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Trial of ex-boyfriend in slaying of mother starts

PLACERVILLE, CA - Opening statements in the murder trial of Steven Colver, charged with killing his former girlfriend's mother, are set to begin Tuesday, May 17.

The El Dorado County District Attorney's Office has accused Colver, along with Tylar Witt, of killing Witt's mother Joanne Witt, 47, in her El Dorado Hills home June 11 or 12, 2009.

Prosecutors allege Witt and Colver conspired to kill Witt's mother after she threatened to file statuatory rape charges against Colver. He was 19 at the time.

The pair were caught in the Bay Area several days after Joanne Witt's murder was discovered.

How do you feel now that Osama bin Laden is dead?

How do you feel now that Osama bin Laden is dead?

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Dugard: Relieved that Garridos confessed

More on the Jaycee Dugard case.

PLACERVILLE, CA - Jaycee Dugard expressed relief after her abductors entered guilty pleas to kidnapping and raping her in an El Dorado County Court hearing Thursday morning.

"I'm relieved that Phillip and Nancy Garrido have finally acknowledged their guilt and confessed to their crimes against me and my family," Dugard said in a statement through a representative. 

The plea agreements stipulate Phillip Garrido will get 431 years to life in prison. Nancy Garrido will serve 36 years to life. Their sentencings will be June 2 at 9 a.m. in Placerville.

Phillip Garrido pleaded guilty to one count of kidnapping and all 13 counts of sexual assault. His wife pleaded guilty to one count of kidnapping and one count of sexual assault. She will be technically eligible for parole.

Two arrested in Cameron Park catalytic converter theft

CAMERON PARK, CA - The El Dorado County Sheriff's Department Monday announced deputies arrested two Sacramento men on charges of stealing a catalytic convertor from a vehicle in the middle of the night. 

Department spokesman Bryan Golmitz said the investigation started with a traffic stop near Bass Lake Road and Green Valley Road around 2:45 a.m. on April 14. 

After learning one of the men in the stopped vehicle was on probation for possession of stolen property, specifically catalytic converters, deputies searched the vehicle and found what they described as tools used for stealing the devices, Golmitz said.  In the trunk, deputies found a recently stolen catalytic converter, according to Golmitz. 

Xeng Vue, 35, and Thao Xiong, 31, both of Sacramento, were arrested on theft charges. 

Golmitz said deputies found the owner of the catalytic converter living nearby and were able to return the stolen item to him.  

Janitor held in principal's murder returns to court

PLACERVILLE, CA - A janitor accused of shooting and killing a principal at Schnell Elementary School in what district officials say may have been a misunderstanding had a court hearing Monday morning.

Placerville police investigators said John Luebbers confessed to murdering Sam LaCara in February, believing he had been fired from his job.

But Placerville Union School District Superintendent Nancy Lynch later said Luebbers was never terminated, but instead was sent home by the principal to cool off after the two had discussed a staffing issue.

Investigators said Luebbers, believing he had been fired, drove home and retrieved a handgun on Feb. 3. He then returned to school, walked into the principal's office, fired two rounds and killed LaCara, according to Placerville Police Captain Mike Scott.

Luebbers has pleaded not guilty to the murder charge.

No plea deal in Garrido case; trial date set

PLACERVILLE, CA - Phillip Garrido returned to court in Placerville Thursday morning and did not plead guilty to kidnapping and holding Jaycee Dugard captive for 18 years, and instead opted for an August trial.

Garrido and his wife, Nancy, are charged with kidnapping, false imprisonment and rape. 

Nancy Garrido's defense lawyer Stephen Tapson earlier indicated a plea deal was in the works for Phillip Garrido.  But after today's hearing, Garrido's defense attorney Susan Gellman contradicted Tapson and said, "There was no offer on the table."   

Garrido's trial has been set for Aug. 1.

Tapson also talked with reporters after the hearing.  He had been counting on Phillip Garrido's guilty plea so Garrido could testify at Nancy's trial in the hope of securing her a lighter sentence.

Expert: Garrido's plea is conviction without trial

PLACERVILLE, CA -  Phillip Garrido will likely spend the rest of his life in prison. 

He's expected to plead guilty to the kidnapping of Jaycee Dugard. Legal experts said the plea deal is no luxury for Garrido.

"A lot of people think a plea deal means he got away with something, it only means there will be a conviction without a trial," Pacific McGeorge Law School professor John Myers said.     

Garrido is accused of holding Jaycee Dugard captive for 18 years, he's expected to plead guilty to all charges and his wife, Nancy Garrido, will go to trial, said an attorney in the case.

"(Susan Gellman, Phillip Garrido's public defender) told me that ( Garrido) is going to plead guilty Thursday," Nancy Garrido's attorney Stephen Tapson said.

MORE COVERAGE: Jaycee Dugard kidnapping case