<![CDATA[NBC Bay Area - News as seen on - $cms.content.title]]>Copyright 2017http://www.nbcbayarea.com/on-air/as-seen-onen-usMon, 20 Nov 2017 22:37:18 -0800Mon, 20 Nov 2017 22:37:18 -0800NBC Local Integrated Media<![CDATA[Man Killed During San Leandro Cellphone Transaction ID'd]]>Mon, 20 Nov 2017 22:07:57 -0800https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/sl_homicide_1120_836023.JPG

A man who was fatally shot while trying to sell a cellphone to someone at a busy intersection in unincorporated San Leandro on Saturday afternoon was identified by an Alameda County sheriff's spokesman Monday as 32-year-old Daniel Carlos of Redwood City.

Carlos was between jobs but used to work for Tesla and is survived by his wife and their 5-year-old daughter, Sgt. Ray Kelly said.

Carlos was shot near the 76 gas station at East 14th Street and 159th Avenue, near the Bay Fair BART station, at about 1:15 p.m. Saturday and was pronounced dead at the scene, according to Kelly.

"What's so shocking is that this was in broad daylight at one of the major intersections in Alameda County, where there's a lot of vehicle and foot traffic," Kelly said.

Carlos met the suspects in the case through an online app called Letgo, on which people list items they want to sell, Kelly said.

Carlos planned to sell an iPhone, but when he arrived at the arranged meeting place in unincorporated San Leandro, multiple suspects robbed him and shot him and then drove away, according to Kelly.

Investigators did not release information about the suspects.

Kelly said Casey "was doing everything right" by trying to arrange the transaction at a busy location in the middle of the day and had a relative with him.

"Unfortunately, the suspects were willing to kill him over a phone," Kelly said.

The relative who was with Casey wasn't harmed.

Kelly said people who want to buy or sell merchandise from people they meet online should do so at "safe-exchange" zones such as the parking lots of law enforcement agencies. He said one such location is the parking lot of the sheriff's Eden Township substation in San Leandro.

Carlos' family launched a GoFundMe campaign that had surpassed $10,000, more than double its goal, in its first day.

Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area]]>
<![CDATA[Judge Denies Motion for Mistrial in Murder of 8-Year-Old Boy]]>Mon, 20 Nov 2017 20:52:06 -0800https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/202*120/11-15-2017-gabriel-fernandez-isauro-aguirre.jpg

As a Palmdale man convicted of the torture-killing of his girlfriend's 8-year-old son awaited the penalty phase of his trial, a judge denied defense motions Monday for a mistrial and for the lead prosecutor to recuse himself.

An attorney for Isauro Aguirre argued that statements made to the media by Deputy District Attorney Jonathan Hatami following the verdict last Wednesday were evidence of a conflict that would prevent the 37-year-old onetime security guard from getting a fair penalty trial.

"The various statements that the prosecutor made to the media indicating his own experience as a child abuse victim, his display of emotion ... wiping tears away from his eyes" were evidence of Hatami's inability to be "even-handed" in doing his job, according to defense attorney John Alan.

Los Angeles Superior Court Judge George Lomeli denied the motion, saying most of what Hatami said outside court had already been said during the trial and that the jury had been instructed not to watch news coverage of the case.

However, Lomeli warned it was "not wise or prudent to make any comments" that could jeopardize the case, adding, "This is not over." 

Aguirre was convicted of first-degree murder and faces a possible death sentence for killing Gabriel Fernandez, who was routinely beaten, shot with a BB gun, forced to eat cat feces and sleep ,while gagged and bound, inside a small cabinet. Along with convicting Aguirre of murder, the seven-woman, five-man jury found true a special circumstance allegation of murder involving the infliction of torture.

The penalty phase of the trial -- when the panel will be asked to recommend whether Aguirre should be sentenced to death or life in prison without the possibility of parole -- is set to begin next Monday.

One witness scheduled to be out of the country during the penalty proceedings testified Monday that she had supervised Aguirre when he worked as a caregiver at a senior assisted living home.

Donna Hogg-Allen said Aguirre was a good employee in a job that required compassion and empathy.

"He was soft-spoken, he listened to what was going on with them," Hogg- Allen said of Aguirre's work with residents. "He was just a nice guy, he was pleasant ... hard-working." 

