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Westlake Legal Group > fox-news/us/us-regions/west

Court denies Charles Manson follower Leslie Van Houten’s bid for release

Charles Manson follower Leslie Van Houten’s latest bid for freedom was denied by a California appeals court Friday.

Van Houten, 70, has been recommended for parole three times after serving more than four decades for her role in a pair of gruesome murders. Her release was blocked twice by former Gov. Jerry Brown, while the third was blocked by Gov. Gavin Newsom in June.

Two of the three appellate judges upheld Brown’s decision to block Van Houten’s release last year.

“The Governor’s determination that Van Houten has not taken full responsibility for her role in the crimes, and continues to pose a risk to the public, is supported by some evidence in the record,” the judges ruled. They did not adopt Brown’s other conclusion that her crimes alone provided enough reason to keep her in prison at age 70.

CHARLES MANSON EX-LOVER CALLS HIM ‘THE CLOSEST THING TO JESUS’

Westlake Legal Group AP19263789998194 Court denies Charles Manson follower Leslie Van Houten's bid for release Louis Casiano fox-news/us/us-regions/west/california fox-news/us/us-regions/west fox-news/us/crime/homicide fox-news/us/crime fox news fnc/us fnc article 7fe32f60-0af5-5946-9b4d-542584c59cce

In this Sept. 6, 2017 file photo, Charles Manson follower Leslie Van Houten attends her parole hearing at the California Institution for Women in Corona, Calif. A California appeals court denied Van Houten’s latest bid for parole on Friday. (Stan Lim/The Orange County Register via AP, Pool, File)

The third judge said  “there is not a modicum of evidence” to support a conclusion that Van Houten is still a danger.

Van Houten’s attorney, Rich Pfeiffer, said he would appeal the decision to the state Supreme Court. He argued his client has been rehabilitated and no longer poses a threat.

“I expected her to go home within a week or two, I really did,” he said. “And that’s not happening. Two things you can bank on: She’s gonna get out, and I’m not giving up until she does.”

CHARLES MANSON FOLLOWER LYNETTE ‘SQUEAKY’ FROMME LIVING LIFE AS A ‘VERY FRIENDLY’ NEIGHBOR IN RURAL NEW YORK

Van Houten was 19 when she and followers of Charles Manson fatally stabbed Los Angeles grocer Leo LaBianca and his wife, Rosemary, in August 1969. The slayings were done at the direction of Manson and came a day after other Manson followers killed pregnant actress Sharon Tate and four others inside her home.

Van Houten was not involved in the Tate killings.

In addition to Van Houten, former Manson followers Patricia Krenwinkel, 71; Bobby Beausoleil, 71; Charles “Tex” Watson, 73; and Bruce Davis, 76; remain in prison, the Los Angeles Times reported.

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Pfeiffer has a separate appeal of Newsom’s decision to deny Van Houten parole awaiting a lower court’s consideration. He also plans to file a third lawsuit arguing corrections officials are required to recommend that Van Houten be resentenced because of her age at the time of the crime and her age now.

Manson died from natural causes in 2017 at a California hospital while serving a life sentence.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Westlake Legal Group AP19263789998194 Court denies Charles Manson follower Leslie Van Houten's bid for release Louis Casiano fox-news/us/us-regions/west/california fox-news/us/us-regions/west fox-news/us/crime/homicide fox-news/us/crime fox news fnc/us fnc article 7fe32f60-0af5-5946-9b4d-542584c59cce   Westlake Legal Group AP19263789998194 Court denies Charles Manson follower Leslie Van Houten's bid for release Louis Casiano fox-news/us/us-regions/west/california fox-news/us/us-regions/west fox-news/us/crime/homicide fox-news/us/crime fox news fnc/us fnc article 7fe32f60-0af5-5946-9b4d-542584c59cce

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Navy SEAL Eddie Gallagher sues his ex-lawyers, military nonprofit

Westlake Legal Group ContentBroker_contentid-2ff74600223c4d4a835f479cf13978bf Navy SEAL Eddie Gallagher sues his ex-lawyers, military nonprofit Melissa Leon fox-news/us/us-regions/west/california fox-news/us/us-regions/west fox-news/us/us-regions/southwest/texas fox-news/us/us-regions/southwest fox-news/us/military/navy fox-news/us/military/military-trials fox news fnc/us fnc ba607624-85ce-54ad-9045-5874b3cb9a15 article

Decorated Navy SEAL Eddie Gallagher, who was acquitted of murder in a war crimes trial this past July, has sued two of his former lawyers and a military legal defense nonprofit, according to court documents filed in Texas Friday.

Attorneys Colby Vokey and Phillip Stackhouse and the United American Patriots (UAP) are named in the complaint brought by Gallagher, who alleges that Vokey and UAP orchestrated a “money-making scheme” and purposely delayed his case.

