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News Scan

California Prisoner Charged With 1986 Vermont Murder: The Associated Press reports California state prisoner David Allan Morrison is being charged with first-degree murder in the 1986 strangling of a Vermont woman. Sarah Hunter disappeared in September 1986, and her body was found two months later. DNA tests linked hair strands found in Morrison's car to the victim. Vermont State Police Lt. Tim Oliver said Morrison was a suspect immediately after Hunter's death, but at the time investigators didn't have the evidence needed to charge him. Morrison left Vermont in early 1988, and was arrested later that year on charges of attempted murder, sexual assault, and kidnapping in Chula Vista, Calfornia, which he eventually pleaded guilty to. His abandoned car was also seized by police in 1988. Hair found in the car was matched to Hunter.

CA Bill Would Temporarily Release Death Row Inmate to Help in Search for Victims: The Associated Press reports a bill passed unanimously by the California Senate and Assembly would take effect immediately if signed by Governor Jerry Brown to allow California serial killer Wesley Shermantine to be temporarily taken off death row to help investigators search for the remains of more victims.  The bill authorizes the Secretary of the Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation to remove an inmate "for the purpose of permitting the inmate to participate in or assist with the gathering of evidence relating to crimes." This provision will be valid until January 1, 2013. The most current version of the bill is here.

CA Man Mistakenly Discharged from Parole Faces Murder Charge: Atascadero State Hospital and eventually made his way to Santa Cruz, where prosecutors say he brutally stabbed a shop owner to death on a busy sidewalk.

LA Grand Jury Releases Realignment Report: Christina Villacorte of Los Angeles Daily News reports the Los Angeles County Civil Grand Jury said realignment could diminish probation officers' ability to adequately supervise probationers and cause county jail overcrowding. "The caseload for the current deputy probation officers has increased dramatically for each deputy probation officer to monitor and supervise adequately," the civil grand jury wrote. The civil grand jury also noted, "The number of N3s (sent to) L.A. County from October 2011 through mid-March 2012 is well above the projected numbers by the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department." The Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department expected to receive 7,000 to 8,000 non-violent, non-serious, and non-sexual offenders during the first year of realignment. However, the county admitted almost 5,000 of those offenders in just the first four months of realignment.

CA Senate Approves "Anti-Arizona" Immigration Bill: The Associated Press reports that under a bill approved by the California state Senate, lower-level offenders will no longer be detained on immigration holds, and officers would only refer those convicted of serious felonies to immigration officials. The bill passed along party lines 21-13 Thursday, and now goes to the Assembly. The most recent version of the bill is here.

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