Daily News Bulletin: Murder Charges against Rehab Center are a First in California


Murder charges against rehab center are a first in California

Gary Benefield was in rough shape when a driver from the substance abuse treatment company A Better Tomorrow met him at the San Diego airport in 2010. It was the day before his 53rd birthday. The longtime smoker had recently been hospitalized for pneumonia and was tethered to an oxygen tank, which he had relied on for years. He was seeking treatment for a drinking problem and had signed himself up for a round of detox and rehab. Sometime that night, he collapsed by his bed at a Murrieta residential facility and died. The house manager, who was supposed to check on him regularly, had fallen asleep. Benefield’s body was found in the morning. What came next sent a jolt through California’s large drug and alcohol rehabilitation industry. The state attorney general’s office pursued second-degree murder charges against A Better Tomorrow and four of its employees — the first time in California history that a corporation had been accused of murder, according to the facility’s attorneys. Legal experts say the criminal case against A Better Tomorrow is a warning to California’s treatment centers — an industry with more than 1,500 facilities across the state. (LA Times)

Riverside DA seeks injunction for gang that’s ‘terrorized’ Coachella Valley

Riverside County prosecutors want to target an allegedly violent gang in the Coachella Valley with a legal tool meant to break it up. County District Attorney Mike Hestrin is seeking a civil gang injunction against Varrio Coachella Rifa, which umbrellas six different gangs in the area and has ties to the Mexican Mafia. In the past two years, 13 out of 15 murders in Coachella Valley have been gang-related, according to Hestrin. That action is in the form of the gang injunction, which names more than 120 gang members in the area. If it goes into effect, the injunction is a court-ordered restraining order against the gang.(KPCC)

The “Happiest Place on Earth” now comes with surge pricing.

Starting Sunday, Disney’s Walt Disney World resort in Florida and Disneyland in California will charge different ticket prices for its parks depending on the time of year, the company announced in a blog post. The calendar will be divided into Value, Regular and Peak periods. The new surge pricing plan will apply to one-day tickets. A one-day park ticket at Orlando’s Magic Kingdom during a Value period will stay at current levels of $105 for those aged 10 and above. But tickets during Regular season days (most of April, for example) will rise to $110. The price will then shoot up to $124 for Peak days. That includes holidays like the Fourth of July, Thanksgiving and Christmas. (CNN)


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