According to the filing, they “allowed [Gallagher] to languish in pre-trial confinement for several months while engaging in delay tactics and needlessly running up the legal bills.” Gallagher was kept in pre-trial confinement at Naval Consolidated Brig Miramar in San Diego for more than seven months.

“Vokey induced [Gallagher] to allow him to represent him in the criminal case by promising that all legal fees would be covered by UAP and that [Gallagher] would not be personally liable for any legal fees or expenses,” court documents state.

Gallagher terminated Vokey in March and severed his relationship with UAP, according to the filing. Stackhouse represented Gallagher until mid-April, when he stepped down.

Vokey filed a lawsuit against Gallagher last month demanding $1 million in alleged unpaid legal fees, according to the complaint. Gallagher is seeking a declaratory judgment stating he doesn’t owe any legal fees and that if fees should be rendered, then UAP should pay them – not Gallagher.

NAVY SEAL EDDIE GALLAGHER SENTENCED TO REDUCED RANK, PARTIAL PAY, AFTER BEING CLEARED OF MURDER CHARGES

Gallagher, a 15-year Navy SEAL, was found not guilty of murdering an Islamic State (ISIS) fighter in Iraq in 2017, as well as charges of witness intimidation and assault. He was convicted on one count of taking a photo with a terrorist’s corpse and was sentenced to reduced rank and partial pay.

Tim Parlatore joined the Navy SEAL’s legal team in March and was Gallagher’s lead defense attorney during his court-martial. Marc Mukasey, one of President Trump’s personal attorneys, joined the legal team in April.

“It’s unfortunate that it came to this,” Parlatore told Fox News on Saturday. “But when attorneys and supposed nonprofits are taking advantage of our service members, they need to be held accountable.”

NAVY SEAL EDWARD GALLAGHER’S DEFENSE LAWYER WANTS TO REJOIN THE NAVY TO TEACH PROSECUTORS, SAYS HE FEARS FOR LAW-ABIDING WARFIGHTERS

UAP says it “generates public awareness and funds legal representation,” according to its website. Gallagher’s complaint alleges that “UAP targets service members in need to use for their advertising campaigns, raising millions of dollars to line their pockets while providing very little to the actual legal representation.”

“We know who was committed to our family and we know who saw us a means to their own ends,” Andrea Gallagher, Eddie Gallagher’s wife, told Fox News on Saturday night. “Eddie and I firmly believe that the truth will be fully exposed.”

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Stackhouse told Fox News on Saturday that he had not been served with any papers.

“It’s disappointing it’s come to this, but I’m confident a court will sort it out in the most appropriate manner,” he said.

Vokey did not return Fox News’ request for comment.

Westlake Legal Group ContentBroker_contentid-2ff74600223c4d4a835f479cf13978bf Navy SEAL Eddie Gallagher sues his ex-lawyers, military nonprofit Melissa Leon fox-news/us/us-regions/west/california fox-news/us/us-regions/west fox-news/us/us-regions/southwest/texas fox-news/us/us-regions/southwest fox-news/us/military/navy fox-news/us/military/military-trials fox news fnc/us fnc ba607624-85ce-54ad-9045-5874b3cb9a15 article   Westlake Legal Group ContentBroker_contentid-2ff74600223c4d4a835f479cf13978bf Navy SEAL Eddie Gallagher sues his ex-lawyers, military nonprofit Melissa Leon fox-news/us/us-regions/west/california fox-news/us/us-regions/west fox-news/us/us-regions/southwest/texas fox-news/us/us-regions/southwest fox-news/us/military/navy fox-news/us/military/military-trials fox news fnc/us fnc ba607624-85ce-54ad-9045-5874b3cb9a15 article

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Former candidate for Idaho governor probed in Colorado girl’s 1984 murder

A former candidate for governor of Idaho has said he’s under investigation in the cold-case killing of a 12-year-old Colorado girl 35 years ago.

Steve Pankey made the revelation during an interview with the Idaho Statesman  this week.

The paper, citing a warrant, said authorities believe Pankey is a person of interest in the 1984 kidnapping and murder of Jonelle Matthews. A search of Pankey’s Twin Falls home was conducted last week.

Pankey, 68, and his former wife lived two miles away from Matthews when she disappeared from her Greeley, Colo., home on Dec. 20, 1984, after returning from a Christmas concert with her classmates.

FLORIDA MAN’S SKELETAL REMAINS DISCOVERED AFTER UNDERWATER CAR SPOTTED ON GOOGLE EARTH

Greeley police said a construction crew found Matthews’ remains on July 23 of this year while excavating for a pipeline in a rural area.

