Deputy Accused Of Being A Mongols Motorcycle Gang Member Bound Over For Trial

By Mark Gutglueck
A San Bernardino County sheriff’s deputy suspected of affiliating with the Mongols and possessing illegal weapons to benefit the outlaw motorcycle gang was ordered to stand trial.
Superior Court Judge Alexander R. Martinez on Wednesday, April 24, bound San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Deputy Christopher Bingham over for trial on a host of charges growing out of what the sheriff’s department originally alleged was his “possession of an unlicensed firearm” and being an “active participant in a criminal street gang.”
Over the objections of criminal defense attorney Jeff Moore that the arrest of Bingham on March 23 was based on misinformation, erroneous conclusions, mistakes and a lack of probable cause, as was the warrant for the search of Bingham’s home carried out later that day which yielded approximately 160 licensed firearms, four explosive devices, two silencers and a single less-than-lethal shotgun, the later of which it was claimed Bingham had stolen from the sheriff’s department’s Morongo Valley station, Judge Martinez concluded that the arrest of Bingham was not necessarily invalid because the officers involved had acted in good faith despite whatever errors were made.
Nevertheless, the judge said he anticipated that “whatever decision this court makes is going to be appealed by the other side, and I look forward to and invite Fourth District Court of Appeal review and scrutiny of this court’s decision.” Continue reading

Redlands Ends Its Contractual Ties With Firm It Partnered With On The Good Nite Inn Conversion

The City of Redlands has ended its relationship with Shangi-La Industries, one of the companies it partnered with to complete its landmark homeless shelter within the former Good Nite Inn on Industrial Park Avenue.
Redlands was one of just two governmental entities in California which was able to execute on completing permanent or semi-permanent housing for the homeless under the Homekey Grant program while working with Los Angeles-based Shangri-La Industries after that company’s chief financial officer embezzled millions upon millions of dollars from his employer, which greatly complicated the effort to complete seven homeless housing projects throughout California.
On April 16, Redlands terminated its contractual connection with Shangri-La in the aftermath of legal action taken by the California Attorney General’s Office on behalf of the California Department of Housing and Community Development against San Bernardino County and four cities relating to the Homekey grant program. Continue reading

Sheriff Sizes Up Situation Re: Influx Of Condemned Prisoners At Chino Prison

April 25, 2024
Dear Residents of San Bernardino County,
I would like to take a moment to address some important matters related to our county’s safety and recent developments within the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) realignment of 26 death row inmates currently housed at Chino Institute for Men in the City of Chino.
CDCR is expected to send more death row inmates in the near future, and I have significant concerns with the anticipation of additional inmates from San Quentin State Prison to be housed at the Chino Institute for Men.
Last week, the California State Sheriff’s Association met with representatives from CDCR, and they reported several critical statistics regarding the current state of the California prison system. As of April 2024, there are approximately 93,000 inmates in custody, with over 33,000 individuals under community supervision.
Additionally, CDCR has begun complying with Proposition 66, which transfers incarcerated individuals with condemned sentences, along with CDCR and Governor Newsom’s executive order to phase out segregated death row units at San Quentin Rehabilitation Center (SQRC) and the Central California Women’s Facility (CCWF). Continue reading

Cal F&G Uplists Mojave Desert Tortoise Status To Endangered

The California Fish and Game Commission voted unanimously on April 18 to “uplist” the Mojave desert tortoise from its previous status of “threatened” to an endangered species under the California Endangered Species Act during its meeting in San Jose.
According to executive summary with regard to the item on the meeting agenda, “Based upon a scientific review of its distribution and status, this petition requests that the Agassiz’s desert tortoise (Gopherus agassizii; Mojave desert tortoise or desert tortoise) be moved from listed as threatened to endangered by the California Fish and Game Commission. Despite federal and state protections, the desert tortoise is closer to extinction than it was in 1989 and 1990 when it was listed by the California Fish and Game Commission and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, respectively. A change in listing from Threatened to Endangered will reflect the current dire situation facing California’s state reptile and is necessary to generate substantially increased attention and efforts to reverse the very real likelihood that desert tortoise will become extinct in California.” Continue reading

Improbable Claim That Fontana Is California’s 17th Safest City, With Killer Stalking Innocents Loose

Even as a deadly criminal of unknown intent and intensity stalks victims from around 42.43-square mile Fontana and its 9.97-square mile unincorporated area, city officials and the Fontana Police Department are seeking to minimize the danger posed to local citizens by crime.
Featured prominently on the city’s website this month is a press release which states, “A new national report ranks the City of Fontana as one of the safest cities in California, underscoring the city council’s commitment to public safety and quality of life.”
According to the press release, “The report, by Safewise, ranks Fontana 17th among cities in California, with violent crime (2.8 incidents per 1,000 population) and property crime (13 per 1,000) both well below the state averages (4.2 and 25.3 per 1,000). No other city in San Bernardino County ranks higher than Fontana in the Safewise report.”
The press release goes on to make clear that the entire release is attributed to the city council, consisting of Mayor Acquanetta Warren, Councilman John Roberts, City Councilman Jesse Sandoval, City councilman Phil Cothran, Jr. and City Councilman Peter Garcia. Continue reading

