Murder Suspect Pleads No Contest
Murder Suspect Pleads No Contest
A man already serving a life sentence in a California prison pleaded no contest to a 1985 Oxnard murder. Vincent Mackey, 54, was preparing for a trial involving the murder of Isabel Hernandez in 1985. Instead of proceeding to trial, he offered a no-contest plea in the case. According to prosecutors, DNA evidence collected at the time of the attack implicated Mackey.

Mackey broke into the apartment where Hernandez lived, raped her and stabbed her to death. The police could not identify a suspect, but they collected and preserved evidence from the scene. The Oxnard Police Department reactivated the investigation into Hernandez’ death in 2013, and tested the crime scene evidence.

In 2014, a computerized check of known felons produced a match between Mackey and the Oxnard crime scene. In 1987, a jury convicted Mackey of the murder of James Sprigg, Mackey’s employer. Mackey killed Sprigg less than a year after he murdered Hernandez. He received a life sentence with no possibility of parole in that case.

Because the prosecutor opted not to seek the death penalty, Mackey will receive another life sentence in the case. Mackey’s sentencing is set for April 20.

Oxnard murder lawyer


In California, murder will put you at risk of receiving the death penalty. Because your life is on the line, you need an aggressive murder lawyer to defend you. Robert Helfend is an experienced criminal defense attorney who takes cases in Ventura County. He has more than 30 years of experience exclusively in courtroom defense.

Mr. Helfend manages each case personally, so his clients always receive the benefit of his extensive experience. Don’t rely on an inexperienced or timid criminal defense attorney, especially when your life is at risk.

Contact Robert Helfend or call toll-free at (800) 834-6434, (805) 273-5611, (310) 456-3317 or (818) 591-2809 for an immediate consultation on your Ventura County murder case.

Photo Credit: Stefan Mina, via Flickr.com

Murder charges for Louisiana man
Murder charges for Louisiana man
A Louisiana man already serving a life sentence for robbery, rape and kidnapping, was charged with three counts of murder in connection with the cold-case deaths of two unidentified women, one of whom was 5 months pregnant. William Chouest would have been eligible for parole in 2017. One of the victims was discovered in Ventura County. The other was found in Kern County.

According to prosecutors, DNA collected from the victims identified Chouest as a suspect in both crimes. The DNA samples collected from the victims and their clothing were tested in 2012, although the homicides happened in 1980. The samples were matched to a sample collected from Chouest while he was incarcerated.

In addition to murder charges, Chouest faces special circumstances, including murder while engaged in rape, murder while engaged in robbery and multiple murders, as well as weapons charges and habitual offender charges. Chouest has pleaded not guilty to the crimes. If convicted, he faces three life sentences without parole, as well as additional time for the weapons offenses.

An experienced Ventura murder attorney


Homicide is the most serious charge you can face in California. Quite literally, your life is at stake. In California, conviction on homicide charges can result in the death penalty, or a life sentence with or without the possibility of parole. You need the assistance of a qualified, experienced Ventura murder attorney like Robert Helfend.

Mr. Helfend has practiced criminal defense exclusively in Ventura County and throughout Southern California for more than 30 years. He is known as an aggressive defense attorney who goes the distance for his clients. He will work directly with you throughout the judicial process to help you create a solid defense strategy.

His first priority will be to get the charges against you reduced or dropped. When that isn’t an option, he will challenge the evidence against you; bring forward expert testimony on your behalf, and work to achieve the best possible outcome for your case, based on your circumstances.

Do not risk your freedom by working with an inexperienced murder attorney. Contact Robert Helfend or call toll-free at (800) 834-6434, (805) 273-5611, (310) 456-3317 or (818) 591-2809 for an immediate consultation on your Ventura homicide case.

Photo Credit: Randy Robertson, via Flickr.com

Oxnard Murder Charge in Cold Case
Oxnard Murder Charge in Cold Case
A 52-year old man already serving a life sentence for murder was charged with the rape and murder of a young Thousand Oaks woman who was killed in 1985.

Detectives reviewing cold cases reopened the matter and conducted new DNA tests on evidence from the crime scene. Isabel Hernandez was found stabbed to death in the Oxnard apartment of her boyfriend, who was attending a Bruce Springsteen concert at the time of her death.