Pankey claimed he gave authorities a DNA sample last month. However, Greeley police said it never made such a request. Pankey has not been charged in connection with Matthews’ death.

Westlake Legal Group jm Former candidate for Idaho governor probed in Colorado girl's 1984 murder Louis Casiano fox-news/us/us-regions/west/idaho fox-news/us/us-regions/west/colorado fox-news/us/us-regions/west fox-news/us/crime/homicide fox-news/us/crime fox news fnc/us fnc bebe8119-b418-5502-9348-0eb1cf431d75 article

Jonelle Matthews, 12, was last seen inside her family’s home on Dec. 20, 1984. (The Charley Project)

“Steve Pankey has made repeated efforts to speak with detectives throughout this investigation,” the department told KDVR-TV. “Greeley detectives went to Twin Falls, Idaho, on Aug. 15 efforting a conversation.  During the interaction, Pankey refused to speak with detectives for reasons unknown.”

Pankey unsuccessfully ran for Idaho governor in 2014 as a Constitution Party candidate and ran in the 2018 Republican primary. He finished fifth in a seven-person race with 1.4 percent of the vote.

“I’m trying to be transparent,” he told the Statesman. “I have nothing to hide.”

DNA LEADS TO IDENTITY OF SUSPECT IN 1972 MURDER OF CALIFORNIA GIRL, 11

Investigators have asked Pankey multiple times about Matthews, but Pankey said he won’t speak without his attorney present.

He said he moved to Greeley in 1973 and was accused of “date rape” in 1977 by a woman he was dating. He was criminally charged, but the charge was later dismissed. He was also charged with as many as 20 misdemeanors in Colorado that included harassment.

Westlake Legal Group SP Former candidate for Idaho governor probed in Colorado girl's 1984 murder Louis Casiano fox-news/us/us-regions/west/idaho fox-news/us/us-regions/west/colorado fox-news/us/us-regions/west fox-news/us/crime/homicide fox-news/us/crime fox news fnc/us fnc bebe8119-b418-5502-9348-0eb1cf431d75 article

Steve Pankey. (Steve Pankey for Governor campaign)

In Greeley, Pankey said he worked as a youth minister and had gone to church with people who knew Matthews and her family, but added that he didn’t know her personally.

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Pankey claimed he was home with his then-wife on the night Matthews vanished. He left the next morning to visit family in California and returned to Colorado on Dec. 26, 1984, he said.

“I never met Jonelle, I never met her family, I didn’t know she existed or disappeared until Wednesday, Dec. 26, [1984],” he said.

Pankey said he moved to Idaho in 1987 and hasn’t been back to Colorado since.

Westlake Legal Group jm Former candidate for Idaho governor probed in Colorado girl's 1984 murder Louis Casiano fox-news/us/us-regions/west/idaho fox-news/us/us-regions/west/colorado fox-news/us/us-regions/west fox-news/us/crime/homicide fox-news/us/crime fox news fnc/us fnc bebe8119-b418-5502-9348-0eb1cf431d75 article   Westlake Legal Group jm Former candidate for Idaho governor probed in Colorado girl's 1984 murder Louis Casiano fox-news/us/us-regions/west/idaho fox-news/us/us-regions/west/colorado fox-news/us/us-regions/west fox-news/us/crime/homicide fox-news/us/crime fox news fnc/us fnc bebe8119-b418-5502-9348-0eb1cf431d75 article

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Los Angeles deputy city attorney among three dead in possible murder-suicide

Westlake Legal Group lapd Los Angeles deputy city attorney among three dead in possible murder-suicide Louis Casiano fox-news/us/us-regions/west/california fox-news/us/us-regions/west fox-news/us/crime/homicide fox news fnc/us fnc article 56c1d3d3-3034-5ff0-ba03-10c88fc8ff45

The Los Angeles City Attorney’s Office identified one of its employees as one of three people found dead in a suspected murder-suicide Wednesday morning.

The bodies of Deputy City Attorney Eric Lertzman, his wife and their adult son were found inside in their home in the suburb of Northridge, authorities said.

Los Angeles police officers arrived at the home just after 9 a.m. in response to reports of a shooting. Inside they found a man in his 60s, a woman in her 50s and a man in his 20s, LAPD Officer Mike Lopez told Fox News.

They also recovered two handguns, he said.

DUTCH COP SUSPECTED OF KILLING 2 CHILDREN, SELF: POLICE

A woman in her 20s fled the home through a bathroom window and ran to a neighbor’s house where she called the police, Lopez said. She was not injured.

A neighbor told KTLA-TV that the woman ran out the home in pajamas and said her father shot at her.

“She said, ‘My dad took a shot at me, and my mom and my brother are still inside,” Greg Demos told the station.

