News Briefs


Court date for Emily Shane’s alleged killer

The suspect in the April 3 death of 13-year-old Malibu resident Emily Shane is scheduled to appear at the Airport Courthouse for a pretrial conference on Friday.

Sina Khankhanian, 26, of Winnetka, is charged with murder. He has pleaded not guilty. Shane was walking home from a friend’s house along the 29000 block of Pacific Coast Highway near Heathercliff Road when Khankhanian, driving a Mitsubishi Lancer, hit her, investigators say.

Civil court next stop for paparazzi beach brawl case

Malibu residents Skylar Peak, 25, and Phillip Hildebrand, 31, were recently served papers regarding a civil lawsuit in connection with the 2008 beach brawl. An angered Hildebrand posted the news last week on his Facebook page.

Peak and Hildebrand were accused of being the chief agitators in a scuffle on a private portion of Little Dume Beach between local surfers and a group of paparazzi who were taking pictures of actor Matthew McConaughey. A 12-person jury last month was unable to reach a verdict in the criminal case. The District Attorney’s Office does not plan to retry the case.

Drug rehab center head pays campaign violations fine

Chris Prentiss, codirector of the Passages Malibu drug and alcohol rehabilitation center, was forced to pay a $9,000 fine this month for violating campaign rules in the 2008 City Council election. Prentiss mass mailed campaign materials in support of Kathy Wisnicki, who finished fourth in the race for three seats. Identification of the sender was not included on the mailers and Prentiss did not file a report about the expenditures, a California Fair Political Practices Commission report states. The report also states that Prentiss was cooperative in the investigation. An FPPC spokesperson said he has paid the fine.

Prentiss wrote in an e-mail to The Malibu Times that he did not know there were identification and disclosure report requirements for sending out mailers until the FPPC notified him.

“I fully cooperated with the Fair Political Practices Commission and have paid a penalty to settle the disclosure and filing matters,” he wrote.

Wisnicki wrote in an e-mail to The Times that she had no knowledge of the source of the mailers. She did not fault Prentiss for the violations.

“I am sure that the Prentiss family was simply trying to help my campaign,” she wrote. “The FPPC regulations on independent expenditures are not common knowledge and I believe that they would have filed properly had they been aware of the regulations.”

Student test scores improve

Local public school students showed slight improvements this past school year in the California Standard Tests, or CST. Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District students scored higher than the countywide and statewide averages.

The CST measures proficiency in the areas of language arts (grades 2-11), math (grades 2-11), science (grades 5, 8-11) and history (8,11). For the 2009-10 school year, 70 percent of SMMUSD students were proficient in language arts. The countywide proficiency was 48 percent. Statewide it was 52 percent.

The other CST results include 59 percent proficiency in math (45 percent in County, 48 percent in State), 58 percent in history (41 percent in County, 44 percent in State), 70 percent in science for grades 5, 8 and 10 (50 percent in County, 54 percent in State) and 53 percent in science for grades 9-11 (34 percent in County, 40 percent in State).

All the SMMUSD results were improvements from the previous year. The largest gain was in grades 9-11 science, with the proficiency level up six percentage points. The SMMUSD’s CST results have improved every year since 2002.

The Department of Education will soon incorporate the results from the CST and other tests to determine the Academic Performance Index and the Adequate Yearly Progress reports. These results are expected to be released later this month.

Burglary suspect arrested

A man fitting the description of a suspect in a June 22 car burglary at Zuma Beach was arrested last week on Wednesday. David Michael Weinhardt Jr. of Santa Paula admitted to the burglary, a Malibu/Lost Hills Sheriff’s report states. He also admitted to several other burglaries. Detectives are investigating this.

According to the report, Weinhardt was arrested while detectives were conducting a surveillance of the area he was known to frequent. Weinhardt matched “the unique description of the suspect.”