Court denies state’s motion for stay in Norsworthy vs. Jeffrey Beard

Norsworthy Order denying stay

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Reports on Vanderheiden’s remains

Cremation document:  Vanderheiden Cremation Report 4.23.15 (1)

DOJ field report:  DOJ Vanderheiden Report 0002 (3)

DOJ field report: DOJ Forensic Report Vanderheiden 0003 (2)

The Sheriff’s Coroner’s report: 2015 Release Coroner’s Report (3)


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Screen shots of suspected drunk driver’s Facebook page

Today’s story on Joe Victor Zigler reveals that the father, whose 12-year-old daughter died in a crash in which police say Zigler was driving drunk and speeding, has quite a history of DUIs and violent encounters. Zigler has not been charged, but authorities are likely to book him into jail after he is released from the hospital.

These are screen shots from his Facebook account. Warning: graphic language. Screen Shot One      Screen Shot Two 


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Galgiani’s “proof” sheriff deleted records

Press Release for Motion Filing- March 9, 2015


Senator Cathleen Galgiani today announced that the family of JoAnn Hobson, a victim of serial killers Wesley Shermantine and Loren Herzog, filed a motion in their lawsuit against San Joaquin County. Hobson’s family is suing because they say the Sheriff’s Office improperly handled the 16-year-old victim’s remains.

In the motion, the family wants a protective order lifted on the investigation records, saying the disclosure will show the Sheriff’s Office improperly deleted missing person’s records from the national database before bodies were found, including Hobson’s record.

Galgiani, who is helping Hobson’s family, obtained emails, or “proof” of the wrongdoing. An interview with her will be included in my story at

Two out-of-area detectives investigating missing persons (believed Herzog and Shermantine victims) in their jurisdictions declared in the motion that the Sheriff’s Office would not cooperate in their own investigations.

Their interviews will not appear in tomorrow’s story because of limited space.

This is what was cut out:

The motion, which was filed on Monday, includes declarations from Reno police detective Allan Duane Fox and Hayward police detective Kevin Atkins.

Fox alleges the San Joaquin County Sheriff’s Office was not willing to cooperate with him in the investigation of a woman, Terri Ann Fourcher, missing from his area since 1996. He said Bassett was “immediately dismissive” and met him with “passive denial” when he brought forward information he had gathered.

Fox said that in one instance, he followed up on a lead from Shermantine by taking a cadaver dog to one of the locations he described. The dog picked up a scent at a burn pit, which a witness he spoke to had also described. The Sheriff had the site excavated two days after Fox found it.

“The fact that the San Joaquin Sheriff’s Office did not know about this site disturbed me and left my impression of their investigative skills waning,” Fox stated in a declaration.

Atkins was looking into the disappearance of a 9-year-old girl, Michaela Garecht, who was believed to be killed by Herzog.

“Det. Bassett expressed no interest with my investigation, no offered any assistance whatsoever,” Atkins said in his declaration. “Det. Bassett stonewalled my efforts and would not provide me with any information regarding evidence found in the dig of the well in Linden, where other remains of bodies were found associated with the Speed Freak Killers.

“In a subsequent phone conversation, she stated to me in a whisper that ‘(she) can’t do anything without ‘say-so.’”

Moore said his agency disagrees with the detectives’ declarations.

“San Joaquin County personnel have always been willing to work with any law enforcement agency, concerning their investigations,” Moore said.

Moore said his office remains focused on finding all missing persons and brining closure and justice to the victims and their families.


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County: February is “Grand Jury Appreciation Month”

Last week, the San Joaquin County Board of Supervisors proclaimed February 2015 as “Grand Jury Appreciation Month” at its Feb. 10 meeting.

Ward Downs, the 2014-15 foreperson, and Gary Spaugh, president of the local association chapter, received the award that was presented by chairwoman Kathy Miller.

Civil grand jurors are charged with investigating issues raised involving local government agencies. The jurors conduct confidential investigations and draft reports that include recommendations to address the issues raised.

