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Crime

School custodian makes first court appearance Friday

SLIDESHOW: School shooting

PLACERVILLE, CA - The school custodian accused of fatally shooting a school principal will be in court Friday.

John Luebbers confessed to investigators Thursday, saying he had been fired from his job on Wednesday when he shot principal Sam LaCara, but the Placerville Union School District says that wasn't the case.

According to district Superintendent Nancy Lynch, who held a news conference Thursday afternoon, Luebbers and principal Sam LaCara had a disagreement and LaCara directed Luebbers to go home and cool off.

Lynch said Luebbers and LaCara were friends.

Shooting at Schnell Elementary School

PLACERVILLE, CA - A man has been taken into custody in the shooting of an administrator at Louisiana Schnell School in Placerville, says the El Dorado County Sheriff's Office. SLIDESHOW: Shooting at Schnell Elementary School

Placerville principal fatally shot; Custodian in custody

PLACERVILLE, CA - The principal of a Placerville elementary school has died after being shot on campus Wednesday morning.  A school janitor and close friend has been arrested.

Louisiana Schnell Elementary School Principal Sam LaCara, 50, was pronounced dead at Placerville's Marshall Hospital at 11:16 a.m., said Placerville Chief of Police George Nielsen.  Nielsen said LaCara had been shot at least once in the upper torso.

CAUGHT ON TAPE: Suspect taken into custody

Fiancee stands by defendant in Yale grad student murder

NEW HAVEN, Conn. (AP) -- The fiancee of an animal research technician charged with killing a Yale University graduate student in 2009 continues to faithfully visit him in prison.

Raymond Clark III has pleaded not guilty to murder charges in the strangling of 24-year-old Annie Le of Placerville, Calif.

Le vanished Sept. 8, 2009, from the Yale medical school research building where she and Clark worked. Her body was found five days later on what was to be her wedding day, stuffed behind a research lab wall.

The 26-year-old Clark has been held at MacDougall-Walker Correctional Institution in Suffield in lieu of $3 million bail.

Records obtained by The Associated Press show that his fiancee Jennifer Hromadka visits him in prison every few days.

Amber Alert System raises questions, receives praise

SACRAMENTO, CA - The latest Amber Alert catches the eye of many drivers thanks to highway signs and high tech digital billboards.

Exactly how helpful have amber alerts been though since 2002 when it was first activated?

"We've been tremendously successful. We've had 175 activations and recovered 213 children," Assistant Chief of the California Highway Patrol Ike Tani said.

Authorities also caught more than 100 suspects.

During the past three years, 24 Amber Alerts were sent out statewide each year, even more kids are found. In many cases, authorities catch the suspects.

The California Highway Patrol said it's been a great service, but not perfect. In fact, some people question why the CHP doesn't issue Amber Alerts sooner.

"Normally, that has to do with investigating agency, the investigating agency has to put the criteria together to make that determination," Tani said.

Impersonating someone online will soon be a crime

SACRAMENTO - With the start of the new year, maliciously impersonating someone online - with a phony Facebook page or e-mails apparently sent from their account - isn't just a cruel prank anymore. It's a crime.

Senate Bill 1411, authored by State Senator Joe Simitian (D-Palo Alto), becomes law January 1, updating California's 19th century impersonation law to the Internet age.

"A 19th century law is no deterrent for 21st century impersonators," Simitian said.

Online impersonators who assume someone else's identity to harm, intimidate, threaten or defraud may be charged with a misdemeanor.

"E-personation," said Simitian, "is the dark side of the social networking revolution. Facebook or MySpace pages, e-mails, texting and comments on Web forums have been used to humiliate or torment people and even put them in danger. Victims have needed a law they can turn to." 

Sacramento couple sentenced in 5-year-old's torture killing

SACRAMENTO, CA - A Sacramento mother and her boyfriend convicted of murdering her 5-year-old son were given long prison sentences Friday.

Sacramento County Superior Court Judge Michael P. Kenny sentenced Eduardo Zamora Jr., 32, to 23 years to life in prison and a second life term in the first-degree murder and torture of Braeden James Gardner in June 2009.

Amber Ingram, 26, convicted of second-degree murder, received a 15 years to life sentence for child endangerment for leaving her son with Zamora while she went to work.

According to the Sacramento County Sheriff's Department, Zamora called 911 on June 17, 2009, from the couple's home to report the boy had stopped breathing. Paramedics took the child to a local hospital where he was pronounced dead.

Hospital officials said the boy had extensive bruising and injuries indicating he had been abused.