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KVTA Local News

Trial Could Begin This Week Into Olympic Medalist's Killing

KVTA News Sunday March 29, 2015

     A long-awaited, high profile, Ventura County murder trial could get underway this week.
     57-year-old Jane Laut is accused of murder in the August 2009 shooting death of her Olympic medalist husband Dave at their Oxnard home.
     Prosecutors call it murder, the defense maintains it was self-defense after years of spousal abuse.
     The trial has been delayed several times over the years by various issues. 
     The latest had to do with a defense request to remove the judge because of a statement she made in another case that the defense maintained showed an indifference and insensitivity to the victims of spousal abuse.
     But the defense request to remove the judge was rejected by a specially appointed Santa Barbara judge and the State Court of Appeal.
     Jury selection could begin later this week.

A long-awaited, high profile, Ventura County murder trial could get underway this week.

57-year-old Jane Laut is accused of murder in the August 2009 shooting death of her Olympic medalist husband Dave at their Oxnard home.

Prosecutors call it murder, the defense maintains it was self-defense after years of spousal abuse.

The trial has been delayed several times over the years by various issues. 

The latest had to do with a defense request to remove the judge because of a statement she made in another case that the defense maintained showed an indifference and insensitivity to the victims of spousal abuse.

But the defense request to remove the judge was rejected by a specially appointed Santa Barbara judge and the State Court of Appeal. 

Jury selection could begin later this week.

Investigation Continues Into Deadly Officer-Involved Shooting In Oxnard

KVTA News Sunday March 29, 2015

The investigation continues into this weekend’s deadly officer involved shooting in Oxnard.

Police say that around 1 AM Saturday morning a man called 911 to report a domestic dispute at his apartment in the 500 block of west Vineyard Avenue.

The first officer arrived on scene and police say he was talking with the man at the front door to the apartment when a woman advanced on them with a knife.

That’s when the officer shot and killed her.

She was identified as 26-year-old Meagan Hockaday, the live-in girlfriend of the man who called police.

The officer and the man were not injured.

There were three children in the apartment when it happened and they were not harmed.

The officer, an 8-year-veteran of the department, is on administrative leave which is standard policy. 

As the department conducts an administrative investigation to determine if the shooting was within department policy, a parallel investigation is conducted to determine if the shooting was legally justified.

Family Fight Leads To ADW, Arrest In Oxnard

KVTA News Sunday March 29, 2015

Oxnard police say a fight at a family gathering Saturday night ended with an assault with a deadly weapon and an arrest.

They say it happened around 10:50 PM inside a business located in the 2700 block of Seaglass Way in the Collection in Oxnard.

Police say several subjects from the family gathering became involved in a fight and during that fight one of the subjects produced a knife and cut another individual.

Police say they arrested 25-year-old Daniel Barbere of Oxnard for assault with a deadly weapon. 

They say the victim, a 33-year-old Oxnard man, suffered a moderate laceration to the face and was taken to VCMC for treatment.

Small Vegetation Fire Impacts 101 In Ventura

KVTA News Sunday March 29, 2015

(Photo courtesy Ventura City Fire Department)

Ventura City firefighters say a small vegetation fire impacted the 101 Freeway near the 126 interchange early Sunday morning.

It happened around 1:48 AM in the area of Arundell Avenue at the west end of Market Street next to the southbound 101 Freeway.

They say the fire was burning in a half acre of trees and medium to large vegetation when they arrived.

The fire also impinged on a utility pole and a downed Edison stabilization wire was draped over a charged high voltage component which complicated firefighting efforts.

Flames and smoke from the fire also impacted traffic on the 101 and the CHP helped out with traffic control.

Firefighters were able to knock the fire down within a short period of time.

They say no natural cause for the fire could be found and the investigation continues into what started the fire. 

No injuries were reported.

Woman Killed By Oxnard Police Identified

KVTA News Saturday March 28, 2015

Update--Oxnard police have released more information about Saturday morning's deadly officer involved shooting that left a woman dead.

They say the incident began around 1 AM when a man called 911 to request officers respond to his apartment in the 500 block of W. Vineyard Avenue because of a domestic dispute between him and his live in girlfriend.

Police say the first officer to arrive on scene was trained in Crisis Intervention.

He heard screaming coming from the apartment.

Police say as he approached the front door of the apartment he was met by the man who had called 911 to report the domestic dispute.

Police say within 20 seconds the live in girlfriend, 26-year-old Meagan Hockaday, advanced on them with a knife and the officer involved shooting took place.

Emergency medical personnel responded and pronounced her dead at the scene.

Three young children were inside the apartment at the time of the incident and they were taken to the police department to be evaluated by Children Protective Services.

