Man pleads not guilty in Lodi homicide
The man accused of stabbing Eileen Pelt in the back seat of his mother's car in Lodi, then dumping her body and fleeing from police, pleaded not guilty Monday to murder charges.
David Paradiso, now 27, is tentatively scheduled to return to court April 25 for a preliminary hearing, said San Joaquin County Deputy District Attorney Kevin Mayo. At such a hearing, prosecutors present evidence for a judge to rule whether it warrants heading to trial.
Paradiso, of Stockton, is accused of stabbing Pelt, of Auburn, on the afternoon of Dec. 4 as they rode through a West Oak Street in Lodi, near his father's home. Lodi Police said at the time that Paradiso then threatened his mother and ordered her to drive east, where he allegedly dumped Pelt's body in rural Amador County.
Paradiso then allegedly took his mother home before fleeing in her car. She went to police, and other law enforcement agencies caught up to him that night near Rio Vista. After a lengthy high-speed pursuit back through Lodi, Paradiso was arrested east of Stockton after the car blew a tire.
Officials have released no motive in the case and said Paradiso and Pelt had only recently met.
Paradiso, who was on parole for separate convictions of evading police and assaulting a correctional officer, is being held without bail at Deuel Vocational Institution in Tracy.
Two receive gunshot wounds in legs
Two Lodi men were shot and wounded Sunday night after exchanging words with several people in a passing vehicle, police said.
The victims, ages 19 and 27, each received one gunshot wound to the leg during the 10:28 p.m. shooting in the 400 block of Harold Street, Lt. Chris Piombo said Monday. They were treated and released from Lodi Memorial Hospital.
The two men were traveling through the area, one on a bicycle, when a white mini-van pulled up. As many as four males inside the van began yelling and cussing, one victim told police, and then shots were fired.
Officers found three shell casings and two live rounds in the street, and a neighbor then called police Monday morning after finding a bullet hole in the side of her house.
Nobody was arrested.
Man shot in Lodi road rage incident
A man was shot and wounded Monday evening while sitting in his car at a busy Lodi intersection, in what police said was an apparent case of road rage.
The victim drove himself to Lodi Memorial Hospital, where he was treated for a non-life threatening wound to the upper body, Lt. Bill Barry said.
Several hours later, police had seized the suspect's vehicle but were still looking for him.
The shooting happened around 6:15 p.m. on westbound Kettleman Lane at Ham Lane. The suspect got out of a red Chevy Camaro, walked over to the victim's vehicle and fired a small-caliber handgun through the glass window, Barry said.
A witness called police with a license plate and officers tracked it to a nearby home, where they found the car, though the suspect had since left in another vehicle. They subsequently found the second vehicle and were getting an arrest warrant. His name was not available Monday night.
Police were investigating whether the shooting was connected to another report of road rage earlier Monday near the McDonald's on West Kettleman Lane. That case also involved a red Chevy Camaro, Barry said. It did not appear to be connected to a drive-by shooting the previous night in east Lodi.
'Battle of the Sexes' being held at Tokay High
The Tokay High School comedysportz improv comedy league has its next league competition on Thursday, Feb. 8.
The girls go against the boys at this latest competition, "just in time for Valentine's Day," said comedysportz advisor and drama teacher James Jones.
Unlike traditional theater performance, the audience gets involved - a la TV's "Whose Line is It Anyway?" - but with family friendly themes. The performers play improvisational games based on suggestions from members of the audience.
The audience will pick the games, call "fouls" and volunteer for a variety of wacky tasks. At the end of the night, the audience votes who wins: the boys, or the girls.
The Tokay comedysportz high school league team performs Thursday, Feb. 8 starting at 7 p.m. at the campus' Sidney Halsey Theater. Admission is $5.
To reserve tickets or for more information, call the theater arts department at 331-7877.
Lodi Electric Utility buys three years of power
Lodi Electric Utility has bought three year's worth of baseline power at $68 per megawatt hour.
At a City Council meeting two weeks ago, the council authorized utility Director George Morrow to enter into a contract to buy power for three years. On Friday, Conaco Philips agreed to the utility's price of $68 per megawatt hour, Morrow said.
"A flat price for three years is incredible," Morrow said. "I think it is a good deal."
Morrow added that rating agencies, which have downgraded the utility's credit rating, will look favorably on the deal.
Lodi Grape Day today
Winegrape soil, weed control, mealy bugs and leaf viruses are among the topics at today's Lodi Grape Day at Hutchins Street Square, 125 S. Hutchins St.
Morning sessions are free, and the noon luncheon costs $15. Tickets can be purchased at the door.
Lodi Grape Day, organized by the University of California Cooperative Extension, will begin with registration and coffee at 7:30 a.m. The first session begins at 8.
WWII aircraft observers sought for LNS story
In the early years of World War II, Lodi, like many communities, had trained aircraft observers who volunteered to man lookout posts and watch overhead for aircraft flying over Lodi.
There were at least two observation posts, one west of Woodbridge and one east of Lodi. Observation posts typically were manned 24 hours a day, in shifts ranging from two to six hours.
The News-Sentinel would like to hear from any aircraft observers who manned these posts or anyone who may have knowledge about the Lodi area observation posts.
If you have information, please call Christi Kennedy at 369-1212.
Stockton teen gunned down at illegal car rally
STOCKTON - A 19-year-old man was killed and another was seriously injured during a pair of shootings at an illegal car stunt show, police said.
Manuel Fajardo, 19, died Sunday after he was rushed to San Joaquin General Hospital with gunshot wounds. The second victim, who was not immediately named by police, was expected to survive.
Officers said the shootings came after a fight at the so-called sideshow where as many as 200 people watched dangerous driving stunts to the soundtrack of blaring rap music, said Lt. Chuck McLaughlin.
Police began cracking down on the illegal parties last year after another teenager died while he was doing a stunt with his head hanging out of an automobile. At least two other shootings last year were linked to sideshows around Stockton.
The site of Sunday's shooting - a large parking lot tucked behind warehouses - was marked with tire tracks and littered with beer bottles.
First published: Tuesday, February 6, 2007