Ontario Chaffey Community Show Band Concert Under The Stars Set For May 13

The musicians of the Ontario Chaffey Community Show Band and the City of Ontario are proud to present “Music Under The Stars” on Monday May 13, 2024 at 7:30 p.m.  The concert will be held at the band shell in Ontario Town Square located at North Euclid Ave. and “C” Street in Ontario.  Since, the performance is outdoors, you are encouraged to bring your lawn chairs and picnic baskets.  The city will have limited seating available.  The performance is free to the public.
The May concert highlights the exciting film music of John Williams, selections by Henry Mancini, Show Band musician/dancer Kathy Soderlund, and saxophone soloist and Assistant Director Pat Arnold.  The Show Band is also proud to award Jack Mercer Brass Scholarships to local middle school students.  Each recipient will also perform a short solo. Continue reading

Bears Active In Mountains & Foothills As Spring Season Progresses

Unlike 2023, the Winter of 2024 was too mild to force the San Bernardino Mountain bears into hibernation. They are now coming out of the more recessed areas into populated areas and the foothills where they represent a threat to humans.
Some bears were seen in the vicinity of the New Mesa and Old Mesa campgrounds within the Silverwood Lake State Recreation Area on the north side of the mountains. On the south side, some bears, including a mother with cubs, were seen near Forest Falls.
Officials with the Division of California State Parks have issued a bear alert. The New Mesa and Old Mesa Campgrounds are set between Lake Silverwood and Highway 138.
Forest Falls is at an elevation of 5,700 feet and is host to waterfalls on Vivian Creek and Falls Creek. Forest Falls is a point of access into the San Gorgonio Wilderness Area of the San Bernardino National Forest. The San Gorgonio Wilderness Area lies north of Forest Falls. Continue reading

