News Briefs


Man sentenced to 24 years in Point Dume Malibu attack

The man who attacked a 35-year-old woman at Point Dume State Park was sentenced Friday to 24 years in prison.

Christian Marcus Verdin, 31, of San Bernardino, pleaded no contest to assault with intent to commit a rape and second-degree robbery in connection with the March 12 attack.

Van Nuys Superior Court Judge Michael Kellogg dismissed two other counts, assault with a deadly weapon and grand theft auto, in exchange for Verdin’s no contest plea.

The 35-year-old victim had been jogging in Point Dume Preserve State Park on March 12 when, at the conclusion of her run, she walked to the edge of a cliff and was then grabbed from behind by Verdin, who, she told authorities, attempted to sexually assault her. The victim struggled and was able to break free; she jumped and slid approximately 150 feet down a cliff.

Several witnesses heard the woman’s cries and went to her aid.

The victim was taken to a local hospital for treatment. She sustained abrasions and bruises predominantly from the fall down the face of the cliff.

Verdin was identified as a suspect in the attack through analysis of DNA obtained from a bottle found at the crime scene and from fingernail scratches from the victim. He had been on parole for burglary committed in 2008.

Verdin was arrested nearly three weeks after the attack in an area within the City of San Bernardino and taken into custody without incident.

SMMUSD extends deadline for Financial Oversight Committee applications

The Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District has extended the due date for applications to its Financial Oversight Committee (FOC). All applications are now due by Jan. 28.

There are currently four vacancies on the FOC. The district is seeking qualified candidates who will bring a depth of business and/or financial expertise to the committee.

The application form is available through the Superintendent’s Office or via the Web site: They can be mailed to the district office, 1651 16th Street, Santa Monica, CA 90404, faxed to 310.581.1138, or scanned and emailed to

Former SMMUSD Super Deasy to head Los Angeles school district

John Deasy, former superintendent of the Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District, on Tuesday was confirmed as superintendent of the Los Angeles County Unified School District

Deasy, 50, resigned in 2006 from SMMUSD to serve as head of Prince George’s County Public Schools, a 133,000-student district in the Maryland suburbs southwest of Washington.

Deasy will succeed Ramon C. Cortines, 78, who has headed the nation’s second-largest school system for two years and said he planned to step down this year.

Deasy’s was hired as deputy superintendent of the LAUSD last August.

Board members of the Los Angeles Unified School District approved a three-year contract with Deasy in a 6-0 vote, with board member Steve Zimmer abstaining.

PCH reopened

The stretch of Pacific Coast Highway between Yerba Buena Road and Los Posas Road has been reopened as of Sunday afternoon.

Caltrans had estimated the highway would open on Monday.

The highway has been closed since Dec. 18 when it was determined that a possible rockslide near Point Mugu posed a safety hazard to the public. It was briefly reopened Dec. 28, but closed again due to unstable conditions.

Local reappointed to Water Appeals Board

Alex Soteras of Calabasas was reappointed to the Los Angeles County Water Appeals Board by L.A. County Supervisor Mike Antonovich.

Soteras, a former 25 year Malibu resident and past member of the L.A Regional Water Quality Board, serves as chairman of the Agoura/Oak Park/Conejo Valley/Calabasas Chamber of Commerce.