Man pleads guilty to pimping young girls

A 24-year-old Hercules man pleaded guilty in federal court Wednesday to pimping two underage girls, according to the U.S. attorney's office.

Jamal Raphael Broussard admitted that beginning in the summer of 2010 and through May 2013, he recruited and transported two girls for commercial sex acts, knowing that they were not yet 18, according to U.S. Attorney Melinda Haag.

Broussard admitted the girls gave him the money they earned from their sex acts and that he acted as a pimp for them, giving the girls clothing and instructions and advertising their services on the Internet.

Broussard is scheduled to be sentenced Aug. 13. in San Jose.

-- Katie Nelson, Staff


Robbery spree ends with two arrests

Two people suspected of using a gun in a string of five robberies earlier this month have been arrested, police said Wednesday.

Police caught up to Babaldeep Singh, 18, and a 17-year-old boy last Friday, eight days after the robbery spree, Brentwood police Sgt. Walter O'Grodnick said. Detectives identified them as two of the suspects a day before the arrest, but O'Grodnick said two or three others were involved.

Singh and the 17-year-old were arrested without incident and being held on suspicion of robbery and conspiracy to commit a crime, O'Grodnick said. Singh's bail was set at $297,500. The 17-year-old's identity was withheld because of his age.

The robberies happened April 17 in various locations around town. In all of them, Singh and the boy are alleged to have used a black handgun, and in two of them, they allegedly used pepper spray, O'Grodnick said. They primarily took cellphones and other personal items from their victims, O'Grodnick said.

-- Rick Hurd, Staff


Teacher strikes plea in pot-poisoning case

A Benicia teacher accused of serving pot-laced food to her colleagues at a pre-Thanksgiving dinner party has taken a plea deal in a case that bewildered school parents and district officials.

In a Solano Superior Court hearing Monday, Matthew Turner Elementary School teacher Teresa Badger, 48, pleaded no contest to one misdemeanor count of furnishing marijuana. Under the plea agreement, she was sentenced to 50 hours of community service and two years probation, according to court documents.

Badger was initially charged with felony poisoning following her Jan. 24 arrest at her home in Benicia.

Police said Badger, who has worked 18 years in the district, served a marijuana-laced dish at a potluck on Nov. 21 at a fellow teacher's home.

Later in the evening, several guests reported feeling sick or possibly high, police said.

Badger has been on administrative leave since shortly before her arrest.

-- (Vallejo) Times-Herald


City hires economic development director

The city has hired a new economic development manager to help draw more business to town.

Dwayne Dalman, who has worked for El Cerrito in the same capacity for the past eight years, will start Monday.

He will be responsible for advising both the City Council and city manager on ways to keep existing businesses in the city as well as attract more. As such, Dalman will meet with businesses that have expressed an interest in establishing a presence in Oakley as well as initiate contact with others.

He also will try to match commercial property owners with tenants representing enterprises the city wants.

In addition, Dalman will serve as a liaison to the chamber of commerce and other professional economic development organizations.

Before his stint in El Cerrito, he worked in the economic development departments for Concord and Stanislaus County, as well as in the private sector as a construction loan officer.

-- Rowena Coetsee, Staff


Arraignment delayed in baby-killing case

The arraignment for a San Jose mother accused of killing her infant son in Livermore was postponed Wednesday because of an undisclosed medical issue, officials said.

Ashley Renee Newton, 23, is charged with murder in the stabbing death of her 7-month-old son, William Brian Sherman, with a pocket knife on Saturday at Del Valle Regional Park.

Newton has been held in an isolated cell and monitored by medical personnel since her arrest. She allegedly admitted to the killing.

A court spokesman said she will be arraigned in her hospital room at 1 p.m. Thursday at John George Psychiatric Hospital in San Leandro.

-- Malaika Fraley, Staff


Farmers market to kick off new season

The farmers market begins its new season Saturday, and will operate every Saturday through Oct. 25 from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Old Town Plaza on Railroad Avenue and Sixth Street.

Saturday's grand opening will feature a live performance from DJ Phina Love, karate demonstrations and crafts and activities for kids.

For more information, call 800-949-FARM or go www.pcfma.com.

-- Eve Mitchell, Staff


Historical society hosting free program

Veteran artifact collector Sonny Jackson will give a free talk on "Digging Up History: Artifacts from the Outhouses of Pinole" from 6:30 to 8 p.m. Friday in the conference rooms of the Kaiser Permanente Medical Office building, 1301 Pinole Valley Road.

Jackson is a lifelong collector of memorabilia related to the East Bay and will explain how to search for objects of local interest. The event is the annual meeting of the Pinole Historical Society.

-- Chris Treadway, Staff


Youth Summit set for Saturday at LMC

"How To Survive Being a Teenager" will be the theme of this year's Contra Costa County Youth Summit.

Subjects that will be addressed at various workshops will include sexual assault prevention; establishing consent in relationships; bullying; how young people can make their communities safer; standing up for yourself; teen pregnancy; how to get a job; financial skills; athletics; and college preparation.

The event will take place from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday at Los Medanos College, 2700 E. Leland Road.

Keynote Speaker Shaun Derik will talk about how music gave him an outlet for his emotions. KMEL radio personality Lady Ray will also be at the free event, which will include a catered lunch.

-- Eve Mitchell, Staff