorner's vehicle on fire, is to get 15 percent of the reward. The remaining 5 percent goes to R. Lee McDaniel, who spotted Dorner on Feb. 7 in the parking lot of an AM/PM mini-market in Corona, leading to two shootouts between Dorner and law enforcement officers.
The first installment of reward money could be distributed on Friday, according to LAPD. Read the order here: http://www.lapdonline.org/home/content_basic_view/53495.
UPDATE NO. 1, MAY 10, 9:07 A.M.: You remember Rick Heltebrake, the Big Bear area Boy Scout ranger who was carjacked by Christopher Dorner on Feb.12. Heltebrake was all over the teevee shortly after the saga ended saying how his call to a sheriff's deputy buddy led to the rampaging ex-LAPD cop's capture.
I also recall Heltebrake being the first person I heard "spending" his reward money, saying he'd give some of the $1 million he believed was coming to him to the families of officers Dorner is presumed to have killed.
But Heltebrake was not among the three parties a panel of judges decided get the reward money that was to start being distributed today--unless Heltebrake can put the brakes to that with a court injunction.
He tells KABC's Eyewitness News he deserves a cut of the funds because, "I assure you when I made this phone call, nobody knew where Dorner was except me."
Later: "For me to be just ruled out because somebody came up with a separate process from the one that we used, which was the legal process at the time, basically changing the rules in the middle of the game."
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The three judges wrote in their footnotes that Heltebrake was ruled out because while he was on the phone to the deputy he said he heard gunfire, meaning officers had already engaged with Dorner so the scout ranger's tip did not lead to the suspect's location. Heltebrake counters that the judges have the timeline wrong and that he has audio evidence to prove it.
UPDATE NO. 2, MAY 10, 10:31 A.M.: Judge Luis Lavin in Los Angeles this morning denied Heltebrake's request to block the release of $1 million in Dorner reward money. The camp ranger's attorney had filed court documents stating his client deserves a sum no less than $1 million, plus damages.
But in issuing his denial, Lavin cited lack of irreparable harm and Heltebrake's failure to properly serve several parties who may have opposed the order, the Los Angeles Times reports.