LOS ANGELES, Calif. — A Los Angeles Superior Court judge today refused to give out any information about a panel of retired judges who decided how to divide $1 million in reward money offered for the capture of Christopher Dorner, the ex-LAPD cop bent on avenging his firing.
Richard Heltebrake, a ranger who filed a lawsuit April 29 seeking the entire $1 million reward, claims he made a 911 call that led to Dorner’s capture.
But the panel of retired judges in May awarded 80 percent of the money to a couple held hostage in their Big Bear cabin, where the fugitive killer holed up, 15 percent to the person who reported Dorner’s burning pickup on a mountainside and the tow truck driver who called 911 the same day Dorner was killed.
Heltebrake’s lawyers asked for information on how the retired jugdes were selected, their compensation and a transcript of their deliberations. But Judge Elizabeth Allen White rejected that request, as well as a bid to depose San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Deputy Paul Franklin and California Highway Patrol Officer Jennifer Reneau.
Heltebrake gave Franklin information on Dorner’s whereabouts, and Reneau told the plaintiff that the information he gave the deputy about Dorner was broadcast over law enforcement radio frequencies, according to court papers filed by Heltebrake;’s attorneys.
White doubted the information about the judges would produce anything useful for Heltebrake.
“There’s just no showing here,” White said.
Los Angeles Deputy City Attorney Gabriel Dermer argued that all discovery is on hold until a Sept. 27 judgment, dismissing Heltebrake’s claims against Riverside County, are officially recorded.
Dermer said there was no evidence of a contract between the reward seeker and the city. Dermer filed court papers, asking that White to dismiss Heltebrake’s claims against the city. A hearing is scheduled Dec. 30.
Dorner died Feb. 12 from a self-inflicted gunshot in a massive law enforcement standoff as a cabin burned down around him in the unincorporated San Bernardino Mountains community of Angelus Oaks.
The three retired judges appointed to decide who deserved the reward money announced in May that four people other than Heltebrake would receive a share for helping law enforcement officers track down Dorner.
The cities of Los Angeles, Riverside and Irvine are the remaining governmental defendants. In previous hearings, White said she had doubts about the claims against those entities as well.
The city of Riverside originally made an offer of $100,000 for Dorner’s capture after Officer Michael Crain was killed there and a second lawman was injured. The city later withdrew its offer, saying the criteria for the reward was not met because Dorner was already dead when police stormed a Big Bear cabin where he was holed up.
Dorner, a 33-year-old former Navy man who lived with his mother in La Palma, promised warfare on the LAPD for what he believed was his unjust firing. Dorner killed four people, including two law enforcement officers, during his murderous rampage.