Woman in razor blade case pleads guilty...

Woman in razor blade case pleads guilty

The woman accused of planted razor blades on playgrounds across

South County, including at Main Beach, pleaded guilty Wednesday to 18

felony counts of attempted child abuse and assault with a deadly

weapon.

Main Beach was the first place that was struck, back in April

2002. Eventually, razor blades, nails and other sharp objects were

placed at 10 playgrounds in the area.

Authorities say the suspect, Lori Elizabeth Fischer, 22, of

Mission Viejo, has a mental illness, for which she has been receiving

treatment since her arrest last June.

The two-month spree raised tensions throughout South County as

parents became extra cautious with the children.

Fischer could be sentenced to as many as 11 years in prison. Her

sentencing is scheduled for April 14.

Three arrested for assault on man

Laguna Beach police arrested three men on Feb. 21 on suspicion of

beating and robbing a local homeless man in the early morning hours

of Feb. 18 at Table Rock Beach.

Police said Dustin Dwinell, 20, of Irvine voluntarily contacted

the department on Feb. 20 about his role in the beating. Extensive

questioning led police to John Vitale, 24, of Irvine and Joshua

Phillips, 21, of Riverside.

The three are accused of severely beating Larry Whitmarsh, 53,

with pieces of wood and beer bottles. A photographer, who went to

Table Rock Beach to take pictures of the sunrise, found Whitmarsh.

Whitmarsh was flown by helicopter to the trauma center at Mission

Hospital for treatment of his injuries, which included a collapsed

lung, broken ribs, severe facial swelling and lacerations.

The attack came after an altercation reported between Whitmarsh

and the suspects, police said.

The victim told police he had no idea why he was attacked. He said

he was asleep at about 3 a.m. when beer cans were tossed at him.

Whitmarsh reportedly pulled a knife and chased the group. They

retreated after Whitmarsh slashed the man identified as Vitale, but

returned and began beating the homeless man.

After the attack, the suspects allegedly left the scene with

Whitmarsh's jacket and wallet. Other valuables were left on the

beach, police said. .

"He was beaten pretty badly," Sgt. George Ramos said.

Vitale was arrested at Irvine Medical Center, where he was being

treated for a knife wound to the knee.

Phillips was taken into custody at his home.

Phone calls from the public and "tips" greatly assisted the

investigation, police spokesman Sgt. Jason Kravetz said.

-- Barbara Diamond

Woman killed in traffic accident

A Colorado woman died from injuries she received in a traffic

accident on Feb. 21 at the intersection of Anita Street and South

Coast Highway.

Police said that Anne Waxman, 46, stepped into the roadway between

two parked vehicles. She was hit by a pickup truck driven by Chad

Clark, 22, of Long Beach.

Waxman was taken to Mission Hospital, where she died a short time

later.

Her family in Pennsylvania was notified by state troopers.

Police have concluded their investigation, Sgt. George Ramos said.

It was determined that alcohol was not a factor. The driver, who was

just getting off work, was not cited.

-- Barbara Diamond

Police to test their mettle

Four Laguna Beach police officers will test their endurance

Sunday.

Capt. Paul Workman, Sgt. Robert Rahaeuser, Motor Officer Robert

Van Gorder and Officer John Falk will be among the runners in the

annual Los Angeles Marathon.

Rahaeuser is the veteran endurance runner of the quartet. He hopes

to better his time, but completing the race is his priority.

This will be the first marathon for Van Gorder and Workman. Falk

has run for distance in previous outings.

-- Barbara Diamond

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