State Briefs

Monday October 07, 2002

Triple murderer sent back to death row for third time 

BAKERSFIELD – A judge has sent triple murderer David Leslie Murtishaw back to death row for the third time. 

During sentencing on Friday, Kern County Superior Court Judge Roger Randall said the heinous nature of his crimes outweighed any personal problems Murtishaw has endured and the good behavior he has shown in prison. 

Murtishaw, 44, was originally convicted and placed on death row in 1979 for fatally shooting three University of Southern California film students north of Mojave on April 9, 1978. 

His conviction has always been affirmed. But his sentence was reversed twice by the state Supreme Court and a federal appeals court. It was the subject of a second retrial that ended last month. 


Study: Breaking up LA would hurt poor residents 

LOS ANGELES – Breaking up Los Angeles could hurt poor residents and workers by depriving them of laws and programs that protect them, according to a study released by an anti-poverty group. 

The study by the nonprofit Los Angeles Alliance for a New Economy and the University of California, Los Angeles Center for Labor Research said the secession movements in Hollywood and the San Fernando Valley would hurt the poor at a time when poverty is worsening in the city. 

Median household income fell 9 percent across the city in the 1990s. The report’s authors said laws in place that protect the poor, such as rent control and living wage ordinances, could be rolled back in either of the proposed breakaway cities. 


Police pull up $1 million of pot 

LA CANADA FLINTRIDGE – Los Angeles County Sheriff’s deputies pulled up 1,000 marijuana plants worth an estimated $1 million in Angeles National Forest. 

The 4- to 6-foot high plants were eradicated Friday, a month after they had been spotted during a routine aerial patrol. 

A recent fire that closed the forest delayed efforts to rip out the illegal plantation. 

About 15,000 plants have been discovered in the forest this year. Among them were 500 reported by firefighters battling the recent Williams Fire. 

The fire burned 38,000 acres of trees and brush. 


LA to appeal court’s award in elderly subway tumble 

LOS ANGELES – The county transit agency said it will appeal the awarding of $1.4 million in damages to a 97-year-old woman who suffered serious injuries in a fall on a downtown subway platform. 

A judge ruled in favor of Yvonne Wilson last month. Wilson, who lives alone, fell in August 2000 while boarding a Red Line subway car. 

Judge Soussan G. Brugera found the Metropolitan Transportation Authority negligent and ordered restitution for pain and suffering. 

The MTA called the award outrageous and said it would appeal. The agency had earlier turned down an offer to settle the case for about $40,000. 


Seussian movie set draws interest from drivers 

MOORPARK – A set under construction for a movie version of the Dr. Seuss classic “The Cat in the Hat” is drawing stares from freeway commuters. 

The tidy village of narrow, 30-foot-high houses, each pink topped by a blue roof, is being built on six acres of a horse ranch. 

“I’ve gotten at least a dozen calls and e-mails from people asking about the new development that seemed to spring up overnight,” said Patrick Hunter, mayor of this city 29 miles west of Los Angeles. 

The set is expected to remain up until March, said Dan Price, Ventura County film permit coordinator. 

The movie is expected to be released next year. The Universal Pictures project stars Mike Myers.