The following is the quarterly update on local felony cases.
Two legal terms to keep in mind are pre-trial hearing and preliminary hearing. The terms sound similar, but they mean different things. A pre-trial hearing will deal with specific issues before the trial starts. A preliminary hearing determines if there is enough evidence for a case to go to trial.
Los Alamitos murder, arson and child endangerment
Joseph Elija Ettima has been accused of murdering his grandmother and setting her Los Alamitos apartment on fire with two children inside on Jan. 19, 2009. The children were Ettima’s then 8-year-old brother and his 3-year-old niece.
The 8-year-old boy got the 3-year-old girl out of the burning building. Authorities found 69-year-old Emma Louise Hardwick-Street’s body inside.
On April 15, U.S. Marshals Ettima in Mexico. Ettima could face 25 years to life imprisonment if he is convicted. Ettima’s jury trial began on Oct. 18, 2010.
Ettima remains in the Orange County Jail.
The latest: A pre-trial hearing has been scheduled for Sept. 28.
Los Alamitos road rage
Los Alamitos Police arrested Robert Barnhart, 52, of Bellflower in November as a result of a road rage incident. Barnhart is accused of following another driver in his car and striking that car with his following a collision.
The Orange County DA’s Office has charged him with 11 felony counts, including nine counts of assault with a deadly weapon and two counts of making criminal threats.
There is no evidence that Barnhart was under the influence of alcohol or drugs at the time.
Barnhart is currently out on $150,000 bond, according to the Orange County Superior Court Web site.
The latest: Barnhart’s jury trial continues on Sept. 19.
Leisure World DUI/gross manslaughter
Leisure World resident Dale Snyder Quinn, 75, has been charged with gross manslaughter while driving under the influence.
The case began at 5:39 p.m., Sunday, May 20, when a motorist ran into an 86-year-old man was he crossed a Leisure World street in his motorized wheelchair. Both driver and victim were Leisure World residents.
The accident apparently occurred near Saint Andrews and Tam O’Shanter.
The driver of the car, Dale Snyder Quinn, 75, another Leisure World resident, was booked on suspicion of driving under the influence. However, she was later released due to an unspecified medical condition.
Eight days after the collision, the man died at Long Beach Memorial.
The latest: The preliminary hearing is scheduled for Monday, Sept. 24.
Seal Beach DUI/hit-and run
On Feb. 4, a motorist struck three bicycle riders in Seal Beach. The driver kept going. The Seal Beach Police Department obtained a description of the suspect car and broadcast it. The Huntington Beach Police Department pulled over a vehicle matching that description.
Juli Ann Brown, of Alaska, has been charged with DUI, causing injury; failure to stop at an accident with injury; unlawful possession of a controlled substance and causing an injury while driving with a suspended driver’s license. Prosecutors have also added an “enhancement”—an aggravating circumstance that could add to the accused’s potential sentence—of inflicting great bodily harm.
The latest: A pre-trial hearing was scheduled for Sept. 27. According to the courthouse website, the jury trial was scheduled to start on Oct. 25, but that date has been cancelled. The new trial date has apparently not been set.
Seal Beach sexual assaults
A masseur who used to work in Seal Beach was charged last year with three counts of assault with intent to commit specified sex offenses.
Seal Beach Police Sgt. Steve Bowles described the incidents as “a series of inappropriate and unwanted physical contacts” between Jason Michael Elliot, 28, and the three women clients.
Bowles confirmed that all three incidents apparently took place at Massage Envy.
The company issued a statement that said out the accused passed a Seal Beach Police background check prior to being hired. He was dismissed when the business learned about the accusations against him.
The incidents reportedly took place in 2009.
Elliot is currently out on $100,000 bail posted by Viking Bail Bonds.
The latest: A pre-trial hearing is scheduled for Sept. 28. No trial date has been set.
Seal Beach murder and fatal child abuse
A 22-month-old Seal Beach girl identified as Millicent Wilborn died on Dec. 17, 2009. Her twin brother suffered a skull fracture, but lived. The crime apparently occurred in the resident housing area of the Seal Beach Naval Weapons Station on Anchor Way.
Their mother, Linda Wilborn, was initially charged with assaulting a child with enough force likely to cause death. The penalty for fatal child abuse is the same as the penalty for murder: 25 years to life. A murder charge has since been added to the felony counts against Wilborn.
Wilborn is currently in custody in the Orange County Jail.
She entered a not guilty plea to all charges on April 26, 2011.
