LAW AND DISORDER

The attorney representing the family of Yoni Gottesman – the
four-year-old who drowned while attending a swim camp at the
Cathedral Oaks Athletic Club in Goleta in August 2005 – requested
that the state attorney general’s office investigate the
possibility of criminal negligence in the incident. Unsatisfied
with a previous investigation by the Santa Barbara District
Attorney’s Office that found no evidence of criminal wrongdoing,
the family’s attorney, Barry Cappello, pointed to a security video
that shows Yoni floating facedown in the water for eight minutes,
unnoticed by the several lifeguards on duty. Cappello also faulted
swim instructor-led horseplay that preceded the drowning as
indicative of criminal negligence.

The driver who hit 12-year-old Jake Boysel as he biked to school
in September pleaded not guilty to vehicular manslaughter on
Monday. Ernesto Landeros Botello, 24, hit Boysel with his SUV at
7:15 a.m. on September 7, as the La Colina seventh-grader rode in
the bike lane on Calle Real south of Highway 154. Botello said he
was blinded by the morning sun; if convicted, he faces up to a year
in jail.

Superior Court Judge Clifford Anderson found Gaviota sniper
Keith Tomlinson guilty last week on seven counts of attempted
murder and 15 counts of assault with a deadly weapon. The ruling
came after Tomlinson requested that the judge, rather than a jury,
hear his case. The crimes occurred on two separate occasions in
late 2004 and early 2005 when Tomlinson, living near El Capitan
Ranch, threw rocks and fired several rounds from a .22-caliber
rifle at seemingly random vehicles traveling the portion of Highway
101 near his home. While no one was injured in the incidents,
Tomlinson could face life in prison should the judge rule that he
was sane at the time of the crimes. A hearing on Tomlinson’s mental
state began this week.

On Tuesday afternoon, attorneys gave closing statements in the
murder trial of Carlos Varela, who admitted to fatally stabbing his
ex-girlfriend Holly Lake with a hunting knife the couple had
allegedly used to cut methamphetamine. Prosecutor Josh Lynn argued
that the killing was premeditated based on Varela’s prior
statements, such as “You’d better not cheat on me” and “I’d like to
kill that bitch.” Defense attorney Steve Balash countered that the
murder was a crime of passion, explaining that unlike another of
Lake’s ex-boyfriends, Varela truly valued his relationship with
Lake and was driven over the edge by her confession of infidelity.
If Varela is found guilty of murder, he could face a life sentence;
if convicted of manslaughter, his sentence could be reduced to 12
years.

Trailing by 7,600 votes after last week’s election, incumbent
Sheriff Jim Anderson has yet to concede defeat to challenger Bill
Brown, Lompoc’s police chief. As of our press deadline, Brown said
he still had not heard anything from Anderson. Phone calls to
Anderson have gone unanswered, and his campaign manager Richard
Cochrane would say only, “There are things in the wings that will
be revealed soon.” Cochrane declined to elaborate, saying “I would
if I could, but I can’t.” Meanwhile, Brown has already met with
Undersheriff Ken Shemwell and scheduled meetings with the
department’s command staff. As of press time, 6,500 absentee and
provisional ballots remained to be tabulated.

City Hall moved one step closer on Tuesday to revising the laws
governing overnight RV parking in Santa Barbara. City
councilmembers agreed to install signs south of the 101 freeway
informing owners of RVs, mobile homes, and trailers that they
cannot park on Santa Barbara streets between midnight and 6 a.m.
Councilmembers also discussed various changes to current parking
policy in local lots, with the intention of providing some RV
owners the opportunity to park overnight and sleep in their
vehicles without being cited by local cops.

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