A LOOK BACK AT 2017: CRIME

As 2017 comes to a close, Z107.7 News looks back at some of the top stories of the year. Our top crime story of 2017 was the double murder of two Twentynine Palms women in March. Shortly before midnight, March 24, Sheriff’s investigators say Rafael Aikens, 22, shot Christy McKissic,

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NATIONAL PARK AND MONUMENTS

Joshua Tree National Park and our three neighboring national monuments figured prominently in many of our top stories in 2017. Joshua Tree National Park officials announced in January that a record number of people visited Joshua Tree in 2016—2.5 million, and numbers are expected to be even higher in 2017.

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YUCCA VALLEY MAN SENTENCED TO 30 YEARS IN 2013 MURDER

A Yucca Valley man who accepted a plea bargain last month in his murder trial for shooting another man four years ago was sentenced to 30 years in the state prison in Chino last week. Brian Cline, 34, was arguing with Martin Reyes, 35, on April 18, 2013, in the

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TWENTYNINE PALMS MAN GETS 22 YEARS FOR SHOOTING AND KILLING ANOTHER MAN

The Twentynine Palms man who pleaded guilty to shooting another man almost four years ago was sentenced to 22 years in state prison Thursday. Raymond Burney, 55, was arguing with Wayne Kerr, 55, in the 6300 block of Palmview Avenue when Burney pulled out a gun and shot Kerr in

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JURY SELECTION STARTS IN MURDER TRIAL OF TWENTYNINE PALMS MAN

Jury selection is starting today in the murder trial of a Twentynine Palms man accused of stabbing and killing a Yucca Valley man last year. On September 14, 2016, a woman called 911 to report that her boyfriend, Luis Arroyo, 49, had been stabbed in the 7600 block of Cibola

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TRIAL BEGINS FOR YUCCA VALLEY MAN ACCUSED OF KILLING MARTIN REYES

The trial for a man accused of shooting and killing a Yucca Valley man more than four years ago began yesterday. Brian Cline, 34, was in a Joshua Tree courtroom Tuesday when lawyers began selecting potential jurors. On April 18, 2013, Brian Cline was arguing with Martin Reyes, 35, in

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MARINE ACCUSED OF KILLING TWO TWENTYNINE PALMS WOMEN PLEADS NOT GUILTY

The man accused of killing two Twentynine Palms women was in a Joshua Tree courtroom again Thursday. Rafael Aikens, 22, pleaded not guilty to double homicide in his second arraignment. During Aikens’ preliminary hearing in August, law enforcement officials laid out their case that Aikens, a machine-gunner attached to 2nd

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LEPPAN MURDER TRIAL DELAYED

The lawyer for a former Twentynine Palms man accused of murdering his ex-wife in 2004 filed a motion in court last week asking the judge to dismiss the case. Judge Bert Swift set a court date of November 9 to hear the 995 motion for Charles Leppan, 45. A 995

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MISSING HIKERS’ DEATHS CALLED MURDER-SUICIDE

The county coroner’s office has classified the deaths of two hikers who went missing in Joshua Tree National Park as a murder-suicide. Rachel Nguyen, 20, and Joseph Orbeso, 21, had been reported missing July 28 when they did not check out of their vacation rental in Joshua Tree, but all

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MISSING HIKERS' DEATHS CALLED MURDER-SUICIDE

The county coroner’s office has classified the deaths of two hikers who went missing in Joshua Tree National Park as a murder-suicide. Rachel Nguyen, 20, and Joseph Orbeso, 21, had been reported missing July 28 when they did not check out of their vacation rental in Joshua Tree, but all

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A DELAY IN CHRISTOPHER LEE’S APPEAL OF ERIN CORWIN MURDER CONVICTION

Christopher Lee’s appeal of his conviction for brutally murdering 19-year-old Erin Corwin of Twentynine Palms received the first of what will most likely be many delays. Yesterday, the judge presiding over the appeal granted the prosecution a 30-day delay in answering Lee’s opening brief for the appeal. Lee’s court-appointed attorney

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APPEAL FILED IN CHRISTOPHER LEE MURDER CONVICTION

The lawyer for Christopher Lee, the former Marine convicted last year of murdering Erin Corwin of Twentynine Palms in 2014 and dumping her body down a mine shaft, filed an appeal Thursday with the 4th Appellate Court District Division 2. Richard de la Sota told Z107.7 News that he feels

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MORONGO VALLEY MAN SENTENCED TO 15 YEARS IN STABBING DEATH

A Morongo Valley man who pleaded guilty to stabbing a neighbor to death three years ago was sentenced to 15 years in prison Friday. On April 5, 2014, Chad Leyburn, 31, was arguing with his neighbor, Robert Verbeck, 74, when he took out a knife and stabbed Verbeck five times,

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TWENTYNINE PALMS MAN ACCEPTS PLEA BARGAIN THURSDAY IN MURDER

A Twentynine Palms man accused of shooting another man in January 2014 pleaded guilty in a Joshua Tree courtroom Thursday. Raymond Burney, 55, was arguing with Wayne Kerr, 55, in the 6300 block of Palmview Avenue when Burney pulled out a gun and shot Kerr in the upper chest. Kerr

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ARREST MADE IN CASE OF BODY FOUND SUNDAY IN PIONEERTOWN

A 23-year-old man was arrested late last night, accused of murdering a Yucca Valley man and leaving his body in a parked car in Pioneertown. About 9:15 p.m. Thursday night, Sheriff’s deputies went to the 7100 block of Barberry Avenue in Yucca Valley with a search warrant. After an investigation,

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HOMICIDE SUSPECTED IN DEATH OF MAN FOUND IN PIONEERTOWN

A man was found dead Sunday morning inside a vehicle in Pioneertown, and Sheriff’s deputies suspect foul play. According to the Sheriff’s department, authorities were called about 9:10 a.m. to the area of Skyline Ranch Road and Pioneertown Road. Deputies found Charles Brown, 63, of Yucca Valley, dead inside a

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PROSECUTION LAYS OUT ITS CASE AGAINST ACCUSED DOUBLE MURDERER

The prosecution laid ots its case yesterday against a Marine accused of killing two women in Twentynine Palms March 24. Reporter David Haldane was in court and files this story…

Rafael Aikens will stand trial for double murder. That’s the upshot of yesterday’s preliminary hearing at which the prosecution outlined

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ACCUSED DOUBLE MURDERER IN COURT TODAY

The man accused of killing two Twentynine Palms women is in a Joshua Tree courtroom today, as the prosecution lays out its case against him in a preliminary hearing. Law enforcement officials believe Rafael Aikens, 22, a machine-gunner attached to 2nd Battalion, 7th Marine Regiment aboard the Combat Center, shot

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YUCCA VALLEY MAN CHARGED WITH MURDER IN PALMS SPRINGS DUI

A Yucca Valley man who crashed while driving high on drugs must stand trial for the murder of his passenger who died in the crash, a Riverside County judge ruled Tuesday. Robert Garcia Junior, 51, also faces charges of DUI causing injury for the injuries of three other people in

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BAIL RAISED, COURT DATE SET, FOR TWENTYNINE PALMS DOUBLE-MURDER SUSPECT

Double murder suspect Rafael Aikens was in Joshua Tree Superior court again Wednesday, and Judge Rodney Cortez acceded to the prosecution’s request to increase his bail. Aikens, 22, a Marine lance corporal assigned to 2nd Battalion, 7thMarine Regiment, was arrested two weeks ago on board the Combat Center. He is

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