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Archive for May, 2008

Martinez father to stand trial in death of teenage son

By Malaika Fraley
CONTRA COSTA TIMES

MARTINEZ — A Contra Costa judge found enough evidence Friday to try a Martinez man for murder in the death of his 16-year-old son.

Erhan Kayik, 42, is accusing of strangling College Park High School student Volkan Kayik in early July 2007 and burying him in mountainous terrain off a Sierra County highway.

Police became aware of Volkan Kayik’s death after a tip from a close friend of his father. Erhan Kayik had reported the boy missing in June.

The friend, Omer Tutmaz, testified at Kayik’s two-day preliminary hearing that Kayik told him he was choking his son when blood began coming out of his mouth, Deputy District Attorney Colleen Gleason said.

Fearing he’d be in trouble if he let the boy live, he killed him, Tutmaz testified.

It was not revealed in court what father and son were allegedly fighting about.

Kayik told police that the boy “broke his neck on my arm” while he had Volkan in an one-armed headlock during a fight, district attorney inspector Ted Todd testified. Kayik told investigators he buried Volkan in the mountains because of the boy’s love of the outdoors. He also told them that he wished to be buried next to his son when he died, Todd said.

Volkan’s skeletal remains were found Oct. 3 after Kayik led to investigators to the burial site, Martinez police Sgt. Lisa Maloney said. The bones were scattered because animals had unearthed the shallow grave; he was buried in a T-shirt and underpants.

Maloney testified that knowledge of ongoing discord between father and son extended to Children and Family Services, which investigated a report that Kayik hit his son in May 2007.

The social worker assigned to the case reported that Erhan Kayik complained that the son was a frequent liar and would run away from home. The social worker had the father sign a contract that said he would not use physical discipline on his son and had the son sign a contract that said he would behave himself, Maloney said.

In March 2007, police investigated a report from a man at Hidden Lakes Park who said he witnessed Erhan Kayik chasing his son with a steak knife, Maloney said. Volkan often slept in the park — his favorite fishing spot — when he ran away from home.

Kayik and his son emigrated several years ago from Turkey to the United States, where Kayik was self-employed in the rug business.

Kayik, who went through the court proceedings with a Turkish interpreter, appeared melancholy when Judge John Sugiyama held him to answer on one count of murder.

His wife, Volkan’s stepmother, whom Kayik married after his son’s mother died in a traffic accident in Turkey when the boy was 5, left the courthouse in tears.

Reach Malaika Fraley at mfraley@bayareanewsgroup.com.

Posted on Friday, May 9th, 2008
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Armed robber flees with cash from Concord bank

By Roman Gokhman
Contra Costa Times

CONCORD — An armed robber ordered several Guaranty Bank employees to the floor Friday afternoon and escaped with cash despite a dye pack exploding as he got into a car, police said.

An alarm sounding at 2:45 p.m. alerted police to the crime at the bank, located at 5100 Clayton Road.

The robber, described as a stocky African American man between 35 and 40 years old, wore a gray hooded sweatshirt, white high-top shoes, sunglasses and a mask, walked into the building with a white-handled, silver revolver, said police Sgt. Robert Brady.

“He pointed a gun at the teller,” he said. “He ordered the (bank employees) down to the (floor).”

There were no customers inside the bank and no one was injured, Brady said.

The man took two bags of an unspecified amount of cash and ran outside to a white four-door sedan.Witnesses told police the dye pack exploded as he got into the car, Brady said. The color of the dye was not immediately available.

Police ask that anyone with information call 925-671-3241.

Posted on Friday, May 9th, 2008
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BART expands hours for Saturday KFOG, Giants events

Bay City News Service

Bay Area Rapid Transit trains will operate longer hours Saturday to provide service to attendees of the KFOG Kaboom celebration and the San Francisco Giants game.

The Kaboom celebration, which begins at 4 p.m. and features fireworks at about 9 p.m., takes place at piers 30-32 near AT&T Park, BART officials said. The Embarcadero BART station is closest to the event, and organizers encourage the expected 350,000 attendees to utilize public transportation.

“Add (the KaBoom) crowd with the thousands of Giants fans heading to the game and you have potential gridlock on the Bay Bridge and on surface streets near the Embarcadero. To ease congestion and save fans parking fees, BART will provide special service this Saturday,” BART Board President Gail Murray said in a prepared statement.

Flash passes for riders traveling to the Embarcadero station for the KaBoom event and the Giants game will be sold at the Dublin/Pleasanton station from noon to 4 p.m. Saturday, according to BART officials.

Additional information about tickets and BART trip planning is available online at www.bart.gov.

Posted on Friday, May 9th, 2008
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Whooping cough outbreak closes El Sobrante school

Associated Press

A school in Contra Costa County will be closed today because of an outbreak of whooping cough.

A notice posted on the doors of the East Bay Waldorf School in El Sobrante says the school will be closed for the day because of the outbreak involving kindergarten students and teachers.

Contra Costa County health officials plan to release more information about the school closure during a media briefing this morning.

Whooping cough — or pertussis — is considered highly contagious. Symptoms include a prolonged cough that ends in a whooping sound when the person takes a breath.

Posted on Friday, May 9th, 2008
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San Francisco denies negligence claim in tiger mauling

By the San Jose Mercury News

The city and county of San Francisco has rejected a negligence and defamation claim filed by two San Jose brothers injured in the Christmas Day tiger attack.

“An investigation of your client’s claim filed with the City and County of San Francisco has revealed no indication of liability on the part of the City and County,” San Francisco City Attorney Dennis Herrera said in a letter to attorney Mark Geragos.

Geragos filed the claim in late March on behalf of Kulbir and Paul Dhaliwal, San Jose residents mauled by the Siberian tiger that killed their friend, 17-year-old Carlos Sousa Jr.

A claim is a precursor to a lawsuit.

In their claim, the brothers accused a public relations firm hired by the zoo of making false statements about them after the attack, but the claim didn’t give any details.

The brothers’ claim also says San Francisco and the zoo should have been able to prevent the escape of Tatiana, who was shot and killed by police after the attack.

At the time of the attack, the retaining wall in the tiger grotto was about 4 feet shorter than industry standards, and the zoo spent $1.7 million on safety renovations since the attack. A national group that accredits zoos concluded in a report that poor training and short staffing added to the tragedy.

Posted on Friday, May 9th, 2008
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Volunteers sought for creature count on Mount Diablo

By Dennis Cuff
Contra Costa Times

CONCORD — Nature lovers of all ages are invited to join in an intensive count of all the plants, bugs and animals that can be spotted in 24 hours May 16 and 17 on 208 acres in the Mount Diablo foothills.

The Save Mount Diablo Conservation group is organizing the “bioblitz” to bring together scientists and non-scientists to discover and document the biodiversity on the Mangini Ranch. The property is a protected open space in the hills between Lime Ridge Open Space and Mount Diablo State Park.

Natural scientists will guide the volunteers as they take hikes, check out creeks and set up traps and cameras to find species between 4 p.m. May 16 and 4 p.m. May 17.

For information and to register, visit www.savemountdiablo.org or call the group at 925-947-3535.

Last year, volunteers detected 297 species of plants and animals in Save Mount Diablo’s first 24-hour survey, which focused on 327 acres in Irish Canyon.

Posted on Friday, May 9th, 2008
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