Bay Area Briefs

Wednesday October 02, 2002

Santa Clara judge sentences man for planned massacre 

SANTA CLARA โ€” A man convicted of plotting a Columbine-style rampage at his community college was sentenced to seven years in state prison Tuesday. 

Superior Court Judge Robert Ahern ruled that more than 100 of the counts against Al DeGuzman, 20, had to be dismissed because of two appellate court rulings that applied to his case. 

After Ahern dismissed the felony counts, he gave DeGuzman the maximum sentence for the remaining charges. Ahern said he saw DeGuzman as a danger to the public. 

The judge cited two cases in which a California Court of Appeal said the state Legislature did not adequately specify that criminals found with multiple weapons could be charged with multiple counts. 

DeGuzman could be released on parole after about two years, said prosecutor Tom Farris. 

DeGuzman was scheduled to be sentenced in July on 108 counts of amassing an arsenal of guns and bombs in his bedroom and planning a massacre at De Anza College in Cupertino. 

The charges carried up to 95 years in prison, and a probation report recommended that he get 61 years. But Ahern postponed sentencing and raised the possibility that DeGuzman could get between three and seven years. 

When he postponed the sentencing Ahern said California law is ambiguous on whether DeGuzman should have been charged separately for each weapon found in his bedroom or whether he should have faced just two all-encompassing counts. 

DeGuzman was arrested in January 2001 the day before the planned attacks on his community college. Authorities say the rampage was averted when a photo-developing clerk saw a picture of DeGuzman posing with his arsenal and called police. 

Red Cross continues to aid  

victims of Croy fire 

MORGAN HILL โ€“ While the Croy Fire in the Santa Cruz Mountains west of Morgan Hill has been fully contained, the Santa Clara Valley Chapter of the American Red Cross has not halted its efforts to reach out to the victims still affected by the disaster. 

The fire that began on Monday, Sept. 23 scorched more than 3,200 acres of land, destroyed 32 homes and forced hundreds of residents to evacuate. Most have since been allowed to return after firefighters brought the blaze totally under control over the weekend. 

Federal screeners arrive at Mineta San Jose airport 

SAN JOSE โ€“ Mineta San Jose International Airport this morning became the first of the three major Bay Area airports to undergo the transformation from private to federal security screeners. 

Acting Federal Security Director Mark Pooler made the announcement of the transfer from private to federal security today during a news conference at the airport. 

Checkpoints in the airport's Terminal C were taken over by Transportation Security Administration-trained screeners when the airport opened at 5 a.m. Federal screeners have not yet been deployed in Terminal A.