Martinez

Antioch man guilty in rapper's death

An Antioch man charged with murder and robbery was acquitted on those counts by a Contra Costa jury Wednesday but found guilty of involuntary manslaughter with a firearm enhancement.

Michael Elijah Pulliam-Banks, 22, was suspected of shooting aspiring rapper Arnold Muckleroy while the two sat inside a car on Rockspring Way in Antioch on Dec. 20, 2010, then pushing Muckleroy out of the car before driving away. Muckleroy died the next morning.

Pulliam-Banks was immediately identified as a suspect, though he evaded capture for nearly five months, during which three other suspects were arrested. He turned himself in at the County Jail on May 12, 2011. He is scheduled to be sentenced June 20.

-- Gary Peterson, Staff

San Pablo

Porn mogul's daughter sought in ID theft case

The daughter of slain San Francisco porn mogul Artie Mitchell is being sought by local and state authorities following an identity-theft spree and a hit-and-run crash last week that involved an unmarked patrol car.

Jasmine Mitchell, 33, of San Pablo, is wanted on a warrant in connection to the ID theft case and may also be charged with assault on a police officer and hit-and-run for an April 29 incident, Sonoma County Sheriff's Office Sgt. Michael Raasch said.


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About 7 p.m. that day, detectives were tipped that Mitchell and a second suspect, 34-year-old Roy Kim, were living at an apartment complex across from the San Pablo Lytton Casino, Raasch said. Detectives later located Kim in a taxi in Richmond, Raasch said. The two were wanted on warrants related to "multiple identity thefts," Raasch said, and Kim, who is on parole for possession of stolen property, was also being sought by state parole agents and for a burglary case in Santa Clara County. He was later arrested in Richmond and booked into the Contra Costa County Jail.

Detectives searched the unit and detained three other people after investigators uncovered a large-scale identity-theft and credit-card operation, Raasch said.

One of the three people, whom police identified as Harley Logsdon, 46, of San Pablo, was on probation out of Napa County for suspected forgery, Raasch said. He was arrested and booked into the Contra Costa County Jail on outstanding arrest warrants.

-- Natalie Neysa Alund, Staff

OAKLAND

AC Transit must pay $15 million for injuries

AC Transit has been ordered to pay $15.3 million to a Richmond woman and her daughter for back injuries the young mother suffered when a bus driver sped over a speed bump in San Pablo in 2011.

The verdict reached Tuesday by an Alameda County jury is the largest personal injury award against the transit system.

Maria Francisco was 20 and on her way to the Hilltop mall with her 4-year-old daughter on Aug. 27, 2011, when an AC Transit bus driven by Dollie Gilmore hit a speed bump going 30 mph in a 15 mph school zone on Church Lane.

Jurors saw video of a petite Francisco flying up and hitting her back on the edge of the plastic of the bus's rear seating, followed by Gilmore accusing her of faking and threatening prosecution as she was crying out in pain.

Francisco suffered severe traumatic burst fracture to her L1 vertebra, for which she has had three surgeries and medical bills so far nearing $1 million, according to her attorneys.

AC Transit refused to admit any liability until it was time for the trial start in March and then offered her a $2.75 million settlement, said attorney Brian Panish for the plaintiffs.

The jury awarded Francisco $10 million for pain and suffering, $3.38 million for past and future medical expenses, and more than $800,000 for future lost earnings. Another $1 million was awarded to Mia, Francisco's daughter, for emotional distress from witnessing the accident.

-- Malaika Fraley, Staff

PITTSBURG

Suspect who crashed after chase arrested

An Antioch man is accused of crashing a stolen car into another vehicle on Tuesday while trying to outrace sheriff's deputies, a Contra Costa Sheriff's Office spokesman said.

The driver, 25-year-old Casey Beck of Antioch, is expected to be charged with felony evasion, vehicle theft, possession of a stolen vehicle, possession of a controlled substance and probation violation, sheriff's spokesman Jimmy Lee said. He is being held without bail at County Jail in Martinez.

Authorities said Beck tried to flee after a deputy attempted to pull him over near Clearland Circle in Bay Point around 11:30 a.m. The pursuit moved through Bay Point and into Pittsburg but was eventually called off when the driver drove into oncoming traffic, Lee said.

The car then collided with another car at the intersection of Leland Road and Railroad Avenue. None of those involved in the crash was seriously hurt, Lee said.

-- Rick Hurd and Katie Nelson, Staff

CONCORD

High-speed chase on I-680 ends in crash

A Concord man suffered major injuries after crashing during a high-speed chase on Interstate 680 on Tuesday night, police said.

The chase, which started in Concord just before 10:30 p.m., ended in Danville with the car on its roof and the driver in critical condition, Concord police Lt. David Hughes said. Police identified the driver as 19-year-old Michael Holden.

According to Hughes, a patrol sergeant tried to pull over the vehicle on Monument Boulevard in Concord. The driver sped onto southbound I-680, accelerating to speeds of 100 mph as police gave pursuit, Hughes said.

The driver lost control about 10 miles into the chase just north of El Cerro Boulevard, striking a guardrail and overturning near La Gonda Way in Danville, Hughes said.

Holden was taken by ambulance to a hospital, where he remained in critical condition Wednesday. Hughes said the car Holden was driving was stolen out of Walnut Creek.

-- Rick Hurd, Staff

BETHEL ISLAND

Seminar to help seniors avoid scams

A Friday seminar aims to help seniors and their caregivers learn how con artists defraud their victims.

The free Senior Scam Stopper presentation will be 10:30 a.m. to noon at Scout Hall, 3090 Ranch Lane. State Assemblyman Jim Frazier, D-Oakley, arranged the seminar with the California Contractors State License Board.

Presenters will discuss the various ways crooks prey on seniors, not only through home repair projects but foreign lotteries, investments, the mail, and by stealing their identity.

For more information or to RSVP, call Frazier's office at 707-399-3011.

-- Rowena Coetsee, Staff