Police didn’t name Lertzman as one of the deceased, but Los Angeles City Attorney Mike Feuer later identified Lertzman as the husband in what he called a “horrible tragedy.” He had been with the office since 2005.

“As we search for answers to how this could happen, we mourn the victims and envelop those left behind with our love at this time of unbearable loss,” Feuer said in a statement. “Of course we will provide members of our City Attorney Family with needed counseling and support.”

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Neither Feuer’s office nor police identified the mother and son. It was not clear what led to the shooting, Lopez said. Police told the news station the department didn’t have a record of a troubled history at the home.

The investigation is ongoing and no suspects are being sought, Lopez said.

Click for more from FoxLA.com.

Westlake Legal Group lapd Los Angeles deputy city attorney among three dead in possible murder-suicide Louis Casiano fox-news/us/us-regions/west/california fox-news/us/us-regions/west fox-news/us/crime/homicide fox news fnc/us fnc article 56c1d3d3-3034-5ff0-ba03-10c88fc8ff45   Westlake Legal Group lapd Los Angeles deputy city attorney among three dead in possible murder-suicide Louis Casiano fox-news/us/us-regions/west/california fox-news/us/us-regions/west fox-news/us/crime/homicide fox news fnc/us fnc article 56c1d3d3-3034-5ff0-ba03-10c88fc8ff45

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More than two dozen fake NBA championship rings seized at LA airport, CBP says

Authorities in California recently seized more than two dozen counterfeit National Basketball Association championship rings, which could have cost potential buyers more than half a million dollars.

U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) agents at Los Angeles International Airport discovered the 28 fake rings in a shipment from China that was bound for Arizona. CBP said in a statement that the rings were apparently meant to be sold as a collection, and added that if genuine,  they would have had an estimated retail value of $560,000.

$3.4M IN FAKE GUCCI, HERMES, NIKE ITEMS SEIZED AT LA AIRPORT, CBP SAYS

Westlake Legal Group ceda1145-Championship20Rings20Photo201 More than two dozen fake NBA championship rings seized at LA airport, CBP says Talia Kaplan fox-news/us/us-regions/west/california fox-news/us/us-regions/west fox-news/us/us-regions/southwest/arizona fox-news/sports/nba fox news fnc/us fnc article 91e30eb8-131f-5fbd-93f4-29983e817f07

U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers in California recently seized more than two dozen counterfeit NBA championship rings, with an estimated retail value of more than half a million dollars, authorities said Wednesday. (U.S. Customs and Border Protection )

“Scammers take advantage of collectors and pro-basketball fans desiring to obtain a piece of sports history,” said CBP’s director of field operations in Los Angeles, Carlos Martel. “This seizure illustrates how CBP officers and import specialists protect not only trademarks, but most importantly, the American consumer.”

LAX FLIGHTS GROUNDED, CANCELLED BECAUSE OF POWER OUTAGE

Import specialists confirmed that the designs violated trademarks by the Cleveland Cavaliers, San Antonio Spurs, Boston Celtics, Los Angeles Lakers, Detroit Pistons, Miami Heat, Dallas Mavericks, Houston Rockets, Chicago Bulls, Denver Nuggets, Golden State Warriors, Air Jordan and the NBA, according to the agency.

Westlake Legal Group Nba-rings More than two dozen fake NBA championship rings seized at LA airport, CBP says Talia Kaplan fox-news/us/us-regions/west/california fox-news/us/us-regions/west fox-news/us/us-regions/southwest/arizona fox-news/sports/nba fox news fnc/us fnc article 91e30eb8-131f-5fbd-93f4-29983e817f07

U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers in California recently seized more than two dozen counterfeit NBA championship rings, with an estimated retail value of more than half a million dollars, authorities said Wednesday. (U.S. Customs and Border Protection )

Officials said an authentic NBA championship ring typically costs between $10,000 and $40,000. In some cases, the rings can be sold for more than $200,000.

“Transnational criminal organizations are shipping illicit goods to the United States via small express parcels in an attempt to circumvent U.S. laws,” said CBP’s port director at LAX, Donald Kusser.

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A CBP spokesperson told Fox News no arrests have been made.

Westlake Legal Group ceda1145-Championship20Rings20Photo201 More than two dozen fake NBA championship rings seized at LA airport, CBP says Talia Kaplan fox-news/us/us-regions/west/california fox-news/us/us-regions/west fox-news/us/us-regions/southwest/arizona fox-news/sports/nba fox news fnc/us fnc article 91e30eb8-131f-5fbd-93f4-29983e817f07   Westlake Legal Group ceda1145-Championship20Rings20Photo201 More than two dozen fake NBA championship rings seized at LA airport, CBP says Talia Kaplan fox-news/us/us-regions/west/california fox-news/us/us-regions/west fox-news/us/us-regions/southwest/arizona fox-news/sports/nba fox news fnc/us fnc article 91e30eb8-131f-5fbd-93f4-29983e817f07

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Authorities identify 5 more victims of fatal California dive boat fire

Authorities in California on Tuesday identified five additional victims of last week’s fatal dive boat fire.

