Southern California breaking news and trends

Los Angeles DA declines to charge Richard Munnecke

Los Angeles County prosecutors have declined to charge a former Rose Parade volunteer with killing another volunteer nearly a decade ago, the San Gabriel Valley Tribune first reported today.

Spokeswoman Shiara Davila-Morales says the district attorney's office decided Friday that there was insufficient evidence to file a murder charge against 71-year-old Richard Munnecke. He was arrested on Wednesday.

Munnecke was an unpaid volunteer director with the Tournament of Roses Association. He was arrested Wednesday at his Alhambra home in the death of 59-year-old Donna Lee Kelley, another volunteer.

Kelly was missing for three weeks in 2004 before her daughter discovered her body in the trunk of her car.

Investigators said Munnecke had been romantically involved with the woman.

A telephone message could not be left for Munnecke at his home Friday because the voicemail box was full, the AP reported.

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Kodak Theatre owner resisting Kodak's request to get out of naming deal

Kodak Theatre

Troy David Johnston/flickr

The Kodak Theatre at the Hollywood & Highland complex.

Recently, Eastman Kodak announced it was trying to get out of its naming rights contract with Hollywood's Kodak Theatre, and L.A. Councilman Eric Garcetti was seemingly preparing for a future with no theater named Kodak. But now CIM Group, which owns the theater, is saying not so fast. 

The Rochester Democrat and Chronicle reports the owners are challenging the effort to end the sponsorship deal.

The agreement signed in 2000 was for 20 years at a cost of $72 million, with $3.6 million due this year.

Rochester-based Kodak filed for bankruptcy protection Jan. 19 after years of turnaround efforts.

CIM claims Kodak already has reaped publicity from this year's Oscars on Feb. 26. They argue the sponsorship should remain in place at least until the end of 2012 to give them time to find a new sponsor.

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EPA signs ship sewage rule, no dumping within three miles from CA shore

cruise ship tiltshift san pedro

Photo by millerm217 via Flickr Creative Commons

Beach-goers can expect less sewage in the surf this season thanks to a new dumping rule that goes into effect next month.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency signed on Thursday a rule to keep cruise ships and other large commercial vessels from unloading sewage that's too close for coastal comfort.

Restrictions ban large ships from discharging sewage, regardless of whether it's treated, within three miles of the California coast.  Officials estimate the rule, which takes effect in March, will keep 22 million nasty gallons from mingling with state coasts every year.

Treated waste water still carries bacteria and chemicals that harm the coastal ecosystem – not to mention people.

Palo Alto state senator Joe Simitian wrote a state law banning the release of sewage sludge and water off-shore back in 2005.

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Fleeing suspect hops from rooftop to rooftop evading capture in Westwood

Screenshot: Near Malcolm and Wilshire Blvd in Westwood via Google Maps

Screenshot: Near Malcolm and Wilshire Blvd in Westwood via Google Maps

A suspected car thief spent five hours hopping from rooftop to rooftop in Westwood on Thursday in an effort to evade capture by police.

The pursuit, broadcast sporadically on television news, began around 8:00 a.m. when officers attempted to pull over the man in a Toyota Camry believed to be stolen.

The suspect -- who according to KTLA-TV told authorities "If I could get to my gun, I would kill all of you," fled first by car and then by foot in an area south of UCLA's campus near near Malcolm and Wilshire.

After hours of hopping from roof to roof of nearby homes, approaching police and then backing away, and unsuccessful negotiations to get the suspect down peacefully via ramps and ladders, the LAPD brought in its SWAT team.

The unidentified man surrendered to authorities after being hit with at least two rounds of bean bag ammunition. A female passenger was reportedly taken into custody.

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LA City Attorney Carmen Trutanich announces run for County DA, going against pledge to not seek higher office

"Carmen Trutanich 'Tru Stories'" video

Los Angeles City Attorney Carmen Trutanich

Los Angeles City Attorney Carmen Trutanich announced today that he's running to replace retiring L.A. County District Attorney Steve Cooley.

The announcement goes against a pledge Trutanich made during the campaign for city attorney promising to seek a second term as city attorney rather than run for another office, including district attorney, while in the post. Trutanich said at the time, "It's time for a prosecutor, not a politician."

During his campaign against then-City Councilman Jack Weiss, Trutanich called on Weiss to swear the same pledge. If violated, the pledge required whoever won the election to take out full-page newspaper ads with a headshot and the words "I AM A LIAR" in large block print, as well as to donate $100,000 to an after-school program.

“I love my job as City Attorney, but I can’t do my job to protect residents — nor can our local police and sheriffs — without a crime fighting partner in the DA’s office,” Trutanich said in a statement.

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