The Los Angeles Times reported that the key prosecution
witness in Santa Barbara County’s environmental nuisance case
against Greka Energy is a former company safety official who claims
to have been visited by needle-wielding space
from another planet. Greka’s attorney, Bela
Lugosi Jr.
 – the son of the horror movie star – has
suggested such tales might undermine the credibility of the
prosecution’s witness.

Gail Jansen is suing the Austin Val
Verde Foundation
after one of its statues toppled over,
crushing her left leg and foot. The statue was one of many that
grace the picturesque gardens at Val Verde, a Montecito mansion,
and it allegedly became unstable after being moved for a photo
shoot. Jansen, a Val Verde employeer, was inspecting the statue
when it fell. She is suing for damages in excess of $25,000.

The driver of the SUV that killed 12-year-old cyclist
Jake Boysel has been charged with misdemeanor
vehicular manslaughter. If convicted, Ernesto
Landeros Botello faces a maximum penalty of one year in county
jail. His arraignment is scheduled for November 13.

Santa Barbara police and sheriffs have joined
legions of other law enforcement agencies around the country in
building their own high-tech crime lab. The new
facility, which cost $7 million, features a number of crime-solving
innovations, though equipment for DNA analysis is not one of them.
The lab will serve law enforcement officers from Santa Barbara and
San Luis Obispo counties.

It appears the bitter, drawn-out negotiations between the
Santa Barbara police union and City Hall might be
drawing to a close. Both sides seem reconciled to the city’s last,
best, and final offer of a 24 percent pay hike
over three years, though the police are insisting on distributing
the wage and benefit package that’s on the table as they see fit.
The police union had rejected this same offer three weeks ago,
vowing to take their case directly to city voters in a special city
election next spring.

Seven weeks after 26-year-old David Klotz died
in the hands of two Spearmint Rhino bouncers,
county coroner Dr. Robert Anthony issued a report concluding that
Klotz perished from an acute lack of oxygen to the brain. Anthony’s
report stated that Klotz, a former wrestler and gymnast, suffered
from high blood pressure, an enlarged heart, and an artery that was
90 percent choked with cholesterol. Klotz died while two
bouncers – whose combined weight approached 700 pounds – pressed
him down following an altercation over his bill. Police have
forwarded the report to the district attorney to determine whether
criminal charges should be filed.

Sheriff’s investigators are still investigating the apparent
suicide of Dolly Thomas, the wife of former
sheriff Jim Thomas, who was found in her home last Friday.
Investigators say there’s no evidence of foul play.


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