Reno man pleads guilty to killing bartender

A Reno man has pleaded guilty to killing a man outside a Reno sports bar after the victim scolded him for his behavior while watching a football game inside.

Dante Vinci entered the plea Friday to second-degree murder related to the Jan. 8 fatal stabbing of 44-year-old Kevin O’Connell outside a Bully’s bar in northwest Reno.

Vinci is scheduled for sentencing Sept. 25.

O’Connell was a bartender at another Bully’s and was a patron at the sports bar where Vinci had been drinking with his girlfriend.

Friends and family members told police that the 48-year-old Vinci had been depressed, and his home had been foreclosed.

The men were watching the BCS championship game between Florida and Oklahoma when Vinci became upset that the team he bet on was losing.


Two men arrested in death of store clerk

Two men have been booked for murder and other charges in connection with an armed robbery at an east Las Vegas liquor store Friday night that left a store clerk dead.

Las Vegas police were called to the liquor store on the 4900 block of Pearlie Avenue, near Tropicana Avenue and Mountain Vista Street, at about 11:24 p.m. in response to a report of a man shot. When they got there, officers found the store clerk dead behind the counter.

The man, whose name was not released, had been shot several times.

About four hours later, homicide detectives arrested Antonio Duenas and Michael Cruz, both 24.

Cruz was booked into the Clark County Detention Center for murder with a deadly weapon, as well as robbery and burglary charges. Duenas was booked in absentia for the same charges.

Las Vegas police spokesman Bill Cassell said Duenas was being treated at a local hospital for injuries he suffered during the robbery, but police would not specify how he was injured or by whom.


California parks stop sale of yearly passes

California state parks are halting the sale of $125 annual passes in advance of what could be a price hike later this month.

California State Parks Foundation President Elizabeth Goldstein says the parks department is reviewing its fees as it tries to keep as many as 100 of its 279 parks, recreation areas and historic sites from closing.

Parks officials are searching for new revenue after their budget was cut $14 million this year.

The parks department’s Web site says sales will resume Aug. 17. It isn’t saying what the new price might be.


Evacuations lifted in California wildfires

Firefighters have lifted evacuations for wildfires burning in northern and central California, as mild weather helped them fight the blazes.

They let residents return to Old Station and the Rancheria RV Park in Hat Creek as conditions eased near large complexes of lightning-caused fires in Shasta and Lassen counties east of Redding.

Cooler temperatures and higher humidity helped firefighters make progress toward containing the fires Saturday, said Jeff Fontana, spokesman for the Interagency Fire Center in Susanville. No homes were lost in either fire.

To the south, firefighters were mopping up a fire burning in the Middle Fork Stanislaus River Canyon east of Twain Harte.


University of Utah settles suit over crash

The University of Utah has settled a wrongful death lawsuit filed by the families of seven Chinese scholars killed in a 2003 van rollover.

State officials on Friday agreed to pay nearly $500,000 to the plaintiffs, including three men injured in the crash. The settlement cut short a trial in Salt Lake City.

The April 2003 crash occurred in Pennsylvania during the Chinese delegation’s trip in the United States, which the university organized. It involved a cross-country road trip from Utah.

The settlement conceded no negligence on the part of the university.


Text-message fight sends boy to hospital

A 15-year-old boy was in intensive care at a Redding, Calif., hospital after he was injured in a melee police say started with a text-messaging dispute.

Redding police Sgt. Dean Stainberg said two young women began sparring in text messages, then agreed to meet to continue the fight in person. The brawl escalated when friends showed up armed with bats and boards late Thursday.

Police arrested 19-year-old Chantel Ybarra and her 24-year-old husband, Thomas Ybarra, both of Anderson. They said the couple ran over the boy in their sport utility vehicle during the fight in a Redding neighborhood.

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