Grandmother convicted of killing grandson freed from prison
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.