Weekender Updater Returns with Killers, Defendants, Dearly Departed and 2 Local Flicks
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Haven't done this in awhile, and judging by the backlog that was a mistake. Click on through for updates on stories we've been following on Navel Gazing.
Update: Former nuclear engineer Paul Marshal Curry, who was convicted Sept. 30 in the poisoning death of his wife in 1994, was sentenced Friday to life in state prison without the possibility of parole. The former San Clemente resident had met Linda Curry while both worked at the San Onofre plant, collected $547,695 in life insurance and other benefits after her death and went on to work for years as a city building inspector in Kansas before being extradited back to Orange County in 2010. Besides never breathing air as a free man again, Curry was ordered to pay Linda's sister $424,538.75 (the amount of insurance he collected on the victim), Southern California Edison $116,198.42 (for benefits he collected) and State Farm insurance $9,108 (for a bogus theft claim on Linda's Rolex watch).
Update: Jurors deliberated for about 90 minutes this week before finding Ruben Gurrola, 26, guilty of second-degree murder and drunken driving with injury for a wrong-way crash on the 91 freeway in Anaheim nearly three years ago that killed a woman and injured two others. The night of Jan. 28, 2012, the San Diegan and his girlfriend went to a friend's home on the Newport Peninsula to have drinks before going to Sutra nightclub to see their friend DJing. They all piled into a cab for the ride to the Costa Mesa club, where they drank some more, and were to take a taxi back to their friend's home to sleep off the booze. But instead Gurrolla got behind the wheel of his 2009 Honda Civic with his girlfriend in the passenger seat for the drive back to San Diego. He drove north in the southbound lanes of the 241 toll road and then eastbound in the westbound lanes of the 91 before the head-on crash that killed 53-year-old Kyung Namgoong, who was a passenger in another car. Prosecutors successfully convinced jurors Gurrola knew he could kill someone while driving drunk due to previously being involved in a collision caused by speeding and being cited as juvie for alcohol possession. He is to be sentenced on Jan. 9.
Update: Luis Antonio Garcia Morales, 26, of Santa Ana, is the one on trial for allegedly tricking his ex-girlfriend into meeting in a darkened alley where he stabbed her more than 50 times with a pocket knife until she died. So, as you'd expect, his attorney Kevin Song of the Orange County Public Defender's Office put the 21-year-old dead woman on trial. Song told jurors in his opening that Maria Isabel Cerrillo: led Morales to believe they would but was actually just using him for money; lived with her lesbian lover and was engaged to a man in Northern California while seeing Morales; and in that alley before she was stabbed told him she did not want a relationship with him, was only using him for his money and taunted and ridiculed. "For lack of better words, he flipped out," Song said of his client, claiming the slaying was not premeditated as the prosecution insists.
Update: More has been learned about a 65-year-old man who died after he and his 4-year-old son were struck by a Mazda 3 as they were trick-or-treating in Irvine Halloween night. John Roger Alcorn was admitted to the California Bar in 1980 and practiced immigration and nationality law in Irvine, representing immigrants from around the world. Alcorn, who caught the immigration law bug in the mid-1970s, wrote immigration questions for the state bar exam for a few years, was named by OC Metro one of the top attorneys in Orange County in 2012 and 2014, and had among his practice's other lawyers his adult daughter Sophie. His son, who was wearing a Captain America costume when he was hit, is expected to survive his injuries. The female driver of the Mazda has not be charged with a crime.
Story: Emmanuel Hugo Hernandez, School Wrestling Coach, Faces 6 Years for Alleged Battery
Update: An Orange County Superior Court judge revoked the bail of and issued an arrest warrant for former Villa Park High School part-time wrestling coach Emmanuel Hugo Hernandez, who allegedly failed to show up for a court hearing on charges that he choked a student into unconsciousness and punched him in the head. The 27-year-old Orange resident pleaded not guilty at his November 2013 arraignment to one felony count each of child abuse and battery causing serious bodily injury. A "walk-on coach" at the high school since 2010, Hernandez allegedly put the upperclassman in an unauthorized choke hold and ignored the teen's pleas to stop before he passed out, according to investigators, who also claim the coach punched the unconscious boy several times in the head. The student went to the hospital but was back in school the following day.
Update: Timothy Lance Lai, the 29-year-old tutor who fled the country in the face of accusations he helped three students hack into a computer system to inflate their grades at Corona Del Mar High School, pleaded not guilty recently. Charged with second-degree commercial burglary and four counts of computer access fraud, Lai faces up to five years and eight months in prison if convicted. Eleven CdM High students were expelled in the cheating scandal, although he may have helped hundreds of students. His clients came from the Newport-Mesa Unified School District and parochial Mater Dei High School in Santa Ana. Out on $200,000 bail, Lai is due back in court on Jan. 9.
Here's looking at you, kid. Pason in Bloody Wedding from Irvine-based Sharkey Films.
Update: Bloody Wedding, a campy slasher flick that was directed by a Dana Point bartender and written, produced, costumed and catered by a Newport Beach human resources professional, was the winner of two awards at the FANtastic Horror Film Festival in San Diego earlier this month. The honors were for Scariest Death Scene and the Most Memorable Line ("I want a divorce!" by Kate Murdoch).
Director and Chapman University alum Basel Owies directs veteran actor Scott Glenn in a scene for The Barber.
Chapman Filmed Entertainment
Update: The Barber, a film starring Scott Glenn and made by Chapman Filmed Entertainment LLC, has sold U.S. distribution rights for a "mid-six figures." Purchaser ARC Entertainment of Santa Ana plans a spring theatrical and video-on-demand release of the first film from the Chapman University Dodge College of Film and Media Arts production company. The Barber cost about $1 million to make. Wait a tic: a million to make and it sold for the mid-six figures? Better call in those creative accountants at the Argyros School of Business to work their magic.
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