PORTER CASE DELAYED: The murder case against former Hickman pastor Doug Porter remained in a holding pattern Thursday, when a defense attorney said he needs more time before he can proceed. Porter, 56, left, was in Stanislaus County Superior Court to be arraigned on charges stemming from a 2002 auto wreck that seriously injured rancher Frank Craig and a 2004 wreck that killed Craig. Porter was at the wheel and Craig was a passenger in both wrecks. A trial date likely will be set after Porter enters pleas to four felony charges: murder, attempted murder, theft from an elder by a caretaker, and elder abuse causing death. Judge Thomas Zeff said he will consider the case again Oct. 26.
POLICE SEIZE COCAINE, POT: Ceres police arrested two people and seized 60 marijuana plants and more than three-quarters of a pound of cocaine Wednesday in two unrelated drug busts. The first occurred about 8:45 a.m. in a house in the 1500 block of Atlantic Drive, just south of East Hatch Road in the unincorporated area of south Modesto, said Detective Sgt. Jeff Higginbotham. Ceres police served a search warrant and found 12.5 ounces of cocaine, about 16 grams of methamphetamine and several thousand dollars in cash. Officers arrested Laviera De La Torre, 36, on suspicion of child endangerment and possession of a controlled substance for sale, Higginbotham said. The second incident occurred about noon in the 3900 block of Suncrest Drive, just north of East Service Road in Ceres. Officers received information that an odor of marijuana was detected near the house. Higginbotham said officers received consent from the occupants to search inside. They found an indoor marijuana garden and arrested Jason Coleman.
HOUSE FIRE IN MODESTO: Modesto firefighters rushed to a home near Modesto Junior College's west campus Thursday night after several people reported the house ablaze. Firefighters arrived about 10:50 p.m. to find the garage on fire at a house in the 1600 block of Radcliffe Avenue. Firefighters called for a second alarm and attacked the flames. It was unclear late Thursday whether anyone was at home when the fire broke out.
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