Search continues for missing UC student
Crews continued to search Tuesday for a UC Berkeley student reported missing after a hike last week in El Dorado County.
Vernon "Cody" Matthews, 23, was dropped off at his family cabin in the Ice House area -- about 30 miles northeast of Placerville -- on June 4. Two days later, on Friday, his mother spoke with him via telephone just before he went for a hike.
He never returned and his family reported him missing Saturday. Matthews, an avid hiker and climber who knows the area well, was staying at the cabin by himself, had no car, and his personal belongings were still at the cabin when deputies went to check on him, according to the Sheriff's Office.
Rescue crews were using dogs, horses and helicopters in the search.
He is described as 6 feet 3 inches tall, 200 pounds, with shoulder-length strawberry blond hair and a full red beard.
Foul play is not suspected, investigators said.
Anyone with information about Matthews' whereabouts is asked to call the El Dorado County Sheriff's Office dispatch center at 530-621-6600.
-- Natalie Neysa Alund, Staff
Charter school board eyes leader's ouster
Clayton Valley Charter High trustees on Wednesday will consider removing Board Chairman Tom Branich from the governing board or from his leadership position before electing a new chair and vice chair.
Branich voted against the board majority last month when it agreed to terminate Pat Middendorf, director of operations and athletics. However, the Wednesday agenda does not state a reason for the board's possible action against Branich.
The board also expects to consider approving its state-required accountability plan as well as updated procedures for filing complaints against the school or its employees.
The meeting is at 6 p.m. in the school multiuse room at 1101 Alberta Way. More information is available by visiting www.claytonvalley.org. Click on "Governance, Agendas and Minutes," then select the June 11 agenda and board packet in the 2014 folder.
-- Theresa Harrington, Staff
Teen confesses to setting string of fires
A 17-year-old boy found at a grass fire with a cigarette lighter in his pocket was arrested Monday as a suspect in a string of arsons, authorities said.
A Livermore police officer spotted the teenager as firefighters put out the blaze about 2 p.m. at Elm and K streets, according to police spokesman Steve Goard. The officer, aware of eight recent arsons in the area, noticed the lighter in the teen's pocket and asked about it, Goard said.
The teen later admitted to starting all eight fires, and was arrested on suspicion of eight counts of arson. His name was not released because he is a minor. All of the blazes were grass fires lit about 150 yards apart, Goard said.
-- David DeBolt, Staff
Trio arrested in 2013 homicide case
Three men have been arrested in connection with the shooting death of a 20-year-old Richmond man last year, authorities said.
The latest arrest came at 5:30 p.m. Monday, when U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers stopped 21-year-old Alejandro Dominguez Jr. ¿in San Diego as he drove back into the U.S. from Tijuana, Mexico, authorities said.
Last week, 19-year-old Gabriel Schroeder was arrested in Richmond, and 22-year-old Hugo Fuentes was taken into custody in American Canyon, police said.
The arrests came weeks after the Contra Costa District Attorney's Office filed charges of homicide, conspiracy and gang involvement against the trio for the killing of 20-year-old Juan Medrano.
Medrano was shot above his left eye while driving on Richmond Parkway near Hilltop Drive on May 10, 2013. He later died in a hospital.
-- David DeBolt, Staff
Man beats, carjacks 89-year-old woman
A 28-year-old man is wanted for severely beating an 89-year-old woman during a carjacking Sunday, police said.
The woman picked up her medications at the CVS store at 10650 San Pablo Ave. and was inside her Toyota Camry around 1:55 p.m. when the man suddenly attacked, police said.
The man -- later identified as Terrance James Hardy -- punched the woman, pulled her from the car, and drove away, authorities said.
The beating broke the woman's collar bone and ribs, and injured her face and torso. She was hospitalized but is expected to survive.
Police have issued a warrant for Hardy's arrest on charges of carjacking and elder abuse causing great bodily injury. Hardy, a parolee, is considered dangerous, according to police.
The missing 1992 white Toyota Camry has a California license plate of 2ZNR291.
-- David DeBolt and Rick Hurd, Staff
Alameda man guilty of killing pot grower
A jury on Tuesday convicted an Alameda man of murder in connection with the fatal shooting of an Oakland marijuana grower who was set up to be robbed in an Alameda apartment complex in 2011.
The jury deliberated for about one day before it found 25-year-old Christopher Donaldson guilty of first-degree murder the April 20, 2011, shooting of 32-year-old William Adrian Falcon Sapp, and of second-degree robbery for the armed robbery of another marijuana grower in Berkeley in February 2011.
Prosecutor Patrick Moriarty told jurors that Donaldson set up both victims to be robbed after answering their Craigslist ads offering marijuana for sale. Both times, Donaldson sent two men that served as the fake buyer and the robber, Moriarty said.
Sapp fought back his alleged robber Charles Kimbrough, and then was shot and killed by the fake buyer Richard Ezell. Ezell, 25, of Mendocino County, pleaded guilty to second-degree murder in exchange for a prison sentence of 15 years to life. The criminal case against Kimbrough, 32, of Hercules, is still pending.
-- Malaika Fraley, Staff
Accountability plan, JROTC on agenda
The West Contra Costa school board on Wednesday expects to vote on a proposed JROTC program at DeAnza High and to hold public hearings on its accountability plan and budget.
The JROTC program would cost $100,000 a year for the next two years. The district is required by the state to seek input regarding its accountability plan and budget.
The board also expects to discuss a plan to refinance construction bonds issued in 2002 and 2005 using Convertible Capital Appreciation Bonds and Current Interest Bonds.
The meeting is at 6 p.m. in the multiuse room at Lovonya DeJean Middle School, 3400 Macdonald Ave. in Richmond. More information is available by calling 510-231-1101 or by visiting www.wccusd.net. Click on Board of Education Agenda for June 11.
-- Theresa Harrington, Staff