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Local briefs
March 03, 2007, 12:00 AM
Accused lip-biter posts

 half-million dollar bail

A 53-year-old South San Francisco man who allegedly attacked his wife of 17 years and bit off her bottom lip after she called him a short man is free from custody after posting $500,000 bail.

Akano Nzerem delayed a preliminary hearing after replacing his court-appointed attorney with retained counsel. He returns to court April 11. Meanwhile, he is free after posting the half-million dollar bond. A judge refused to lower the amount at an earlier hearing.

South San Francisco police arrested Nzerem Jan. 24 after his wife, and mother of his six children, told police he punched her repeatedly and threw a bottle because she told a friend he was acting strangely. Their 16-year-old daughter tried stepping between them but was reportedly tossed aside. Nzerem then allegedly grabbed his wife in a bear hug and bit off her lip. Police recovered the lip but doctors were unable to successfully reattach it. After his arrest, Akano Nzerem reportedly told police he had to bite her lip off because she called him a short man and attacked him.

Driver in fatal crash

to trial for murder

The 48-year-old driver who allegedly killed a 19-year-old college student in a cocaine-fueled hit-and-run last October will stand trial on five felonies, including second-degree murder and vehicular manslaughter under the influence of drugs.

Mark Eugene Henderson, of San Jose, has pleaded not guilty to all charges in the hit-and-run death of Rebecca Siebenmorgan but was ordered to stand trial after a two-day preliminary hearing.The charges also include felony hit-and-run, driving under the influence of drugs and drug possession.

His bail was also changed from $250,000 to no-bail status.

He returns to court March 16 to enter a plea and set a jury trial date. If convicted, Henderson faces 30 years to life in prison as a second-striker.

Henderson was arrested shortly after the Oct. 1 crash which killed Siebenmorgen, a student at the University of California at Santa Cruz. Henderson’s Ford Ranger pickup truck was traveling south when it reportedly drifted into the northbound lane in front of an oncoming motorcycle just south of Tunitas Creek Road. Siebenmorgen died from the head-on collision. Henderson fled from the scene, according to the California Highway Patrol, and was found with a small amount of cocaine in his possession. He has a number of prior convictions dating from 1976, including driving, assault and drug charges.

High school girl reported missing

A 15-year-old girl from East Palo Alto has been missing since Wednesday morning and was last seen at a local high school, according to a family friend.

Maria Centeno, a high school sophomore, was last seen by her school counselor at Community South High School in East Palo Alto. The two had been talking together but the counselor left the office for a minute and returned to find Maria had left, said Jill Center, who works at the Alzheimer’s Association along with Centeno’s mother.

Maria is 5 feet 5 inches tall, has brown eyes and her brown hair is dyed burgundy. She was last seen wearing blue jeans and a pink blouse, according to Center.

Anyone with information about Maria’s whereabouts is asked to contact the East Palo Alto Police Department at (650) 321-1112.

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