EdwardKyle Van Tassel-the famed La Cumbre overpass gunman whose 11/3 standoff with Santa Barbara Police ended peacefully but literally stopped Highway 101 traffic-finally has a date for his preliminary hearing: 2/5. Prosecutor Darryl Perlin successfully disqualified Judge George Eskin from hearing the case over objections from defense attorney Robert Landheer. Judge Brian Hill will now hear the case. (/vantassel122)


Patrick Plamondon-the former principal of Hope and Monte Vista Elementary schools who died in a Santa Barbara County Jail cell on 11/10-did so as a result of natural causes, the sheriff announced last week. An autopsy indicated that Plamondon, who had been arrested for allegedly violating a restraining order against his estranged wife, likely died of cardiac arrhythmia. (/plamondon122)


Jose Jesus Cabrera-the employee of Rancho La Laguna LLC who inadvertently began July 2007’s Zaca Fire when a spark from a pipe he was grinding ignited some dry brush-will not have to pay restitution to firefighters and other entities impacted by the 240,000-acre fire. Instead, he pled no contest to a misdemeanor charge and paid a $200 fine. The ranch itself and another employee were previously cleared of charges.


Detectives with the Santa Barbara Sheriff’s Department have asked for the public’s help in investigating the 1/18 sexual assault of an elderly woman at a residence on the 100 block of Kalley Drive in Goleta. A man sexually assaulted the 71-year-old in her home around 3:15 a.m. before fleeing on foot. The Sheriff asks that anyone with information that could lead to the arrest of the man-described as Hispanic and wearing glasses at the time of the incident-call 681-4150.


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