Aguirre was a guest at Hogg-Allen's wedding and also dated her daughter.

When she heard about Gabriel's death on the news, Hogg-Allen said she was "shocked, stunned, appalled. I just couldn't believe it. It made no sense to me ... (this was) not the person that I knew, not the person that came to my house." 

Hogg-Allen said she couldn't bear to read about the case, but, during his cross-examination, Hatami offered some details, including that Aguirre had admitted to punching Gabriel in the head 10 times. Then the prosecutor asked if she would be willing to leave her grandchildren in Aguirre's care.

"Obviously he isn't capable anymore of caring for anybody," Hogg-Allen said.

Gabriel's mother, 34-year-old Pearl Sinthia Fernandez, is still awaiting trial for the boy's May 2013 death. Prosecutors are also seeking the death penalty for her.

After the verdict was read last week, Hatami embraced the boy's biological father in court. The prosecutor told reporters later that what the two discussed was "private," saying, "I'm a dad and he's a dad." 

"Some justice, I think, has been served by this verdict, and maybe some closure can be felt by Gabriel's family as far as at least they feel that the system ... is trying to make some things right, and maybe this is a small part of that, maybe,'' said Hatami, who described himself as a "survivor" of child abuse at age 4 and 5.

One of Aguirre's attorneys, Michael Sklar, acknowledged during the trial that Aguirre killed the boy, but told jurors in his closing argument the defendant "acted in a rage of anger followed by an explosion of violence'' and not with the deliberation and premeditation required for first-degree murder. He argued that jurors should convict his client of the lesser count of second-degree murder.

Hatami called Aguirre an "evil" man who "liked torturing" the boy and did so systematically in the months leading up to the child's death. The prosecutor began his closing argument by displaying a photo of Gabriel's battered body lying on an autopsy table -- covered in injuries head to toe -- as evidence of Aguirre's intent to kill the boy.

"You can't believe a person in our society would intentionally murder a child,'' Hatami said, comparing the abuse to that suffered by a prisoner of war.

"Believe it, because it happened. This was intentional murder by torture,'' he told the jury. "Do not go back in the jury room and make excuses for the defendant ... this had nothing to do with drugs ... this had nothing to do with mental health issues." 

Hatami said in the months leading up to the boy's death, Gabriel was "being starved and punched and kicked and abused and beaten ... he was belittled, bullied and called gay. His teeth were knocked out. He was tied up every night in a box. ... Gabriel was dying.''

The prosecutor painted a picture of Aguirre sleeping in a comfortable bed night after night while, in the same room, Gabriel was bound and gagged inside a small cabinet with a "sock in his mouth, a shoelace (tying) up his hands, a bandanna over his face'' and his ankles handcuffed.

He alleged the 6-foot-2, 270-pound defendant punched and kicked Gabriel hard enough to dent the walls of the family's apartment and leave the boy unconscious, then -- with help from the boy's mother -- hid some of the child's bloody clothing and moved a picture to cover up one of the biggest indentations before calling 911.

The defense contended that Aguirre never meant to kill the child, but Hatami told jurors in his summation of the case that Aguirre hated the boy because he thought the child was gay. The couple only took him from his maternal grandparents so that they could collect welfare payments for his care, the prosecutor said, telling the panel that the defendant "actually liked torturing Gabriel. He got off on it ... he is a murderer and he is a torturer." 

Sklar acknowledged "unspeakable acts of abuse over a period of time'' by his client, but urged the panel as a matter of law to focus only on the evening of May 22, 2013, when Gabriel endured the beating that caused his death. Aguirre was angry because Gabriel had asked his mother to leave Aguirre and then denied saying so, calling his mother a liar in front of Aguirre, the defense attorney said.

"Isauro exploded in a rage of anger" and later "described his anger as a 20 on a scale of 10" to a detective, Sklar said. "He was completely out of control." 

But once his client realized Gabriel was unconscious, "he immediately took steps to begin to revive him,'' the defense attorney said, telling jurors that Aguirre had run cold water over the boy while "repeatedly hollering his name" and told the boy's mother to call 911 for help.

He said his client realized that a call to 911 would result in his arrest, and described Aguirre's subsequent statements to investigators as "genuine remorse" for what he had done rather than expressions of self-pity for his own predicament.

