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From The Signal Archives: Newhall Incident and foreign wars

Posted: May 19, 2009 2:21 p.m.
Updated: May 19, 2009 2:21 p.m.
Editor’s note: As The Signal celebrates 90 years of service to the Santa Clarita Valley, we offer this peek into the SCV of days past. Following is from the second week of May 1970, from the archives of The Newhall Signal and Saugus Enterprise.

CHP murder hearing in Newhall
The trial of Bobby Agusta Davis, “accused of killing four California Highway Patrolmen in a wild shootout early last month in Valencia Valley,” forever remembered as The Newhall Incident, began Wednesday, May 13 as Davis stood “charged with four counts of murder and one count of robbery.”

The article described the spectacle of Davis’ arrival in court: “Highway Patrolmen stood on every corner and on the street near the courthouse while sheriff’s deputies and plainclothes officers scanned rooftops and eyeballed suspicious looking spectators.”

Davis’ demeanor appeared even-keeled in the courtroom, “and his expression did not change, when even the most strong and incriminating evidence was presented against him.”

Davis was ultimately convicted and is currently still serving a life sentence in Pelican Bay State Prison.

One tough landlady

“A 65-year-old Newhall landlady will find herself in court soon, defending her actions in a bodily attack against a young Newhall woman.”

A witness told sheriff’s deputies a young woman went into a woman’s apartment to pick up a rent-refund check while her friend waited outside.

“Upon leaving the apartment, the witness reported that she and her friend were walking from the grounds followed by the landlady,” when the witness heard the renter’s friend say, “I still think you got cheated.”

“The landlady, who was described by reports as being five-feet-five and 180 pounds, did not take very kindly to the remark. She allegedly grabbed the friend around the throat and began choking her.”
The victim filed a battery charge against her attacker at Newhall Sheriff’s Station.

SCV says stay out of Cambodia
“VV Residents Against Cambodian Invasion” was the lead story, reporting the results of a Signal telephone poll, which showed 64 percent of those sampled are against sending U.S. soldiers to Cambodia.

“And 68 percent of those surveyed in the random-sample poll reported that they did not think the President was handling the war in the Southeast ‘capably.’

“While 32 percent supported Nixon’s handling of the war, another 32 percent said they wanted to see American troops ‘pulled out of Vietnam faster’ than at present; the remaining 36 percent said they wanted to escalate the war even more.”

Signal editor arrested

“Jon Newhall, editor of The Signal, found himself in the midst of an arrest Monday night which, shortly after his arrival on the scene, included him.”

Upon arriving outside of Rendezvous bar on Eighth Street, Newhall approached two officers and asked them what was happening.

After being told that everyone has to either go home or face arrest, “He replied, ‘Then you’ll have to arrest me,’ which the officer did.”

Violence on the Grapevine

“A Giant Rash of Truck Shootings” was a front-page headline after “The teamster wildcat strike which has idled thousands of workers nationally and which has brought violence to several areas of the country, appears to have struck Valencia Valley.

“The most recent incidents involved truckers being shot at, and the latest attack, Wednesday night, resulted in the arrest of eight men on charges of assault with intent to commit murder.

“Truck drivers on at least two occasions have come within inches of being struck by bullets.”

—Perry Smith


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