El Cajon, CA
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Articles by Neal Putnam

An El Cajon man who stole his ex-girlfriend’s car and led sheriff’s deputies on a high-speed chase has pleaded guilty to felony evading, resisting an executive officer and auto theft.

Randy Lee Hanks, 38, is likely to receive a prison term of eight years and four months, said Deputy District Attorney Carlos Campbell.

Sentencing is set for Aug. 16 in El Cajon Superior Court. Hanks remains in jail on $200,000 bail.

Prison terms of 22 and 16 years have been handed down to two men who robbed an El Cajon restaurant and other stores in which the bandits wore stolen military clothing.

David Luis Magana, 28, got 22 years from San Diego Superior Court Judge Kathleen Lewis. She sentenced Joseph Everett Olmos, 25, to 16 years.

Both men held up the Sombrero Mexican restaurant, at 1215 W. Main Street, in which Magana fired a handgun at one employee on March 3, 2016.

A drunk driver who caused the death of her boyfriend when she struck another vehicle in El Cajon has been sentenced to seven years in state prison.

An audience of standing room only attended the sentencing of Tania Molinar, 23, by El Cajon Superior Court Judge Patricia Cookson on June 12.

Molinar pleaded guilty March 20 to gross vehicular manslaughter in the death of David Sarabia-Lopez, 29, of El Cajon, and driving under the influence of alcohol.

sentence of 150-years-to-life in state prison was handed down June 15 to the “Chameleon Bandit” who was convicted of robbing three banks in El Cajon and two others elsewhere.

Darius Demon Lake, 28, of El Cajon, was ordered to pay $19,091 to all the banks he robbed which included the Mission Federal Credit Union, U.S. Bank, and Bank of the West in El Cajon, in 2017.

An Alpine man was sentenced June 7 to six years in state prison after he pleaded guilty to child endangerment in the death of his girlfriend’s toddler.

A murder charge was dismissed Thursday by El Cajon Superior Court Judge Robert Amador, who immediately sentenced Wiley Kevin Foster, Jr., 28. Foster will not face a retrial after jurors deadlocked on Feb. 28.

Foster admitted to personally causing the fatal injury to Leah Rose Brown-Meza, who was 18 months old when her mother found her dead in an Alpine mobile home on Dec. 6, 2016.

Bail of $750,000 was set May 31 for a man accused of trying to hijack a Campo Elementary School bus with two knives during a bizarre incident which his father said may be a result of methamphetamine use.

Matthew Douglas Barker, 36, pleaded not guilty to all charges, which also include attempted kidnapping during a carjacking, three counts of child endangerment, assault with a knife, assault on transportation personnel and elder abuse.

Three former East County residents have been charged in a 2000 cold case homicide of a 71-year-old man who was severely beaten with a baseball bat and later died following a robbery.

Recent advances in forensic technology led to the arrests of the trio who were arrested in other states and are fighting extradition proceedings to San Diego.

The drunk driver who caused the death of a Spring Valley man was sentenced May 17 to six years in state prison.

David Armando Olvera, 30, said nothing in court before he was sentenced for causing the death of Gregory Scott, 40, who was killed June 17, 2017. 

 A Spring Valley man who smuggled multiple narcotics while driving his truck through a border checkpoint has been sentenced to 50 months in federal prison.

Oscar Vasquez-Alamilla, 36, will receive credits of eight months spent in jail since his Sept. 26, 2017 arrest at the Otay Mesa Port of Entry.

U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers noticed some anomalies in a spare tire in his Ford F-150 and found five packages inside it, according to the U.S. Attorney’s office.

A Lakeside man was ordered May 1 to stand trial for second-degree murder and gross vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated in the death of a man crossing an El Cajon street.

Joshua Colby Ness, 32, will stand trial Oct. 23 in the Oct. 10, 2017, death of Michael O’Rourke, 60, who was struck in the 300 block of North Second Street near Madison Avenue around 10 p.m.

Ness pleaded not guilty immediately after the preliminary hearing, which was heard by El Cajon Superior Court Judge Evan Kirvin. He was also ordered to stand trial for hit and run and DUI.