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A woman was found dead in a bathtub at an Outer State Street motel on Oct. 14, and the Santa Barbara County Coroner's Office is investigating her death as a possible suicide.
The woman was pronounced dead at the scene, and coroner's personnel were called.
Harwood said it appears the woman may have taken her own life.
Click here for free suicide prevention resources that are available 24 hours a day.
Firefighters, family and friends packed Calvary Chapel Santa Barbara on Oct. 11 to pay their respects to Santa Barbara County firefighter Allen Escobar.
Escobar died 10 days before while off duty. He was 34.
During the funeral, county Fire Chief Michael Dyer presented Escobar's widow, Tayanna, with the flag from her husband's coffin.
Details about his death have not been disclosed.
Click here for additional photos from Escobar's funeral.
A pedestrian was critically injured in downtown Santa Barbara in the middle of the night Oct. 11 when he was hit by a motorist allegedly driving under the influence.
Police Sgt. Riley Harwood said Brent MacDonald Pella, 23, of Los Angeles, was arrested on suspicion of DUI causing injury after he allegedly struck the victim, who was crossing Carrillo Street near the Bath Street intersection around 3 a.m.
The pedestrian, a 24-year-old Fullerton man, was transported by ambulance to Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital with life-threatening injuries, Harwood said.
Breath and blood tests were administered, and Harwood said the breath test measured Pella's blood-alcohol content at 0.11 percent, above the 0.08 level at which a driver is presumed to be drunk. Blood test results are pending.
Pella was booked into Santa Barbara County Jail, with bail set at $100,000.
An apparent lovers' quarrel took a turn for the perverse in the wee hours of Oct. 12 after a Santa Barbara man allegedly punched and held a gun to the head of a man he was dating.
Santa Barbara police Sgt. Riley Harwood said Dru Ethan Stemm, 30, was arrested on suspicion of assault with a deadly weapon and other charges stemming from a domestic disturbance during which he allegedly fired a semiautomatic pistol.
The victim, a 29-year old Claremont man, suffered minor injuries from being punched in the head and face during the altercation, and Stemm hurt his forehead, Harwood said.
The men reportedly had dined downtown earlier that night, then went bar hopping before getting into an argument at a nightclub. Harwood said the altercation resumed at Stemm's residence in the 100 block of West Haley Street where the shots were fired, prompting a 1:15 a.m. police response.
According to Harwood, Stemm wasn't trying to shoot the victim but it's not likely that his date took the gesture as a twisted display of affection.
Stemm was booked into Santa Barbara County Jail on charges of assault with a deadly weapon, terrorist threat, domestic battery, possession of a loaded firearm with the intent to commit a felony, possession of a loaded firearm in a public place and possession of a deadly weapon with the intent to commit assault. Bail was set at $75,000.
Harwood said an emergency protective order was obtained for the victim, who was put in contact with an advocate from the Domestic Violence Emergency Response Team.
Jose Vazquez Prestegui, 40, of Santa Barbara, was sentenced to 145 years to life in prison on Oct. 15 for his convictions on multiple counts of sex crimes against two young girls.
During his trial earlier this year, the jury heard dramatic testimony from the two victims — who are now 16 and 6 — about the crimes he committed against them, including child molestation, sodomy and rape. A jury found Prestegui guilty on all nine counts in July.
After his arrest last year, Prestegui reportedly admitted to police that he molested the younger girl in his home as “payback” for his own history of being molested as a child.
Santa Barbara County Superior Court Judge Brian Hill chose to sentence Prestegui to the maximum sentence to send a message that "the community simply will not tolerate this kind of conduct." The sentence is "a gesture intended to communicate how abhorrent these crimes are," he said.
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This bison wasn't the least bit buffaloed by the National Park Service's bullying at Grand Teton National Park in Wyoming during the recent partial shutdown of the federal government. Whether the animal has been seen since is another question.
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— Bill Macfadyen is Noozhawk’s founder and publisher. Contact him at email@example.com, follow him on Twitter: @noozhawk, or click here to read previous columns. The opinions expressed are his own.