MARTINEZ

Convicted murderer sent to state hospital

A Pittsburg man found to be insane when he stabbed to death a housemate in 2012 was committed Tuesday to Napa State Hospital by a Contra Costa judge.

Abraham Duarte-Gonzalez, 22, was found guilty by a jury in March of second-degree murder in the death of Marisol Flores, a conviction that carried a sentence of 15 years to life plus one year for a knife enhancement. The same jury later ruled that Duarte-Gonzalez, who is diagnosed with schizophrenia, was legally insane at the time of the crime.

According to a forensic psychiatrist who examined Duarte-Gonzalez and testified at his trial, the defendant killed Flores because he believed she was practicing witchcraft on him.

Judge Patricia Scanlon ordered Duarte-Gonzalez to the Napa facility for 16 years to life, or until it can be proved his sanity has been restored.

-- Gary Peterson, Staff

Concord

Mt. Diablo trustees to approve raises, layoffs

The Mt. Diablo school board on Wednesday expects to approve nearly $1.2 million in administrator raises and bonuses, mirroring increases to teachers and other union members.

The deal provides an ongoing 3 percent raise along with a one-time 2 percent bonus retroactive to July 31. Staff recommends including the Chief Financial Officer and assistant superintendents in the deal, even though they are contract employees.


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The board also expects to increase its budget for outside lawyers by $460,000 and to approve layoffs for 27 instructional assistants and other noncertificated positions due to the loss of funding for the positions.

The meeting is at 7:30 p.m. in the district office at 1936 Carlotta Drive. Information is at 925-682-8000 ext. 4000 or http://esbpublic.mdusd.k12.ca.us. Click on "April 9."

-- Theresa Harrington, Staff

PLEASANTON

City eyes renaming park for former mayor

Bernal Community Park could be renamed in honor of late former mayor Ken Mercer, but only if city leaders override a policy that otherwise precludes the change.

The city's parks and recreation commission will consider the name-change at its meeting Thursday at 7 p.m. in the City Council chamber, 200 Old Bernal Ave.

The idea to name the park in honor of Mercer, a longtime mayor who died of cancer earlier this year, was discussed at the Feb. 4 City Council meeting. The hitch is that a 2004 policy prevents parks or facilities from being named for a person who has not been dead at least five years.

Among the options the commission will consider is a one-time exception, to opt for a plaque honoring Mercer, revise the park-naming policy or deny the request.

The 50-acre Bernal Community Park is south of Bernal Avenue, just east of Interstate 680.

-- Zoe Francis, Correspondent

Bay Point

Police arrest man in nonfatal shooting

A Bay Point man has been arrested on suspicion of attempted homicide after he shot and injured a man Friday night, police said.

Patrick Laughlin, 59, is being held at the County Jail in Martinez in lieu of $1 million bail, according to Contra Costa County Sheriff's spokesman Jimmy Lee.

Around 9:20 p.m. Friday, sheriff's deputies responded to a call in the 100 block of North Broadway Avenue. When deputies arrived, they found a 55-year-old man suffering from a gunshot wound in front of a home.

The man was taken to John Muir Medical Center in Walnut Creek, where he is in stable condition, Lee said.

Lee said detectives learned that Laughlin and the victim know each other, and they had been arguing before the shooting. He did not say what the dispute was about.

-- Katie Nelson, Staff

East Bay

Grocery sales to fund kids health program

Shoppers at Whole Foods markets on Wednesday can help fund the American Heart Association's program to promote healthy eating and cooking in local schools.

The grocer will donate 5 percent of proceeds from its stores on Wednesday to the "Kids Cook with Heart" program, which teaches students in grades K-12 how to cook healthy meals. Representatives will answer questions about the program from 11:30-3 p.m. in the store at 100 Sunset Drive in San Ramon.

The heart association will offer the free program to three schools next fall and is accepting applications through April 16 from schools in Lafayette, San Ramon and Walnut Creek. More information is available by emailing KidsCookWithHeart@heart.org or by visiting www.heart.org/HEARTORG/Affiliate/Kids-Cook-With-Heart-Program-Application_UCM_461732_SubHomePage.jsp.

-- Theresa Harrington, Staff

Bay Area

Salmon to be released into the Delta and bay

The California Department of Fish and Wildlife will transport 100,000 juvenile Chinook salmon down the Sacramento River and release them into the bay on Wednesday as part of a five-year study to determine if the method increases survival rates.

Juvenile salmon, known as smolts, must travel from their upstream spawning grounds to the ocean where they mature to adulthood before returning to their spawning grounds three years later.

But smolts face a number of dangers in their trip down the Delta, including pumps, channel diversions and predators.

The Fish and Wildlife study, now in its third year, is an attempt to help salmon avoid those dangers, said Andrew Hughan, spokesman for the Department of Fish and Wildlife.

The study is also investigating whether the method, known as "barging," can help salmon learn the way back to their native spawning grounds by transporting them along the migratory path by water.

The smolts will be released in the bay at 10 a.m., where they will be swept out to sea with the tide, Hughan said.

On Tuesday, 100,000 smolts were also released into the Sacramento River near Rio Vista. Another 100,000 smolts will be released Wednesday into the bay near Tiburon.

-- Bay City News Service

Concord

S.F. police to train at ex-Coast Guard site

San Francisco police will hold training exercises Thursday and Friday at the former U.S. Coast Guard housing on East Olivera Road.

The training is scheduled for 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. both days, according to San Francisco police spokesman Officer Gordon Shyy. Posted signs at the entry and exit will alert the public that training is in progress. Marked San Francisco police cars and uniformed officers will be on the scene. Police personnel will be using blanks during the training.

-- Lisa P. White, Staff