In a related case in late May 2012, the U.S. Army court-martialed her husband Derrick Wilborn for negligent homicide in the death of Millicent Wilborn. Derrick Wilborn was convicted of negligent homicide and child endangerment by culpable negligence.
The panel found that Derrick Wilborn failed to protect his four children from the abuse of his wife.
The Army sentenced Derrick Wilborn to 90 days incarceration and demoted him from sergeant first class to specialist.
The latest: Linda Wilborn’s jury trial is scheduled to continue on Oct. 1.
Seal Beach assault with a sword
College Park East resident Andrew Baoan Nguyen—also known as Nguyenphuc—was arrested April 16 for threatening his mother with a 5-foot samurai sword.
He was arrested that night for possession of cocaine and being under the influence of cocaine in addtion to assault with a deadly weapon and making criminal threats.
The cocaine possession charge was dismissed on May 3.
The latest: A pre-trial hearing was scheduled for Thursday, Oct. 18.
Salon Meritage case
Scott Evans Dekraai has been charged with eight counts of murder and one count of attempted murder in the Oct. 12, 2011 Seal Beach shootings at the Salon Meritage beauty shop. He was reportedly involved in a bitter custody dispute over his 8-year-old son with his ex-wife, who was one of the victims. The Orange County District Attorney’s Office is seeking the death penalty. Dekraai has entered a plea of not guilty. So far, he has not entered an insanity defense.
Dekraai is being represented by the Orange County Public Defender’s Office. He is in custody in the Orange County Jail.
The latest: His pre-trial hearing has been set for Oct. 19. His jury trial was originally scheduled to start on Oct. 15, just three days after the anniversary of the shootings. The trial has been rescheduled for March 25, 2013.
Leisure World rape
On July 6 or July 7, 2010, a 46-year-old woman took a cab from Sunset Beach to an apartment in Seal Beach’s Leisure World. According to the Seal Beach Police Department, she awoke the next morning with no recollection of the previous night.
On Tuesday, Nov. 23, 2010, Seal Beach officers arrested Orange County cab driver Orlando Bruce Bosley, 57.
Bosley has been charged with one count of rape by duress or menace, one count of rape by use of drugs and one count of rape of an unconscious person.
He is currently out on $100,000 bond.
The latest: A pre-trial hearing has been scheduled for Oct. 25. The jury trial is scheduled to start on Nov. 29.
Seal Beach real estate fraud
John Wesley Martynec, 36, of Long Beach, was convicted Friday, March 16, of stealing $302,000 from investors by fraudulently promising to buy and re-sell foreclosed homes for a profit.
Martynec pleaded guilty to two felony counts of grand theft, one felony count of untrue statements in connection with a purchase or sale of securities and the use of a scheme to defraud, one felony count of financial exploitation of an elder, and a sentencing enhancement for property loss exceeding $200,000.
Martynec, 36, of Long Beach, was originally charged with 33 felony counts, including eight counts of grand theft.
Martynec faces a maximum sentence of three years in state prison.
According to the DA’s Office, Martynec took money from investors to buy and sell foreclosed houses, bu he did not acutally purchase any property.
The latest: His sentencing hearing has been scheduled for Oct. 26.
Los Alamitos JFTB murder
A Costa Mesa man was murdered at the theater at the Joint Forces Training Base in Los Alamitos on Friday, May 21, 2010. Some of his remains were found on the base and some of his remains were found in El Dorado Park in Long Beach.
His killer apparently then went to the victim’s Costa Mesa home and lured a woman the dead man knew to the apartment. There, he killed the woman and staged the crime to look like a sexual assault.
For a brief time, Costa Mesa Police considered the first victim a suspect in the second murder. It wasn’t until the following week that they learned their murder suspect was in fact a murder victim.
The DA’s Office has charged Daniel Patrick Wozniak with the crime. The charges include “special circumstances” that make the accused eligible for the death penalty or life imprisonment without the possibility of parole.
Wozniak remains in custody.
The latest: A pre-trial hearing was scheduled for Nov. 2. The defense has filed a motion to dismiss the case and another motion to supress evidence in the case.
Seal Beach nursing home murder
Roy Charles Laird, 88, has been charged with one count of murder and with one enhancement of personally discharging a firearm, resulting in the death of his 86-year-old wife.
That means Laird could be sentenced to 50 years to life, meaning the 88-year-old man would have to wait 50 years to be eligible for parole.
