BEATING DEATH SUSPECTS PLEAD: The three men and one juvenile arrested after the beating death in March of David Richard Cingcon Jr. pleaded not guilty in Stanislaus County Superior Court on Wednesday morning. Bail was set at $1 million each for Derrick Jermaine Thomas, 22, and David Allan Mayfield, 20, both of Modesto, and Eddie Polk Jr., 19, and Kevin Resean Tubbs, 17, both of Turlock. Tubbs is being held at Juvenile Hall, though he has been charged as an adult. Thomas, Mayfield and Polk are being held at the downtown jail. Thomas faces a misdemeanor domestic violence charge in a separate case, the district attorney's office reported. The suspects are scheduled to return to court April 30.
USING LASER LANDS MAN IN JAIL: A Modesto man was being held Wednesday night at the county jail on suspicion of pointing a green laser at a Stanislaus County sheriff's helicopter, a department spokesman said. "Lights and lasers can blind pilots and can have disastrous results," deputy Royjindar Singh warned. "We will find you and we will arrest you." Joel Bennett, 47, was booked on a felony charge of pointing a laser at an aircraft, Singh said. Bennett was being held at the Stanislaus County Jail, and his bail was set
at $25,000. About 9:20 p.m. on Saturday, the laser was beamed at the helicopter as it flew over northeast Modesto. Singh said the helicopter's crew located the suspect and directed Modesto police to a house in the 2400 block of Southfork Lane, just south of Floyd Avenue and west of Oakdale Road. Singh said Bennett continued to point the laser at the helicopter as police were en route. Modesto police found Bennett and took him into custody without incident.
TIP LEADS TO DRUGS, ARRESTS: Narcotics investigators Wednesday arrested 10 people and discovered packaged methamphetamine at a home just north of Yosemite Boulevard in Modesto. A tip to the drug hot line led police to the suspects. The narcotics investigators served the search warrant at a home in the 100 block of Phoenix Avenue, Sgt. Steve Hinkley said. The investigators developed enough information about the home from the tip to obtain a search warrant. Investigators from the Modesto police Narcotics Enforcement Team and the Street Crimes Unit along with the Stanislaus County sheriff's Special Team Investigating Narcotics and Gangs served the search warrant. As the investigators arrived, Hinkley said, several people tried to flee but soon were captured. The investigators seized $918 in cash, the packaged meth, weight scales, packaging, surveillance equipment and drug paraphernalia. Investigators arrested 10 people on various charges including possession of meth for sales, parole violation, possession of drug paraphernalia and resisting a peace officer.
SHOOTING VICTIM CRITICAL: The Riverbank man who was shot Tuesday afternoon remains in critical but stable condition after surgery, a nursing supervisor at a Modesto hospital said Wednesday. The 15-year-old boy who claimed responsibility for the shooting has been booked into Stanislaus County Juvenile Hall on suspicion of attempted murder, Modesto police Lt. Chris Fuzie said. Osvaldo Auiniga was shot at a home near Muncy Park and Prescott Road about 1:10 p.m. Police are collecting physical evidence and have other interviews to conduct, Fuzie said. The teenager brought a gun to the police station when he turned himself in and police have recovered no other weapon. Detectives are investigating whether Auiniga somehow provoked the attack, Fuzie said.
RIPON OFFICER'S NAME GOES ON MONUMENT: The name of Robert "Bob" Winget, the Ripon police officer killed on an all-terrain vehicle patrol last year, will be engraved on the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial in Washington, D.C. His name will be read May 13 at a candlelight vigil, Ripon police Lt. Ed Ormonde said, with a service at the memorial set for the following day. Winget, 57, was patrolling along the Stanislaus River on April 10 when his ATV rolled over and crushed him. He was known in the department as one of its best-trained officers and an experienced ATV rider. The memorial honors federal, state and local law enforcement officers killed in the line of duty in the United States. It includes the names of more than 17,500 officers who have died in the line of duty since the first known death in 1792, according to the Web site of the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund.
WOMAN SOUGHT ON DRUG CHARGES:
The Sonora Police Department is looking for Irma Garcia on suspicion of possessing a controlled substance, possessing a controlled substance for sale and possessing burglary tools. Garcia is 25 with brown hair and brown eyes. She is 4 feet 11 inches tall and weighs 118 pounds. Police ask anyone who knows Garcia's location to call 532-8141. Callers can remain anonymous. For more information, visit www.sonorapd.com.
FATAL LIVINGSTON CRASH: One person is dead and several others injured from an accident Wednesday on Highway 99 near Liberty Avenue in Livingston. California Highway Patrol investigators said the man who died was traveling with a family of four from Las Vegas to Seattle. The accident happened about 11:45 a.m., after a 2005 Ford Explorer traveling north began to slow down in the fast lane because of traffic from another accident, CHP officer Shane Ferriera said. A 1986 Toyota van behind the Explorer didn't slow down, struck the rear of the Explorer and flipped over, Ferriera said. The driver of the van, Jeremy Marincovich of Las Vegas, was killed. One of his four passengers was ejected. Investigators are awaiting the results of Marincovich's autopsy and toxicology results to determine if alcohol or drugs were a factor. A woman and her two sons who were in the van received minor injuries. The man who was ejected, James Gilpatrick, suffered major injuries and was flown by helicopter to Doctors Medical Center in Modesto. The driver of the Explorer, Dean Kourafas of Fresno, received minor injuries and told officers that he'd seek his own medical aid. Traffic was restricted to the center lane immediately after the accident, though all lanes were reopened by 1:30 p.m.