The San Bernardino County Sun from San Bernardino, California on June 23, 1988 · Page 24
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The San Bernardino County Sun from San Bernardino, California · Page 24

San Bernardino, California
Issue Date:
Thursday, June 23, 1988
Page 24
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B4 1 CALIFORNIA The Sun THURSDAY, June 23, 1988 Mother's 10-year hunt for son brings three murder counts SAN JOSE (AP) Ten years after Rose Hoffman began her relentless search amonp the city's motorcycle gangs for her missing son, police reported on Wednesday they have charged three men with his murder. "It had to happen this way," said Hoffman, 53, who held a large framed photograph of Gus Henry Hoffman "my Gus-sie" who was 20 when he disappeared off a San Jose street. "God knew if I found out then, 10 years ago, I wouldn't have been able to handle it. I'm having a very hard time of it now," Hoffman said this week in a tearful interview. Hoffman never really expected Gus to turn up alive. He was last seen at an intersection in San Jose being chased by two other motorcycles and a car filled Mono Lake ruling to be reconsidered SACRAMENTO (AP) In a victory for Los Angeles, a state appeals court has agreed to reconsider a ruling that said the city's water diversions from the Mono Lake Basin must be reduced to maintain fish populations. The 3rd District Court of Appeal notified attorneys for the city Wednesday that their motion for a rehearing had been granted and the earlier ruling had been withdrawn. A three-member panel of judges ruled last month that the state Water Resources Control Board must reconsider licenses under which the city diverts water from the scenic lake basin. The court said that the board, when it issued the licenses in 1974, failed to comply with statutes that require dam operators to let enough water flow below their dams to maintain fish populations. Los Angeles diverts about 100,000 acre-feet of water a year about 17 percent of its supply from Sierra Nevada streams that would normally flow into the lake. The diverions, which began in 1941 under state permits and have continued under licenses issued in 1974, have cut the lake's volume in half and doubled its salinity, according to a University of California report this year. A Los Angeles Department of Water and Power official, LeVal Lund, said the city's petition for a rehearing cited errors in the court decision. He said the errors related "mainly to flows in the creeks and some timing as to occurences of activities." "We would hope that they would use those to see that their decision was improperly made," he said. But Ilene Mandelbaum, a spokeswoman for the Mono Lake Committee, an environmental group that has challenged the diversions, said her organization expected the court to basically reissue its earlier opinion. "We are confident that the results will be the same," she said. Lund said the court's two-sentence statement made no mention of whether the justices would hold another hearing on the case. Lawsuit filed over state's list of toxics SACRAMENTO (AP) A coalition of labor, environmental and farm workers' rights groups sued the Deukmejian administration Wednesday, contending that state officials have failed to include chemicals causing cancer and birth defects on the warning list required by Proposition 65. The lawsuit, filed in Superior Court, said the Scientific Advisory Panel appointed by Deukmejian to determine which chemicals are on the list has ignored recommendations by authoritative agencies on toxic hazards, including the Environmental Protection Agency. "The essence of this suit," said David Roe of the Environmental Defense Fund, "is that the Scientific Advisory Panel refuses to say that any body is authoritative except itself." Some chemicals determined by the EPA to be carcinogenic and reproductive toxins are not on the official list of about 230 chemicals, Roe said. Under the provisions of Proposition 65, which was approved by voters in November 1986, dangerous chemicals are required to be included in an officially sanctioned list. Companies that use dangerous chemicals are required to post warnings to their workers and the public. The lawsuit also contended, but did not spell out, that some members of the Scientific Advisory Panel have a financial interest in chemicals that potentially could be included on the list. with people, police said. They suspect he was killed because the murderers wanted to steal his Harley-Davidson motorcycle. His body has never been found. "I have no grave to go to," said Hoffman. "It won't be over until I find my son." Hoffman is grateful for the detective work by two night officers, Detective Sgt. Jeff Ouimet and Detective Jack Baxter, who were assigned in February 1987 when the homicide bureau chief decided to turn over some of the unsolved murders to night detectives. "What they did was fantastic," said homicide Sgt. John Kracht. "They just put it all together." Hoffman said she intends to see the two officers are honored. But she also wonders why she had to spend a decade searching for tips in the city's bikers' bars and other unsavory hangouts before witnesses who kept silent for 10 years came forward. "I went everywhere," she said. "Night and day I lived this, and my family suffered." She and her husband are considering holding a memorial service for Gus, the second born of their four children. Police charged Michael Allen