Evidence from the scene implicated Vincent Mackey, who was convicted of the beating death of his employer, Jason Sprigg, in 1986. Mackey burglarized an El Rio business where he worked, and encountered Sprigg, who was working late. He beat Sprigg to death with a hammer. Prosecutors have not yet decided whether Mackey will face the death penalty in Hernandez’ death.

Hire an aggressive Ventura County murder lawyer


Ventura County murder lawyer Robert Helfend offers aggressive, experienced criminal defense. Mr. Helfend has practiced criminal defense exclusively for more than 30 years, and handles each case that comes into his office personally. He takes felony cases in Ventura County and throughout Southern California.

An experienced murder lawyer understands the stakes, and will fight aggressively for you in court. The penalties for homicide in California depend upon the circumstances of the case, but first-degree murder convictions can result in the death penalty, or lifetime incarceration with or without parole. The stakes are exceptionally high, so if you’re facing homicide charges, you need an experienced criminal defense attorney at your side.

Mr. Helfend’s entire practice and career have been focused on providing effective criminal defense. Over the last 30 years, he has amassed valuable experience that he will bring to bear on your case. Mr. Helfend will do what it takes to get the charges against you reduced or dropped. No attorney can promise a particular outcome in any court case, but Mr. Helfend will always work toward the best possible outcome for you, regardless of the charges against you.

When you’ve been charged with the death of another person in Ventura County, it only makes sense to rely on an aggressive, experienced and effective Ventura County murder lawyer like Robert Helfend. Contact Robert Helfend or call toll-free at (800) 834-6434, (805) 273-5611, (310) 456-3317 or (818) 591-2809 for an immediate consultation on your Ventura County murder case.

Photo Credit: Andrew Martin, via FreeImages.com

SF Man Arrested for Moorpark rape attempt
SF Man Arrested for Moorpark rape attempt
A San Francisco man was arrested after he attempted to rape a Moorpark teen that he met on the Internet. The victim, a 16-year-old Moorpark resident, agreed to meet the man at a local park. The two had chatted via the Internet, but had never met face-to-face.

Suspect attempted to rape victim in vehicle


After the two met, the suspect, identified as Reggie Glass, forced the victim into the back seat of her car and told her that he was going to sexually assault her. The pair was spotted by a witness, who saw the girl struggling in the vehicle with the man. The witness notified Moorpark police, who responded to the scene. The suspect briefly fled the area on foot, but was located by Ventura County Sheriff’s deputies, and was arrested. He was charged with kidnapping with intent to rape, attempted rape, false imprisonment and resisting arrest.

If you’ve been arrested for rape or another sex crime involving a minor or sex crimes that involve the Internet, Ventura criminal defense attorney Robert Helfend is ready to take your case. For more than 30 years, Mr. Helfend has focused his practice exclusively on criminal defense. He has the experience you want in a criminal defense attorney, and he will work to get the charges against you reduced or dropped.

Mr. Helfend will not judge you based upon what you’ve been accused of, but rather, will fight aggressively to defend your Constitutional rights in court and work to get your case dismissed. No attorney can promise a specific outcome when it comes to matters brought before the court, but having an aggressive criminal defense attorney at hand is essential, especially if you have prior convictions on your record. A history of prior convictions for certain matters will make you eligible for three strikes penalties under California law. A third felony conviction could send you to prison for life.

Don’t risk your freedom on an inexperienced criminal defense attorney, or one who isn’t aggressive about preparing and presenting the best possible defense. When you’re facing a serious felony charge, you need the services of a Ventura criminal defense attorney who is serious about criminal defense.
Contact Robert Helfend or call toll-free at (800) 834-6434, (805) 273-5611, (310) 456-3317 or (818) 591-2809 for an immediate consultation on your Ventura County rape case.

Photo Credit: mimiliz, via FreeImages.com

Simi Valley Man Convicted of Sextortion
Simi Valley Man Convicted of Sextortion
A Simi Valley man pleaded guilty to extortion, sending harmful matter to seduce a minor and unlawful sexual intercourse with a minor. Corey Ackerman, 27, was arrested last September following a lengthy “sextortion” investigation. Earlier in 2015, he was sentenced to five years of probation for extortion, possession of child pornography, and blackmail.

