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Notable Cases in the History of the Ventura County District Attorney’s Office

2013 People v. Kenneth Powell, Katie Rose, and Paul Lascola

Three convicted and sentenced in real estate investment fraud scheme

The Ventura County District Attorney’s Office successfully prosecuted one of the largest real estate investment fraud schemes uncovered in the county involving victim losses exceeding $3 million.

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2012 People v. Calvin Sharp

Judge finds killer who used meat cleaver sane and sentences him to multiple life terms

In August 2007, Calvin Sharp chased down, attacked, and brutally killed a 6-year-old boy, Sev’n Molina, with a meat cleaver. When Sev’n’s mother, Sandra Ruiz, tried to stop the attack, Sharp attacked her as well, causing major life-long injuries. A neighbor, Diane Cox, also attempted to intervene and suffered serious injuries at the hands of Sharp.

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2011 People v. Ricardo Villa

1993 murder case solved with aid of DNA—killer receives death penalty

Victim Beatrice Bellis, age 87, was deaf and functionally mute. She lived at the Mar Vista apartment complex, an elder care facility located in Port Hueneme, California. In June 1993, an unknown assailant slipped into her unlocked apartment, stabbed her repeatedly with a large kitchen knife, and raped her as she bled to death. The perpetrator cleaned up in the bathroom then fled from the building in the dead of night. Despite an intense investigation and neighborhood canvass, the Port Hueneme Police Department was initially unable to develop evidence leading to a culpable suspect.

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2011 People v. Target Corporation

Statewide Civil Law Enforcement Action

The Ventura County District Attorney’s Office’s Consumer and Environmental Unit, with 19 other California District Attorneys, the California Attorney General, and the city attorneys in San Diego and Los Angeles settled a civil law enforcement action filed against Target Corporation.

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2009 People v. Randolph Kling

Murderer of two convicted and sentenced to death

Randolph Kling was a lifelong criminal and con artist who spent most of his adult years incarcerated for 18 separate felony convictions. During his criminal endeavors Kling created or stole more than 100 identities.

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2003 People v. Dennis and Brenda Willingham

Couple convicted of multiple felonies arising out of strawberry brokering scam

Brenda and Dennis Willingham operated both Sunshine Fresh Produce, a strawberry brokering business, and Willingham Farms, a strawberry farming business, in the city of Oxnard.

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1996 People v. Henry Diaz

Defendant in Ventura County’s first “three strikes” case nets two life terms in prison

Diaz, who had three prior convictions for robbery, molested a 13-year-old girl over a one and a half year period. In 1996, this case became the first “Three Strikes” filed in Ventura County.

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1994 People v. Kevin Malone

Serial rapist sentenced to 56 years in prison

Dubbed the “Ojai Rapist,” Kevin Malone entered the homes of various women in Ojai between December 1993 and September 1994. The defendant would enter a victim’s home, tie the victim up, and then proceed to rape and orally copulate them.

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1992 People v. Christopher Sattiewhite

Killer of woman found raped and shot receives death penalty

On January 26, 1992, Genoveva Gonzalez was kidnapped by the defendant and two other individuals. Following the kidnapping, she was savagely raped and then shot three times in the face at point blank range. Her body was left in an Oxnard drainage ditch.

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1988 People v. Cockrell, Fleischer, Ross, and Bromberg

Four convicted and sentenced in multi-million dollar securities fraud scam

Frank Cockrell and Wayne Fleischer orchestrated a securities fraud scam based on Cockrell’s claimed net worth of $225 million which was predicated on worthless oil and gas royalties.

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