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LA school board OKs $25M lawsuit settlement

LOS ANGELES (AP) - The Los Angeles Unified School District has agreed to settle a lawsuit over teacher layoffs by spending $25 million to hire more staff for dozens of struggling schools.

City News Service says the school board on Tuesday approved the proposal. However, it still needs court approval.

The ACLU of Southern California and the Public Counsel Law Center sued the district four years ago, arguing seniority policies meant teacher layoffs hit low-income and inner-city schools hardest because they had the newest teachers.

A 2011 settlement was appealed by the teachers' union.

The new proposal calls for the district to hire additional assistant principals and support staff for 37 schools with high teacher turnover rates.

Superintendent John Deasy says the settlement is about putting the interest of youths first.


Commission urges LA County child welfare reforms

LOS ANGELES (AP) - In the wake of more than two dozen deaths, a panel has recommended a sweeping overhaul of Los Angeles County's child welfare system.

The commission Tuesday urged the county Board of Supervisors to consider a number of reforms, including creating an Office of Child Protection to oversee allocation of money and other resources.

The panel also urged the Department of Children and Family Services to focus resources on high-risk children and those under age 5

Supervisors ordered a review of the recommendations with a report due May 20.

The commission reviewed 28 child deaths, including that of 8-year-old Gabriel Fernandez. The Palmdale boy died last year after he allegedly was tortured by his mother's boyfriend. Social workers let him stay in the home despite numerous reports of abuse.


Man convicted of rapes after spirit 'cleansings'

SANTA ANA, Calif. (AP) - A man has been convicted of raping two women by luring them to Orange County motel rooms for so-called "spiritual cleansings" that involved rubbing whole eggs on their bodies.

City News Service reports that jurors on Tuesday deliberated for about 90 minutes before finding 39-year-old Alberto Flores Ramirez of San Clemente guilty of two counts of rape and four other sex offense charges. He could get 75 years to life in prison at his sentencing scheduled for June.

The two separate incidents that spurred the charges occurred in 2012. Prosecutors say Ramirez convinced the women that he is a spiritual healer and he could perform a ritual with an egg that cleanses negative energy.

Prosecutors said after he booked motel rooms and performed the ritual, he attacked the women.


DA won't use recordings in OC salon killings case

SANTA ANA, Calif. (AP) - Prosecutors say they will no longer use secretly recorded statements to a jailhouse informant from a man charged with killing eight people in a 2011 rampage at a Southern California hair salon.

Deputy District Attorney Howard Gundy conceded a defense motion Tuesday alleging Scott Dekraai's statements were recorded in violation of his constitutional right to an attorney.

The Orange County Register reports that Gundy didn't explain the move and declined comment after court.

The statements, made during hundreds of hours of covertly recorded conversations between Dekraai and informant Fernando Perez, had been expected to be a key part of prosecutors' push for the death penalty.

Assistant public defender Scott Sanders alleged prosecutors used informants to improperly interrogate suspects in Dekraai's and many other cases. He's seeking to have the death penalty thrown out.

Trial is scheduled to start June 9.


3 dead, 1 arrested after Santa Barbara 101 crash

SANTA BARBARA, Calif. (AP) - Two teenagers and a 20-year-old were killed and a woman was arrested on suspicion of drunken driving after a late-night crash on U.S. 101 in Santa Barbara.

The Santa Barbara News-Press reports that the three dead were passengers in a Mazda that hit a guardrail at 12:45 a.m. Monday and flipped on its roof.

The California Highway Patrol says that seconds later a Mustang drove into the flipped Mazda.

The CHP says 17-year-old high school seniors Danielle Murillo and Jessica Leffew of Torrance were killed, along with 20-year-old Brian Lopez of Los Angeles. The Mazda's driver, 20-year-old Erick August of Los Angeles, is hospitalized in critical condition.

The Mustang's driver, 52-year-old Kimberly Kreis, was arrested on suspicion of DUI and vehicular manslaughter. She's scheduled to appear in court Wednesday.


Man in 70s dies on flight from Texas to California

IRVINE, Calif. (AP) - Authorities say a 78-year-old Texas man has died on a plane flight from Dallas to Southern California.

Orange County coroner's officials say John Selner of Fort Worth died of natural causes during the flight Tuesday morning.

The Orange County Register says the man was on American Airlines Flight 2249 when the crew notified John Wayne Airport that they had a medical emergency. They also performed CPR.

The flight landed shortly after 11:30 a.m. Orange County fire Capt. Steve Concialdi says paramedics worked on the man but he was pronounced dead about 10 minutes after the landing.


Rape-killing suspect returned to Mexico

SAN DIEGO (AP) - U.S. authorities have extradited a Mexican man wanted for allegedly raping two women and strangling one of them more than a decade ago.

Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials say 41-year-old Javier Diaz-Diaz was turned over to Mexican authorities Tuesday at the San Diego-area border crossing.

The turnover came within a day of the man's release from a California prison, where he served time following a 2009 conviction for spousal rape.

A warrant issued in the Mexican state of Jalisco (hah-LEES'-koh) alleges that Diaz-Diaz raped a woman in 2002 and raped another woman 10 months later, strangling her and running her over with a car at least four times.

The Jalisco state prosecutor's office didn't immediately know if Diaz-Diaz has an attorney.


Alleged gunman shot by Riverside County deputy

MENIFEE, Calif. (AP) - The Riverside County Sheriff's Department says a man has been killed after pointing a gun at deputies.

Authorities say deputies were called to a home in Menifee Monday night to check on a man's welfare and found him in the garage.

Deputies offered assistance but they say the man refused and instead pointed a handgun at them.

At least one deputy opened fire, hitting the man, who died at the scene. His name hasn't been released.


Veteran LAPD motorcycle officer mourned

LOS ANGELES (AP) - For the second time in just weeks, hundreds of law enforcement officers have mourned a veteran Los Angeles police officer killed in the line of duty.

Officer Chris Cortijo was eulogized Tuesday by Police Chief Charlie Beck, Mayor Eric Garcetti and colleagues during a funeral Mass at the Roman Catholic Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels.

The 51-year-old motorcycle officer died April 9 after being struck by a vehicle driven by a woman alleged to have been under the influence of cocaine.

A hearse carrying Cortijo's casket was escorted to a cemetery by long lines of fellow motor officers.

Last month, the Los Angeles Police Department mourned 40-year-old Officer Nicholas Choung Lee, who was killed in a collision between his patrol car and a truck in Beverly Hills.

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