Theory Is That County Supervisor Killed John Rains

By Mark Gutglueck
On Saturday, April 27 at 11 a.m., the San Bernardino County Museum will host an open house at the María Merced Williams and John Rains House to celebrate highly anticipated improvements, including a new roof, interior paint, entrance monuments, and parking lot improvements.
The historic site’s transformation will be highlighted with a red ribbon ceremony and open house which will showcase the significant investments that will ensure this site is protected and relevant for years to come. The open house will run until 1 p.m. and include site tours, frontier arts and crafts, historic demonstrations, and more.
John Rains, a former soldier, married the wealthy Maria Merced Williams after he arrived in California as a cattle and sheep driver in 1847.
Maria Merced Williams was the daughter of Colonel Isaac Williams, the owner of the Rancho Santa Ana Del Chino, a 22,193-acre portion of a Mexican land grant on what had been part of the San Gabriel Mission and what today is part of Chino and Chino Hills. Williams had wed daughter of Don Antonio Maria Lugo and sister of Jose Maria Lugo, Jose Del Carmen Lugo and Vicente Lugo, who, among them, owned the large San Bernardino Grant
Colonel Williams fought on the American side during the 1846-1848 Mexican-American War, distinguishing himself at the Battle of Chino. He was rewarded with the sum of $80,000 for his contribution to the war effort after California was annexed to the United States.
In 1856, Williams died, leaving the bulk of his estate to his two daughters, Maria Merced and Francesca, who in 1857 married Robert Carlisle, formerly of Kentucky.
María Merced Williams and John Rains purchased the 13,000-acre Rancho de Cucamonga. In 1860, they commissioned the building of the Rains House by Ohio brick masons. Its flat roof was waterproofed by tar from the brea pits in Los Angeles. An open flume carried water from springs through the kitchen, into the patio, and under the house to the orchard, thereby providing cooling for the structure. The original house had an entry hall, a parlor, and three bedrooms in the front, with a patio area flanked by a dining room, a kitchen, a padré’s room, and two guest rooms.
John Rains built the Rancho into a successful business, entailing vineyards and a winery, as well as a stage station. His success with the Rancho allowed him to make investments elsewhere, including securing part ownership of the Bella Union Hotel in Los Angeles. In 1860, he served as a delegate to the Democratic National Convention in Charleston, South Carolina.
The Rains’ abode became “the social center of the community.”
Meanwhile, John Rains’ brother in law, Carlisle, following a year or so of residence in Los Angeles with Francesca, returned to Santa Ana Rancho Del Chino. Robert Carlisle managed that holding with considerable efficiency.
By virtue of his popularity and business acumen, Robert Carlisle in 1862 was elected supervisor for the First Supervisorial District in San Bernardino County. He assumed office on November 17, 1862, succeeding Richard Varley, and four days later, on November 21, 1862 he was selected by his colleagues to serve as chairman of the board.
On the very day that Carlisle took office, November 17, 1862, his sister-in-law’s husband, John Rains, disappeared.
Rains had overextended himself with some of his business ventures and to hold everything together, he borrowed against his rancho. On that fateful day, November 17, 1862, John Rains departed for Los Angeles – a town which then boasted a population of some 4,500 – and an overnight stay at the Bella Union Hotel that evening before finalizing some further financing arrangements, including the signing of some loan and collateral documents the next day. He departed for the town of the Angels in a wagon pulled by a team of his best horses.
Rains never arrived at his intended destination.
On November 19, 1862, the team of horses found its way back to the rancho. They were no longer hitched up to the wagon.
The ensuing investigation into what had happened was led by Robert Carlisle, who took several missteps in doing so, including delaying the search for Rains by two days. On November 28, 1862 John Rains’ body was found near Azusa, amid cacti some 400 feet off the road. There were obvious signs that violence had attended his last minutes of earthly existence. According to the Los Angeles Star, it appeared as if he had been lassoed and yanked from his wagon perch. His right arm was mangled from the elbow down and its upper portion had been pulled out of its shoulder socket. He was shot twice in the back, once in the side and on the left side of his chest. Carlisle was likewise involved in the effort to find Rains’ killer and bring him to justice. Early on, his suspicion settled upon one of Rains’ ranch hands, Ramon Carrillo, who was twice brought before a court. Carrillo had an ironclad alibi, having been in Los Angeles and seen by multiple witnesses at the time Rains was thought to have met his grim end. The posse led by Carlisle also falsely pursued others, including Manuel Cerradel, one of Carrillo’s compadres, the only individual convicted of anything related to Rains’ death and its investigation. When deputies who came to arrest him as a suspect in Rains’ death at Carlisle’s urging, Cerradel flew into a rage and attacked the deputies. He was exonerated of anything related to Rains’ death, but drew a ten-year sentence in San Quentin for his violence against the deputies.
More than a few locals held abiding suspicions that Rains’ murderer was none other than Robert Carlisle. In utilizing the classic criteria detectives apply in ferreting out the perpetrators of crime – motive, means and opportunity – Carlisle comes across as a prime suspect.
On November 17, 1862, the day Rains disappeared, Carlisle was scheduled to be on hand in San Bernardino for his swearing in as one of San Bernardino County’s newly elected supervisors. He departed from Rancho Santa Ana Del Chino, ostensibly to keep his appointment at that honorific but never showed up. He was never able to adequately explain his whereabouts on that day.
During the weeklong search for the missing Rains toward the end of November 1862, instead of staying in the wild along the road to Los Angeles to maintain a thorough scouring of the places Rains might have been, Carlisle returned to his home where one evening he held a festive party.
Then there was the matter of his comportment toward his sister-in-law after her husband’s death. Carlisle hectored, bamboozled and bullied Maria Merced into granting him power of attorney over the Rains estate.
One theory was that Rains had been killed because of his secessionist sympathies, which Carlisle emphasized.
Carlisle, in looking after his sister-in-law’s affairs, became deeply involved in the settlement of John Rains’ estate. This led to a bitter dispute with the King Brothers of El Monte and Los Angeles, with whom Rains had business dealings, including shared ownership of the Bella Union Hotel. The King Brothers believed Carlisle had interferred with their business affairs in his management of his sister-in-law’s estate.
On July 5, 1865, more than seven months after he had left the board of supervisors, Carlisle was in Los Angeles to attend a wedding at the Bella Union Hotel. In attendance at the party was Los Angeles County Undersheriff Andrew King, one of the King Brothers, who had been San Bernardino County’s constable and whom Carlisle had accused of of indolence in the investigation of Rains’ murder. That night in the crowded saloon on the ground floor of the hotel, there was a heated exchange between the two men, including a fight in which Carlisle pulled a knife and slashed King’s arm. The next day, two of the King Brothers, Houston and Frank, came into the hotel to confront Carlisle. A gunfight ensued. Carlisle was fatally wounded, but not before he had himself shot and killed Frank King. Carlisle’s funeral was held in the Bella Union. Houston King was charged with the murder of Carlisle. At Houston King’s murder trial in 1866, he was acquitted.
The María Merced Williams and John Rains House is located at 8810 Hemlock Street, at the Vineyard Avenue exit from Interstate 10 in Rancho Cucamonga. The historic site is open Tuesdays through Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Admission is free to the public.
The San Bernardino County Museum’s exhibits of regional, cultural and natural history and the Museum’s other exciting events and programs reflect the effort by the Board of Supervisors to achieve the Countywide Vision by celebrating arts, culture, and education in the county, creating quality of life for residents and visitors.
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