The officer involved, an 8-year-veteran of the department, has been placed on administrative leave which is standard procedure in such incidents. 

There are two investigations underway, one to determine if the use of deadly force was within department policy and the other, which involves a review by the DA's office, to determine if the shooting was legally justified.

Man Wounded By Gunfire In Santa Paula

KVTA News Saturday March 28, 2015

Updated--Santa Paula police are looking for two suspects involved in a fight which led to a shooting Friday night.

It happened around 10:30 PM in the 200 block of W. Harvard Boulevard.

Police say two men, a 29-year-old Santa Paula resident and a 23-year-old Los Angeles resident, were walking through the area of Harvard Boulevard and Craig Drive when they were confronted by two other men in their mid 20's.

The suspects asked the victims where they were from.

There was a verbal altercation which turned into a fight and during the fight one of the suspects shot one of the victims twice in the left leg.

The suspects then fled the scene.

The shooting victim was taken to VCMC to be treated for what police say were not life threatening wounds.

Police say they do not have a motive for the incident and that the victims do not appear to be gang members, but they're not sure about the suspects.

Police described the suspects as male Hispanics in their mid 20's.

They say the shooter was thin with tattoos on both arms, short hair, clean shaven, with a black shirt and blue jeans.

The other suspect was short in stature with tattoos on both arms, short hair, clean shaven with a black shirt and black pants.

Anyone with information is asked to call Sergeant Cody Madison at (805) 525-4474 or cmadison@spcity.org

Missile Launch From Vandenberg AFB

KVTA News Friday March 27, 2015

(U.S. Air Force photo by Joe Davila)

A missile launch from Vandenberg AFB in Santa Barbara County before dawn Friday morning...here's the latest from the Air Force...

VANDENBERG AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. -- A team of Air Force Global Strike Command Airmen launched an unarmed Minuteman III intercontinental ballistic missile equipped with a test reentry vehicle today at 3:53 a.m. Pacific Daylight Time from Vandenberg Air Force Base, California.

The test reentry vehicle impacted in a pre-established test area in the Pacific Ocean near the island of Guam approximately 40 minutes after launch.

Possible Arson Fire In Ventura Industrial Park

KVTA News Friday March 27, 2015

(Photo of Friday morning fire courtesy Ventura City Fire Department)

Investigators are looking into a possible arson fire in the Ventura industrial park early Friday morning.

At around 3 AM Ventura City firefighters responded to the 5200 block of Colt Street at the household hazardous waste collection facility to a report of a large vehicle fire.

When they arrived, they found a big rig truck on fire with personnel at the facility attempting to put the fire out.

Firefighters were able to quickly extinguish the blaze which was confined to a portion of the big rig.

They say the origin of the fire is suspicious in nature and is being investigated as a possible arson fire.

There were no injuries.

There was another incident in that same part of the industrial park early Thursday morning that involved three vehicles that were on fire.

The cause of those fires is under investigation and there is no word as to whether there is any connection between the two incidents.

Pedestrian Killed In Ojai Valley

KVTA News Friday March 27, 2015

Updated--The CHP is investigating a fatal incident involving a vehicle and a pedestrian in the Ojai Valley Thursday night.

It happened around 8:30 PM on Highway 33 north of Villanova Road.

The CHP say a car was traveling northbound on the 33 at the legal speed when a male pedestrian crossed the highway westbound from the Red Barn Liquor Store parking lot.

The CHP says that because the area is not well lit and the pedestrian was wearing dark clothing, the driver could not see the pedestrian until it was too late.

The vehicle struck the pedestrian.

The driver of the vehicle stopped immediately and called 9-1-1.

Emergency medical personnel responded and treated the pedestrian at the scene before taking him to the hospital where he died.

The pedestrian has been identified as 61-year-old James Strasser, a transient who frequented the Ojai Valley.

He died from blunt force injuries suffered in the collision. 

The incident closed Highway 33 in that area for more than an hour.

OPD: Abducted Boy Reunited With Father

KVTA News Thursday March 26, 2015

(Photo courtesy Oxnard Police Department)

Oxnard police say the 7-year-old boy abducted by his mother last week was returned and reunited with his father Wednesday night.

Police say that on Wednesday afternoon they made phone contact with Jessica Melgoza who had, as they suspected, taken her 7-year-old son Tyler to Mexico during a court limited visitation with the child last Friday.

They arranged to have her return the boy to the United States and on Wednesday night they all met at the border in San Diego and Tyler was returned and reunited with his father.

He was unharmed.

Oxnard detectives served Jessica with a new court order barring her from having any contact with the boy or his father, an order that police say she violated five minutes later by calling the boy's father.

Police have taken the matter to the DA to determine, what if any action should be taken against her. 

