Man linked to Mexican cartel gets 21-year sentence
SAN DIEGO (AP) - A man whose brother is believed to be a prolific cartel hit man has been sentenced in San Diego to more than 21 years in prison after pleading guilty to attempted murder. Authorities say Jorge Sillas was involved in a plot to kill a mother and son in Southern California who owed a drug debt.
Sillas apologized in court Friday. His attorney said the 30-year-old American citizen was influenced by his older brother and noted his clean criminal history.
The judge said authorities couldn't allow Mexican cartels to extend their reach across the border.
Juan Sillas has not been charged in the murder-for-hire case, but the criminal complaint says he offered to pay $50,000 for the killings. U.S. authorities are seeking to extradite him from Mexico in an unrelated case.
COLD SNAP-WINTER CROPS
California growers to see some damage from cold
SANTA ANA, Calif. (AP) - Citrus growers expect to see minimal damage to the state orange crop after battling freezing temperatures for a second night but no major impact on the price of the fruit.
California Citrus Mutual said Friday that the majority of the Central Valley's citrus-growing areas saw temperatures at critical levels.
But the growers' association says the damage isn't expected to significantly affect supply or price.
Growers use irrigation and wind machines to raise field temperatures to protect the fruit. Citrus Mutual says the industry has spent $12.4 million on frost protection measures since the cold snap began.
National Weather Service meteorologist Modesto Vasquez says a storm system will raise the area's low temperatures to around freezing early Saturday and could bring snowflakes to the valley floor. Another cold spell will follow.
Fawcett portrait worth $12M, expert tells jury
LOS ANGELES (AP) - An appraiser says an Andy Warhol portrait of Farrah Fawcett currently held by actor Ryan O'Neal is worth an estimated $12 million.
New York art appraiser Lee Drexler told a jury being asked to consider who owns the artwork that the piece is an extraordinary piece of Warhol's art.
O'Neal is being sued by the University of Texas at Austin, which wants the actor to turn over the painting because Fawcett left the school all her artwork upon her death in 2009. O'Neal contends the portrait was a gift to him from Warhol.
Drexler's opinion could be used if a jury opts to award the university damages from O'Neal.
The university rested its case after Drexler's testimony Friday.
TV DIRECTOR KILLED
Reality TV director killed in home invasion
LOS ANGELES (AP) - Los Angeles police are investigating the fatal home invasion shooting of a director who worked on the reality TV show "America's Next Top Model."
The Los Angeles Times reports 42-year-old James Howe died and his wife was seriously wounded in the Nov. 27 attack at their rented home.
Police say Howe and his wife answered the door of the Glassell Park home for what they thought was a lone salesman, but instead, two men and a woman forced their way inside.
A fight ensued at the doorway, and one of the men pulled a gun and opened fire.
The couple's 6-year-old son wasn't harmed.
Los Angeles Deputy Police Chief Jose Perez says the shooting appeared random and there's no obvious motive.
No arrests have been made.
Man not guilty of stabbing girl, 12, in 1998
SAN DIEGO (AP) - A homeless man has been acquitted of stabbing to death a 12-year-old Southern California girl in her bedroom more than a decade ago.
A jury on Friday found Richard Tuite not guilty of voluntary manslaughter. His 2004 conviction had been overturned but he's already served most of the original 17-year sentence.
Prosecutors said Tuite sneaked into an Escondido bedroom in 1998 and repeatedly stabbed Stephanie Crowe.
Authorities charged the girl's teenage brother and two of his friends with the killing but dropped the charges after drops of her blood were found on Tuite's clothing. The boys' families later settled a false arrest lawsuit for $7 million.
Tuite's attorney, Brad Patton, argued the blood on the clothing was due to crime scene analysis contamination and he was never in the house.
Hijack call leads Tustin police to 12 tons of pot
TUSTIN, Calif. (AP) - A Southern California truck driver who called police fearing hijackers unwittingly led officers to a 12-ton haul of pot in his own trailer.
