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DNA Solves Cold-Case in 1984 Killing:  San Francisco Chronicle staff writer Jaxon Van Derbeken reports a San Francisco jury convicted 62-year-old parolee Dwight Culton of first-degree murder on Wednesday in the 1984 killing of Joan Baldwin, whom prosecutors say was attacked while sleeping overnight at the auto-painting shop where she worked.  Culton left a fingerprint and blood at the crime scene, which ultimately linked him in 2006 in a DNA cold-case hit.  The guilty verdict came despite a glitch in the case involving a key witness, the crime scene technician who collected evidence at the time and was at the center of a scandal last year that caused hundreds of cases to be dismissed.  In the end, the jury was much more concerned with the physical evidence that was discovered at the scene, which ultimately led to Culton's conviction.  District Attorney George Gascon expressed satisfaction with the verdict, "This a very disturbing case, very unsettling. You had a murderer walking free for years," he said. "This will bring some closure for the family who has been waiting for justice since 1984."

17 Charged in Huge Methamphetamine Ring Operation:  San Francisco Chronicle staff writer Henry K. Lee reports on a federal grand jury's decision to indict 17 people, including an alleged leader or local Nortenos gang, on charges that they were part of a huge methamphetamine ring operation in Contra Costa County.  16 men and one woman were charged Thursday in U.S. District Court in Oakland with methamphetamine dealing and conspiracy.  As the result of a two-year multi-agency investigation, dubbed Operation Red Breach, authorities seized more than 135 pounds of methamphetamine worth $7.1 million on the street, as well as 26 guns, six bulletproof vests, and more than $86,500 in cash.  Deputy director of law enforcement for state Attorney General Kamala Harris, Larry Wallace, said investigators "disrupted an extremely dangerous and ruthless network of individuals."  If convicted, some of the defendants could face mandatory minimum sentences of five, 10, or 20 years.

Who Says Crackheads are Smart?:  Police arrested 41-year-old Dexter White of North Charleston, South Carolina after he called 911 and told officers  that he was shortchanged after buying crack cocaine from a drug dealer.  According to a police report, White smoked the crack he purchased and then called 911.  White was arrested for disorderly conduct and was locked up at the Charleston County Detention Center.  Ray Rivera and Cameron Easley of Live5News of Charleston, South Carolina have this story.

Another DNA Match Solves Cold-Case:  Texas police say 48-year-old Reynaldo Aguirre Rey of Madera, California is in California custody for murder in the 1989 death of a 93-year-old woman.  Because of Rey's criminal history, DNA was able to make a match.  Autopsy results of Minnie Elkins revealed she died from blunt-force trauma to the head and had been sexually assaulted.  Ray will be arraigned in California before extradition proceedings begin.  The AP has this story.

South Carolina Prisoner's Wish to Die Will Be Granted:  Jeffrey Motts told investigators he was ready to die just a few hours after he strangled his cellmate at a state prison in Greenville County in South Carolina to settle a dispute.  At 6pm on Friday, Motts will be granted his wish as he is scheduled to die by lethal injection for killing his cellmate, Charles "Chuck" Martin.  Motts was serving a life sentence for killing his 73-year-old great-aunt and another 79-year-old man in 1995.  Motts robbed the pair to fuel his addiction to crack cocaine.  "I'm guilty of a horrible crime. I was found guilty, the jury thought I deserved death, the judge agreed, and I also agree. I accept responsibility for my actions and I'm ready to accept my punishment," Motts wrote in a September letter to Chief Justice Jean Toal of the state's Supreme Court.  Motts, who turns 36 today, will be South Carolina's first prisoner to be executed with its new combination of drugs using pentobarbital instead of sodium thiopental.  This will be the first execution in South Carolina in nearly two years.  AP writer Jeffrey Collins has this story.

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