Seven High Profile Criminal Cases in the Pasadena Courthouse This Week

Published : Monday, October 15, 2018 | 4:35 AM

This week, seven high-profile Pasadena criminal cases will move forward in Pasadena Courthouse of the Los Angeles County Superior Court. Here’s an update and profile of each of these cases.
Preliminary Hearing Setting for Lance Anthony Semkus, October 15

Pasadena resident Lance Anthony Semkus, 74, is charged with one felony count each of willful, deliberate and premeditated attempted murder, mayhem, attempted second-degree robbery and two counts of cruelty to an animal.

He is also facing charges which include allegations of great bodily injury and use of a knife.

On January 4, after numerous delays, Semkus finally appeared in court and pleaded not guilty to the charges.

The case started on October 23, 2017, when Semkus allegedly attempted to drag a 19-year-old Pasadena woman and her dog into his vehicle in front of a pet store in the 3300 block of Sierra Madre Villa Avenue. Passersby saw what was happening and came to her aid. The suspect fled in a black SUV.

About an hour and a half later, Semkus reportedly approached a 26-year-old Winnetka woman and slashed her throat with a knife outside of a strip mall in the 600 block of South Arroyo Parkway. She screamed and fought Semkus off, but suffered severe injuries to her hand and neck.

The suspect fled in an SUV and was tracked by the Pasadena police helicopter in the area of Fair Oaks Avenue near California Blvd. Officers conducted a traffic stop and arrested him.

The woman was taken to a local hospital.

Semkus, said to be a Vietnam veteran who once served in the Burbank Police Department, is being held in lieu of $10 million bail. He faces a possible maximum sentence of more than 32 years to life in state prison if convicted.

Los County Deputy District Attorney Ryan Erlich is prosecuting.


Arraignment for Jose Antonio Santiago, October 15

Jose Antonio Santiago, 66, is charged with charged with two felony counts: one count of murder and one count of attempted murder, for allegedly fatally stabbing a man and wounding another on September 12.

Prosecutors said Santiago allegedly stabbed Jerry Chan, 42, and Dan Trevino, 32, in the 2600 block of E. Colorado Blvd. in Pasadena. Chan was fatally stabbed and Trevino was stabbed in the leg. The defendant was arrested soon after the attack.

The felony complaint includes allegations that the defendant personally used a knife and inflicted great bodily injury.

If convicted as charged, he faces a maximum possible sentence of life in state prison.

Deputy District Attorney Christopher Stogel is prosecuting.
People’s testimony resumes for Anthony Seth Mcdaniel, October 15

Anthony Seth McDaniel, 41, is charged with two felony counts of kidnapping to commit oral copulation, after allegedly kidnapping two women on April 30, 2016 for the purpose of sexually assaulting them while he was wearing a court-ordered ankle monitor.

The charges included allegations that he caused great bodily injury to one of the victims and that he had a previous conviction in 2008 of assault with intent to commit a sexual assault.

McDaniel allegedly invited two women to get into his truck to give them a ride. Instead, he reportedly took the women to a different location in an attempt to sexually assault them. One of the women jumped from the moving truck and suffered a fractured ankle. The other was allegedly threatened with a gun but managed to escape when the suspect allegedly pushed her out of the vehicle after a collision on the freeway.

McDaniel was being held on $2 million bail. On May 20, 2016, he pleaded not guilty to the charges.

If convicted as charged, he could face two life terms in state prison.

Deputy District Attorney Carolina Lugo is prosecuting.
Preliminary Hearing Setting for Donte Antoine Fox, October 15

Donte Antoine Fox, 22, is charged with one felony count each of murder, vehicular manslaughter, hit-and-run driving resulting in death, grand theft of an automobile and driving or taking a vehicle without consent, in connection with the hit-and-run death of a motorcyclist in Pasadena on October 6, 2016.

The Los Angeles County District Attorney’s office said the felony complaint includes allegations that Fox was convicted in 2016 of first-degree residential burglary.

The defendant pleaded not guilty to the charges in July.

Records of the case show Fox allegedly stole a Tesla Model S 85D and later crashed into motorcyclist Oscar Chavez, 60. The victim died at the scene and the defendant reportedly fled and remained at large until his arrest on June 21.

Fox faces more than 36 years to life in state prison if convicted as charged. Bail is set at more than $2.1 million.

Deputy District Attorney Ryan Erlich is prosecuting.
Jury Trial for Danny R. Wooten, Tyrone Collins, October 16

Danny R. Wooten, 55, Tyrone Collins, 58, and Melody Jenkins, 50, are charged in a 60-count felony complaint for arrest warrant, with allegations of embezzlement, conflict of interest and grand theft with excessive taking, in connection with an embezzlement scandal where the three are suspected of stealing more than $6 million from the city over the past 10 years.

Wooten was a management analyst in the Pasadena Department of Public Works. The DA’s office said Wooten created false invoices for the City’s underground utility program and stole $6.4 million. Prosecutors said Wooten directed more than $2 million of the money to Collins, owner of Collins Electric, and gave more than $40,000 to Jenkins, who was a temporary City employee.

If convicted, Wooten, who is being held on $1.75 million bail, faces up to 28 years in state prison. Collins and Jenkins face up to 18 and four years in state prison, respectively.

Deputy District Attorney Bjorn Dodd is prosecuting.

Preliminary Hearing Setting for Valentino Gutierrez, October 17

Valentino Gutierrez, 57, homeless, is charged with one count each of murder and arson of property. He also is accused of using an accelerant.

Gutierrez was arrested on February 2 outside Union Station Homeless Services in the 400 block of South Raymond Avenue by a large contingent Los Angeles Police, after firefighters and police discovered the remains of his wife burning in a Los Angeles Home Depot parking lot. Detectives traced him to Pasadena.

Gutierrez pleaded not guilty during his arraignment February 15. He is currently being held at the Twin Towers Correctional Facility in Los Angeles, with bail set at $2.17 million.

If convicted as charged, Gutierrez faces a possible maximum sentence of life in prison.

Deputy District Attorney Rachel Bowers is prosecuting.


Preliminary Hearing Setting for Johnny Paul Siganoff,aka John Siganoff,John Szabo,and Frank Siganoff, October 18

Johnny Paul Siganoff, 33, aka John Siganoff, John Szabo and Frank Siganoff of Phoenix, Arizona, is charged with one felony count each driving or taking a vehicle without consent, carjacking, assault upon a peace officer, two felony counts of attempted carjacking and three felony counts of resisting executive officer.

The District Attorney’s Office said he stole a car from a gas station clerk in Mission Viejo on May 30. The defendant later crashed into two vehicles on the 134 Freeway at Harvey Drive in Glendale and reportedly tried to carjack those two vehicles before returning to the car he had previously carjacked and fleeing. He was pursued and was arrested after a struggle near Riverside Drive and the 134 in Burbank.

The defendant pleaded not guilty to the charges during his arraignment on June 4.

Siganoff faces a possible maximum sentence of more than nine years in state prison if convicted as charged. Bail was set at $300,000.

Deputy District Attorney Iliana Alvarez is prosecuting.

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