The defendant charged with murder in what Oxnard police said was a gang-related shooting has been allowed to plead guilty to a lessor charge.
According to court records, 23-year-old Carlos Hernandez of Oxnard pleaded guilty Monday to voluntary manslaughter.
He also admitted that the shooting was for the benefit of a street gang.
He had been charged with murder in the February 2012 shooting death of 19-year-old Edwin Herrera of Oxnard.
Herrera was found shot in the 2000 block of San Benito Street in Oxnard's Lemonwood neighborhood on the night of February 29th, 2012.
He was taken to the hospital where he later died from his wound.
At the time, Oxnard police said the shooting was gang-related but that Herrera was not connected to any gang.
A year-and-a-half later, Hernandez was arrested for the shooting and charged with murder.
He was also accused of committing the crime for the benefit of a street gang.
Monday, court records indicate that Hernandez pleaded guilty to Voluntary Manslaughter instead of Murder but he did admit the gang enhancement.
He remains in jail on $4 million bail with sentencing set for July 5, 2016.
On a split 5-2 opinion, the California Supreme Court has ruled that the Environmental Impact Report for the massive Newhall Ranch project on the Los Angeles County side of the border with Ventura County is inadequate.
Environmentalists sued claiming the EIR failed to properly address several important issues regarding the 12,000 acre development that would be built along the Santa Clara River in Santa Clarita.
Over 20 years, the project by the Newhall Land and Ranch Company would include almost 21,000 residential units with 58,000 residents plus commercial and industrial property, golf courses, schools, parks and shopping centers.
The court's opinion (see link at the bottom of this post) focuses on three issues, how the EIR dealt with the greenhouse gas issue, how it addressed protecting a species of fish in the Santa Clara River, and whether environmentalists had made their formal objections in the timely fashion.
A majority of the court basically ruled in favor of the environmentalists on all three issues..
The State Supreme Court ordered the EIR dispute sent back to the Court of Appeal for proceedings consistent with their opinion.
Link to opinion: http://www.courts.ca.gov/opinions/documents/S217763.PDF
(Top photo courtesy Ventura City Fire Department)
(Photo courtesy Lilia Saiby)
UPDATED AS OF 2:30 AM SUNDAY...A wind driven fire burned three-acres of large trees and brush Saturday night and shut down the 101/126 interchange in Ventura for a time.
The blaze was actually several fires that started shortly after 10 PM along the transition road from the northbound 101 to eastbound 126.
Firefighters were told initially that the fires were threatening the nearby La Posada Mobile Home Park.
But firefighters arriving on scene discovered the mobile home park was OK.
The wind had taken embers from the initial fires and spread them all along the 126 freeway, finally merging them into a single three-acre blaze.
Fire crews from throughout Ventura County responded to the blaze and they had the main body of the fire knocked down around 11:45 PM and it was fully contained and controlled by 2 AM Sunday.
There were no structures damaged and no injuries reported.
Cause of the fire was under investigation, but there were reports of several people seen running from the area after the fire broke out and they found a homeless camp in that area.
At one point, both north and southbound 101 and the eastbound 126 were closed.
One lane of southbound 101 was reopened but the northbound 101, eastbound 126 and the transition roads from NB and SB 101 to EB 126 remained closed for some time.
Everything was reopened by 2:15 AM Sunday.
(Photo courtesy Jayme Laber)
The California Highway Patrol was investigating the crash of a travel trailer that blocked both eastbound lanes of the 126 Freeway in east Ventura for more than one hour Friday afternoon.
The crash was reported around 3:30 PM eastbound 126 east of Kimball Road.
There were no injuries in the crash.
The travel trailer ended up on its side blocking both eastbound lanes for about 80 minutes.
The CHP used the center divider to detour eastbound traffic around the crash, but at one point eve that was closed while the tow truck worked to get the trailer back on its wheels.
As of 4:55 PM, CRASH CLEARED, BOTH EB LANES OPEN
(Photo courtesy VPD)
Ventura police say they arrested a transient Friday morning for allegedly trying to break into several vehicles in the Walmart parking lot and for being in possession of a concealed dagger.
Shortly before 8 AM, officers responded to a report of a man trying the door handles on several vehicles at the Walmart at 1739 S. Victoria Avenue.
The person who called also said they saw the man get into one vehicle before walking away from the parking lot.
Officers arrived and located 42-year-old Alton Kearse nearby and a witness identified him as the suspect.
They say Kearse also admitted trying to steal from vehicles.
As police were arresting him, they found a dagger in his pocket.
Kearse was booked into the Ventura County jail for misdemeanor malicious mischief to a vehicle and felony possession of a concealed dagger.
(Photo courtesy Ventura City Fire)
The Ventura City Fire Department says an unattended candle started a fire in a house early Friday morning, but preparation and quick action by the homeowner minimized the damage.
They say shortly before 5:30 AM Friday, the residents of a single family home in the 700 block of Montgomery Avenue woke up to the smell of smoke and the sound of fire alarms.
The home owner went to the living room and saw the TV screen and items on top of an adjacent hutch on fire.
He quickly evacuated his wife and child and grabbed an extinguisher and fought the fire.
Firefighters arrived about three minutes later and made sure the fire was completely out.
They say the damage was confined to the entertainment center.
Fire investigators say it could have been much worse but modern fire code construction made sure the heat and smoke damage was contained in the wall.
They say the working alarm system and quick access to a fire extinguisher also reduced the potential for significant damage.
No one was injured.
Firefighters say candles,or any heat source, should never be close to combustibles and should never be left unattended.
They also say with the colder weather, make sure heaters are working property and are not near combustibles.
The Ventura City Fire Department says around 12:41 AM Friday they started receiving calls from early Black Friday shoppers at the Pacific View Mall reporting smoke pouring from the roof of the Lowe's Home Improvement store across the street at 500 S. Mills Road.
Active alarms were ringing and the store was empty.
Firefighters responded and found a rooftop heating and air conditioning unit engulfed in flames that were threatening to spread to the roofing material.
However, firefighters were able to knock the fire down in 13 minutes and keep it confined to the one air conditioning unit and some roofing material immediately surrounding the unit.
There was NO smoke in the building.
The initial damage estimate was placed at $20,000.
Fire officials say the fire did NOT impact the rest of the building and Lowe's WILL be open for business Friday.
(Photo by Alex Wilson, KVTA News)
The Ventura County Fire Department is helping the public prepare for projected El Niño storms by offering free sandbags and readiness tips at an event held in two locations on Saturday, December 5, 2015.
Hosted at Mission Bell Plaza and the Ventura County Fairgrounds, Sandbag Saturday will run from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. and feature a storm readiness fair and drive-through area where first responders will load 10 pre-filled sandbags into each car.
Supplies are limited so plan to arrive early.
Both events will also feature a readiness fair with important information and tools on how to create an emergency kit and evacuation plan, register for emergency notifications, prepare homes for heavy rainfall and much more.
The two Sandbag Saturday event locations include Mission Bell Plaza, located at 301-593 W. Los Angeles Avenue in Moorpark, and the Ventura County Fair, located at 10 W. Harbor Blvd. in Ventura.
For more information on the County’s efforts to prepare for El Nino or other emergency preparedness information, visit www.ReadyVenturaCounty.org. To download a “Ready, Set, Go!.” flood preparation guide, visit www.VCReadySetGo.org.