The attorney alleged that Gabriel's mother was the one who hit the boy with a belt, shot him with a BB gun and was responsible for much of the abuse prior to his death.

Los Angeles County Fire Department personnel went to the family's home in the 200 block of East Avenue Q-10 in Palmdale in response to a call that Gabriel was not breathing. He was declared brain-dead that day and taken off life support two days later.

Aguirre and the boy's mother have been jailed without bail since being charged in May 2013 with his death. The two were subsequently indicted by a Los Angeles County grand jury.

Two former Los Angeles County social workers -- Stefanie Rodriguez and Patricia Clement -- and supervisors Kevin Bom and Gregory Merritt were charged last year with one felony count each of child abuse and falsifying public records in connection with the case.

Photo Credit: KNBC-TV]]>
<![CDATA[Partial Settlement Reached in 2015 Berkeley Balcony Collapse]]>Mon, 20 Nov 2017 19:50:33 -0800https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/berkeley+balcony.jpg

A partial settlement has been reached with the owner and property manager of a Berkeley apartment complex for the deaths of six students and the injury of seven others when a balcony collapsed during a crowded party in 2015, lawyers for some of the plaintiffs said Monday.

The collapse of the balcony at apartment 405 on the fourth floor of the Library Gardens apartment complex at 2020 Kittredge St. at 12:41 a.m. on June 2015 killed five students visiting from Ireland, as well as a student from Rohnert Park.

The seven injured students were also from Ireland.

Attorney Eustace de Saint Phalle of the law firm Rains Lucia Stern St. Phalle & Silver said the partial settlement is with private equity group BlackRock of New York City, the property owner and Greystar, which is based in Charleston, S.C., and has offices in San Francisco.

The settlement amount is confidential, de Saint Phalle said.

In May, a partial settlement was reached with seven companies that were involved in building the apartment complex.

De Saint Phalle said settlement talks are continuing with one remaining company that was involved in the construction, Insul-Flow Inc., a concrete company that has offices in California and Nevada.

De Saint Phalle represents the family of Ashley Donohoe, 22, of Rohnert Park, who was one of the students who died in the balcony collapse.

The attorney said that although the settlement amount is confidential, the parties are otherwise free to speak about the circumstances of the deadly event.

"The Donohoe family was insistent that there could be no 'Secret Settlement' designed to prevent the parties from discussing the facts of the case and what they believe to be the cause of this tragedy," de Saint Phalle said.

"The most important factor of this settlement for the Donohoe family is that they will be allowed to continue their efforts in the Legislature to avoid a tragedy like this from happening again," de Saint Phalle said.

In a statement, Donohoe's family said, "Nothing will stop us from continuing our fight to have changes made to the California building codes and regulations to require regular inspections by qualified people, proper design and use of proper construction materials, and a ban on 'Secret Settlements' that allow contractors to hide defective construction work from the contractors licensing board and the public."

The family said, "Nothing will ever replace our daughter, our niece or the other four students who died that night. After this tragedy, we would hope all that were involved will join us in our efforts to ensure there are proper changes to the building codes and regulations in California related to annual inspections, balcony design and construction materials."

The Berkeley City Council passed stricter building codes for outdoor structures after the fatal balcony collapse.

Also in response to the deadly incident, Gov. Jerry Brown signed a bill last September that brings more oversight to the construction industry.

The Alameda County District Attorney's Office said last year that it won't pursue criminal charges for the six deaths because of insufficient evidence that criminal negligence was involved.

Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area]]>
<![CDATA[Trump Asks Supreme Court for Full Enforcement of Travel Ban ]]>Mon, 20 Nov 2017 19:40:15 -0800https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/tru22AP_17324615882217.jpg

The Trump administration on Monday asked the U.S. Supreme Court to allow the latest travel ban to take full effect.

A federal appeals court ruling last week allowed President Donald Trump's newest version of the ban to partially take effect. That ruling by the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals allowed the administration to ban people from six mostly Muslim countries unless they have a "bona fide" relationship with someone in the U.S.

