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Newhall massage therapist, other SCV felony suspects return to court

Court gavel
Signal File Photo.

A number of people accused of having committed felonies within the Santa Clarita Valley, including a Canyon Country murder suspect, returned to court last week.  

David Alonso Figueroa 

A Pacoima man accused of stabbing his rehab pal to death on a Canyon Country street last summer appeared briefly in court Friday. 

David Alonso Figueroa, 39, appeared in San Fernando Superior Court after being accused three years ago of stabbing 29-year-old Brent Hariston, of Canyon Country, to death on July 30, 2018.    

The 39-year-old was charged soon after the stabbing on suspicion of one count of murder and he was held in lieu of $2,020,000 bail. 

He is scheduled to return on Dec. 15 for a pretrial hearing, according to Ricardo Santiago, a spokesman for the L.A. County District Attorney’s Office. A pretrial hearing involves the judge, prosecution and defense convening in order to present evidence, documents and/or any other relevant materials/matters before the trial begins. 

Prosecutors have said that the murder stemmed from an argument regarding work between the two men, who reportedly knew each other previously from rehab.  

After allegedly stabbing Hariston multiple times with a knife, Figueroa reportedly fled the scene on foot and responding deputies pursued him, according to law enforcement officials.  

Figueroa was detained and arrested following an L.A. County Sheriff’s Department containment of the crime scene area, and Hariston ultimately succumbed to his injuries at the hospital.   

Jorge Panama   

A Newhall massage therapist accused of multiple sexual assaults saw a continuance of his case in a San Fernando courtroom on Thursday.  

Jorge Panama, 56, has been accused by at least a half-dozen women of assaulting them where he worked, at “Massage Plus Healing” on the 22000 block of Lyons Avenue, according to sheriff’s officials.  

The incidents are suspected to have taken place over several years, according to Sgt. Brian Hudson of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department’s Special Victims Unit, noting one of the alleged victims came forward after the news reports of the previous allegations.  

Panama was initially arrested on suspicion of an April 2021 allegation involving a former client, who was Panama’s second client to allege an assault.  

Panama is scheduled to return to court on Nov. 19 for a prelim setting. During a prelim setting, the judge and opposing counsels agree on a date for a preliminary hearing — when the bench decides if there’s enough evidence for the case to go to trial.    

Three years ago, a woman had reported to the Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff’s Station that Panama had assaulted her at his massage parlor.  

After deputies carried out an on-scene investigation, they arrested the suspect, who was still at the location on Lyons Avenue, between Arcadia Street and Newhall Avenue. In the 2018 incident, charges were not filed by L.A. County District Attorney Jackie Lacey due to insufficient evidence, according to detectives.  

David Cornish 

A former Saugus High School substitute math teacher was told last week to return to court on Nov. 16 after having been accused of committing sexual acts with one of his students.  

David Cornish has been charged with 18 individual felonies, including oral copulation with a minor, lewd acts with a child, penetration with a foreign object and two counts dealing with sexually inappropriate messages over the internet, according to L.A. County Superior Court records.  

At his next hearing this month, Cornish is scheduled to appear for a prelim setting.  

Cornish was arrested on May 27 of last year after the victim’s mother reportedly found out about a month-long relationship between her 14-year-old daughter and the substitute teacher.   

Cornish is being held in lieu of $1,075,000 bail at Men’s Central Jail.  

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