Tustin police tell City News Service that the driver didn't know an estimated $7 million worth of marijuana was hidden in the cargo of electronics he was taking from San Diego into Orange County.
Sgt. Andrew Birozy says the driver was on the road Monday morning when two men in a van ordered him to pull over, claiming they were law enforcement officers.
The suspicious driver pulled into a local business and had an armed security guard notify police.
The men fled. Officers inspecting the goods found bricks of marijuana. They were turned over to a drug task force.
Third HIV case spurs another porn moratorium
LOS ANGELES (AP) - The advocacy group for the adult film industry has called for another moratorium on filming after an actor tested positive for HIV for the third time this year
The Free Speech Coalition said in a statement Friday that an adult performer came up positive at one of the group's testing centers, and called for a halt to filming while all possible partners are tested. Such moratoriums aren't binding, but generally bring compliance within the industry.
The group did not release the name or any details about the performer.
In August an actress who worked under the name Cameron Bay tested positive and set off a scare within the industry. Her on-screen partners were medically cleared but off-screen boyfriend and fellow performer Rod Daily announced he had also contracted HIV.
ASSEMBLYMAN'S FATHER KILLED
LA police looking for jewelry in Gatto case
LOS ANGELES (AP) - Los Angeles police are hoping to locate jewelry that may have been taken from the home of a state Assemblyman's father who was shot and killed last month.
Investigators are trying to determine whether any jewelry was taken from the home of 78-year-old Joseph Gatto, who made custom pieces. They want to see if the killer may have taken some items from Gatto's home and sold them or gave them to somebody.
The jewelry often included Gatto's signature.
Authorities have not said when they believe Gatto was killed, but his death had nothing to do with his son's politics. His son is Assemblyman Mike Gatto.
Police issued a sketch of a possible suspect last month who was spotted breaking into a car in the area a day earlier.
Calif. surgeon given jail in improper-billing case
SOUTH PASADENA, Calif. (AP) - A Southern California plastic surgeon who allegedly billed emergency room patients illegally has been sentenced to five days in jail.
The Los Angeles Times says a judge sentenced Jeannette Martello on Nov. 15 for violating a preliminary injunction and fined her more than $562,000. She's appealing the sentence.
California health care regulators sued the South Pasadena surgeon in 2011, contending she tried to illegally collect money for emergency room care beyond the discounted amount covered by insurers.
Regulators said Martello sued some patients and took out liens on their homes.
An attorney for Martello has said the patients were in stable condition when they were treated so she was allowed to recoup what insurers wouldn't cover.
Bryant scheduled to return to lineup Sunday
EL SEGUNDO, Calif. (AP) - The Lakers expect to have Kobe Bryant back in their lineup when they face the Toronto Raptors on Sunday.
The team posted a dramatic video on its Facebook page Friday indicating Bryant will be back Dec. 8.
Bryant hasn't played this season while recovering from surgery in April on a torn Achilles tendon.
Los Angeles signed the fourth-leading scoring in NBA history to a two-year contract extension last week. Bryant's new deal is reportedly worth $48.5 million and takes him into his 20th season with the Lakers.
Woods ties record and takes a 2-shot lead
THOUSAND OAKS, Calif. (AP) - Tiger Woods had a birdie putt on every hole and made 10 of them Friday to tie his own course record at Sherwood and take a three-shot lead in the World Challenge.
Woods had a 10-under 62, matching the score he shot in the second round at Sherwood six years ago. That gave him a two-shot lead over Zach Johnson, who birdied the last hole for a 68. Matt Kuchar also had a 68 and was another shot behind.
Graeme McDowell played with Woods and called it a clinic. Woods missed only one fairway and hit every green. Woods said it was similar to the 61 he had at Firestone this year when he won the Bridgestone Invitational by seven shots.
Woods already is a five-time winner at Sherwood.
Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.