SCV felony suspects return to court

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Two individuals accused of having committed felonies within the Santa Clarita Valley returned to court this week.  

Kai Sommers  

A Santa Clarita man accused of sexually assaulting a 14-year-old girl he solicited online appeared in court on Tuesday.  

Kai Whitney Sommers, 33, of Santa Clarita, was arrested April 23 on suspicion of multiple counts of sexual assault as a result of the investigation by Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department Special Victims Unit detectives. 

He was ordered to return once again on June 4 for a preliminary hearing. During a preliminary hearing the evidence is presented to the judge who decides whether the trial will move ahead.  

The investigation into Sommers reportedly began in December, when detectives with the Special Victims Unit received a report that a 14-year-old girl had been sexually assaulted on Oct. 1 at a residence on the 24000 block of Soledad Canyon Road.  

Sommers is alleged to have communicated with the young girl through a teen chat room and a messaging app on their cellphones.  

Deputies arrested Sommers April 23 and he was booked at the SCV Sheriff’s Station with bail set at $325,000. He was released on bond Tuesday, according to Sheriff’s Department records.  

During his April 23 arraignment, Sommers pleaded not guilty to all six felony allegations filed against him, which include: sodomy, lewd acts with a child, unlawful sexual intercourse with a minor, unlawful oral copulation and communicating with a minor for the purpose of sexual contact.  

Maria Herrera 

A 29-year-old woman from Newhall returned to court on Tuesday after having been charged with a number of felonies stemming from a Newhall brush fire.  

Maria Herrera was arrested on Oct. 2 after she was accused of purposefully starting a 2-acre brush fire near the intersection of 15th Street and Railroad Avenue. She was also believed to be out on parole at the time of the Newhall fire, according to investigators.  

Herrera was charged with one felony count each of driving or taking a vehicle without consent (a 2016 Prius owned by UCLA); and arson of a structure or forest, said Ricardo Santiago, spokesman for the D.A.’s Office, at the time of her arrest.  

She is being held in lieu of $255,000 bail at the Century Regional Detention Facility and scheduled to return on May 19 for a prelim setting. 

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