The five victims, all from California, were ID’d as: Adrian Dahood-Fritz, 40, of Sacramento; Lisa Fiedler, 52, of Mill Valley; Kristina “Kristy” Finstad, 41, of Santa Cruz; Fernisa Sison, 57, of Stockton; and Kristian Takvam, 34, of San Francisco.

Finstad, a marine biologist who led the scuba tour, had led hundreds of dives in the Channel Islands. She had just returned from spending several years sailing across the Pacific with her husband.

Westlake Legal Group Kristina-Finstad Authorities identify 5 more victims of fatal California dive boat fire Frank Miles fox-news/us/us-regions/west/california fox-news/us/us-regions/west fox-news/us/disasters/transportation fox news fnc/us fnc cf5aac1d-1755-5a8c-9c6f-35a112b99218 article

Kristina “Kristy” Finstad, 41, of Santa Cruz, Calif. (Facebook)

Fiedler, a Michigan native, was a hairdresser and photographer who thought of herself as “part fish” because of her ocean addiction.

CALIFORNIA DIVE BOAT OWNERS FILE LAWSUIT TO AVOID LIABILITY AFTER DEADLY FIRE

Westlake Legal Group Lisa-Fiedler Authorities identify 5 more victims of fatal California dive boat fire Frank Miles fox-news/us/us-regions/west/california fox-news/us/us-regions/west fox-news/us/disasters/transportation fox news fnc/us fnc cf5aac1d-1755-5a8c-9c6f-35a112b99218 article

Lisa Fiedler, 52, of Mill Valley (Facebook)

The other three victims identified Tuesday were on the boat with co-workers and loved ones.

Sison’s husband, Michael Quitasol, and her three stepdaughters also perished in the fire. Sison and Quitasol worked at St. Joseph’s Medical Center in Stockton.

Westlake Legal Group Fernisa-Sison Authorities identify 5 more victims of fatal California dive boat fire Frank Miles fox-news/us/us-regions/west/california fox-news/us/us-regions/west fox-news/us/disasters/transportation fox news fnc/us fnc cf5aac1d-1755-5a8c-9c6f-35a112b99218 article

Fernisa Sison, 57, of Stockton (Facebook)

Dahood-Fritz and her husband, professional photographer Andrew Fritz, also both died in the blaze. Dahood-Fritz had recently started a job as a senior environmental scientist for California’s Ocean Protection Council under the California Natural Resources Agency.

Westlake Legal Group Adrian_Dahood-Fritz Authorities identify 5 more victims of fatal California dive boat fire Frank Miles fox-news/us/us-regions/west/california fox-news/us/us-regions/west fox-news/us/disasters/transportation fox news fnc/us fnc cf5aac1d-1755-5a8c-9c6f-35a112b99218 article

Adrian Dahood-Fritz, 40, of Sacramento (Facebook)

Takvam was a vice president of engineering at the education platform Brilliant in San Francisco. His coworker, Carrie McLaughlin, also died.

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Fox 11 reports that investigators have identified 27 of the 33 people whose remains were recovered from the wreckage of the Conception. Authorities said efforts to find the final victim and salvage the Conception are expected to continue Wednesday.

Santa Barbara County Sheriff Bill Brown said the victims, 21 women and 13 men from 16 to 62 years old, appear to have died from smoke inhalation before they were burned. Five of six crew members, including the captain, survived after multiple efforts to rescue the dozens trapped below deck.

As part of the investigation, the FBI is seeking photos and videos related to the fire as multiple agencies examine whether the captain and boat owners followed safety requirements.

Click for more from FOX 11 Los Angeles.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Westlake Legal Group ec93ddab-Boat-Fire-2 Authorities identify 5 more victims of fatal California dive boat fire Frank Miles fox-news/us/us-regions/west/california fox-news/us/us-regions/west fox-news/us/disasters/transportation fox news fnc/us fnc cf5aac1d-1755-5a8c-9c6f-35a112b99218 article   Westlake Legal Group ec93ddab-Boat-Fire-2 Authorities identify 5 more victims of fatal California dive boat fire Frank Miles fox-news/us/us-regions/west/california fox-news/us/us-regions/west fox-news/us/disasters/transportation fox news fnc/us fnc cf5aac1d-1755-5a8c-9c6f-35a112b99218 article

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Church leaders charged with using homeless people as forced labor

A dozen leaders of California-based Imperial Valley Ministries, including a former pastor, are accused of using dozens of mostly homeless people as forced labor, making them surrender their government benefits and panhandle up to nine hours a day, six days a week, so the leaders could reap the financial benefit, federal prosecutors said Tuesday.