Hodges, 36, of Sunnyvale and Richard Morris Dollar, 32, with murder in the case. Both were being held in Santa Clara County Jail in lieu of $1 million bail. A third man, John Michael "Sluggo" Stelle, 47, has been a state fugitive since February, when he did not report to his parole officer after serving time at San Quentin Prison for a drug conviction and parole violation. Hodges was arrested last Thursday at his home, and Dollar was transferred late Monday to the county jail from San Quentin Prison, where he was being held for violating parole on a narcotics conviction. One of the tips Hoffman received during her investigation involved a fourth suspect, Michael Lee Stevenson, a biker linked to the Hells Angels and the now-defunct Forgotten Few. Stevenson was shot to death two years ago at the age of 37 by an elderly San Joaquin County man Stevenson tried to extort for property, police said. "That animal," said Hoffman. "A biker girl told people who told me that Stevenson said my son was dead and we'd novpp finH his hodv.' Stevenson was convicted in 1981 of sexually assaulting and killing a Modesto man w ho owed him money. "The suspects had corns up before," said Ouimet. "But the witnesses were afraid to talk before" Stevenson was killed. "I know the witnesses were fearful, said Hoffman. "But they should turn it around and feel as a mother would. Then they would say, 'Please, tell it like it is.' " Among the scraps of paper in Hoffman's boxes of notes is a yellowed newspaper clip telling how Stevenson was arrested in 1977 and accused of holding a woman captive and torturing her while she was chained in a closet for one month. The woman escaped to tell her story, but Stevenson, who was bound over for trial, was never convicted. WTWW U 1 1. 1., I i. liiiNiJll i!iipu.uj.j.ujMiiijimiwiJU)JUJiMJtfW)ipW '"" 1 I I --.. f I ! - ' I ' ' t" . . A y. t I - - ,Sjf I - ' ' - I i XJ if I I II v f f Man denies lolling husband ex-spouse. AP WIREPHOTO MISSING COUPLE: Romanian immigrant Dumitru Pop, 35, is accused of murdering Violeta and Constantin Cirdei. Pop led police to freshly buried bodies believed to be those of his ex-wife and her new husband. LOS ANGELES (AP) - A Romanian immigrant who led police to the freshly buried bodies believed to be those of his ex-wife and her new husband pleaded innocent Wednesday to charges he murdered the couple. Dumitru Pop, 35, who had been convicted of abusing his wife while they were still married, was held without bail following his arraignment in Pasadena Municipal Court. The Hollywood carpenter unexpectedly told detectives Tuesday, just minutes before a scheduled court appearance, that he wanted to show police the location of the couple's bodies, police said. Burbank police detectives drove Pop to a rugged ravine in the Cleveland National Forest about 150 miles southeast of downtown Los Angeles, where two bodies, male and female, were found in a shallow grave. An autopsy was scheduled today, but authorities tentatively identified the bodies as those of Violeta Cirdei, 24, and her husband, Constantin Cirdei, both of Burbank. "Showing us the bodies appears to be an act of remorse on his behalf. He's quite upset," said Burbank police Sgt. Dan Goldberg. Deputy District Attorney Ta-mia Hope said she may seek the death penalty because special circumstances may have been involved, including an alleged multiple murder. She also alleged Pop killed the two during a burglary. Pop was arraigned on two counts of murder and one count each of burglary and grant theft auto. A preliminary hearing was set for July 5. Police had been searching since Friday throughout Southern California for the bodies, with few clues. Goldberg said the rough terrain where the bodies were buried would have made discovery virtually impossible. The Cirdeis disappeared Friday from the Burbank home where they lived and where Mrs. Cirdei worked as a housekeeper for an elderly couple. Mexican police in Tijuana arrested Pop on Saturday after they saw him driving erratically. Mexican police saw the blood-splattered 1984 Datsun 200 SX had been hot-wired, authorities said. A computer check of the license plate number found the car was being sought in connection with the couple's disappearance, police said. Mrs. Cirdei divorced Pop in October, five months after he was arrested for investigation of spousal abuse, and obtained a restraining order against him, police said. Pop was convicted and placed on probation. Board can order test of doctor's competency, court rules SAN FRANCISCO (AP) The state medical board can order a competency examination for a doctor whose skill or knowledge is reasonably called into question, a state court ruled Wednesday. In a 3-0 decision, the 1st District Court of Appeal rejected a Los Gatos cardiologist's claim that a 1985 law providing for the examinations is unconstitutional because it does not require a hearing where the doctor can challenge the order for the test. The exam is only an "investigative" procedure, and a doctor who flunks twice will be entitled to a hearing before facing any disciplinary action, the court said. The ruling will be appealed to the state Supreme Court, said Jerome Berg, lawyer for the cardiologist, John Phillip Smith. "In a totalitiarian country, you are guilty when they charge you," Berg said. "The American Constitution says that you are presumed innocent, that before your liberty rights or property rights can be taken away, you are entitled to a