Note: VCReporter’s courtroom roundup will publish periodically to provide readers with information about current courtroom proceedings and high-profile criminal cases. Please send any requests for updated court information to email@example.com.
Murder and hate crime suspect
Brandon McInerney, now 17 years old, is expected in court April 4 to attend a hearing to decide if attorneys will be ready by May 2, the tentative trial date.
McInerney will be tried as an adult for the alleged premeditated murder of his then 15-year-old classmate Lawrence “Larry” Forbes King. On the morning of Feb. 12, 2008, at E.O. Green Junior High School, McInerney allegedly drew a .22 caliber revolver from his backpack and shot King twice in the back of the head while in class; he then dropped the gun on the floor, ran and was apprehended by the police five blocks away from the school campus. King was transported to St. John’s Regional Medical Center where he was declared brain dead on Feb. 13.
No motive has been identified. King was openly flamboyant, wore feminine clothing, told classmates he was gay and, just prior to the shooting, King reportedly asked McInerney to be his Valentine.
Prosecutors added a lying-in-wait charge to the original count of murder, keeping the case in an adult court; if found guilty, the 17-year-old faces a minimum sentence of 53 years in prison to a maximum life sentence. The proceedings will take place in courtroom 48 at the Ventura County Government Center, Hall of Justice.
Jose Antonio Medina Arreguin
aka Don Pepe, alleged heroin kingpin
Alleged drug lord Don Pepe, birth name Jose Antonio Medina Arreguin, pleaded guilty on March 16 to conspiring to possess heroin for sale. The 36-year-old Mexican national allegedly transported more than 400 pounds of heroin per month into California over a period of three years.
Arreguin, arrested in Mexico on a warrant issued in Ventura County, was booked in Ventura County jail on Oct. 13, 2010, after being extradited. A team of narcotics officers from the county’s agency team worked with state and federal officials to trace the drug operation back to Mexico. Arreguin, who originally denied the criminal allegations, claiming to be a property owner and farmer, purportedly would receive between $100,000 and $260,000 per week from drug sales; the money was then transferred out of the country secretly. While investigating, the police were able to intercept one of the money transfers, recovering more than $195,000.
Before the Ventura Superior Court in March, Arreguin not only pled guilty to the conspiracy charges, but also admitted that this involved more than 88 pounds of heroine (40 kilos). Arreguin faces up to 24 years in prison; he currently remains behind bars in Ventura as he is ineligible for bail due to an immigration hold. His sentencing is set for April 13 at 1:30 p.m. in courtroom 12.
Former Ventura College basketball coach
Former Ventura College basketball coach Greg Winslow, on March 22, was convicted on three felony charges: failure to pay public money, misappropriation of public money and grand theft. Originally, Winslow had seven felony counts brought against him, but the jury acquitted him of dissuading a witness, embezzlement, identification theft and forgery.
On Feb. 26, 2009, 46-year-old Winslow turned himself in after 14 months of police investigation into the Ventura College basketball team. He was arrested on suspicion of grand theft and misappropriation of money. Allegedly, Winslow expropriated public funds when he channeled money for the college basketball team into his personal bank account; it was also suspected that the coach provided fraudulent admission information for athlete applicants, making it appear, incorrectly, that they were California residents and resulting in a loss of approximately $40,000 in tuition fees. Evidence suggests that Winslow was falsifying applications over a five-year period, from 2000 to 2005. The aforementioned charges did not involve the student athletes, although five players subsequently filed a multimillion-dollar claim against the district.
Winslow maintains that all of the championship banners achieved under his name should remain on the rafters of the gym. His sentencing is set for May 20 at 8:30 a.m. in courtroom 27; he faces up to five years, four months in prison.
Joshua Packer, 21, suspect in the stabbing of Faria Beach resident Brock Husted and his wife Davina who was pregnant at the time, is going to trial for a plethora of charges including various misdemeanors and murder.
At an arraignment on Feb. 1, Packer pleaded not guilty to three counts of misdemeanors: dissuading a witness, hit and run, and battery stemming from an incident in December 2009. He also pleaded not guilty to misdemeanor battery and to felony assault with force likely to produce great bodily injury arising from an altercation at the Ventura County Medical Center in November of 2009. Finally, Packer pleaded not guilty to three counts of murder: Brock and Davina Husted and their unborn child.
Packer was arrested on April 11, 2010, after DNA from the Husted crime scene matched Packer’s DNA from a 2009 Santa Barbara gas station robbery, thus closing an 11-month investigation. Packer’s DNA was recovered from the visor of a motorcycle helmet found beneath Brock Husted’s body, as well as under Husted’s fingernails. Allegedly, the incident started as a robbery when Packer, upon entering the Husted residence in Faria Beach and finding the family home, repeatedly stabbed husband and wife while their 9-year-old son watched unseen from another room. The son then ran to his older sister, 11, and both fled to a neighbor’s house, where they called 911.
Packer’s trial is set to commence Sept. 12 in courtroom 25; the district attorney is seeking the death penalty for the counts of murder.