The shooting occurred on Sunday, Nov. 21, 2010 in the victim’s apartment in the Country Villa Healthcare Center just outside of Leisure World. The DA’s Office reported that the victim was in late-stage dementia.
According to press reports, Laird was released and placed in a nursing home.
According to the Orange County Superior Court Web site occourts.org, Laird is out on a conditional release. No bail has been posted.
The latest: A pre-trial hearing in the case has been scheduled for Nov. 16.
Crime Log Compiled by Charles M. Kelly
IN SEAL BEACH
Monday, August 27
Suspicious Person—2:44 p.m.—Main Street and Central Avenue—The caller said a man who might have been under the influence alcohol or drugs was asking for money. He was going back and fourth on Main Street between Central and Electric.
Burglary Report—6:40 p.m.—Central Avenue—The crime apparently occurred sometime between Sunday, Aug. 26, and Monday, Aug. 27. Point of entry: a front window. Loss: $1,500 cash. Interior checked. Report taken.
Disturbance, Juveniles—9:42 p.m.—Ocean Avenue—The caller said six or eight teenage boys were trying to jump off the Seal Beach Pier and into the water. Police unit 207 apparently interviewed the boys in the field. They were gathered at the police sub-station at the end of the pier, while station personnel contacted their parents.
Tuesday, August 28
Welfare Check—9:31 a.m.—Ironwood Avenue—The caller said newspapers were piled up by the front door of an Ironwood Avenue location. The caller also said the car was in the driveway with a lot of dirt on it. The caller reportedly heard a cat meowing as if it hadn’t been feed.
The caller requested a welfare check on the resident and the cat. The caller did not know the resident.
Police unit 106 found only one copy of the newspaper in the driveway and it was for Tuesday, Aug. 28. The mailbox was empty. Police unit 106 determined that no further police services were necessary.
Possible Vehicle Burglary—4:41 p.m.—Candleberry Avenue—The crime apparently occurred between 10 p.m., Monday, Aug. 27, and 6 a.m., Tuesday, Aug. 28. Point of entry: unknown. Loss: Ziplock bag of change and a payroll check that was cancelled. The caller wasn’t sure if a car burglary occurred as there was no damage to the car. Only the bag of coins and the check were missing.
The caller requested extra patrol checks. Counseled.
Traffic Hazard—9:13 p.m.—St. Cloud Drive and Seal Beach Boulevard—Police unit S44 found an unoccupied vehicle at or near the St. Cloud Drive/Seal Beach Boulevard intersection. The vehicle was moved out of the roadway.
Wednesday, August 29
Welfare Check—12:08 a.m.—Seal Beach Boulevard and Westminster Avenue—A 14-year-old boy told Seal Beach Naval Weapons Station personnel that he was lost. Police contacted his mother in Bellflower. The boy was reunited with his parents by 1:04 a.m. Report taken.
Business Burglary Report—1:17 p.m.—Pacific Coast Highway—The crime apparently occurred the previous night. Point of entry: a lock broken off the side gate. Someone was taking used cooking oil from the business. The caller said it was an on-going problem and requested extra patrol checks in the early morning. No report desired. Log entry.
Welfare Check—6:18 p.m.—Main Street—The caller said a small brown Chihuahua was locked in a car and barking. Referred to Long Beach Animal Care Services.
Thursday, August 30
Child Endangerment Arrest—4:54 a.m.—Ironwood Avenue—The caller was driving down the middle of the street and saw a 2-year-old boy standing in the middle of the street. The caller pulled over and contacted police. Police unit 206 contacted two individuals associated with the child. A woman was arrested for child endangerment.
Loud Bird—9:23 a.m.—Candleberry and Ironwood Avenue—The caller said a bird had been squawking for along time. The caller said the resident was home. The caller said Long Beach Animal Care Services advised the caller to contact the police. The caller apparently did not agree to sign a complaint. Message left for the resident with the squawking bird.
Burglary Report—10:21 a.m.—Seal Way—The crime apparently occurred between 2 p.m., Wednesday, Aug. 29, and 8:45 a.m., Thursday, Aug. 30. Someone reached in through the window screen. The log did not say what was lost. Report taken.
Friday, August 31
Missing Child—7:30 a.m.—Pelorus Avenue—A child was supposed to walk to a friend’s house to go to school. She was supposed to be there at 7 a.m., but never showed up. Military police were getting information and asked the Seal Beach Police Department to be on the lookout for the child.
It turned out she was at school. She took an early bus. No further police services were necessary.
