Law and Disorder

Freeway shooter Keith Everett Tomlinson was sentenced to a total of 202 years in state prison on seven counts of attempted murder for shooting at vehicles driving on the 101 and another 13 years for 15 counts of assault with a deadly weapon for throwing rocks at them. Deputy district attorney Darryl Perlin said the objective from the beginning was “to see to it that he was accountable for his egregious behavior.” Defense attorney Doug Hayes said he worried his client’s mental health would deteriorate in state prison. “[He was] consumed by messages from satellites that would only stop if he hit vehicles as they passed by on the 101,” Hayes said.

After robustly dismissing a last-ditch mistrial motion by the defense, a Santa Barbara Superior Court judge sentenced Carlos Varela to 26 years to life behind bars for the first-degree murder of his ex-girlfriend, UCSB graduate Holly Lake. Struggling with methamphetamine addiction, Varela brutally stabbed Lake, 29, in the front seat of her car in August 2005 after the two attended a concert together in Los Angeles. Varela then drove her into the foothills of Santa Barbara, dumping her body off a remote stretch of Gibraltar Road. It took a jury less than five hours to convict Varela.

The Goleta teenager convicted of stabbing his mother to death and dumping her body on the side of Harris Grade Road in Lompoc was sentenced in a Santa Maria court on 3/12. Darrick Hernandez, 16, was given 25 years to life in prison, plus an extra year for a special allegation that he used a deadly weapon, for his actions in January 2006 whenfrustrated with the crystal meth-fueled world swirling around himhe stabbed his mom, Tina Keglar, 45 times at her Lompoc home. Keglar’s boyfriend, Burton Metzger, was given 15 years to life for his role in the crime, as he had prior knowledge of Hernandez’s plan and helped the teen dispose of the body.

A suspect in a forcible rape has been held without bail in the Santa Barbara County jail since 3/7 after being extradited from Mexicoa rare occurrence. Identified through DNA testing, Tom¡s Rosales was wanted for assaulting an Isla Vista woman at knifepoint more than three years ago. Sheriff’s detectives discovered Rosales’s address in Guerrero state, Mexican federal authorities agreed to arrest him, and an extradition packet was prepared with assistance from the U.S. Marshal’s Los Angeles Regional Fugitive Task Force and the Office of International Affairs.

Santa Barbara cops arrested a 44-year-old woman they claim stole $200,000 worth of goods and services by writing bad checks to the tune of $77,000 during a five-week shopping spree. Police say Maria Serdio used the checks as down payments to buy a new Jaguar, two Toyotas, designer clothes, jewelry, and furniture. They claim she even hired a personal assistant to help her on such shopping expeditions. On Monday, representatives from 15 local businesses accompanied police to Serdio’s home to identify the considerable swag.

Allegations of violations of the RICO (Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations) Act were added on 3/7 to the class-action suit against Qualified Exchange Services (QES) of Montecito and the Nevada-based Southwest Exchange Inc. Up to $80 million entrusted to the companies for short-term escrow holds allegedly vanished. The amended complaint includes nine additional corporate defendants, including Nevada-based Medicor, Ltd., which had offices on Chapala Street. Santa Barbara businessman Donald McGhan, 73, is accused of orchestrating the financial shenanigans and misspending the funds on a private jet, mansions, a golf course, an avocado ranch, and Medicor’s foreign medical device companies.


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