Until then, she is free.

Jury Can't Decide On Trial For Molest Defendant

KVTA News Thursday March 26, 2015

A jury that was supposed to decide whether an Oxnard man was competent to stand trial on charges he molested a number of children at local stores was unable to reach a unanimous decision.

42-year-old Juan Gonzalez was arrested in May of 2012 after a loss prevention agent at the Walmart on Rose Avenue in Oxnard spotted Gonzalez in the store and recognized him as the man they believed had been seen on security video molesting a boy in the store a day earlier.

At the time Oxnard police said they believed that Gonzalez molested up to 20 children at the Walmart and other Oxnard stores.

He was ultimately charged with multiple counts involving multiple victims.

Gonzalez has been in jail since then with bail set at $600,000.

However, his attorney raised a question as to whether Gonzalez was mentally competent to stand trial and that issue of competency went before a jury at a special trial.

On Monday, that jury came back and said they were hopelessly deadlocked 7-5 in favor of finding Gonzalez competent to stand trial. 

With that the judge declared a mistrial on the competency issue and they'll be back in court on Monday to decide if there will be a second competency trial.

Driver Slams Into Pole/Hydrant In Simi Valley

KVTA News Thursday March 26, 2015

(Photo courtesy Ventura County Fire Department)

A driver in Simi Valley slammed into a street light pole and a fire hydrant Thursday morning.

The accident at Eileen and Tapo streets shortly before 7:30 AM knocked the light pole down and sheared the fire hydrant.

Because the light pole was electrically energized, and the water from the sheared hydrant created a pool of water around the vehicle, firefighters told the occupant in the vehicle to stay inside until they could make sure that the power to the pole was shut off.

That took about an hour and the driver was removed from the vehicle, extent of injuries, if any, was unknown.

Ventura Man Denies Being Bank Robber

KVTA News Wednesday March 25, 2015

(Bank security photo courtesy Ventura County Sheriff Dept)

The man arrested in connection with a robbery at an Oak View bank in January has pleaded not guilty.

50-year-old Juan Barbosa of Ventura was in court Tuesday to be arraigned in connection with the January 30th robbery at the Rabobank at 410 N. Ventura Avenue.

The authorities say the suspect in that robbery used a note to demand money from the teller and then fled on a black BMX bicycle that was last seen riding into the Larmier residential area.

Deputies say bank security cameras captured the suspect on video and helped lead investigators to Barbosa.

Last month they served a search warrant at Barbosa's residence and he was arrested on a felony charge of being a prohibited person in possession of a firearm and a misdemeanor drug charge.

Barbosa was jailed with bail set at $100,000 while detectives continued to investigate the bank robbery.

Last week deputies arrested Barbosa in jail in connection with the January bank robbery.

He remains in jail on $250,000 bail pending an April 7th court hearing.

Wrong Way Driver Leads To Major Oxnard Crash

KVTA News Wednesday March 25, 2015

(Photo courtesy OPD)

Oxnard police say four people were injured, including one critically, following a three vehicle crash involving a wrong way driver.

They say that around 9 PM Tuesday night a white Chrysler sedan driven by a 56-year-old Oxnard man was traveling northbound in the southbound lanes of Victoria Avenue when it collided with two vehicles south of Gonzales Road, a silver Nissan Altima and Honda Accord.

The 56-year-old man driving the Chrysler was trapped in his vehicle and had to be rescued by firefighters using the Jaws of Life.

He was taken to VCMC with critical injuries.

The 62-year-old Oxnard woman driving the Nissan Altima also had to be extricated from her vehicle using the "jaws" and was taken to VCMC with serious injuries, including two broken legs.

Police say the right front passenger in the Nissan Altima was taken to VCMC in stable condition.

The driver of the Honda Accord sustained minor injuries and was treated and released from the scene. 

Police say they do not know why the Chrysler was driving the wrong way and they say it's unknown if alcohol or drugs were involved in the crash.

OPD Investigates Parental Abduction Case

KVTA News Wednesday March 25, 2015

(Photos courtesy OPD)

Oxnard police are investigating a parental abduction case.

They say that Saturday night the father of 7-year-old Tyler Melgoza came to the police department to report that the child's mother, 35-year-old Jessica Melgoza, had failed to return Tyler after his court ordered overnight visitation.

Investigators believe that Jessica Melgoza fled to Mexico with Tyler.

She was driving a blue 1998 VW Jetta with black doors.

The license plates to the vehicle were recently reported stolen which means the vehicle has either false license plates or no plates at all. 

Anyone with information that could help in locating Jessica or Tyler Melgoza is asked to call OPD at (805) 385-3921 or the Violent Crimes Hotline at (805) 982-7070 or Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477.