It's an action-packed weekender in Updateredland as you'll be catching up on:
* Revenge of the anti-vaxxers through the California initiative process;
* Sentences for the Cal Bear Bandit; an Ezekiel Clothing Co. co-founder turned solo scammer; the final defendant in a federal insurance fraud case involving an Orange cosmetic surgery center; and a man who murdered his girlfriend's 18-month-old baby boy by wrapping him up in a bedsheet to suffocate him'
* The plea of a 24-year-old man who could get the death penalty is the killing his live-in girlfriend and their 6-month-old son;
* Plea deals for a DMV worker who took bribes in exchange for driver licenses, a city councilman who'd written an ordinance to make stealing campaign signs a crime and then got busted for allegedly doing just that and an Internet sales company that prosecutors accused of selling a bogus car performance chip;
* And charges against a driver who allegedly knocked a woman over with his car and got to watch video of it on television newscasts (and on ocweekly.com).
Update: Opponents of a law recently signed by Governor Jerry Brown that requires almost all California schoolchildren to be vaccinated against diseases such as measles and whooping cough received permission this week to begin gathering signatures to qualify a referendum to overturn it. "This referendum is not about vaccinations; it is about defending the fundamental freedom of a parent to make an informed decisions for their children without being unduly penalized by a government that believes it knows best,'' said referendum proponent and former Assemblyman Tim Donnelly (R-Rubella). He hopes to qualify a measure for the November 2016 ballot that would overturn SB 277, which Brown signed on June 30 to eliminate vaccination exemptions based on religious or personal beliefs. It will require all children entering kindergarten to be vaccinated unless a doctor certifies that a child has a medical condition, such as allergies, preventing it. The legislation was prompted in part by an outbreak of measles traced to Disneyland in Anaheim that began in late December and ultimately spread to more than 130 people across the state as well as dozens more in other states and Mexico. In other vaccination news, the Assembly Committee on Human Services this week approved SB 792, which would require day care center workers to be vaccinated against measles, pertussis, and influenza. The bill, which now goes to the Assembly Appropriations Committee for consideration, was authored by state Sen. Tony Mendoza (D-Artesia), whose 32nd District includes Buena Park.
Update: Cheyenne Mateo Fuimaono was sentenced this week to 25 years to life in state prison for murdering his girlfriend's 18-month-old baby boy by wrapping him up in a bedsheet to suffocate him and physically abusing him four days before his death. The Buena Park 24-year-old's attorney argued at trial that the child's death was an accident, but a jury found him guilty on May 5 of one felony count each of second degree murder, assault on a child resulting in death, and child abuse. Besides being smothered on Nov. 30, 2012, Malik Perez was bruised and bitten on the arm by Fuimaono, whose mother told Orange County Superior Court Judge Patrick Donahue that her son "has always been a gentle, kind, loving person," adding, "We all loved Malik. We all suffered with this–both sides." Donahue replied, "This was a sad case for everybody" and agreed that Fuimaono feels "remorse" for Malik's death, but the judge added the adult should do time behind bars for "negligence."
Update: Kwame Adom Carpenter pleaded not guilty this week to murder counts in the deaths of his live-in girlfriend and their 6-month-old son that, due to special circumstance allegations, make him eligible for the death penalty. (Prosecutors say they will decide later whether to seek capital punishment for the 24-year-old Anaheim resident.) Carpenter is accused of fatally stabbing Moureen Gathua-Carpenter, 24, and and their son, Kyan Gathua-Carpenter, in the apartment at 2648 W. Ball Road. The victims were found shortly after noon June 22 by police responding to
a reported assault. Currently being held without bail, the defendant is next due in court Aug. 21 for a pretrial hearing.
Update: Justin Daniel Hayes pleaded guilty Wednesday to eight counts each of second-degree robbery, second-degree burglary and criminal threats as well as stealing a car, evading police and hit-and-run, all felonies, and admitted sentencing enhancements for inflicting great bodily harm. The 28-year-old so-called Cal Bear Bandit was then sentenced to 12 years in prison for eight area bank robberies. Hayes, who had no prior criminal record, must serve 85 percent of the time in prison, according prosecutor Mark Geller, who said the crime spree was motivated by the defendant's addiction to heroin. Hayes was arrested Dec. 5 after he robbed a Westminster bank, stole a taxi and led police on a chase that ended with a head-on crash in Santa Ana, resulting in three people being hurt. His nickname stems from a cap with a UC Berkeley logo on it that he wore during a bank robbery. While Hayes had no record, he did spent some time in jail during the bank robbery spree: He was picked up by Irvine police on suspicion of drug and paraphernalia possession, booked into Orange County Jail and had his car seized, but he was released on Dec. 2 when prosecutors declined to file charges.
