California Criminal Attorney Blog

A Santa Ana man was charged with murder and felony hit and run causing death after killing Pearleen Hopkins on January 28, 2015.  Dallas Reichstein, 46 faces 34 years to life in prison after his SUV struck Hopkins on West MacArthur Boulevard in Santa Ana while she was crossing the street.  Hopkins died at the scene while Reichstein fled the scene.  Reichstein had been previously convicted in 2011 of driving under the influence in Orange County Superior Court.

The Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office filed murder and attempted murder charges against Marion “Suge” Knight for allegedly running down two men in Compton. One of the men, Terry Carter, 55, was killed while Cle “Bone” Sloan, has been released from a hospital.

Knight at the time of the Compton incident was out on bail in a robbery case according to the Los Angeles County district attorney’s office. Initially bail was set at $2.2 million but has since been revoked.

To date, the murder and attempted murder charges are the most serious ever leveled against Knight. If convicted, he faces life in prison.

Police say former music mogul Knight, the co-founder of Death Row Records, was involved in a fatal hit-and-run in a Tam’s Burgers parking lot in Compton. Video taken outside Tam’s Burgers captured the fatal incident in the parking lot, Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Sgt. Richard Biddle said.

“It looks like an intentional act,” said Biddle, an investigator who watched the video but declined to give more details.

Irvine resident, Colin Selsted, 27, was arrested after a passenger in his vehicle died as a result of a crash on Shady Canyon Drive. Devon Williams, 23, of Westminster, was transported to Western Medical Center where she died from her injuries.

Selsted was charged with one count of gross vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated and one count of felony driving under the influence. Selsted suffered only cuts and bruises.

Irvine Police officials say Selsted was driving a Volkswagen, when for unknown reasons crashed his car and it overturned. The jaws of life were required to get Devon Williams out of the vehicle.

A Westminster man pleaded guilty to false imprisonment by violence and four counts of sexual battery. Matthew Linville, 20, was sentenced to three years in state prison and will be required to register as a sex offender for life.

Linville, approached Jane Doe #1 as she was jogging in a neighborhood in Huntington Beach. Linville grabbed Jane Doe #1 on the buttocks, pushed her to the ground, and groped her. He then fled the scene after the sexual assault.

Then on Sept. 13, 2013, Linville approached Jane Doe #2 at a Burlington Coat Factory in Huntington Beach. Linville grabbed the Jane Doe #2 on the buttocks as she was shopping and fled the scene. Soon thereafter, Linville approached Jane Doe #3 at a parking structure across the street from the Bella Terra outdoor shopping mall. Linville lifted the victim’s skirt up from behind at which time she fell to the ground. Linville then grabbed the buttocks and fled the scene. Half an hour later, Linville approached Jane Doe #4 in the parking lot at Hoover Golf Center in Westminster. Linville walked up to the victim from behind and grabbed her buttocks.

The victims did not know Linville or each other. Huntington Beach Police Department and Westminster investigated the case.

Qayed Murtaza Shareef, 39, an Orange County CEO is suspected of using a social messaging application to convince two boys to trade explicit photos and videos with him is being held on $2 million bail.

Shareef, of Aliso Viejo, faces 33 felony counts, including over 20 counts of lewd or lascivious acts with a minor, possessing child pornography and sending harmful matter to a minor with the intent of seduction.

Shareef, founded Adaptive Media, a Irvine-based digital advertising company. He pleaded
not guilty to the charges at a Friday arraignment.

Authorities allege that between Christmas day and Dec. 29 in 2013, Shareef used an online messaging application called Tango and contacted a 10-year-old boy and a 9-year-old boy who lived in Virginia. Using a fake name, Shareef is alleged to have convinced the two boys to “commit sex acts on each other.” Further, authorities allege Shareef asked the boys to record their sexual acts and email them to him.

Prosecutors say Shareef recorded “sex acts” he performed on himself, and sent the videos and adult pornography, to the children. No direct physical contact between Shareef fans the boys is known at this time.

In California law, lewd or lascivious act can occur if someone willfully causes a child to touch their body or another child’s body in an effort to arouse someone’s sexual desires.

The mother of one of the boys found the video on his tablet and immediately contacted law enforcement agency in Virginia. The investigation was then turned over to the Orange County Child Exploitation Task Force, a multi-agency team that includes investigators from the FBI, Immigration and Customs Enforcement, Homeland Security Investigations, the Orange County Sheriff’s Department and the Newport Beach Police Department.

