It took little more than a day for Santa Maria jurors to find a 16-year-old Goleta resident guilty of the brutal first-degree murder of his mother; a separate jury found the victim’s live-in boyfriend guilty of second-degree murder for the same crime. Darrick Hernandez stabbed his mother, Tina Keglar, 45 times on January 1, 2006. Keglar’s boyfriend Burton Metzger helped Hernandez dispose of the body off Harris Grade Road near Lompoc. The two will be sentenced in March, with Hernandez facing 25 years to life behind bars and Metzger 15 years to life.

Jessica Blinkerd, 22, was sentenced on Friday, January 26, to five years in prison after pleading no contest to charges of driving under the influence and causing an accident that killed 25-year-old Alexander Baer on August 6. Baer’s mother, Susan Barich, had pleaded leniency for Blinkerd, suggesting she pay her debt by doing community service and speaking out about the dangers of drunken driving. But Judge Joseph Lodge questioned whether Blinkerd had reformed enough, citing evidence like photos that appeared on her MySpace account depicting her around alcohol.

Though he was sentenced late last fall, the charter jet company owner convicted of illegally videotaping Michael Jackson on his infamous 2003 flight from Las Vegas to Santa Barbara before his 2005 molestation trial is back in the news this week. Jeffery Boyer pleaded no contest to the federal charges last March and was sentenced to house arrest but – due to a mold infestation at his Marina del Rey house – has chosen to serve his time at the luxurious five diamond-rated Marina del Rey Ritz-Carlton Hotel.

The Santa Barbara City Council agreed to expand the number of places where people who are otherwise homeless can legally sleep in recreational vehicles, a move that Mayor Marty Blum characterized as in effect increasing the supply of low-income housing. If approved by a 5-2 city council majority on its second reading, the proposed ordinance would increase the number of public lots participating in the New Beginnings Safe Parking Program for vans and RVs. Though the ordinance would also permit RVs to park on private property in manufacturing zones north of the freeway, it would strictly forbid overnight parking south of it.

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