Adult punches mountain lion to save girl in park
CUPERTINO >> A state park in Northern California remained closed Tuesday after a mountain lion attacked a 6-year-old girl while she walked on a trail, officials said.
The girl was at the Rancho San Antonio County Park and Open Space Preserve in Cupertino when a mountain lion attacked her Sunday, the California Department of Fish and Wildlife said in a statement.
The child was about 2 miles from the main parking lot when a mountain lion attacked her. Adults who were with her scared the big cat away, the department said. Rangers with the Midpeninsula Regional Open Space District treated the girl for minor injuries.
The 6-year-old was with her parents in a group of six adults and four children. An adult who was with them rescued her by punching the animal in the ribs.
“Right about when it grabbed ahold of the girl, there was an adult there that pushed the lion away into the bushes, and it ran off,” Brad Pennington, a ranger with Midpeninsula Regional Open Space District, told KGO. “She has minor injuries, a couple puncture wounds on her calf, and she was treated for minor first aid. Then, her parents took her to the hospital.”
Rangers are trying to find and positively identify the mountain lion and that the park will remain closed until they determined it is safe, officials said.
Pending information from a county probation report, a Solano County Superior Court judge rescheduled sentencing to March for a 47-year-old Vacaville man found guilty in January of trying to kill another man two years ago in Vacaville.
With a defense attorney on Tuesday telling Judge Stephanie Grogan Jones that he had not received the probation document, she ordered Joseph Michael Finocchio to return to Department 5 at 8:30 a.m. March 20 for the proceeding.
Finocchio, who faces as much as 43 years in state prison because of his prior felony record and enhancements, looked dour and appeared to mumble a few words to his lawyer, Curtis Boyd, as he learned of the new court date. Immediately afterward, a sheriff’s deputy escorted him out of Fairfield courtroom and back to jail.
When Finocchio appears again in Jones’ courtroom, she also will consider Boyd’s Romero motion, a request for the judge not consider prior strikes as part of the sentencing.
A jury of six men and six women on Jan. 22 found Finocchio guilty of attempted murder without premeditation when he shot and wounded James W. Mason, also an ex-con, on Jan. 20, 2018, in the North Village subdivision. Their violent face-off was reportedly prompted by Mason’s befriending Finocchio’s ex-girlfriend, Nancy Ottinger.
Jurors believed the prosecution’s case argued by Deputy District Attorney Young Kim, who got a witness to testify that the firearm used in the shooting was an unregistered .22-caliber Browning semiautomatic handgun.
The firearm was an element in an “old story,” as Kim said in his closing argument, that was about “love, break-up, anger, jealousy” and enough jealously that contributed to Finocchio’s firing several shots at Mason, one of them striking him in the chest, near the intersection of North Station Drive and Twilight Street.
He noted that Finocchio and Mason had engaged in a fight on Jan. 18, reminding jurors that a witness heard Finocchio say on Jan. 19 that he would kill Mason and Ottinger if he saw them both again, and