Today’s Headlines: Dodgers defeat longtime rival Giants


Good morning, it’s Friday, Oct. 15, and Today’s Headlines include shockwaves from the Mark Ridley-Thomas indictment, Robert Durst’s sentencing, the Dodgers’ nail-biter, plus some good news on the weather and wildfire-fighting front.

Editor’s note: We’re experimenting with some changes to this newsletter on Fridays. In an effort to save you time, we are highlighting fewer stories with greater impact. Let us know what you think! Share your comments, complaints and ideas by replying to this email or contacting us at


Here’s a look at today’s news

Controversial finish: The Dodgers defeated the San Francisco Giants in Game 5 of the NLDS, 2-1, with Max Scherzer finishing off the game in the ninth — despite an error by Justin Turner and a long drive by the Giants’ LaMonte Wade Jr. that went just foul. The game ended on a controversial call, with first base umpire Gabe Morales ruling that Wilmer Flores went around on a two-strike swing for the final out.

The mess. A son’s troubles and financial desperation brought a USC dean and L.A. City Councilman Mark Ridley-Thomas together in what prosecutors allege was a criminal conspiracy. Ridley-Thomas’ indictment on bribery charges has delivered another blow to Los Angeles city government, as Mayor Eric Garcetti is partway out the door, one former councilman has been handed a prison sentence and another is awaiting trial.

70,000 California casualties. Other large states have seen cumulative death rates from COVID-19 over the course of the pandemic that far surpass California’s. Still, the scale of the state’s loss is staggering — equivalent to emptying an entire mid-size city such as Palo Alto, San Clemente, Camarillo or Lynwood. Meanwhile, an FDA panel voted to recommend Moderna booster shots.

Life term. Robert Durst was sentenced to life in prison for murdering longtime confidante Susan Berman in 2000. A jury convicted him last month and upheld the special circumstance allegation that he shot his friend to cover up the killing of his first wife in 1982. Prosecutors had argued he was guilty not just of those crimes but also the 2001 shooting death of his Texas neighbor Morris Black.

Lawsuit against ICE. An Imperial Valley man says in a lawsuit that despite being a U.S. citizen, he was kept in solitary confinement by Immigration and Customs Enforcement for more than a year. It’s the first suit under a California law that allows people to sue private companies for damages over abuse and harmful conditions at immigrant detention centers.

Taiwanese tragedy. At least 46 people were killed and another 41 injured when a fire broke out in a decades-old commercial and residential building in the port city of Kaohsiung in Taiwan.

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Cody Bellinger yells to the dugout from first base.
Cody Bellinger yells and first base coach Clayton McCullough smiles after Bellinger hit a go-ahead RBI single in the ninth inning of Game 5 of the NLDS against San Francisco on Thursday night at Oracle Park.
(Wally Skalij / Los Angeles Times)

Fire fighter. A wetter-than-average forecast for late October could dampen wildfires burning in Northern California and help ease drought conditions. The northern part of the state has a higher probability of heavier precipitation, but Southern California may also see some rain — good news after the Alisal fire near Santa Barbara prompted an air quality advisory for L.A., O.C. and other counties.

Busted chain. You’ve heard about long lines of ships and warnings to do your holiday shopping early. The Times tapped experts to find out how how things got so bad in this supply-chain explainer. The pandemic shocked the system, but warehouse, distribution and truck driver shortages were bad before COVID. Manufacturers are facing a “perfect storm” of issues.

A Cher fight. Cher is suing Sonny Bono’s widow over royalties to songs the pop icon made famous with her ex-husband as the musical duo Sonny and Cher. She claims Bono’s fourth wife has tried to terminate provisions that entitle the entertainer to 50% ownership of the duo’s musical composition royalties, record royalties and other assets from their marriage.

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Before there was Big Pumpkin Spice®, there was apple butter. And although the East Coast may have a stronghold on the vibe of apple-picking season, California has the best apples in the country with which to make it. The Times’ Ben Mims shows you how.

Today’s quiz from the pages of The Times
When Ron Howard was playing Opie on “The Andy Griffith Show” and had a scene in which he was eating ice cream, it wasn’t real ice cream. What was it? [Answer at the bottom of the newsletter.]


You’ve heard the rumor before: Disney is storing a cryogenically frozen Walt Disney somewhere, perhaps under Disneyland. Here’s where one of the internet’s wackiest and most enduring urban legends came from. (SFGATE)

What threatens local newspapers now is not just digital disruption or abstract market forces. They’re being targeted by investors who have figured out how to get rich by strip-mining local-news outlets. The model is simple: Gut the staff, sell the real estate, jack up subscription prices, and wring as much cash as possible out of the enterprise. (The Atlantic)

Did Brittany Murphy marry a “con man”? A two-part docuseries, premiering Thursday on HBO Max, investigates the history of the late actor’s husband, Simon Monjack, and her unexpected death in 2009, at age 32. The Times’ Amy Kaufman interviews Elizabeth Ragsdale, Monjack’s first wife and also, Ragsdale says, his victim. (Los Angeles Times)


The saga of “The One” carries on: A planned foreclosure auction of the largest modern home in the country was delayed after billionaire lender Don Hankey was accused of maneuvering to take control of the troubled Bel-Air project and leave other debt holders out in the cold. The home in question? A 105,000-square-foot unfinished mansion once marketed for $500 million.


This photo of “Unimate, the industrial robot” was taken at the Biltmore Hotel in downtown Los Angeles and ran in the Oct. 3, 1967, edition of the L.A. Times. The caption read: Betty Myrah gets a mechanized coffee break with a 3,500-pound “portable” robot pouring in the most acceptable manner.

A black-and-white photo of a woman at a table holding a coffee cup as coffee is poured from a machine.
(Frank Q. Brown / Los Angeles Times)

Answer to the quiz: Mashed potatoes.

Today’s newsletter was curated by Amy Hubbard and Laura Blasey. Comments or ideas? Email us at