Murder, fraud cases move through courts

Court roundup
By: Penne Usher, Telegraph Correspondent
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The jury trial has begun for the man accused of raping and killing a Folsom woman. Sylvester Griffin is being charged with the Dec. 21, 2009, killing Folsom’s Alice Murphy in her home. He remains in custody in the Sacramento County Jail, held without bail. Griffin has been charged with suspicion of murder, robbery, rape by force and burglary — all felonies. Griffin’s case got under way in early March. Murphy, 64, was found dead in her Creekside Manor apartment on Dec. 21, 2009. Tammy O’Reilly, a family friend, had stopped by her apartment and discovered Murphy’s body, then called 911. That investigation went on for nearly six months, culminating in the June 16, 2010, arrest of a former Elk Grove man, Sylvester Griffin, 42, in Columbia, South Carolina. Griffin had been working as a driver for Rapid Response Medical Transportation Service and frequented Murphy’s apartment complex. Cameron Park murder Todd Winkler, suspected of killing his wife Feb. 27 in the couple’s Cameron Park home, is scheduled to appear in court April 16 for a preliminary hearing. Rachel Winkler was found stabbed to death in her airpark home. The couple’s three small children were reportedly in the home at the time of the slaying. Todd Winkler, 45, has been charged with his wife’s murder. He has pleaded not guilty and in court claimed self defense. According to Winkler, his wife was wielding a pair of scissors, stabbing him in the hands and thighs. He claims he wrestled the scissors away from her and stabbed her in the throat. During the April 16 appearance, it should be determine whether or not there is enough evidence to hold the defendant over for trial. Winkler is facing 25-years-to-life in prison if convicted on a first-degree murder charge. Local lawyers due in court Gregory Flahive, of El Dorado Hills, is suspected of at least 20 counts of grand theft in relation to a loan modification scheme. His ex –wife, Cynthia Flahive, of Folsom, has been charged with at least two counts of conspiracy. The pair of lawyers — along with co-conspirator Mike Johnson, of Elk Grove — was arrested earlier this month and for allegedly taking money for loan modification services that were never performed. The suspects were all released from custody March 9. The Flahives are scheduled to be in Sacramento Superior court April 3 for arraignment. Deputy arrest Donald P. Atkinson, a retired El Dorado County deputy charged with suspicion of embezzling more than $300,000 over a six-year period, has pleaded not guilty. Atkinson, who was past president of the El Dorado County Deputy Sheriff’s Association, was arrested March 8 and charged with 44 felony counts, including embezzlement by public or private officer, grand theft, forgery and perjury, according to a press release from Attorney General Kamala D. Harris. “An investigation by the El Dorado County District Attorney’s Office with assistance from the Attorney General’s Office showed that Atkinson falsified official documents, including Fair Political Practice Commission forms, submitted forged documents to DSA and claimed checks were written for charitable purposes but pocketed the money,” the release states. Atkinson reportedly used DSA funds to open bank accounts in his name and submitted forged documents to the DSA to justify payments made to himself and his companies, according to the release. Atkinson was due in court earlier this week for a preliminary hearing and bail conference. Court outcomes were not available as of press time.