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2 Officers Sue Over Removal From Murder Case

Associated Press

Two Sacramento police officers who led the investigation of the deaths of seven people buried in a boardinghouse yard are suing their bosses for transferring them to other jobs.

Lt. Joe Enloe and Sgt. James L. Jorgensen allege that their reassignments were punitive and illegal, although their superiors maintain that the transfers were routine.

“These transfers were precipitous, unwise and unfair,” said Blake Koller, president of the Sacramento Police Officers Assn. “It was an effort to use the officers as scapegoats for the errors of management.”

The department came under fire for allowing Dorothea Montalvo Puente to walk away from the house Nov. 12, one day after the first body was discovered in her yard. Police have also been criticized for allowing a television reporter to interview Puente on a media-chartered flight to Sacramento after her capture four days later in Los Angeles.

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More Charges Due

Puente, 59, has been charged in the murder of one of her tenants and prosecutors have said they expect to file more murder counts at a court hearing next week.

Detectives have linked her to eight deaths--the seven bodies found in her yard and another corpse, identified as a former tenant of Puente’s boardinghouse, discovered in a box in the Sacramento River three years ago.

The suit seeks a court order directing the city of Sacramento and the Sacramento City Civil Service Board to provide the officers with an administrative appeal hearing so they can challenge the transfers.

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