The defendants – including an ex-pastor, Victor Gonzalez – are charged with forced labor, conspiracy, document servitude and benefits fraud. They were arrested Tuesday in El Centro and San Diego, Calif., and Brownsville, Texas. And they were scheduled to appear in court the same day.

Church leaders are accused of scamming victims into rehabilitation homes, forcing them to hand over their welfare benefits and later holding them against their will by confiscating identification cards, driver’s licenses, passports and immigration papers, the Justice Department said.

“The indictment alleges an appalling abuse of power by church officials who preyed on vulnerable homeless people with promises of a warm bed and meals,” U.S. Attorney Robert Brewer said. “These victims were held captive, stripped of their humble financial means, their identification, their freedom and their dignity.”

IVM operates a nondenominational church in El Centro and is said to have some 30 church affiliates throughout the U.S. and Mexico, with locations in cities including Los Angeles, Las Vegas and Phoenix. IVM also owned three group homes in the El Centro area, one in Calexico and another in Chula Vista, the Justice Department said.

FLORIDA GEORGIA LINE TURNS CONCERT INTO WORSHIP SERVICE WITH SPECIAL GUEST: ‘WE’VE NEVER DONE THIS BEFORE’

Victims were recruited from as far away as Texas, allegedly lured with the promise of shelter and free food. The defendants allegedly told the victims they would eventually be able to return home because the church would help provide resources.

Instead, defendants “stole victims’ welfare benefits and required adherence to rules such as, ‘You are not to discuss things of the world,’ ‘The only thing to be read is the Holy Bible,’ and ‘If any of the rules are broken, there will be discipline,’” the U.S. Attorney’s Office said.

Westlake Legal Group c012b928-ImperialValleyMinistries Church leaders charged with using homeless people as forced labor Melissa Leon fox-news/us/us-regions/west/california fox-news/us/us-regions/west fox-news/us/us-regions/southwest/texas fox-news/us/us-regions/southwest fox-news/us/religion fox news fnc/us fnc article 9c3bb288-f17e-5f7c-ba29-885ab166eb36

The headquarters of Imperial Valley Ministries in El Centro, Calif. (Google Earth)

The church claimed to “restore” drug addicts at its group homes and raise money for IVM so it could open more churches and continue its mission in other cities, but many of the victims didn’t require rehabilitation, the Justice Department pointed out.

Victims were allegedly locked in group homes, some of which had their windows nailed shut, according to the indictment. In one case, a 17-year-old broke through a window to escape and call for help, the attorney’s office said.

Defendants also took the victims’ Electronic Benefits Transfer (EBT) cards and used their Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits improperly, giving them to “ineligible persons” or telling the victims not to seek outside employment, according to the indictment.

VIRGIN MARY PAINTING SHOWS ‘TEARS’ AT CHICAGO CHURCH FACING FORECLOSURE: REPORTS

Church leaders allegedly refused to give the  EBT cards and personal property back when the people in their charge wanted to leave, and coerced victims to stay by threatening to take away their children if they left, saying the victims wouldn’t be provided transportation home, or claiming they had to stay because “only God” loved them and their families would reject them, the Justice Department said.

If victims violated any rules, the defendants inflicted punishments, including withholding food, according to the indictment.

A diabetic woman was allegedly refused medicine or supplies, and even food, to remedy her low blood sugar. That woman is said to have escaped.

All the alleged victims are free.

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“This is the most significant labor trafficking prosecution in this district in many years. These cases are few and far between because many victims live in captivity and fear, powerless to report the crimes against them, Brewer said. “My office wants victims to know that we are here to help you.”

Westlake Legal Group c012b928-ImperialValleyMinistries Church leaders charged with using homeless people as forced labor Melissa Leon fox-news/us/us-regions/west/california fox-news/us/us-regions/west fox-news/us/us-regions/southwest/texas fox-news/us/us-regions/southwest fox-news/us/religion fox news fnc/us fnc article 9c3bb288-f17e-5f7c-ba29-885ab166eb36   Westlake Legal Group c012b928-ImperialValleyMinistries Church leaders charged with using homeless people as forced labor Melissa Leon fox-news/us/us-regions/west/california fox-news/us/us-regions/west fox-news/us/us-regions/southwest/texas fox-news/us/us-regions/southwest fox-news/us/religion fox news fnc/us fnc article 9c3bb288-f17e-5f7c-ba29-885ab166eb36

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Oregon man who targeted ex-friend with dog poop bomb avoids prison

An Oregon man who targeted his former friend with an improvised dog poop-filled bomb avoided prison Tuesday when he was sentenced to three years probation.