Last month, a federal judge in Hawaii had blocked most of Trump's third travel ban just before it was due to take effect. A judge in Maryland separately blocked it to a lesser degree, saying Trump could bar people from Chad, Iran, Libya, Somalia, Syria and Yemen as long as they did not have "bona fide" relationships with people or organizations already in the U.S.

The travel ban also applies to travelers from North Korea and to some Venezuelan government officials and their families, but the lawsuits did not challenge those restrictions.

The application filed Monday by the U.S. Justice Department asked the Supreme Court to put the Hawaii judge's ruling on hold.

Preventing the president from enforcing "his national-security and foreign-relations judgment will cause ongoing irreparable harm to the government and the public, especially by requiring the executive to disregard the identified inadequacies and by undermining the proclamation's goal of inducing cooperation by other nations," the government's application said.

If granted, the full ban would be in effect while the government's appeal makes its way through the courts.

Hawaii Attorney General Doug Chin said Monday, "We look forward to the Supreme Court's review of this matter, and to the oral argument before the court of appeals in two weeks."

Arguments are scheduled for Dec. 6 at the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Seattle. The Maryland case is due to be argued before the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals on Dec. 8.

In a separate 9th Circuit ruling Monday, a request by six states to intervene in the Hawaii lawsuit was denied. California, Maryland, Massachusetts, New York, Oregon and Washington filed a motion last month asking to be parties in Hawaii's lawsuit. They agree with Hawaii that the ban is unconstitutional.

Copyright Associated Press / NBC Bay Area

Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[Special Olympics Floor Hockey Event Lifts Sharks' Spirit]]>Mon, 20 Nov 2017 19:17:27 -0800https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/Special_Olympics_Floor_Hockey_Event_Lifts_Sharks_Spirit.jpg

The San Jose Sharks on Sunday took a much needed break from what turned out to be a rough week in their NHL schedule. For the second consecutive year, Sharks players and coaches took to the hardwood for a Special Olympics floor hockey event. Colin Resch reports.]]>
<![CDATA[Will President Trump's Declaration Spur Talks With N. Korea?]]>Mon, 20 Nov 2017 19:08:23 -0800https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/Will_President_Trumps_Declaration_Spur_Talks_With_N._Korea_.jpg

President Donald Trump's decision to once again declare North Korea a state sponsor of terrorism is getting international attention. There are only three other nations on that list: Sudan, Syria and Iran. So will the change bring North Korea to the negotiating table or change U.S. relations with other countries? NBC Bay Area political analyst Larry Gerston says there's no easy answer.]]>
<![CDATA[Bay Area Man's Expedia Reservation Falls Through]]>Mon, 20 Nov 2017 19:22:53 -0800https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/Bay_Area_Mans_Expedia_Reservation_Fall_Through.jpg

Sunnyvale resident Robert Barnes prepaid on Expedia for three nights in a hotel in China. But when he arrived, the hotel said it didn’t have his reservation. Barnes called Expedia and couldn’t get anything straightened out. Consumer investigator Chris Chmura reports.]]>
<![CDATA[Defense: No Evidence Immigrant Wanted to Shoot Steinle]]>Mon, 20 Nov 2017 19:11:02 -0800https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/Defense__No_Evidence_Immigrant_Wanted_to_Shoot_Steinle.jpg

The defense attorney for a Mexican man accused of gunning down a woman on a San Francisco pier says prosecutors have not presented any evidence to support what he calls a “wild narrative” that he wanted to hurt someone. Sam Brock reports.]]>
<![CDATA[Steel at Base of New Bay Bridge Tower in Question]]>Mon, 20 Nov 2017 18:53:31 -0800https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/Steel_at_Base_of_New_Bay_Bridge_Tower_in_Question.jpg

The federal government’s chief bridge engineer voiced concern that “rogue plate” -- steel that does not meet Caltrans’ standards – is being used to seismically reinforce the tower of the new Bay Bridge, according to documents disclosed under the state’s Public Records Act. Jaxon Van Derbeken reports.]]>
<![CDATA[SJPD Chief Makes Changes to 'Outdated' Grooming Policy]]>Mon, 20 Nov 2017 18:54:23 -0800https://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/SJPD_Chief_Makes_Changes_to__Outdated__Grooming_Policy.jpg

The San Jose Police Department chief made the first official changes to what he called an outdated policy. Robert Handa reports.]]>