Second sextortion conviction came with prison term


Ackerman came to the attention of police as early as 2014. Following his first sextortion conviction, a number of minors came forward to tell police that Ackerman had contacted them through social media, and attempted to engage in sexual activity with them. According to the victims, Ackerman told the victims that he had pornographic pictures of them and that he would delete them only if they agreed to have sex with him. The victims were between the ages of 12 and 17 at the time of Ackerman’s contact. Upon his second conviction, Ackerman was given a 6 year prison sentence and was ordered to pay restitution to the victims.

If you’ve been arrested on sextortion charges, child pornography charges, or charges related to other Internet sex crimes, especially those involving minors, Ventura criminal defense attorney Robert Helfend can help you prepare a successful criminal defense.

Mr. Helfend is an experienced criminal defense attorney who works exclusively with clients charged with criminal offenses in Ventura County and throughout Southern California. Mr. Helfend will protect your rights during the judicial process, and will work to get the charges against you reduced or dropped altogether.

Don’t be fooled by the bravado of investigators and prosecutors who are simply working to get a conviction. Often, they don’t have enough evidence to fully support the charges they threaten to bring against you. Mr. Helfend has established a reputation as a skillful, aggressive defense attorney and can help you defend yourself successfully, even when the case against you initially appears strong.

Don’t gamble with your freedom. Your best defense strategy is to work with an experienced criminal defense attorney who can bring together the resources you need to defend yourself in front of a judge. Contact Robert Helfend or call toll-free at (800) 834-6434, (805) 273-5611, (310) 456-3317 or (818) 591-2809 for an immediate consultation on your Ventura County sextortion case.

Photo Credit: Sergio Roberto Bichara, via FreeImages.com

Ventura Violent Crimes Rising
Ventura Violent Crimes Rising
The Ventura County Sheriff’s Office says that incidents of violent crimeswere up 30% in the first six months of 2015. In comparison, property crimes were up just 6%. According to officials, violent crimes in Camarillo, Ojai and Fillmore all rose, while Moorpark’s violent crimes rate was unchanged, and violent crimes in Thousand Oaks declined.

Violent crimes account for most of Ventura’s crime increase


The Ventura County Sheriff’s Office blamed the rise in property crimes on gangs from outside of Ventura County coming into the area and committing residential burglaries. The VCSO also said that commercial burglaries had risen in Camarillo, Fillmore and Moorpark. The incidence of property crimes in Thousand Oaks rose, noting that both petty theft and grand theft, including the number of stolen vehicles, had risen in that area.
While the Uniform Crime Statistics for the area noted that cases of sexual assault had declined, the number of sexual assaults more than doubled when FBI revisions to the crime statistics were taken into account. The number of murder cases rose from 1 to 3, representing a 200% increase over the same period in 2014. The total number of violent crimes in Ventura County rose from 191 in 2014 to 248 in 2015, accounting for the 30% overall increase.

If you’ve been arrested for murder, assault or violent crimes in Ventura County, you need the professional assistance of a Robert Helfend. Ventura criminal defense attorney. Robert Helfend has more than 30 years of experience in criminal defense, practices criminal defense exclusively and takes both misdemeanor and felony criminal defense work in Ventura County.

Mr. Helfend will aggressively defend your rights in court, and will begin work immediately to have the most serious charges against you dropped or reduced. Convictions for violent crimes like murder, rape and armed robbery can have a lifetime of consequences, and can trigger California’s Three Strikes Law.

Don’t rely on inexperienced criminal defense attorneys or court-appointed defenders if you’ve been accused of committing violent crimes in Ventura County. Contact Robert Helfend or call toll-free at (800) 834-6434, (805) 273-5611, (310) 456-3317 or (818) 591-2809 for an immediate consultation on your Ventura County violent crimes case.

Photo Credit: Christopher Bruno, via FreeImages.com

Earlier this year, a 67 year-old Fairfield, Alabama man was sentenced to life in prison without parole, after having been convicted of murder during the commission of a rape in relation to the death of 15 year-old Stacey Knappenberger in her Oxnard home in 1980. He is also accused of sexual assault.

