52.1 F
Gilroy, CA
Saturday, December 16, 2017

Early summer heat hits South County

After a one-day scorcher to start the week in South County with triple digits hitting Gilroy and Morgan Hill, cooler but still warm temperatures will prevail over the weekend and into next week, according to Forecaster Bob Benjamin of the National Weather Service.

WWII veteran apologizes for false claims of heroic deeds

MORGAN HILL—A Morgan Hill veteran who was exposed as a fraud by a television news report earlier this week admitted Tuesday he has been lying for more than a decade and apologized for the lies.William C. Goehner, 89, has spent years fooling the Library of Congress, the media and even his own friends and family. He has talked publicly about the four Purple Hearts, three Silver Stars and Navy Cross he received for heroism as a member of a storied Underwater Demolition Team during the Second World War. Morgan Hill Rotary Club issued a presidential citation for valor that he proudly displayed.But it was all a lie. Goehner said at his home June 2 he is sorry for telling the tall tales all these years. That was just a couple days after Goehner’s credibility was called into question by ABC investigative reporter Dan Noyes at a presentation the Morgan Hill man made at the USS Hornet Museum in Alameda.“I’m sorry. I was discharged as a Seaman First (Class),” Goehner said Tuesday. Seaman First Class is several ranks below Lieutenant Commander, which Goehner has claimed many times to have achieved at the age of 19 after just 2.5 years in the Navy.On Tuesday, while admitting he is a fraud, Goehner stopped short of taking full personal blame for the fabrications. He said a friend, whom he declined to name, contacted the Library of Congress on his behalf to set up a video interview for its Veterans History Project in 2004. Goehner said the Library of Congress never did its own fact-checking to verify his story.He said he did not receive any of the previously claimed medals. He did not serve on the Navy’s Underwater Demolition Team. The lead character played by Richard Widmark in 1951’s “The Frogmen” was not based on Goehner and he did not serve as a film consultant, he admitted.The former editors of this newspaper— when it was under different management and ownership—reported Goehner’s detailed accounts under the headline “The original Navy SEAL,” on January 11, 2013.Goehner explained his lies by saying, “I guess you get in the habit of it.”Goehner’s son Victor showed his father the DVD with his 2004 video interview for the Library of Congress.“But you’re the one who said you did these things,” Victor said.“Don’t sit here and say you didn’t know about it.”Victor said his father has told  the war and war medals stories “as long as I can remember.”When confronted by Noyes May 30 at the USS Hornet Museum with military records that disprove most of his story, Goehner insisted on camera that the stories were true. Victor said Tuesday morning was the first time his father “remotely admitted he’s wrong.”One veteran who vouched for Goehner, and recommended him to the USS Hornet Museum, is Morgan Hill resident and U.S. Air Force veteran Brian Shiroyama. He is “obviously...disappointed” in Goehner, but “pleased” to hear he has finally admitted to his lies.Goehner served in the U.S. Navy in Europe, Africa and the Pacific before and after World War Two, according to his naval separation documents. Goehner and his son showed these records to Gilroy Dispatch editor Jack Foley May 31, when Goehner continued to insist his stories were true.A day later, his son, Victor, 60, said his father has a long history of embellishing and fabricating things about his life.Goehne  enlisted in December 1943 and served honorably in the reserves until 1954, his documents state. Theyalso list his training in the navigation and steering of LSTs, navy lingo for Landing Ship, Tank.On June 2, Goehner continued to insist he received UDT training at Little Creek, but his son and a former Navy SEAL says that’s not possible.At the National Navy UDT-SEAL Museum in Ft. Pierce, Florida, executive director Richard Kaiser called Goehner’s combat stories “just preposterous.”He said the museum has a database that lists every person ever trained in underwater demolition work and Goehner “is not on it.”Underwater Demolition Teams, or UDTs, never were deployed in Europe during World War II, said Kaiser, a former Navy SEAL and recipient of  the Silver Star Medal for Valor in the so-called “Black Hawk Down” action in Somalia, Africa, in 1993.Goehner has also claiimed he was a Los Gatos policeman and went to Santa Clara University law school.Neither the city nore school has a record of him on the payroll or as a student.Goehner and his son said  June 2 that Goehner was  an “auxiliary” police staff person,  “kind of like a volunteer,” said to Victor.“It was wrong of me,” Goehner said of his tall tales. “It was absolutely wrong. I shouldn’t have let it go this far. I’ve got to come out with the truth. It’s my fault, I guess.”
A Morgan Hill man will serve nearly five years in prison after admitting he possessed one of the largest collections of child pornography ever found in Silicon Valley, according to authorities.Paul Lawrence Vella, 60, entered a guilty plea Aug. 4, 2014 in federal court in the Northern District of California, according to U.S. Attorney Melinda Haag.Vella, an engineer, admitted to investigators that he used his computer to download thousands of images of child pornography through a P2P network, and saved those images on hard drives, discs and other digital devices, according to Haag.Authorities from the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children identified 915 known child victims from his collections of child pornography, Haag added.Vella admitted to the court that he knowingly possessed more than 600 images of child pornography, according to authorities. Law enforcement also found more than 86,000 images and more than 2,100 videos depicting child pornography in Vella’s possession.Some of the images and videos showed prepubescent minors and images portraying sadistic or masochistic conduct, authorities said. Some depicted the forcible rape of, and other violence against young children.Court documents revealed that Vella possessed one of the largest collections of child pornography ever found in Silicon Valley.Vella’s arrest and conviction are the result of an investigation by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations and the Santa Clara County Sheriff’s Office, Haag added.After serving a sentence of 59 months in prison, Vella will be on supervised probation for seven years, according to Haag’s statement. He will also be required to register as a sex offender, participate in a sex offender treatment program and pay $29,500 in restitution.Vella has been in custody since he pleaded guilty Aug. 4.

