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Threatening Twitter messages directed at students by a Newark teacher were "inappropriate and unprofessional" but were not criminal, police said Thursday.
Krista Hodges, a teacher at Newark Memorial High School, was reprimanded last month after reports of the tweets surfaced, but was still employed by the school, Newark Unified School District officials said.
The tweets were written in April, May and June of this year, according to police.
Police said that while they did not receive complaints from any victims, they opened an investigation into the alleged threats, interviewing teachers, students, administrators and other school staff.
However, the investigation found that the tweets did not rise to the level of criminal threats. Police investigators turned the case over to the Alameda County District Attorney's Office, which declined to file charges, police said.
School district interim Superintendent Timothy Erwin said last month that the district had taken action over the messages but did not specify what action was taken.Thu, 18 Sep 2014 12:11:13 -0700
Fairfield police have arrested a mother on suspicion of child endangerment and elder abuse after a gun was found in her 11-year-old daughter's backpack at a public library in Cordelia.
Police said they also found a 92-year-old grandmother living in "deplorable conditions" in the home of the mother, 55-year-old Cordetta Spells-Ruta, when they subsequently made a welfare check.
Police went to the library at 5050 Business Center Drive around 5 p.m. Monday after a concerned parent reported a child had shown her child a handgun, police said. Both children are 11 years old, police said.
Police responded and took the backpack containing the unloaded, small-caliber handgun away from the child.
The child, a special needs student, told police the handgun was taken from a relative's house in the Bay Area without an adult's knowledge over the weekend, police said.
The child had been showing the handgun to friends and was carrying it in the backpack, police said.
When Spells-Ruta arrived at the library, police said they learned another 11-year-old special needs sibling lives in the home and that both children fired the handgun in the backyard of their home the night before.
Police said they arranged for a welfare check of the home and found "deplorable living conditions that were unsafe for children or adults."
Solano County's Child Protective Services and Adult Protective Services were notified about the living conditions during an earlier incident, police said.
The children were taken from the home and the 92-year-old grandmother was placed with other family in the Bay Area, police said.
Spells-Ruta was booked into Solano County Jail on suspicion of felony elder dependent abuse and misdemeanor child endangerment, police said.Thu, 18 Sep 2014 11:58:48 -0700
An Oakland man was sentenced Thursday to seven years in state prison for fatally stabbing his sister's boyfriend during an argument over loud music last year.
Prosecutor Scott Ford sought a murder conviction for Van Surrell, 23, for the death of 22-year-old Blair Robertson at an apartment in the 700 block of East 11th Street in East Oakland on Feb. 16, 2013, but jurors on June 24 convicted him of the lesser crime of voluntary manslaughter.
Ford asked Alameda County Superior Court Judge Stuart Hing at a tense hearing today during which eight bailiffs guarded the courtroom to sentence Surrell to 12 years in state prison, the maximum term possible for manslaughter plus the enhancement of using a knife.
But Surrell's lawyer, Darryl Stallworth, said his client should only get the minimum of 4 years because the jury's verdict indicates that the jury believes the killing of Robertson wasn't intentional or malicious.
Stallworth also said 40 people submitted letters to the court asserting that Surrell has a good character and is non-violent.
Hing chose the middle term of 7 years in state prison but didn't explain his reasoning.
Stallworth said the stabbing occurred after Robertson and Surrell got into an argument because Robertson was playing music too loud and refused Surrell's request that he turn it down.
Stallworth said the two men then challenged each other to fight and Surrell grabbed a knife to protect himself because Robertson had beaten and choked him and brandished a gun in previous confrontations.
However, the defense attorney said Robertson then turned into the knife that Surrell was holding and suffered wounds that took his life.
The atmosphere in the courtroom became tense after one of Robertson's family members said she didn't think Surrell was remorseful about killing Robertson.
However, Surrell said, "I'm sorry for what I did and I ask his family to forgive me." Surrell said, "I don't know why it happened or why I did it."
Referring to the tensions in the courtroom, Surrell said, "I hope nobody fights like they have at previous court dates."
After the hearing ended, bailiffs escorted the family members and friends of Surrell and Robertson from the courtroom separately so they wouldn't intermingle.
Surrell would have faced 16 years to life if he'd been convicted of second-degree murder and 26 years to life if he'd been convicted of first-degree murder.
Thu, 18 Sep 2014 11:51:57 -0700 News Source: MedleyStory More Local News Stories