Criminal Lawyer San Francisco

San Francisco Murderer Whose Crime Instigated Victims Support Group Denied Parole

steven burns

SACRAMENTO, CA – Parole officials decided to reject the release of a murderer whose crime sparked a grieving mother to create one of California’s best-known groups advocating for the rights of crime victims.

Harriet Salarno started Crime Victims United of California in response to the fatal shooting of her 18-year-old daughter by her ex-boyfriend on her first day attending college in Stockton at the University of the Pacific in 1979.

harriet salerno

California’s parole panel rejected a plea by Steven Burns, 55 to be released and instead chose to keep him locked up in Chowchilla’s Valley State Prison for murdering Catina Rose Salarno. The panel also informed Burns that he will have another parole hearing in five years.

Valley State Prison in Chowchilla. (Google Street View)

Valley State Prison in Chowchilla. (Google Street View)

“We’re very relieved and pleased that the parole board decided to keep him in prison and not release him,” said Nina Salarno, sister of the victim.

She was adamant that Burns still poses a risk to the public almost four decades after he murdered Catina. Although he has admitted shooting her sister, he has denied stealing the gun and denied he stalked her sister before killing her.

“He won’t admit that he left her to die and everything else he did both before and after the murder,” she said. “No one can be rehabilitated until they admit to and accept full responsibility for all the crimes they committed.”

Salarno said they as a family started the victims’ organization due to the frustration they felt from the criminal justice system.

“It soon became apparent to us that our system of justice was extremely lopsided, so we formed Crime Victims United to bring some balance to our legal system,” claimed Salarno, who went on to become a prosecutor and is now president of Crime Victims United. “Victims deserve a level playing field.”

Crime Victims United is closely affiliated with the California Correctional Peace Officers Association, the union representing most of the state’s prison guards. Together these organizations have made their voices heard in Sacramento advocating for victims’ rights and tougher penalties for criminals.

Harriett Salarno was co-chairwoman of the Crime Victims Bill of Rights, a successful ballot initiative in 1982. She also campaigned to pass Marsy’s Law, a 2008 initiative that made victims’ rights part of California’s constitution.

Catina Salarno and Steven Burns were San Francisco neighbors, dating before she broke it off before leaving for college. He used a gun he stole from the Salarno’s business to kill her, shooting her in the head after they argued on campus grounds, according to testimony in the trial.


Catina Rose Salarno

Nina Salerno will never forget the trauma she felt when testifying at the trial as a 12-year-old. She went on to become a deputy district attorney before starting a private practice. In 1999 she was appointed by then Attorney General Bill Lockyer to be director of the Department of Justice’s Office of Victims’ Services for the state.

“When my sister was murdered, my family was thrown into a justice system that simply casts victims aside,” she said when interviewed before the hearing.


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Mother of 3 kids killed in Pa. carjacking dies – Yahoo News

Philadelphia Carjacking

Perps face an additional murder charge each, totaling four counts of second-degree murder and conspiracy, as well as kidnapping, robbery, aggravated assault and sexual assault.

Cornelius Crawford, 23, and Johnathan Rosa, 19

Mother of 3 kids killed in Pa. carjacking dies - Yahoo News.


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Prosecutor says Pistorius lied on stand - Yahoo Sports.

Sporty Sociopath


Store Clerk Who Killed Customer Found Guilty of Murder

Oakland DiscountLast Thursday in East Oakland, a corner store clerk was found guilty of second-degree murder for shooting a customer in the back of the head after the customer punched him in the face.

Adhem Abdulla, 23, had pushed the girlfriend of Willie Turner, 46, out of his Oakland Discount store after he witnessed her stealing bologna for the third time that day. Turner then approached Abdulla and allegedly punched him in the mouth. In response, Abdulla shot him in the back of the head as he was leaving the store.

Though he does not deny killing Turner, Abdulla claims that he could not recall his actions before and while shooting turner because he was furious after being struck.

His attorney claims that his rage was sparked by working in a dangerous neighborhood, and having to deal with gun violence and drug dealing regularly. Oakland Discount is located at 7645 MacArthur Blvd. This area of East Oakland is known for its frequent killings, and is located near the place where four Oakland police officers were killed in 2009. Abdulla's attorney, William DuBois, hoped that the rage argument would land his client with voluntary manslaughter and 21 years in prison.