Steven Cervantes, of Anaheim man is facing federal counterfeiting charges after police officers found drugs and counterfeiting equipment in a Fountain Valley hotel room.

Cervantes, and a friend, were arrested last week Huntington Beach officer noticed they were standing too close to an intersection. After speaking to Cervantes, officers learned he was on parole and then went to his motel room to conduct a search. Parole searches of homes, cars and person is a standard condition.

The Huntington Beach officers went to the Ayres hotel in Fountain Valley and found heroin, methamphetamine, cannabis, needles, uncut sheets of $100 bills and the counterfeiting equipment.

David Rose, of Coto de Caza man was sentenced to 57 months in federal prison for defrauding physicians and others out of more than $2 million in a phony investment in medical technology companies.

In addition to the 57 months of incarceration, U.S. District Court Judge James V. Selna ordered David Rose to pay $2.3 million in restitution for the more than 75 doctors and dentists he defrauded.

In 2013, a federal grand jury indicted Rose on fraud and money laundering charges. The charges were tied to M.D. Venture Partners LP and Technology Innovation Partners LP, both Irvine-based businesses Rose owned and operated.

Authorities alleged, Rose promised investors he would pool their money and invest it in companies that were developing new medical technology, including a technique to remove children’s wisdom teeth without surgery. Rather than invest their money, he spent it on a variety of personal expenses, including renting a Coto de Caza home, college tuition and related expenses for his children, new cars, jewelry and a variety of household expenses. None of the investment money was ever spent on actual investments.

M.D. Venture was the vehicle that Rose used to solicit money from doctors between 2005 and 2011 and Technology innovation was used to get money from dentists and orthodontists from 2011 to 2013.

Rose was arrested in May 2013 following an FBI investigation.

Gerald Rupple, 25, a former school bus driver for Orange Unified School District has been charged with causing severe injuries to students by passing out behind the wheel and crashing into several trees. Rupple, is charged with one felony count of child abuse and one count of child endangerment, perjury by declaration, and a sentencing enhancement for causing great bodily injury. If convicted, Rupple faces a maximum sentence of 19 years in state prison. He is currently being held on $100,000 bail.

On April 24, 2014, Rupple was driving a group of 11 El Rancho Charter Middle School students in Anaheim Hills when it is alleged he passed out behind the wheel while driving approximately 50 miles per hour, causing the school bus to veer off the road and crash into trees. All of the students received varying degrees of injuries including four of the students sustained major injuries including fractured bones, intra-cranial hemorrhaging, a shattered spine, and amputation of a toe.

Rupple is accused of having a medical condition that causes dizziness, seizures, and blackouts and not disclosing his medical history to the OUSD knowing that it would affect his employment. Rupple is expected to be transported and arraigned at a later date.

Several people were injured, one critically, in an car crash after a police chase Friday night, the Orange County Sheriff’s Department said Saturday.

The chase began around 10:30 p.m. in the area of Toledo Way and Serrano Road in Lake Forest, OCSD Lt. Jeff Hallock said in a statement.

Deputies suspected that the driver of a 2002 Ford Explorer was operating the vehicle under the influence of drugs or alcohol. The deputies followed it for about 5 minutes through Lake Forest, Irvine and Mission Viejo.

The pursuit ended on southbound Trabuco Road near Carlota Drive in Mission Viejo, when the Explorer struck an embankment. The female driver, 18, of the Explorer was ejected and suffered life-threatening injuries and remained hospitalized Saturday night in grave condition.

The 20-year-old male passenger had moderate injuries and remained hospitalized, and a 18-year-old female passenger had minor injuries and was treated and released.

An investigation determined that the Explorer was reported stolen on Jan. 7, Hallock said. In addition, illegal narcotics were found at the crash scene, he said.

Letha Montemayor Tucker, 53, a North Hills resident, was sentenced to 6 years in federal prison on Friday for sex trafficking a girl aged 12 to 13 in an activity that was photographed and circulated widely in child pornography rings.

Tucker could have received more than 12 years in prison, but the judge opted for a lesser sentence after considering her physical and mental health problems and her past as a victim of abuse.

Tucker, was arrested in January 2013 after federal authorities announced that they were looking for a man and woman who appeared to be molesting a girl in photos that were circulating online.