The County’s proclamation says:

“Whereas, Grand Juries are crucial components of California’s justice system; and

Whereas, like other California counties, San Joaquin has a Grand Jury composed of individuals who dedicate their time for a full calendar year to serve in the Grand Jury system; and

Whereas, county Grand Juries are impaneled to act as an “arm of the court,” as authorized by the state constitution, to be a voice of the people and a conscience of the community; and

Whereas, the primary duties of the San Joaquin County Grand Jury is to investigate and report on local governmental operations to assure  that the responsibilities are being fulfilled efficiently, honestly and in the best interest of the public; and

Whereas, the California Grand Jurors’ Association and local chapters strengthen juries statewide by providing training, tools and techniques to assure that each jury operates under the same standards of efficiency and integrity to which they hold local government; and

Whereas, it is appropriate to provide a designated opportunity to recognize the efforts of those who have volunteered, and are volunteering, their time and service to advance the work of the San Joaquin County Grand Jury; and

Whereas,  the reward of being 19 grand jurors is the satisfaction received working with fellow residents of the county to improve local government for all of us.

Now, Therefore, Be It Resolved that this San Joaquin County Board of Supervisors does hereby proclaim the month of February 2015, as ‘Grand Jury Appreciation Month’”


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Highlights from new lawyers’ reception

Last week, the San Joaquin County Bar Association held its annual “2015 New Lawyer Reception,” at the Bank of Stockton.

New lawyers were introduced by the association’s president-elect, James Morris, and the newly-sworn-in Judge Michael J. Mulvihill, Jr.

The evening’s featured speaker was  District Attorney Tori Verber-Salazar, who took office in January.

The group’s “Outstanding New Lawyer Award” went to Michael R. Tener, an associate attorney with Neumiller and Beardslee in Stockton; editor in chief of the group’s “Across the Bar” publication; part of Leadership Stockton’s class of 2009-2010; 2004 graduate of University of California, Berkeley; and 2007 graduate of King Law School at University of California, Davis.

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San Joaquin County settles in lawsuit against Johnson & Johnson and Neutrogena

Last week, on Jan. 13, the District Attorney’s Offices of Shasta, Fresno, San Joaquin and Yolo counties reached a settlement in a consumer protection lawsuit against Johnson & Johnson and Neutrogena.

The counties brought forward product packaging violations in over-the-counter sales of health and beauty products by the two companies, according to an announcement from Shasta County.

It was alleged the packages appeared to contain more product than they really had; therefore, misleading consumers.

The investigation was initiated by Sacramento and Contra Costa counties.

According to the announcement, the companies cooperated with prosecutors.

Johnson & Johnson and Neutrogena settled the case, without agreeing to wrongdoing, with $506,000 in civil penalties and investigative costs, and they agreed to take steps in assuring future packaging is in compliance.


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Victims of violence receive Christmas gifts

On Monday, Dec. 19, New York Life, Stockton Fire Department and the U.S. Marines Motorcycle Club donated a mountain of Christmas gifts to children, who have been affected by violent crimes, at an event organized by the Victim Witness Division of the San Joaquin County District Attorney’s Office.

Additionally, the agency gained the support of New York Life in its quest to establish a Family Justice Center, a planned one-stop shop where victims of domestic violence, sexual abuse, elder abuse and human trafficking can receive services and support in gaining justice.

Photo of representatives from the organizations and the families courtesy of the DA’s Office


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Bank of the West robbery indictment

Jaime Ramos, 20, and Pablo Ruvalcaba, 21, have been indicted by a criminal grand jury on more than three dozen counts of criminal charges in the July 16 Bank of the West robbery that ended in tragedy. They were arraigned Monday before a press conference at the Stockton Police Department. View the indictment here: RamosRuvalcabaIndictment

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More death row inmates die of natural causes and suicide

According to a press release sent today announcing the death of condemned inmate Keith Richardson, 52, more inmates have died from natural causes and suicide than any other cause since California reinstated capital punishment in 1978.

Stats: 66 have died from natural causes, 23 from suicide, 13 have been executed in California, one was executed in Missouri and six have died from other causes. Currently, there are 749 people on California’s death row.

Richardson died Tuesday at Corcoran. He was sentenced to death Oct. 7, 1992, in Tulare County for the 1988  rape and murder of 11-year-old April Holley.

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