Robb Alexander Stout, 49, admitted to filling a plastic toolbox with dog feces and timing it to explode when the victim opened it, The Oregonian reported.

Stout pleaded guilty to unlawful manufacture of a destructive device and to being a felon in possession of a firearm and delivery of methamphetamine.

3 STUDENTS ACCUSED OF PLOTTING TO BOMB LONG ISLAND SCHOOL USING ‘THE ANARCHIST COOKBOOK’

The device was put on the back of a Camaro owned by Stout’s former friend on April 16. When it exploded, it sounded “like an M80 going off and the dog scat was blown out of the toolbox,” investigators said.

Westlake Legal Group 48935fb1-Capture Oregon man who targeted ex-friend with dog poop bomb avoids prison Louis Casiano fox-news/us/us-regions/west/oregon fox-news/us/us-regions/west fox-news/us/crime fox news fnc/us fnc fcc90a70-2822-5f66-a5b5-be8d45bc86b7 article

Robb Alexander Stout,49, was sentenced Tuesday to three years probation faces for rigging a feces-filled toolbox to explode on a former friend. (Multnomah County Sheriff’s Office)

The friend wasn’t hurt. Stout said he and the victim used to make similar explosives together and he didn’t think making the device was a crime.

The pair had a falling out when Stout believed the friend had no intention of giving back some tools he borrowed.

“I guess the right way would have been to get a police officer involved,” he said. “It was just made to hurt his ego and give me my stuff back, like a wake-up call.”

The paper reported the victim left Tuesday’s court proceedings early and still feared for his safety.

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Stout had 14 previous convictions for drugs and eluding police, the paper reported. As part of his probation, the court ordered him to complete drug treatment, stay away from the victim and avoid making explosive devices or fireworks.

Prosecutors took into consideration Stout’s lack of convictions for violent acts and his behavior since he was released from jail several months ago.

Westlake Legal Group 48935fb1-Capture Oregon man who targeted ex-friend with dog poop bomb avoids prison Louis Casiano fox-news/us/us-regions/west/oregon fox-news/us/us-regions/west fox-news/us/crime fox news fnc/us fnc fcc90a70-2822-5f66-a5b5-be8d45bc86b7 article   Westlake Legal Group 48935fb1-Capture Oregon man who targeted ex-friend with dog poop bomb avoids prison Louis Casiano fox-news/us/us-regions/west/oregon fox-news/us/us-regions/west fox-news/us/crime fox news fnc/us fnc fcc90a70-2822-5f66-a5b5-be8d45bc86b7 article

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California appeals court overturns sole conviction in Kate Steinle death

Westlake Legal Group steinlesanchezap California appeals court overturns sole conviction in Kate Steinle death Samuel Chamberlain fox-news/us/us-regions/west/california fox-news/us/us-regions/west fox-news/us/immigration fox news fnc/us fnc article 13d8eab6-4f18-5fd2-958a-a8ca8347df31

A California state appeals court Friday overturned the lone conviction against an undocumented immigrant who shot and killed Kate Steinle on the San Francisco waterfront in 2015, a case which drew national attention and became a flashpoint in the debate over illegal immigration.

Jose Inez Garcia-Zarate, who was in the U.S. illegally had been deported to his native Mexico five times, was acquitted in November 2017 of first and second-degree murder, involuntary manslaughter, and assault with a semi-automatic weapon. He was convicted of one count of being a felon in possession of a firearm.

On Friday, the 1st District Court of Appeal in San Francisco overturned that conviction because the judge failed to instruct the jury on one of Garcia-Zarate’s defenses. Garcia-Zarate remains in custody and is facing federal gun charges.

Steinle, 32, died on July 1, 2015, after she was struck by a bullet while walking with her father and a family friend. Garcia-Zarate claimed he unwittingly picked up the gun, which was wrapped in a T-shirt, and it fired accidentally.

The gun belonged to a federal Bureau of Land Management ranger and was stolen from his parked car a week earlier.

Earlier this year, the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals upheld a lower court decision to dismiss a wrongful death lawsuit filed by Steinle’s parents against San Francisco. The lawsuit maintained that the city’s so-called sanctuary policy and San Francisco County Sheriff Ross Mirkarimi bore responsibility for Steinle’s death.

Three months before the killing, Garcia-Zarate was released from custody after a drug case against him was dropped. The sheriff’s office, which had ended contact between jail employees and immigration officials, ignored a request by federal authorities to hold Garcia-Zarate until they could assume custody and did not inform them that he was being released.

