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Posted: March 4, 2008 7:31 p.m.
Updated: May 5, 2008 5:01 a.m.

Here are the latest Signal News Briefs:

Castaic Home Fire Still Under Investigation
According to the Los Angeles County Fire Department's Arson Unit, a house fire in Castaic on Saturday was still under investigation for possible arson. The investigation should continue throughout the week.

Lt. Larry Gump of the Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff's Station stated that the fire, which appeared to be intentionally set, may have been the result of a hate crime.

On Saturday afternoon, a house located at 28265 Parker Road in Castaic was on fire. Firefighters immediately responded to the fire, which burned about 20 percent of the single-family residence before it was put out.

Gas Line Broken at Valencia Exxon Mobil
A construction worker apparently broke a gas line at the Exxon Mobil gas station on Tourney Road near Magic Mountain Parkway on Monday morning, according to the Los Angeles County Fire Department.

Fire officials stated they received a call shortly after 8 a.m. on Monday. Two Santa Clarita Valley units responded to the scene as a safety precaution, yet construction workers fixed the gas pipe without incident. There were no reported injuries, and traffic in the area was temporarily delayed.

Castro Trial Scheduled to Start Today
Esperanza Castro, the Santa Clarita woman charged with murdering her husband, went on trial this morning in Department J of the San Fernando Superior Court, following completion of jury selection on Monday.

She is charged with first degree murder and conspiracy in the death of her husband.

Castro, 44, is accused of killing her husband, Ramon Castro, in March 2006. His body was found in the back of his truck underneath the Highway 14 overpass on Sierra Highway.

The trial is expected to last about six weeks.

See Wednesday's edition of The Signal for further details.

Marijuana Plants Discovered in Uninhabited House
Deputies from the Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff's Station discovered marijuana plants in an uninhabited house on Scherzinger Lane in Canyon Country after they patrolled the area and detected a strong smell of marijuana coming from the house.

Lt. Larry Gump stated that 20 marijuana plants were confiscated. He added that after deputies detected the scent of marijuana, they approached the house and noticed through the window lamps specifically used for growing marijuana.

The deputies were able to gain entry into the house, where they seized the plants. They estimated the plants to be worth $20,000 each.

No arrests were made as of Monday afternoon.

Four Arrested for Burglary of Canyon Country Home
Three adults and one juvenile were arrested by the California Highway Patrol over the weekend after they allegedly ransacked a house on Raquel Lane in Canyon Country.

Justin Culver, 18, Davion Thornton,18, Brennen Barnes, 18 and a 16-year old juvenile, all from Palmdale, were arrested on felony burglary charges after it was discovered they had also burglarized a residence on Fairgate Avenue in Newhall.

A pursuit involving the California Highway Patrol and the suspects ensued in the Antelope Valley after local deputies responded to the house in Canyon Country and broadcast the suspects' information to law enforcement officials.

Deputies from the SCV Sheriff's Station recovered nearly $7,000 worth of stolen property from the suspects' vehicle. Among the items recovered include firearms, jewelry, a television, and other electronics.
The three adults were each held in $50,000 bail, while the juvenile was sent to Sylmar Juvenile Hall.

Preliminary Hearing Rescheduled for April 2
The preliminary hearing for Adrian Guadalupe Arriano, an undocumented immigrant who is accused of raping two women and attempting to rape a third in Santa Clarita, was rescheduled for April 2, according to a clerk at the San Fernando Superior Court. Arriano was later arrested after police responded to a burglary that he was allegedly involved with. He has yet to be arraigned.

Santa Clarita Woman Sentenced to Nine Years
Julia O'Connor was sentenced in a San Fernando courtroom late last week to nine years in prison for running over a 70-year-old Salvadorian tourist.

O'Connor, 25, struck Jose Ortiz last May after she ran a red light at a Sylmar intersection. She was driving 75 miles per hour at the time of the collision, and apparently fell asleep at the wheel after allegedly coming off of a three-day methamphetamine binge. Ortiz had come to the Los Angeles area to visit his family.

O'Connor, a Santa Clarita resident, pleaded guilty to three charges, including vehicular manslaughter with gross negligence, leaving the scene of the accident and possession of methamphetamine.




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