Deputy district attorney Carrie Skolnick pointed to evidence that Abdulla had plenty of time to decide whether his actions were correct or not. He had gotten his gun out, pushed through two customers who were trying to keep him from shooting Turner, walk 25 feet from the store's entrance, and then shoot the victim in the back of the head.

Further evidence revealed that Abdulla went out of his way to make it look as though his store had been robbed. He had knocked over shelves and called 911, telling the dispatcher that he had shot a man to protect himself and his store during the robbery.

Skolnick was aiming for a first-degree murder conviction, which would mean 40 years to life for the store owner.

The jury didn't appear to accept the "crime of passion" argument, but decided on second- as opposed to first-degree murder, because the shooting wasn't planned or premeditated.


Body Found in Trash Can in Pleasanton Identified

Ana Flores-Pineda

Ana Flores-Pineda

The May 24th trash container homicide in Pleasanton has finally seen some closure after the victim's alleged killer, Javier Pablo Sandoval was arrested early Wednesday.

The initial description of the woman found is as follows: "The coroner's office determined the woman was probably Asian or Latino with dark hair and was about 5-foot-6 and weighed about 130 pounds. She was found wearing an Old Navy shirt and pajama bottoms. She was also wearing blue fingernail polish, red toenail polish and had three ear piercings in each ear with distinctive earrings. She had no tattoos or other markings."

The body found within the trash can has been identified as 25-year-old Ana Flores-Pineda of Stockton, who was originally located by Stockton police following a missing persons report.
According to investigators, the body had been in the trash can for "a few weeks," and as such was in a state of heavy decomposition.

Ana Flores-Pineda

Pleasanton police played a major part in ascertaining the identity of the body, working alongside Stockton detectives. They forwarded Flores-Pineda's DNA to a national database and searched dental records, also releasing a forensic anthropologist's sketch and several photographs of the victim's earrings.

A sculptor was due to create a bust of the victim before Javier Pablo Sandoval was linked to the homicide by DNA evidence and arrested.

Javier Prado Sandoval

Javier Prado Sandoval

Stockton police's public information officer stated that the motive of the murder was linked to domestic violence, and that Sandoval and Flores-Pineda were in what was referred to as "some type of relationship." It is unknown if the two were dating at the time of Flores-Pineda's death.

Further details have yet to be released, as the investigation is ongoing. Sandoval has been incarcerated in the San Joaquin County Jail for the time being, pending his trial.

This marks Stockton's 61st homicide of the year, surpassing last year's record high, standing at 58.

(Source: Pleasanton Weekly, News 10, Contra Costa Times)


Gang Members Indicted in Murder of Toddler

Hiram LawrenceThree alleged Acorn gang members have been indicted by a federal grand jury for assault, weapons violations, racketeering, and murder.

Dionte Houff (32) and Houstan Nathaniel III (23) were two of the individuals connected to the attack that occurred during the filming of a rap music video.

They have been accused of firing upon a crowd of people in west Oakland, November the 28th. A toddler, Hiram Lawrence, was shot in the head and taken off life support in December.

Hiram's alleged assailant, 16 year old Frederick Coleman, is being charged as an adult in Alameda County.

Six people, including the toddler's father, were injured in the shooting.

(Source: Sacramento Bee)


Two Cases Involving Three Deaths in Pleasanton in May Still Unresolved

Police are hoping for useful information regarding two May death cases, both of which occurred in Pleasanton.

The May 7th incident in which Amy Freeman Burton (age 37) and Ainsley Freeman (age 13) were both shot in the head in their home on the Stacey Court 3200 block is to turn up forensic evidence soon. The autopsy revealed little more than the fact that Ainsley Freeman did not shoot herself, and that it is "unclear" as to whether or not Amy Freeman Burton's wound was self-inflicted.

While two unregistered pistols were found inside the home of the victims, police are withholding information on the type of pistol involved. One of the aforementioned pistols, however, was located within the general vicinity of the two dead.

