Kids at play in Sabre Springs, a block away from the van Dam home
Trigger Happy or Just Plain Happy? Who is David Medina?
Dressed neatly in a white oxford cloth shirt with a blue pullover sweater, David Medina, a.k.a. “Happy,” pursed his lips and appeared to listen closely as Judge John Thompson handed down Medina’s sentence — nine consecutive life terms plus 156 years. It was August 1, 2001. Medina was 24 years old.
By Justin Wolff, Jan. 17, 2002 | Read full article
7-Eleven on H Street. When Cruz walked out of the store, Medina and Bury told him to shut up before he got “capped.”
What Made Them Kill
Our local contribution to death row.
When Judge William Mudd sentenced David Westerfield to death on January 3 of this year, Westerfield joined a special subset of San Diegans. Of the 616 inmates on California’s death row, 31, including Westerfield, were convicted and sentenced in America’s Finest City. A Linda Vista man murdered the pretty young mother of two tiny boys, cut off her head and hands, and dumped her body near Pine Valley in 1979. A Chula Vista couple, the only husband and wife currently on death row, tortured their four-year-old niece in 1995, then burned her to death in a bathtub full of scalding water.
By Leslie Ryland, Feb. 20, 2003 | Read full article
Frank Sexton: “Chief Justice Rose Bird said that I hadn’t proven intent to kill. He only cut her head off. I suppose she could have throbbed around for a while.”
Photo by Sandy Huffaker, Jr.
“Hackers are not going to tolerate somebody else’s chip in their computer.”
H is for Hacker
Chilling smiles at the Bristol Hotel.
Like many hackers, David Nakamura Hulton goes by more than one name. His other one, his handle, is h1kari. Some people say you shouldn’t ask a hacker what his handle means. Handles aren’t always meant to be serious. Sometimes they’re designed to foil any journalist who assumes a handle is a window into a hacker’s soul. At the least, your inquiry indicates you’re a rube in hacker circles.
By Jeanne Schinto, June 19, 2003 | Read full article
Crazy About You
A former UCSD psychiatric resident with questionable habits.
The date was September 27, 1991, and Dr. Stephen Gould, a La Jolla psychiatrist in private practice, wrote a memo regarding an unpaid assignment he had been given by the University of California San Diego Medical Center. Gould had been asked by Dr. Sidney Zisook, another psychiatrist then employed by UCSD’s Gifford Clinic, to keep track of a second-year psychiatric resident by the name of Dr. Robert Allan Weitzel.
By Matt Potter, July 6, 2000 | Read full article
Robert Weitzel (left) and attorney Peter Stirba (center). Stirba has argued that much of the evidence against his client is circumstantial.
Murders Most Foul
Horrors of “The Red Book”
Bill Johnson, the manager and head of the Chula Vista PD crime lab, has collected 20 or so crime scenes in what he calls “The Red Book,” each scene represented by a few, and sometimes only one, photograph. Bill (and his colleagues) get there after the deeds are done. He’s worked as a crime-scene investigator and forensic specialist for 25 years, so this collection is a fraction of what he’s seen in his career. Some of the pictures are grisly, some are sad, some even funny, and some just nutty-tragic.
By Thomas Lux, Jan. 20, 2000 | Read full article
Nancy Farrar recently pulled some prints from the inside of a rubber glove used in a robbery.
Good Life in Sabre Springs
Murder fractures a neighborhood’s image.
Polly Ross, a real estate agent for Remax of Poway, has been selling Sabre Springs for three years. She also lives in Sabre Springs. “I think what happened initially hurt sales in the area, but when people began to recover, so did the market there. It was down for about two months until they found Danielle, and then even more when they found her body and when Westerfield was arrested.
By Jill Underwood, Aug. 8, 2002 | Read full article
Westerfield house. “I had a client who wanted to see the Westerfield property, and I wouldn’t show it because of my ties to the van Dams.”