hearing." He said Smith was willing to take the exam if he lost the case. The case began in 1986 when the executive director of the Board of Medical Quality Assurance and two outside medical consultants reviewed five case histories of Smith's cardiac patients and concluded that there was reasonable cause to believe he could not practice medicine with "reasonable skill and safety to patients," the legal standard triggering the exam requirement. The board, which regulates doctors in the state, ordered Smith to take a competency exam and refused his request for a hearing. He then filed suit. Under the law, the board can order a competency exam based on the recommendation of its staff director and two medical consultants. The doctor can present written opposition to the recommendation but is not entitled to a hearing unless the board grants one. The exam is given orally on general and specialized medical subjects by two doctors. If both give a failing grade, the doctor can take another test before two different examiners; if the doctor fails again, the board can file an accusation of incompetence, potentially punishable by loss of license after a hearing; such an accusation is required if the doctor refuses to take the test. - -'S ' '--- v a J:-- V t 1 Hf -'S'k f - ' vW Vv -n , - - y - ; 43t ;S" 4 -wx, - 'vw - - - -v"vv' x- - ' Nixon library plan clears hurdles YORBA LINDA (AP) The $25 million Nixon library will be a classic building that will blend with the surrounding neighborhood, according to the latest plans. The Richard M. Nixon Presidential Library cleared two hurdles Tuesday with City Council approval of the environmental report for the project and designation of the ex-president's adjacent homestead as a historic site. There was no public opposition or debate of the plans by Langdon Wilson Mumper, a Los Angeles-based architectural firm. The plans call for a classic concrete and brick, U-shaped building with a red tile roof to be built next to the wood frame house on Yorba Linda Boulevard where the former president was born. The library will be surrounded by gardens, a reflective pool, fountains and 290 parking spaces, according to the plans. The plans for the 84,500 square-foot, one-story complex are scheduled for review by the city Planning Commission next week. Groundbreaking ceremonies are planned for November and the library is scheduled to open in June 1989. "We're on fast forward now," city planner Phil Paxton said. "This project is a slamdunk." Nixon, 75, already has approved final details and a scale model of the library. He is expected to attend the groundbreaking at the site, about 30 miles southeast of downtown Los Angeles. The library was originally proposed for construction on a 16-acre parcel in San Clemente, the home of Casa Pacifica, the former Western White House. The San Clemente proposal was tied to a controversial residential and commercial development, which met with opposition from many residents and city officials. The environmental review of the Yorba Linda site said the library will have no significant negative effect on the surrounding area, despite the expectation that the library will draw up to 350,000 visitors yearly. By comparison, an estimated 300,000 people visit the John F. Kennedy Library annually. And about 750,000 people tour the Lyndon B. Johnson Library each year. Panel backs choice for fish and game post McClatchy News Service Helping hand AP WIREPHOTO Five-year-old Stacey Robertson of Monterey practices making baskets while her friend, Daniel Nolan, 6, of Seaside, offers some coaching tips in Seaside. SACRAMENTO Following months of delays and nearly four hours of sometimes stormy debate, the Senate Rules Committee voted 5-0 Wednesday to recommend that Peter Bontadelli be confirmed as director of the state Fish and Game Department. Bontadelli, a former top aide to Sen. Ken Mad-dy, R-Fresno, was appointed to the post last November by Gov. George Deukmejian. About 100 opponents and supporters of Bontadelli filled a Capitol hearing room for the hearing, which was highlighted by pointed questions by Sen. Dan McCorquodale, D-San Jose. McCourquodale, reading from a stack of notes, questioned Bontadelli about his management record, experience, competence and wildlife policies. Bontadelli replied that morale is up in the department since he took over. He also showed pride in his mostly political background, promised to im prove bureaucratic procedures and defended some of his more controversial wildlife proposals. Among the most controversial is a plan to open up some central and northern mountain areas to the hunt of mountain lions. One particularly thorny issue was testimony that pointed out the department's conflicting numbers on the state's mountain lion population. Bontadelli vowed to comply with requests by senators to find more accurate figures. Overall, senators said they were impressed with the wide range of support for Bontadelli. His appointment is backed by gun, hunting and wildlife groups, including the National Rifle Association, and the Sierra Club. Opposition centered on complaints about Bonta-delli's lack of formal training in wildlife, saying his experience as a Republican political staffer was inappropriate for the head of wildlife management. "This lack of experience seriously handicaps his expertise," testified John Ganther, a member of the Lassen County Board of Supervisors.

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