Welfare Check—11:13 a.m.—Seal Beach Boulevard—The caller said a dog was left in a car for 40 minutes with the windows cracked. The caller said there was no shade and the dog had no water. The caller said the dog looked like it was in distress and panting. However, police unit M6 was unable to locate the vehicle with the dog.
Saturday, September 1
Counseling—7:33 a.m.—1st Street—The caller said an unspecified number of individuals had a party in his parking lot, under the street lights. The caller said broken glass and trash were everywhere. The caller requested extra patrol checks due to the amount of trash and bottles left in the area. Counseled.
Suspicious Property—5:24 p.m.—Ocean Avenue—The caller, relaying second-hand information, said another citizen found a brown box next to a trash can near the park. The box was labeled “caution hot liquid inside. The caller was sure it was just discarded coffee, but the other citizen was concerned that the package might contain something dangerous. The Starbucks container was disposed of. Police unit 107 determined no further police services were necessary.
Sunday, September 2
Malicious Mischief—6:42 a.m.—Coastline Drive—Someone slashed the tires of the caller’s car between 9:30 p.m., Saturday, Sept. 1, and the time of the call to police. The caller provided police with suspect information. Report taken.
Petty Theft Report—7:24 p.m.—Seal Beach Boulevard—The caller reported witnessing someone shoplifting property from a business three minutes earlier. According to the log, loss prevention personnel would review the video on Monday, Sept. 3, to confirm that a crime was committed. Security would call back if a report was needed.
IN LEISURE WORLD
Wednesday, August 29
Citizen Assist—2:49 p.m.—Del Monte Drive, Mutual Unknown—The caller made an online purchase and never received the product. The caller’s check was cashed and now could not reach the business. Counseled.
IN LOS ALAMITOS
Saturday, September 1
Family Disturbance–8:38 p.m.–Howard Avenue–The caller reported hearing a woman crying for help and said it there was a continual problem at the residence with the woman’s son who lives at the location. The caller said they had just seen the son arrive on his bike and also heard things breaking. The situation checked out OK and the parties were counseled.
Sunday, September 2
Suspicious Activity –5:15 p.m.–Ticonderoga Drive –The caller reported an individual who was back home from jail and that when he is out, bad things tend to happen in the area. The caller also said there are domestic issues at the residence and that the individual has suspicious friends hanging around. The individual has been seen looking into garages and another neighbors back door frame was broken where someone tried to kick in the door. Message was delivered.
Monday, September 3
Disturbance—3:14 a.m.—St. Albans Drive.
Citizen Assist—8:43 a.m.—Yellowtail Drive.
Stolen Vehicle Located—11:46 a.m.—Yellowtail Drive.
Disturbance—7:56 p.m.—Los Alamitos Boulevard.
Disturbance—8:54 p.m.—Kensington Road.
Tuesday, September 4
Petty Theft—5:02 p.m.—Montecito Road.
Vandalism in Progress—6:15 p.m.—Rossmoor Way.
Disturbance, Family Dispute—6:28 p.m.—Los Alamitos Boulevard.
Suspicious Person or Circumstances—7:16 p.m.—Tucker Lane.
Suspicious Person in Vehicle—7:41 p.m.—Martha Ann Drive.
Suspicious Person or Circumstances—8:48 p.m.—Woodstock Road.
Wednesday, September 5
Disturbance—4:05 p.m.—Los Alamitos Boulevard.
Terrorist Threats Report—9:55 p.m.—Yellowtail Drive.
Thursday, September 6
Suspicious Person or Circumstances—8:01 a.m.—Kensington Road.
Suspicious Person or Circumstances—8:44 a.m.—Tigertail Drive and Montecito Road.
Suspicious Person in Vehicle—11:42 a.m.—Coleridge Drive and Martha Ann Drive.
Burglary Report—8:12 p.m.—Oak Grove Road.
Suspicious Person or Circumstances—8:59 p.m.—Hillrose Drive.
Prowler—11:12 p.m.—Weatherby Road.
Friday, September 7
Found Property—4:36 p.m.—Los Alamitos Boulevard and Farquhar Avenue.
Disturbance—9:31 p.m.—Bellwood Road.
Firework Violation—10:35 p.m.—Foster Road.
Saturday, September 8
Disturbance—12:08 a.m.—Los Alamitos Boulevard.
Citizen Assist—8:55 a.m.—Mainway Drive.
Ted Apodaca of the News-Enterprise contributed to this article.