Storm drenches Morgan Hill

The storm that has prompted severe weather and flash flooding alerts from the National Weather Service has been pounding Morgan Hill since about 10 a.m. Thursday.The Santa Clara Valley Water District’s rain gauges placed throughout Morgan Hill show nearly half an inch of rain has fallen in some areas over the last three hours.The City of Morgan Hill added a third sandbag station for residents and business owners to stock up on flood proofing supplies. Sandbags and sand are available at the following locations:—City Corp Yard, 100 Edes Court,—El Toro Fire Station, 18300 Old Monterey Road,—Depot Street near Fourth Street, in the parking lot adjacent to the railroad tracks in downtown Morgan Hill.SCVWD officials have so far delivered 45,000 sandbags to communities throughout Santa Clara County this week, in anticipation of the storm which is expected to continue through Friday, Dec. 12, according to a press release from SCVWD.Water district staff are also closely monitoring creek levels, including that of Upper Llagas Creek in Morgan Hill, which could contribute to local flooding if they continue to rise.
Following a recent revelation in court that Paradise Valley Elementary School teacher John Loyd is now suspected of sexually assaulting four children, Morgan Hill police are seeking anyone who might have had inappropriate contact with the suspect over the...
A federal investigation resulted in the arrest and conviction of a Morgan Hill man who supplied highly pure methamphetamine to western Arkansas drug dealers, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office. A total of three suspects were sentenced Oct. 17 on a variety of convictions on drug trafficking and related charges, according to Conner Eldridge, U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Arkansas. Javier Lopez-Canseco, 22 of Morgan Hill, was sentenced to 108 months in prison and three years supervised release for conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine, according to a press release from the U.S. Attorney’s office. Also sentenced were two Arkansas residents—Luis Garcia-Duenas, 33 of Springdale, to 151 months in prison for distribution of methamphetamine; and Victor Herrera-Perez, 31 of Fayetteville, to 46 months in prison for distribution of methamphetamine. U.S. District Judge Timothy Brooks presided over the sentencing hearing in federal court in Fayetteville, Ark.All three suspects pleaded guilty to the charges Feb. 18, according to authorities. The arrests followed several months of undercover investigation by federal agents from the Drug Enforcement Administration. “With the investigation, arrest, and now sentencing of these three individuals, another drug trafficking organization has been put out of business in the Western District of Arkansas,” Eldridge said. “Other crimes, sometimes violent, often accompany this type of illegal activity, and prosecuting those involved remains a top priority of this office.”Federal agents arranged a series of “monitored controlled purchases” of methamphetamine from Herrera-Perez and Garcia-Duenas over the summer of 2013, according to the press release. Through this repeated contact with the drug dealers, agents were eventually connected to Lopez-Canseco, who they suspected was the source of supply for the drugs they had been purchasing. On Sept. 19, 2013, agents arranged a purchase of a “large quantity” of methamphetamine from Garcia-Duenas, the press release said. The two