Knappenberger was found beaten and stabbed to death on July 30, 1980 in her home. She suffered 50 to 60 wounds from a glass ashtray found at the scene, and at least two-dozen additional injuries from other objects. Her official cause of death was loss of blood and brain swelling. At the time, the police were unable to identify any potential suspects, and the murder investigation went cold.

Ventura Cold Case Task Force detectives submitted DNA from the Oxnard murder to a national DNA database in 2000. Subsequently, Thomas Coalt Young’s DNA profile was entered into the same national DNA database for an unrelated sexual assault crime in Illinois. Young had spent time in California in the 1970’s and 1980’s, but returned to his home state of Alabama in the early 1980’s. He moved to Illinois in 2008, but again returned to Alabama.

Young’s DNA profile was matched to the Oxnard murder in 2010. Detectives from the Ventura Cold Case Task Force investigated Young’s whereabouts and discovered that he was in California at the time of the Knappenberger murder. Young was arrested in September 2012 at his home in Fairfield, AL on the Ventura murder charge. He was finally extradited to California and arraigned on murder and sexual assault charges in 2014. He was convicted, and was sentenced to life without parole in March 2015.

If you’ve been arrested for murder, you need an experienced criminal defense attorney like Robert Helfend to defend your rights in court. In very old murder and sexual assault cases, witness testimony can be unreliable. A witness may move away or die, or their testimony may differ significantly from statements they made at the time the crime was committed. Additionally, investigators and witnesses may make assumptions or assertions that later can be proven false.

The way physical evidence is stored and preserved in murder and sexual assault cases is also significant. Physical evidence related to a murder or sexual assault case may have been lost, destroyed, mishandled or contaminated, leading to inconclusive or incorrect scientific analysis. An experienced criminal defense attorney can bring together the resources you need to defend yourself in court.

Murder in California can result in the death penalty or in life in prison, with or without parole. It is also a Three Strikes Law offense, which can effectively turn a conviction into a life sentence.

Robert Helfend has more than 30 years of experience in murder defense and takes cases in Ventura County. When your freedom is on the line, your best defense is an experienced criminal defense attorney. Contact Robert Helfend or call toll-free to (800) 834-6434, (805) 273-5611, (310) 456-3317 or (818) 591-2809 for an immediate consultation on your Ventura County murder case.

2a3f76de0d4af24f5142d686a4a5e4d9_crop_northFormer defensive tackle for the San Francisco 49ers, Ray McDonald, has had new details released on his alleged sexual assault case. The woman who claims the former 49ers star sexually assaulted her told the authorities she was attacked after she had fallen or passed out by the pool at McDonald’s house on Dec. 13th. After hitting her head on the ground, she woke up naked on McDonald’s bed at his Silver Creek home.

McDonald told her later Sunday morning the two had sex. She spent the rest of Sunday at his home drinking with him and fellow San Francisco 49er defensive lineman, Aldon Smith, who has been on probation for drunken driving and possession of three assault rifles.

The woman met McDonald and some of his friends at Willow Den Bar on Lincoln Ave., in San Jose Saturday night. She had been drinking with friends at the bar when she started feeling dizzy after two drinks. She told police she had also been drinking at a friend’s house, and wanted to go home due to her sudden illness. Instead, friends drove her to McDonald’s house in south San Jose.

After she reported the incident to the authorities, a police officer used her phone to communicate with McDonald via text message as if he were her. McDonald responded, “S— just happened. We were just enjoying the moment … I don’t understand why you’re bothered. U chose to stay with me another day.” The officer responded stating McDonald shouldn’t have had sex with her after she was knocked out. McDonald texted back, “I didn’t do anything wrong.”

The investigation of McDonald’s actions that night are ongoing. Upon completion, the police will forward the case to the Santa Clara County District Attorney’s office for review. McDonald has yet to be charged with any crime. Police have seized surveillance tapes from McDonald’s house to see if any clues can be uncovered as to whether the sexual encounter was consensual. Among the other items collected during the investigation were McDonald’s cell phone and his bed sheets. Police are searching for the whereabouts of the victim’s long-sleeved shirt and Michael Kors watch.

McDonald was released by the 49ers citing his pattern of getting into troubled situations. On August 31st, he was investigated for assaulting his pregnant fiancée at his home. Due to unsufficient evidence, no charges were filed against McDonald by the District Attorney’s office.