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Brentwood, California

About Brentwood:

Brentwood is a city located in Contra Costa County, California. As of the 2000 census, the city had a total population of 23,302.

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Brentwood Area News

Former Concord schoolteacher to be retried on child molestation charges

A former Concord schoolteacher who was acquitted of 21 charges of child molestation and nearly acquitted of 95 other charges will be re-tried, the Contra Costa County District Attorney's Office has announced.

Joseph Martin, 46, of Martinez, will again go to trial on charges that he molested multiple former students at Concord's Woodside Elementary School, prosecutors said. The decision to re-try him comes two months after a jury hung over most of the charges against Martin, acquitting him of 21 charges and tilting heavily toward acquittal on 95 additional charges. The jury voted 9-3 to acquit Martin of charges related to 10 victims and 11-1 to acquit him of charges related to the 11th victim.

However, Deputy District Attorney Derek Butts said, "The numbers don't in and of themselves tell the story."

Butts declined to say whether Martin would be retried on all 95 remaining counts.

He said his discussions with several of the jurors and support from the victims' parents factored into the decision to re-try the defendant.

Martin was initially charged with 150 counts of inappropriately touching male students, including numerous allegations that he fondled their chests underneath their shirts.

The jury heard testimony from the purported victims, most who are now in high school and recalled how the defendant would inappropriately touch them and tell them he loved them both inside and outside of his Woodside Elementary classroom.

Martin's attorney, Patrick Clancy, has said the accusations were a result of "mass hysteria" fueled by baseless rumors and that his client was a dedicated teacher who cared about his students' success.

Clancy called the decision to re-try his client "very unfair" and said the process is "extremely expensive and hard on his family."

Martin, a married father of two, remains in county jail on $10 million bail.

His attorney added that he had never seen a case re-tried after a jury leaned so heavily toward acquittal.

Nonetheless, Clancy said he and his client are ready to go back into the courtroom.

"I seriously doubt there will be many counts or accusers left on the day of trial," he said.

The new trial is set for Nov. 3 or within 10 days of that date and is expected to last six to 10 weeks, according to Butts.

Fri, 24 Oct 2014 12:35:51 -0700

Man sentenced to 12 years in fatal 2008 stabbing of UC-Berkeley student

A former Berkeley City College student was sentenced Friday to 12 years in state prison for fatally stabbing University of California at Berkeley student Christopher Wootton near campus six years ago.

The sentencing ends a long legal saga for 27-year-old Andrew Hoeft-Edenfield, who was found guilty of second-degree murder on May 13, 2010, in connection with the death of 21-year-old Christopher Wootton in the early morning hours of May 3, 2008.

Hoeft-Edenfield was sentenced to a term of 16 years to life in state prison, but last year the California Supreme Court, which had originally upheld his conviction, issued an order to show cause why he shouldn't be entitled to relief based on his allegation that his trial lawyer, Yolanda Huang, failed to provide effective legal assistance.

The matter was sent back to Alameda County Superior Court and on April 29 Judge Larry Goodman, after holding a lengthy hearing, dismissed Hoeft-Edenfield's conviction, ruling that Huang failed to warn him that he could face a life sentence if he didn't accept a manslaughter plea bargain and went to trial and was convicted of murder.

The Alameda County District Attorney's Office had fought hard to convict Hoeft-Edenfield of second-degree murder in his four-month-long trial in 2010.

But on Sept. 9 prosecutors decided not to undergo another lengthy trial and allowed Hoeft-Edenfield to plead no contest to the lesser charge of voluntary manslaughter.

Wootton, who was from Bellflower in Southern California, was only two weeks away from graduating with honors in nuclear engineering when he was stabbed during a confrontation in the parking lot of a sorority house in the 2400 block of Warring Street at about 2:45 a.m. on May 3, 2008.

According to the evidence in Hoeft-Edenfield's trial, the stabbing occurred at the end of a drunken shouting match that developed when Hoeft-Edenfield, who worked at Jamba Juice in Berkeley, and a group of his friends encountered Wootton, who was a member of the nearby Sigma Pi fraternity house, and his friends on a street near campus.

Huang, Hoeft-Edenfield's trial attorney, admitted that he stabbed Wootton but said he acted in self-defense after he was outnumbered, surrounded, kicked and stomped by Wootton and a large group of Wootton's friends.

But Judge Jeffrey Horner, who presided over Hoeft-Edenfield's trial, said that on the night of the incident Hoeft-Edenfield never called police and never claimed self-defense.

Instead, Horner said, Hoeft-Edenfield pulled out a knife, asked Wootton and his friends, "Who wants to die?" and fatally stabbed Wootton.

Hoeft-Edenfield's new attorney, Christopher Dalton, said today that he doesn't think Hoeft-Edenfield committed murder because there were "self-defense elements to the case."

Dalton said Hoeft-Edenfield "spent the last six years thinking he would never get out of prison" but will now be released in about six years after serving the rest of his term for his manslaughter conviction.

Wootton's family members attended all of Hoeft-Edenfield's trial and most of the other hearings in the case but didn't come to court for his sentencing Friday.

Prosecutor Stacie Pettigrew declined to comment on the case, saying she was busy with another trial, although that trial isn't in session Friday.

Fri, 24 Oct 2014 12:27:49 -0700

2 deputies shot in northern California, manhunt underway

Authorities are investigating after two deputies in Sacramento and Placer counties were shot Friday in separate incidents, according to the Sacramento Bee.

An assailant shot a Sacramento County, California, sheriff's deputy and a bystander, then carjacked two vehicles Friday morning, prompting a manhunt as the assailant fled through residential areas, sheriff's spokeswoman Sgt. Lisa Bowman said.

Bowman said the deputy was approaching a suspicious occupied vehicle in a parking lot when he was shot.

"The person who was inside of the vehicle shot rounds at the officer," she said. She later said that "at least one shot was fired at our deputy, striking him at least one time."

She could not say if the deputy shot back. He was taken to a hospital but Bowman said his condition was not immediately known.

"We're hoping for the best," she said about two hours after the initial shooting.

A second person was then shot when they refused to give up the keys to a vehicle during an attempted carjacking, Bowman said.

The shooting happened around 10:30 a.m. in the commercial Arden Way area of Sacramento near a Motel 6. It prompted a massive response by special weapons teams and other heavily armed law enforcement officers from several agencies.

The suspect was described as a Hispanic male in his 30s and Bowman said he was accompanied by a woman. She said he fled to a residential area where he carjacked a vehicle, then later carjacked a second vehicle.

A park ranger reported he saw the suspects changing their clothing in the Carmichael area, a few miles northeast of the site of the initial shooting.

Authorities were seeking a red 2002 Ford F150 extended cab pickup truck with an ice chest in the back.

The Sacramento Bee reported a short time after the first shooting, a Placer County sheriff’s deputy had been shot on Maidu Drive in Auburn.  According to the report a massive manhunt is underway spreading from the Arden area to Carmichael to Auburn



Fri, 24 Oct 2014 12:07:25 -0700

News Source: MedleyStory More Local News Stories

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