Watch Horrific Video of Huntington Beach Hit-and-Run (and Perhaps Help I.D. the Driver)
Update: Perhaps you recall the video above from a few months back. This week, Taylor Kirby was charged with being the driver who hit the elderly woman in a McDonald's restaurant parking lot in Huntington Beach and fleeing the scene. The 24-year-old Long Beach resident faces one felony count of hit and run with injury and, with a conviction, up to three years in state prison. He turned himself in to the Huntington Beach Police Department eight days after the April 22 incident that resulted in the victim being hospitalized with minor injuries. Currently out of custody on $50,000 bail, Kirby is scheduled to be arraigned Sept. 16 at West Justice Center in Westminster.
Update: In 2010, when Ezekiel Clothing co-founder Shaine Joseph LaVoie was first tried for defrauding more than a dozen victims in Ponzi-type fraud schemes involving close-out clothing and a phony apparel company, jurors hung 11-1 in favor of guilt. Prosecutors then offered the Dana Point 46-year-old a five-year sentence in a plea deal, but LaVoie rolled the dice and hoped for what Deputy District Attorney Megan Wagner called a "miracle" at retrial. Well, he came up snake eyes this week when Orange County Superior Court Judge David Hoffer sentenced LaVoie to nearly 20 years in prison and ordered him to pay $821,950 in restitution. On the bright side, LaVoie did not get the maximum 24 years and eight months behind bars he was facing.
Theresa Fisher of Tustin Gets 3.5 Years in Scam That Gave Patients New Noses, Boobs, Tummies
Update: Vi Nguyen was sentenced this week to two years and three months in federal prison for her part in a scheme to defraud union and PPO health insurance plans conducted in a plastic surgery center in Orange. The 31-year-old Placentia woman–the final defendant sentenced in the case involving the surgery center variously known as Princess Cosmetic Surgery, Vista Surgical Center and Empire Surgical Center–was also ordered to pay $2.6 million in restitution and begin serving her time behind bars no later than Aug. 24. Her co-defendants Theresa Fisher, 45, of Tustin, and Lindsay Hardgraves, 30, of San Pedro, were sentenced last month in the scam that stung International Longshore and Warehouse Union and Operating Engineers Union health plans, as well as Aetna and Anthem. The trio lured patients with free or discounted liposuction, boob jobs and tummy tucks if they underwent multiple medically unnecessary procedures such as endoscopies and colonoscopies that would be billed to their insurance. Some cosmetic surgeries were even billed as medically necessary.
Update: Lake Forest City Councilman Adam Nick, who led an effort to make stealing campaign signs a misdemeanor, admitted in court this week that he had a role in removing campaign signs belonging to fellow Councilman Scott Voigts. In return for prosecutors dropping charges against Nick, he donated $1,000 to the Victim Witness Emergency Fund, performed eight hours of community service and submitted a signed letter "acknowledging his role in the charged offenses," according to Deputy District Attorney Jess Rodriguez. "I would note that many first-time-offender petty theft cases resolve for dismissals in exchange for much smaller donations, or perhaps providing a DNA sample," Rodriguez wrote in an email to City News Service. "However, it was felt that as a public official, Mr. Nick should be held to a higher standard. This resolution accomplishes that while sparing taxpayers the expense of a public trial." Nick's attorney, Paul Meyer, emphasized to CNS that his client did not admit stealing the signs but rather removing "illegally placed signs."
Update: Over the objections of prosecutors, Jose Alberto Carrillo was sentenced this week to a year in jail, three years probation and 40 hours of community service for accepting bribes from Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) for customers in exchange for providing California driver's licenses. Under the deal with the judge, the 47-year-old Fresno resident copped to two felony counts of altering public documents and two felony counts of computer access and fraud. Senior Deputy District Attorney Brock Zimmon wanted Carrillo to do prison time for his crimes as a Motor Vehicle Representative at the Westminster DMV Office.
Update: Irvine-based Internet sales company GFORCE CHIPS, which Orange County prosecutors accused of selling a bogus car performance chip nationwide, agreed Thursday to shut down, pay $400,000 in civil penalties, and restitution to any complaining customers, according to the Orange County District Attorney's office. The OCDA on Oct. 28, 2014, filed a civil lawsuit accusing GFORCE of committing unlawful business practices and engaging in false advertising by marketing their product as a car-performance chip to increase fuel efficiency, among other claims. As part of the proposed settlement, which awaits approval by Orange County Superior Court Judge James J. Di Cesare, GFORCE and its owner Ravi Ghataode, agreed to shut down the business and be permanently enjoined from ever operating a business that sells any device that claims to affect gas mileage, horsepower, or emissions. Ghataode, 34, and his co-defendants admit no wrongdoing in the settlement agreement. They are mandated under the terms to reimburse all customers that have complained about the chip in the last four years and reimburse anyone who complains to the OCDA or GFORCE within 90 days after entry of the settlement by the court. Consumers who purchased a GFORCE chip and either never received merchandise or a requested refund, or who would like to lodge a complaint and get money back, is asked to contact the OCDA Consumer Fraud Hotline at 714.834.6553.