parties agreed the dealer would be paid $20,000 in cash at a future date. Several conversations followed over the next few days regarding the drug debt, which led to telephone contact with Lopez-Canseco, authorities said. Lopez-Canseco told the undercover buyer that the $20,000 debt should be paid directly to him. The suspect agreed to a meeting at a business in Springdale, Ark., describing the vehicle he would be in, the press release said. When Lopez-Canseco arrived to the meeting, agents contacted him and took possession of his cell phone, which investigators determined was the same device he used to set up the meeting, authorities said. The suspected substance was sent to the crime lab, where it registered as 551 grams of 98.7-percent pure methamphetamine, according to the press release. 
Two Hollister men died in a traffic accident on U.S. 101 in Morgan Hill early Sunday morning, according to authorities. The two men were traveling southbound on the freeway in a 2005 Nissan about 1:30 a.m. Sept. 21, according to the California Highway Patrol. For an unknown reason, the vehicle traveled off the roadway onto the right shoulder just south of the Tennant Avenue exit and collided with a sign post, authorities said. Both occupants of the vehicle suffered fatal injuries as a result of the collision. The Santa Clara County Coroner’s Office identified the driver as Colton Moag, 23, and the passenger as Tyler Raisbeck, 30. Both were Hollister residents. 
San Jose Sharks forward Logan Couture and teammates will sign autographs in Morgan Hill Sept. 17 to raise money and awareness for the ongoing search effort for Sierra LaMar.
A Superior Court judge upheld the city’s termination of a former Morgan Hill police officer who illegally deleted photos from a suspect’s cell phone and repeatedly lied about his actions following a 2011 incident that led to an internal investigation, according to court documents.

Burnt body identified as San Jose woman

The Santa Clara County Sheriff’s Office identified the woman found burnt to death on the side of a rural Morgan Hill road Aug. 28 as Julie Teresa Calocci, 35 of San Jose. Investigators have not released any additional information about the apparent homicide. No potential suspects have yet been identified. Authorities responded to the area of Oak Glen Avenue and Uvas Road about 8 a.m. Aug. 28 in response to a call reporting someone was on fire about 30 feet off the side of the road. The caller, a passing motorist, saw smoke off the side of the road, and was concerned it might have been a grass fire, authorities said. The motorist stopped to investigate and saw a body on fire in the brush.Sheriff’s deputies, paramedics and fire personnel arrived and found a smoldering grass fire and a body down an embankment, according to authorities. Paramedics pronounced Calocci dead upon arrival, police said. Friends of Calocci’s have set up a site at gofundme.com to raise money for her burial expenses. “Julie was a California native that loved her children, friends and family (and) she enjoyed the outdoors, music, the beach,” reads a message on the site. Money raised through the site will be used “for a proper memorial and cremation service.”The site can be found at gofundme.com/dyx3js.Anyone who saw anything suspicious in the area of Oak Glen Avenue, Uvas Road and Chesbro Reservoir about 8 a.m. Aug. 28 can call the sheriff's office anonymous tip line at (408) 808-4431.

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