Southern California breaking news and trends

Police: Man murders ex-girlfriend in Simi Valley, dies of heart attack while fleeing in his truck


Police say Paul Porter, left, murdered Janice Somple in her Simi Valley home before dying of a heart attack on Thursday, May 31, 2012.

Police say a 66-year-old Arizona man murdered his long-ago girlfriend, a retired schoolteacher living in Simi Valley, then died of a heart attack while fleeing the scene of the crime.

The poetic justice occurred immediately following the May 31 killing of Janice Somple, a 65-year-old divorcee found beaten and stabbed to death in her home on the 1500 block of Carmen Drive in Simi Valley, NBC reports. Somple had apparently been murdered by Paul Porter -- a Scottsdale man she had dated 15 years previous -- who then got in his truck and drove a mile and a half before having a heart attack and crashing.

The Simi Valley Police Department announced the bizarre series of events during a news conference today. They said Porter’s crashed truck was found near Madera Road and Country Club Drive in the early afternoon last Thursday. Porter, a former Ventura County resident, died soon after in a nearby hospital.


Ronald Reagan blood vial auction dries up

ronald reagan vial blood auction

AP Photo/PFCAuctions

A vial containing Ronald Reagan's dried blood residue. A Channel Islands online auction house has angered Ronald Reagan's foundation by claiming to offer a vial that once contained his blood. The auctioneers say it was used by the laboratory that tested Reagan's blood when he was hospitalized after a 1981 assassination attempt in Washington.

An auction listing for a vial purportedly containing the blood residue of Ronald Reagan had the late president's foundation seeing red.

The British auction house embroiled in the bloody mess halted the would-be sale, and the item's owner has agreed to donate the DNA in question to the Ronald Reagan Presidential Foundation after they threatened legal action, says the L.A. Times.

"While we contend that the removal of the vial from the hospital laboratory and the U.S. auction sale in February 2012 were not legal acts in our opinion, we are grateful to the current custodian of the vial for this generous donation to the foundation ensuring President Reagan’s blood remains out of public hands," said John Huebusch, the foundation’s executive director.

According to the PFC Auctions house, the vial once contained a blood sample taken at  George Washington University Hospital when President Reagan was shot by John Hinckley, Jr. in 1981. 


Woman trapped in SUV following canyon crash near Simi Valley

Photo courtesy KNBC

A woman suffered moderate injuries after sending her SUV over the edge of Santa Susana Road in Box Canyon.

A woman took a scary spill in her SUV by sending it over the edge of a steep, boulder-strewn slope in Box Canyon near Simi Valley, but was OK after rescuers retrieved her from the vehicle Wednesday morning.

The Ventura County Star reports that the woman drove off Santa Sunsana Road in Box Canyon “in an apparent suicide attempt.” NBC provided the above alarming photo of the vehicle lodged in the canyon about 50 feet below the road.

Although some reports originally said she was trapped in the SUV all night before her rescue, investigators say it’s unclear exactly when the crash occurred. A passerby noticed the vehicle and called authorities at about 6:45 a.m. Wednesday, according to reports.

The Star says the 35-year-old woman from Chatsworth suffered only moderate injuries. She was taken to Simi Valley Hospital.


That's a wrap: Simi Valley passes porn condom law

peachy92/Flickr/Creative Commons

Simi Valley has passed a new law aimed at keeping film production of the pornographic kind out of their community.

A measure was approved by the Simi Valley City Council on Monday night that requires film producers to ensure porn actors wear condoms on set during sex acts.

The law will go into effect in one month, according to the Ventura County Star.

Los Angeles approved a similar ordinance in January to protect performers from contracting HIV on set.

Mayor Bob Huber called for the newly passed regulation after speculation that adult movie studios might migrate from the the San Fernando Valley to Simi Valley.

"The bottom line is we don't want to be known as the porn capital of the world," Huber told the LA Times in March.

Lisa Brenner can be reached via Twitter @lisa_brenner



Simi Valley addresses a heroin 'epidemic'

simi valley simi store

Photo by Robin Kanouse via Flickr Creative Commons

Simi Valley residents spoke to NBC LA about what's being calling a heroin "epidemic" in their middle and upper-middle class region. Some community members said they moved to the area to avoid "big city problems," but after 14 people died of heroin overdoses last year, it was time to search for solutions. Drug experts say a heroin epidemic in a place like Simi Valley often begins with children taking prescription medications found in their homes. They move on to other drugs when, according to local parent Michael Cook, they realize that "heroin is a lot cheaper and a lot easier to get." Community members and parents met Monday to discuss the critical situation at a city council meeting.