Westlake Legal Group steinlesanchezap California appeals court overturns sole conviction in Kate Steinle death Samuel Chamberlain fox-news/us/us-regions/west/california fox-news/us/us-regions/west fox-news/us/immigration fox news fnc/us fnc article 13d8eab6-4f18-5fd2-958a-a8ca8347df31   Westlake Legal Group steinlesanchezap California appeals court overturns sole conviction in Kate Steinle death Samuel Chamberlain fox-news/us/us-regions/west/california fox-news/us/us-regions/west fox-news/us/immigration fox news fnc/us fnc article 13d8eab6-4f18-5fd2-958a-a8ca8347df31

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Winter to feature ‘Polar Coaster’ mix of frigid temperatures, snow: Farmers’ Almanac

Enjoy the last days of summer, because a wild ride apparently is in store this winter.

The Farmers’ Almanac is predicting that “bitterly cold winter conditions” will be in place from areas east of the Rockies all the way to the Appalachians, with the coldest outbreak of the season arriving during the final week of January and lasting through the beginning of February.

“Our extended forecast is calling for yet another freezing, frigid, and frosty winter for two-thirds of the country,” editor Peter Geiger said in a statement on the company’s website.

TROPICAL STORM DORIAN’S PATH: WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW

The Farmer’s Almanac said that this upcoming winter will be “filled with so many ups and downs on the thermometer, it may remind you of a ‘Polar Coaster.'”

Westlake Legal Group Farmers-Almanac-Map-1 Winter to feature 'Polar Coaster' mix of frigid temperatures, snow: Farmers' Almanac Travis Fedschun fox-news/weather fox-news/us/us-regions/west fox-news/us/us-regions/northeast fox-news/us/us-regions/midwest fox-news/us/disasters fox news fnc/us fnc article 231ca751-266f-5305-9d9f-6f2f228c96c3

The winter forecast from The Farmers’ Almanac. (The Farmers’ Almanac)

Included in this year’s outlook is the prediction of free-falling, frigid temperatures from the northern Plains into the Great Lakes. The big cities in the Northeast are may also experience colder-than-normal temperatures for much of the upcoming winter.

“Only the western third of the country will see near-normal winter temperatures, which means fewer shivers for them,” the publication notes.

Besides the chilly temperatures, the eastern third of the country is expected to see above-normal winter precipitation.

“With colder-than-normal temperatures in the Northeast and above-normal precipitation expected, our outlook forewarns of not only a good amount of snow, but also a wintry mix of rain, sleet — especially along the coast,” according to the Farmers Almanac.

The publication claims that 2020 will get off to a busy start in the eastern half of the country as “copious amounts” of snow, rain, sleet and ice may fall in the time frame between Jan. 4 – Jan. 7 and Jan. 12- Jan. 15, along with “strong and gusty winds.”

STRONG WINDS IN COLORADO SEND DOZENS OF MATTRESSES FLYING ACROSS FIELD, VIDEO SHOWS

“And for those who live northeast of the Texas Panhandle to the western Great Lakes, watch out for what could prove to be a memorable storm producing hefty snows for the Great Plains during the third week of January,” the publication notes.

Westlake Legal Group iStock-472121233 Winter to feature 'Polar Coaster' mix of frigid temperatures, snow: Farmers' Almanac Travis Fedschun fox-news/weather fox-news/us/us-regions/west fox-news/us/us-regions/northeast fox-news/us/us-regions/midwest fox-news/us/disasters fox news fnc/us fnc article 231ca751-266f-5305-9d9f-6f2f228c96c3

The Farmers’ Almanac is predicting that “bitterly cold winter conditions” will be in place from areas east of the Rockies all the way to the Appalachians, with the coldest outbreak of the season arriving during the final week of January and lasting through the beginning of February. (iStock)

In other parts of the country, the winter may not be as wild.

The Pacific Northwest and Southwest are expected to be chilly but see near-normal precipitation.

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That active winter will, according to the publication, cause a slow start to spring as winter lingers across the Midwest, Great Lakes, Northeast, and New England.

The Farmers’ Almanac says it bases its long-range forecast “on a mathematical and astronomical formula developed in 1818.”

Westlake Legal Group iStock-472121233 Winter to feature 'Polar Coaster' mix of frigid temperatures, snow: Farmers' Almanac Travis Fedschun fox-news/weather fox-news/us/us-regions/west fox-news/us/us-regions/northeast fox-news/us/us-regions/midwest fox-news/us/disasters fox news fnc/us fnc article 231ca751-266f-5305-9d9f-6f2f228c96c3   Westlake Legal Group iStock-472121233 Winter to feature 'Polar Coaster' mix of frigid temperatures, snow: Farmers' Almanac Travis Fedschun fox-news/weather fox-news/us/us-regions/west fox-news/us/us-regions/northeast fox-news/us/us-regions/midwest fox-news/us/disasters fox news fnc/us fnc article 231ca751-266f-5305-9d9f-6f2f228c96c3

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