Grand­mother con­victed of killing grand­son freed from prison

Manteca Bulletin - - State -

LOS AN­GE­LES (AP) — A grand­mother who spent 11 years in prison for killing her grand­son has been re­leased af­ter her lawyers pro­vided ev­i­dence that the boy might have died from an ac­ci­den­tal fall.

Loy­ola Law School at­tor­neys said Wed­nes­day that Maria Men­dez was re­leased from prison late last month af­ter plead­ing no con­test to man­slaugh­ter and child abuse for the 2006 death of her 9-month-old grand­son.

Men­dez served 11 years of a 25-year sen­tence. Un­der a deal with Los An­ge­les County prose­cu­tors, she was re­sen­tenced to time served.

Dur­ing trial, county med­i­cal ex­perts tes­ti­fied the boy’s trau­matic brain in­juries were caused by abuse.

But Men­dez’s lawyers last month pre­sented CT scans and au­topsy pho­tos indi­cat­ing the in­juries could have been caused by an ear­lier fall.

The district at­tor­ney’s of­fice says it re­mains con­fi­dent in the va­lid­ity of its med­i­cal trial ev­i­dence.

▶GIRL, 12, DIES, SIS­TER IN­JURED WHEN HORSE FALLS ON THEM:

LOS AN­GE­LES (AP) — Au­thor­i­ties say a horse rid­den by two chil­dren in Los An­ge­les reared up and then fell on them, crush­ing one girl to death.

Au­thor­i­ties say 12-year-old Yolanda Ceja died at a hos­pi­tal shortly af­ter Tues­day night’s ac­ci­dent at the Lake View Re­cre­ation Cen­ter.

Her 4-year-old sis­ter was hos­pi­tal­ized in crit­i­cal but sta­ble con­di­tion with a pos­si­ble col­lapsed lung. She is ex­pected to sur­vive.

KCBS-TV re­ports that both girls were rid­ing and their mother was guid­ing the horse when for some rea­son it reared up. The girls slid off and the horse fell on them.

The 12-year-old had no pulse and wasn’t breath­ing when res­cuers reached her.

Au­thor­i­ties haven’t de­ter­mined what spooked the horse.

▶SWING­ING ‘60S STYLES UP FOR AUC­TION FROM SHARON TATE ES­TATE:

LOS AN­GE­LES (AP) — Minidresses and a wed­ding dress are among the items from es­tate of ac­tress Sharon Tate are go­ing up for auc­tion.

Tate starred in the 1967 film “Val­ley of the Dolls” and was the toast of the swing­ing ‘60s so­cial scene. She was mur­dered in Los An­ge­les by the no­to­ri­ous Charles Man­son cult in 1969.

Los An­ge­les-based Julien’s Auc­tions said Wed­nes­day the sale is set to be­gin Nov. 17. The auc­tion house would not re­veal the name of the seller, and it’s not clear who now owns the items.

A silk mini-wed­ding dress that Tate wore for her mar­riage to direc­tor Ro­man Polan­ski could draw up to $50,000, ac­cord­ing to auc­tion-house es­ti­mates. A twotoned mini-dress that Tate wore to the 1968 Cannes Film Fes­ti­val is ex­pected to fetch up to $7,000.

The col­lec­tion also in­cludes “ST” mono­grammed lug­gage.

▶THUN­DER­STORMS LASH SOUTH­ERN CAL­I­FOR­NIA MOUN­TAINS, DESERTS:

BIG BEAR LAKE, Calif. (AP) — Thun­der­storms are pound­ing some moun­tain and desert ar­eas of South­ern Cal­i­for­nia as mon­soonal flow brings mois­ture into the re­gion.

The Na­tional Weather Ser­vice has is­sued flash flood warn­ings and watches Wed­nes­day af­ter­noon for in­land ar­eas east, south­east and north of Los An­ge­les.

Dop­pler radar is show­ing heavy rain­fall rates in var­i­ous ar­eas.

A stretch of State Route 18 in the San Bernardino Moun­tains has been closed due to rock and mud­slides.

▶CHILD SER­VICES EM­PLOYEE PLEADS NOT GUILTY IN CHILD PORN CASE:

LOS AN­GE­LES (AP) — An em­ployee of the Los An­ge­les County De­part­ment of Chil­dren and Fam­ily Ser­vices has pleaded not guilty to charges of pos­sess­ing and dis­tribut­ing child pornog­ra­phy on­line.

County prose­cu­tors charged 54-year-old Car­los En­rique Castillo with five counts of send­ing or re­ceiv­ing ob­scene mat­ter for sale and a felony count of pos­sess­ing more than 600 im­ages of child or youth pornog­ra­phy.

Castillo en­tered his plea Tues­day and was or­dered by a judge not to have any un­su­per­vised con­tact with mi­nors and to not ac­cess the in­ter­net.

Chil­dren and Fam­ily Ser­vices direc­tor Bobby Ca­gle says in a state­ment that the al­leged be­hav­ior goes against its mis­sion to keep kids safe and vi­o­lates the pub­lic trust.

If con­victed on all charges, Castillo faces up to eight years and four months in prison.

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