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Diablo's Week in Review May 2-9, 2009

Oakland cop killer linked to two more rapes, Orinda police investigates Craigslist car and robbery scam, and schools reopen after swine flu scare.

Lovelle Mixon fatally wounded four Oakland police officers on March 21. He has since been linked two at least three rapes, two of which occurred the morning of the day the officers were killed.

Oakland Police Department

Cop killer linked to rapes of two women hours before shooting officers: Police say that Lovelle Mixon robbed and raped two women at gunpoint earlier the same day that he fatally wounded four Oakland police officers in two East Oakland gun battles. These two rapes add to the growing list of crimes associated with Mixon, a 26-year-old parolee, and suggest his motive for shooting two officers, John Hege of Concord and Sgt. Mark Dunakin, during a routine traffic stop on March 21. Two SWAT members, John Sakai and Erv Romans, were killed, as was Mixon, when the officers stormed an apartment building where Mixon had barricaded himself. Mixon has since been publicly connected to a 2007 murder, the rape of a 12-year-old girl, and a Modesto home invasion robber.

Craigslist car and robbery scam reaches Orinda: A couple who came to Orinda last weekend, thinking they were meeting with a car seller they found through Craigslist, became the latest victims of what police say is a gunman’s scam to find victims to rob. The couple managed to drive off and not lose anything to the man wearing a ski mask and holding a black semi-automatic. Three Lafayette men, however, wound up losing $50 to a gunman on April 22 when they went to another locaton in Orinda. Police are looking into connections between these Orinda incidents and a similar attack in Piedmont and three attacks in Oakland, including one Monday in which Concord man was grazed in the chest.

Hackers gain access to confidential information on Cal, Mills students: Hackers, believed to be from Asia, obtained Social Security numbers and health insurance information on tens of thousands of UC Berkeley and Mills students and alumni after breaking into the computer databases at Cal's health services center. So far, no students have reported being victims of identity theft. The medical information includes nontreatment data such as immunization records, names of doctors seen, and dates of visits.

Schools affected by swine flu re-open: San Ramon’s Coyote Creek Elementary and 13 other Bay Area schools welcomed back students after being closed when suspected or confirmed cases of H1V1 turned up in their populations. Coyote Creek was closed after two students tested positive for the virus, but reopened Wednesday. Three other East Bay schools in Bay Pay, Pittsburg, and Antioch were also closed. The schools reopened after U.S. health officials decided it’s no longer necessary to close schools due to swine flu outbreaks.

San Ramon Valley school parcel tax passes: Measure C, which may help the San Ramon Valley school district save the jobs of some pink-slipped teachers amd staff, passed by nearly 73 percent. The measure replaces a current $90 per year parcel tax that expires in June with a $144 tax and is espected to bring in $7 million per year for a district facing $16 million in cuts.

Martinez man convicted in Walnut Creek home-invasion murder: Jurors found 43-year-old Nathan Medina guilty of killing Joshua Rhoads, 25, whose parents were suing Medina's stepfather over an addition to their Saranap neighborhood home.  Rhoads was shot to death after a man broke into his mother's home, pepper-sprayed her in the eyes, and forced him and his mother to seek refuge in a laundry room.  Rhoads was shot while holding the door and putting himself between his mother and the gunman.  Rhoads' mother identified Medina as her son's killer, but Medina testified that he was being framed. 

Participation of suspect in East Bay girls' disappearances on a jury may derail murder conviction: A public defender wants a new trial for a Martinez man convicted of killing his 16-year-old son because one of the jurors was a suspect in the high-profile disapperances of three East Bay girls, 7 to 13, in 1988 and 1989, and of a 4-year-old Fairfield girl in 1991.  The public defender said Timothy Bindner misrepresented himself and his background to get on the jury that in February convicted a Turkish businessman of killing his son in July 2007. Police investigated Bindner in the still unsolved cases involving Amber Swartz, 7, of Pinole; Michaela Garchet, 9, of Hayward, Ilene Misheloff, 13, of Dublin, and Amanda Nikki Campbell, 4, of Fairfield. But he was never charged.

With the death of the owner, fate of coveted, undeveloped Danville property in question: The April 19 death of rancher Armand Borel, 80, has prompted speculation about what will happen to his land on the east side of Interstate 680 at Fostoria Way. Borel wanted his walnut orchards, which had been in his family since 1923, preserved for an agricultural park and not given over to developers, but there is question over whether he formalized his wishes prior to his death.

Operators of famous (or, rather, infamous) Oakland bakery back in business: Family members behind the defunct Your Black Muslim Bakery are once again baking and selling muffins and other goodies. The original so-called black empowerment business closed after going bankrupt, running afoul of the law, and its leader, Yusef Bey IV, was linked to the murder of journalist Chauncey Bailey and other murders and crimes. The new Your Community Café & Bakery in North Oakland is run by Jamal Bey, who was caught up in a 2005 liquor store vandalism spree. The baker is Daulet Bey, Bey IV’s mother and one of the widows of the bakery’s original founder, Yusef Bey, who died while facing rape charges.