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Dec 13, 2012 | 3663 views | 0 0 comments | 7 7 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Hit, run driver ordered to pay funeral costs

A judge has ordered a jailed 19-year-old hit-and-run driver to pay nearly $17,200 in funeral costs for an Ocean Beach man who was killed March 11 while walking on an onramp near Interstate 8 near Nimitz Boulevard.

Nikolette Kristina Gallo remains in jail after she was given a one-year sentence July 27 for causing the death of Sho Funai, 23.

Gallo will be released on Jan. 11, according to the sheriff’s department. She was placed on five years’ probation by San Diego Superior Court Judge Dwayne Moring and ordered to abstain from drinking alcohol for five years.

The restitution order is believed to include some money for plane tickets for relatives to and from Japan for the funeral. More than 100 people attended the two-day sentencing.

Moring set the restitution figure on Nov. 30 after all travel expenses and funeral costs were totaled.

After Gallo is released, she will need to perform 100 hours of volunteer work and her probation conditions include attending a DUI course.

She pleaded guilty to felony hit and run. Her attorney, Paul Pfingst, argued Funai was walking in the roadway in dark clothing at 4:30 a.m. and that contributed to his death. Gallo claimed she thought she hit a sofa or a coyote and didn’t inform police until about a day later.

The victim’s family, prosecutor and the probation department all unsuccessfully asked that Gallo serve three to four years in state prison.

— Neal Putnam




Burglar agrees to four-year prison term

A Point Loma man has accepted a four-year prison term after pleading guilty Dec. 5 to burglarizing four apartments in the Point Loma area.

Jonathan Michael Chambers, 20, and his attorney settled three separate burglary cases when he appeared before San Diego Superior Court Judge Robert O’Neill on the eve of his preliminary hearing in one case.

Sentencing was set for Jan. 31. Chambers remains in custody without bail. He was arrested Aug. 15.

The burglaries took place in April, June and July, according to court records. Deputy District Attorney Gregg McClain said Chambers lived close to some apartments he broke into near West Point Loma Boulevard. O’Neill dismissed the remaining charges of receiving stolen property.

— Neal Putnam

Probation for city worker who embezzled funds

A longtime former city employee who confessed to embezzling funds at Robb Field Recreation Center in Ocean Beach was placed on three years probation

Oct. 18 and paid $40,000 in restitution.

Rogelio Najera, Jr., 50, paid the city back in 2011 and showed proof of community service to San Diego Superior Court Judge Eugenia Eyherabide on Oct. 18. The community service work was done with youth leagues and the YMCA.

Najera worked in the Park and Recreation Department for more than 20 years and was at Robb Field most of the time. He was a city supervisor for most of the soccer and baseball games, Little League and classes.

He pleaded guilty to grand theft on July 21, 2011, and the judge reduced the felony charge to a misdemeanor at the request of his attorney, Nancee Schwartz. The sentence was delayed for a year so Najera could be eligible to have the felony reduced to a misdemeanor. Deputy District Attorney Leon Shorr did not object to the reduction, saying Najera had paid full restitution.

No jail time was sought by the prosecutor, and Najera received credit for one day spent in jail. He could have been sentenced to a year in jail and was fined $600.

Najera’s former supervisor, Marcelina Reyes Aguilar, 48, pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor charge of obstructing the collection of revenue due the city. She performed 200 hours of work for a nonprofit group.

Aguilar, who also no longer works for the city, was placed on probation, fined $190 and received credit for one day spent in jail on July 12. In 2006, Najera’s job at Robb Field was about to be cut from the city budget, but residents signed a petition in support of him and his job was saved.

— Neal Putnam

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