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Bay briefs

Monday May 28, 2001

Hubcap shooter gets 40 years in prison 

OAKLAND – An Oakland man has been sentenced to 40 years in prison for shooting and killing a man for swiping the hubcaps off his car. 

Quincy Darnell Robertson was convicted of killing Khinde Riley two days before Christmas in December 1998. Another man, Ricky Harris, was hit in the foot with a bullet while trying to escape. 

Prosecutor Jim Panetta had offered Robertson a plea bargain for 25 years in jail, but Robertson opted for a trial. 

Robertson’s attorney argued he did not mean to hurt anyone, but he instead fired the gun to scare the men away from his car. 

Robertson is considering appealing his conviction. 


Oakland skydiver plummets to death  

LODI – A veteran skydiver died after jumping out of an airplane with a group of friends. 

Dan Scary, 52, of Oakland may have experienced a health problem while in the air Saturday. He and others were forming a circle, and Scary was holding a friend’s wrist when his grip reportedly got weaker, said San Joaquin County Sheriff’s Sgt. Joe Herrera. 

Scary’s parachute opened correctly, but it was unknown whether he was able to control it. He landed between some trees in a private back yard near Lodi and was pronounced dead at UC Davis Medical Center, Herrera said. 

Scary had a history of hypertension and diabetes. 

Californians could keep cars in driveway 

SAN FRANCISCO – A new poll says Californians plan to leave their cars parked if gas prices continue to swell. 

A Field Poll released Sunday found that 36 percent say they’ll be forced to reduce the driving a lot, while 33 percent say they’ll cut it some. 

But that doesn’t mean Californians are practicing what they’re preaching: The American Automobile Association says they’ll be more motorists on the road this Memorial Day weekend, than last year. All that despite soaring prices at the pump. 

AAA estimates that 4.2 million Californians are on the road this weekend. 

The poll says that 76 percent polled found the current gas situation very serious. That number jumped to 86 percent if gas prices were to rise to three dollars or more a gallon this summer. 


Health workers using chickens to find ills 

SAN JOSE – Public health workers are preparing to test for diseases transmitted by mosquitoes by monitoring birds. 

Sentinel chickens are put out in many California counties and are regularly tested for diseases, such as West Vile virus, St. Louis encephalitis and Western equine encephalomyelitis. There have been no reports of these diseases this year. 

“If West Nile gets here, our sentinel system is going to know about it very quickly,” said epidemiologist William C. Reeves, a former dean of the School of Public Health at UC Berkeley. 

The virus is carried by wild birds, which can be bitten by mosquitoes and later transmitted to humans. The disease can be mild, but in some cases has caused a fatal inflammation of the brain and spinal cord. 

The first American case of West Nile virus was seen in New York in 1999. Since then, it has been detected as far north as New Hampshire and as far south as North Carolina. 


Fire damages Stanford 

STANFORD – An early morning fire Saturday caused extensive damage to a building on the campus of Stanford University. 

The fire broke out about 1 a.m. in the Career Planning and Placement Center. Firefighters from about 10 departments responded and had the blaze under control by 3 a.m., said Stanford Police Dept. Sgt. David Lee. 

There were no injuries reported and the fire was contained to one building. Officials say the incident is under investigation, and an estimate for the amount of damage was not available. About half of the one-story building was damaged, Lee said. 


Suspects accused of stealing from Caltrain vending machines 

REDWOOD CITY – Two men have been arrested on suspicion of stealing about $6,000 from Caltrain ticket vending machines. 

Yomo Kenyatta Shaw of San Francisco and Ronald Kieth Lejender of Oakland were arrested after police spotted them scoping out a ticket machine at the Hayward Park Caltrain station. 

They didn’t take anything from the machine, but police followed them and pulled them over. The police searched their car and found pry bars and other tools inside. 


Victims families put experience to use 

EUREKA – Family members of those slain near Yosemite National Park in 1999 are using the skills they learned during the tragedy to help the parents of a Modesto intern missing from her Washington, D.C. apartment. 

Francis and Carole Carrington’s daughter, granddaughter and family friend were found murdered a month after they disappeared while vacationing near the park. Former motel handyman Cary Stayner confessed to murdering them in July 1999. 

But the Carringtons learned a lot of skills from that ordeal. The couple recently flew to Washington, D.C. to help the parents of 24-year-old Chandra Levy in their search. The woman disappeared April 30.