The May 27th death involving a woman concealed in a trash can has gained a plethora of leads, but none have led anywhere. The department has been searching through missing persons cases, but to no avail.
The autopsy could not reveal the exact time/cause of death, though several pieces of visual and physical information were confirmed. The victim, seemingly 20-40 years old, was 5'6" and weight approximately 130lbs. She was found wearing an Old Navy shirt and pajama pants.

She had shoulder length dark hair, and is believed to be Asian, Hispanic, Caucasian with Asian traits, or Native American. Further, she was wearing blue fingernail polish, red toenail polish, and had three piercing in each ear. Police hope that her earrings will aid in her identification.

Victim's EarringsBody Found in Trash Can in Pleasanton


Suspect Arrested in Sierra Lamar Disappearance

Antolin Garcia-TorresOn May 21st, 21 year old Antolin Garcia-Torres was arrested in connected with the disappearance of  Morgan Hill teenager, Sierra Lamar, age 15.

Lamar had missed the bus, on her way to school on March the 16th. Two days later, her bag was found with her clothes folded inside. DNA evidence collected from clothes, along with additional evidence collected from Garcia-Torres's red Volkswagen Jetta, linked him to her disappearance. On March 28th, Garcia-Torres was identified as a suspect and placed under 24-hour surveillance.

No physical evidence beyond DNA evidence has been discovered as of yet, specifically a murder weapon, or Sierra's body.  Garcia-Torres is scheduled to appear in court on Thursday, which investigators are hoping will provide further information on the case.

(Source: LA Times)


7 Dead in Shooting Spree at College in Oakland

One L. Goh

One L. Goh (Courtesy Oakland Police)

On Monday, around 10:33p.m., police received a call reporting a shootout at the Oikos University of Oakland.

The perpetrator, One L. Goh, a former student at the small Christian university, entered a classroom and ordered students to line up against a wall. At this time he had a handgun drawn.

When the students didn't comply with his demand and began to run, he shot at, wounded, and killed several of them. After this, Goh killed another in an administrative office.

Dawinder Kaur, a 19 year old U.S. Army Reservist from Santa Clara, was reportedly shot in the arm by Goh after attempting to aid a student who had fallen to the floor.

A total of seven people were killed. Several but not all names have been released. 21 year old Lydia Sim and 24 year old Kathleen Ping were killed at the scene.

Immediately after hearing the first shots, student Dechan Yangzom closed and locked the nearby classroom's door and turned out all the lights. This likely saved the lives of seven other students, and her own.

In his attempt to escape, Goh killed Tshering Rinzing Bhutia, 38, and stole his car in order to drive it to a local supermarket, where he publicly announced his murdering of several students and was detained by a security officer until police arrived to arrest him.

Attempts to contact Goh's family have failed thus far. 72 year old Young Nam Ko, Goh's father, was not available for comment, and his older brother, Su Kwon Ko, did not respond to the call requesting his reponse to the event.


Paratransit Driver Charged with Murder of Hell’s Angel in San Leandro

Eddie HallHAYWARD -- Eddie Hall of Oakland, accused of using a paratransit van to run over Hells Angels biker, George Lopez Jr., was charged with murder and three other felonies on Tuesday.  Hall, 31, also is facing one count each of attempted murder and hit-and-run with death or injury, police said.

In addition, Hall was charged with attempted escape from a city facility because police said he tried to run out of the San Leandro police station Saturday as detectives interviewed him.

"The door in our interview room was open briefly and he darted out and into our offices, but he was quickly captured." police said.

Hall was driving an East Bay Paratransit van when he is accused of intentionally hitting George Lopez Jr., 51, of Stockton, as he and five to seven other bikers were heading eastbound on Interstate 580 about 4 p.m. Saturday, Oct 22.

Lopez was thrown from the motorcycle and run over by the van. He was then dragged for more than a mile before Hall pulled onto the shoulder of the freeway. Lopez was treated at the scene before he was taken by helicopter to Eden Medical Center in Castro Valley, where he was pronounced dead.
Hall attempted to flee, but was quickly captured. Based on evidence and witnesses statements, Hall intentionally changed lanes and rammed into the motorcyclist, according to police.

Hall is being held without bail at Santa Rita Jail in Dublin.

(Source: Mercury News)