Roundup: Murder charges filed in Ventura homicide, more local news




  • In US
  • 2022-09-30 23:36:58Z
  • By VC Star | Ventura County Star
Traffic ramps at Highway 33 in Ventura, off Olive Street, where a murder victim was found in 2021.
Traffic ramps at Highway 33 in Ventura, off Olive Street, where a murder victim was found in 2021.  

Here's a roundup of recent incidents and announcements from Ventura County agencies:

Woman charged in Kelsey Dillon homicide

VENTURA COUNTY - The Ventura County District Attorney's Office filed murder charges Thursday against a Ventura woman accused of killing an unhoused woman last year in Ventura.

Sandra Dillard, 40, appeared in Ventura County Superior Court for an arraignment hearing. Prosecutors also filed a number of special allegations, including that Dillard used a knife and a blunt object to commit the crime.

Kelsey Dillon, 30, was found murdered in Ventura last year.
Kelsey Dillon, 30, was found murdered in Ventura last year.  

The victim, Kelsey Ann Dillon, 30, of Thousand Oaks, was found dead on Sept. 24, 2021, near the Highway 33 on-ramp at Olive Street in Ventura. She is believed to have been killed two days before her body was located, according to the DA's office. She died of stab wounds and blunt force trauma to the head, prosecutors said.

Dillard was arrested Tuesday after a yearlong investigation by California Highway Patrol detectives.

She did not enter a plea during Thursday's court appearance. Her arraignment was continued to Nov. 2. Dillard remains in county jail custody where she is not eligible for bail.

Suspect in Paw Works burglary charged with felonies

Security footage shows a man stealing rescue dog Pretty Lady from the nonprofit Paw Works shelter in Camarillo in June.
Security footage shows a man stealing rescue dog Pretty Lady from the nonprofit Paw Works shelter in Camarillo in June.  

VENTURA COUNTY - The Ventura County District Attorney's Office on Friday charged a Newbury Park man with several felonies in connection with a burglary at an animal rescue facility in June that resulted in a shelter dog's death.

Miles Mathew Berry, 33, was charged with commercial burglary, grand theft and animal cruelty, all felonies, along with special enhancements.

He pleaded not guilty to all charges and denied all special allegations during an arraignment hearing in Ventura County Superior Court Friday afternoon.

Authorities allege that Berry broke into the Paw Works Animal Rescue facility in Camarillo on June 9. A German shepherd that was stolen, Pretty Girl, died hours later after being found on Highway 101 in Newbury Park, where the 3-year-old dog was apparently struck by a car.

The nonprofit rescue group had sought the public's help finding the suspect, who could be seen on surveillance video inside the facility wearing a hooded sweatshirt.

The Ventura County Sheriff's Office, which investigated the case, arrested Berry on Wednesday after executing a search warrant at his Newbury Park residence.

Pretty Girl, a 3-year-old rescue dog who died after getting stolen from the Paw Works facility in Camarillo in June.
Pretty Girl, a 3-year-old rescue dog who died after getting stolen from the Paw Works facility in Camarillo in June.  

Sheriff's officials said Berry also allegedly tried to break into the same Paw Works facility on Sept. 4. They arrested him on suspicion of attempted commercial burglary for that incident, although prosecutors have not yet filed charges in that case.

During Friday's hearing, Judge Nancy Ayers ordered Berry to find a new home for his cat, court records show. He was ordered, if released, to stay 100 yards away from Paw Works, to not possess any animals or burglary tools and to submit to searches for animal and burglary tools.

A bail review hearing is set for Tuesday afternoon in courtroom 13. A defense motion to reduce bail was denied Friday. Prosecutors have filed a motion to deny bail.

Berry was returned to county jail custody with bail set at $50,000.

Piru homicide suspect deemed incompetent for trial

Yellow police tape blocked an alley in Piru during a homicide investigation in April 2021.
Yellow police tape blocked an alley in Piru during a homicide investigation in April 2021.  

VENTURA COUNTY - A 26-year-old Piru man was found mentally incompetent to stand trial for murder on Thursday, according to court records.

Daniel Drum was suspected of stabbing and killing his father, Steve Acosta, 62, early in the morning of April 21 at their home in the 500 block of Main Street in Piru.

Drum had been reported missing the day before, but returned to his family's home overnight, according to the Ventura County Sheriff's Office. He had been living with his father for the past six months after moving there from San Bernardino County.

Drum fled the residence after an altercation with his father that proved fatal, officials said. He was arrested nearby at the intersection of Center and Church Streets.

Court proceedings were suspended after Drum was declared not competent to stand trial Thursday by Ventura County Superior Court Judge Nancy Ayers.

Drum remains in custody at county jail until he is placed at a state mental hospital, where he will receive treatment until his mental condition improves for court proceedings to possibly resume.

3 minors treated after lighting explosive

VENTURA - Three youths were transported to a hospital after reportedly lighting a powerful firecracker or another explosive device in west Ventura Thursday afternoon, according to the Ventura Police Department.

Emergency crews, including firefighters and ambulance personnel, responded around 4:40 p.m. to El Medio Street, east of Ventura Avenue.

The minors, believed to be in their early teens, told police they had found the device and lit it, according to Cmdr. Edward Caliento.

Police believe the explosive was likely an M-80 or possibly a seal bomb, Caliento said. The latter are used by fishermen to scare off seals when using nets, he said.

The juveniles didn't appear to be seriously injured and seemed to have suffered powder burns.

The police department is not treating the matter as a criminal incident, Caliento said, adding authorities hope the minors learned a valuable lesson.

101 lane closures in Agoura Hills

LOS ANGELES COUNTY - Nighttime lane and ramp closures at Liberty Canyon Road on Highway 101 in Agoura Hills next week could impact Ventura County motorists heading to or from the Los Angeles area.

The reductions are planned Monday through Friday nights. The closures are being prompted by work on the Wallis Annenberg Wildlife Crossing, according to Caltrans.

Starting at 7 p.m. each night, one northbound lane of the 101 will be closed. At 8 p.m., one southbound lane will be closed.

At 10 p.m., two lanes in each direction will be closed. The lane closures will leave two lanes open on both the northbound and southbound side of the freeway.

All traffic lanes will reopen by 5 a.m. the following morning.

Also on Monday through Friday nights next week, some ramps at Liberty Canyon will be closed. Starting at 7 p.m., the northbound on-ramp and the southbound off-ramp will shut. Detours will be in place. Both ramps will open by 6 a.m. the next morning.

The same two ramps will be closed intermittently on weekdays during construction, the state traffic agency said.

Items may be updated.

Jeremy Childs is a breaking news and general assignment reporter for the Ventura County Star. He can be reached at 805-437-0208, jeremy.childs@vcstar.com, and on Twitter @Jeremy_Childs.

This article originally appeared on Ventura County Star: Murder charges filed against woman in Ventura case, more news

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