Clovis News

Local briefs: Details about dead Exeter toddler won't come out

Tulare County Child Welfare Services said Thursday that additional information about Sophia Acosta, 3, who died of blunt force trauma, will not be made public because the murder case in under investigation by Exeter police.

The decision was made in consultation was the Tulare County District Attorney's Office. The statement was issued in response to media inquires asking if Child Welfare Services responded to reports of child abuse at the apartment where Acosta lived with her mother, sister and mother's boyfriend.

Ericka Smith, the girl's mother, and Christopher Cheary, 21, of Exeter, remain persons of interest in the case. No arrests have been made.

Fresno man arrested after street fight

Fresno Police arrested a 32-year-old Fresno man Wednesday on suspicion of weapons charges during an investigation into a street fight between two groups of people at about 11:30 a.m. Monday.

Shots were fired during the fight, but no buildings or vehicles were hit. Investigators found spent .22-caliber casings near Calaveras and McKenzie streets where the fight happened.

The man was booked into the Fresno County Jail on suspicion of being a convicted felon in possession of a loaded firearm and ammunition and having a loaded firearm with altered serial numbers.

Gang members nabbed in shooting

Two Bulldog gang members were arrested nearly three weeks after an attempted homicide in southeast Fresno.

On May 7, a Bulldog gang member was shot multiple times on the 3200 block of East McKenzie Avenue, Sgt. David Ramsey said. Two days later, one of the suspects was arrested on suspicion of attempted homicide and violating his parole for possessing a loaded firearm.

On Wednesday, officers found the second suspect off of a tip from the California Department of Justice, Ramsey said. Officers arrested him on suspicion of attempted homicide and violating his parole for possessing a loaded firearm.

Livingston teacher's bail set at $500,000

Bail for a Livingston High School chemistry teacher accused of storing an explosive material in her classroom has been set at $500,000.

Japhia Huhndorf was arrested Wednesday at her Atwater home on suspicion of possessing explosive materials, the second time she was taken into custody in a week. Her bail was set Wednesday.

The 34-year-old teacher was booked Monday on suspicion of child endangerment for allegedly helping students ingest chloroform.


Food-processing plant suffers damage

A four-alarm fire broke out at the Real Fresh food-processing plant in Visalia at about 7:50 p.m. Thursday.

Firetrucks were called from Tulare, Dinuba, Farmersville and Tulare County to assist the Visalia Fire Department.

No one was hurt and all employees got out safely. The fire is believed to have started in a maintenance shop and affected about a quarter of the plant, said fire chief Mark Nelson.


Visalia man sent to prison for murder

Aibung Saesee, 42, of Visalia was sentenced Thursday in Tulare County Superior Court to more than 53 years in prison for murdering his wife.

On Jan. 4, 2010, Visalia police answered a family dispute call, but left after deciding it was a verbal dispute. But the couple kept arguing, and Saesee got two shotguns, put on a hunting jacket, got 45 shotgun shells and walked toward the living room.

He opened his son's bedroom door and said, "nobody come out or I will shoot," then told his father to move out of his way. He shot twice, striking his wife in the back and severing her spine as she tried to get out of the front door.

His son and father tackled him and got the guns. He went to the kitchen and got a knife, tried to stab himself, his father intervened and he tried stabbing his father. When he tried to run out the front door, his son tackled him and held him until officers arrived.

Tulare man heads to prison on strike three

Robert Cota Garcia, 61, of Tulare was sentenced to 60 years to life in Tulare County Superior Court on Thursday for sexual assault.

A jury convicted Garcia on April 28 of sexual penetration by a foreign object by force, attempted rape and assault with intent to commit a sexual crime in the commission of a first-degree burglary.

At his sentencing, Garcia admitted he had two prior felony convictions for which he served prison terms. The convictions qualify under the state's Three Strikes law.

Hearing Friday over mobile home issue

A hearing will be held at 9 a.m. Friday in Clovis City Hall to determine if mobile-home park owners can charge residents for the full cost of a road project within the boundaries of their two mobile-home parks.

City officials say the owners followed the law when deciding to charge the residents of Campus Corral and Arabian Villa for the nearly $860,000 road project.

It will be up to the hearing officer to decide whether the costs charged to residents were reasonable.

Residents were asked to choose from several options to pay, but were upset by the costs Rutherford MHC Management of Los Gatos, the park's owners, planned to charge.