May 29, 2013 12:38 AM by Olivia DeGennaro and Katherine Worsham, KSBY News
A devastating oil spill and a murder case that turns into a First Amendment battle. Those are some of the headlines in our countdown of the top 60 local stories of the past 60 years. We've been taking a look back as part of KSBY's 60th anniversary celebration.
At number 30, the Santa Maria man who went on a shooting rampage at Black Road Auto Yard on March 18th, 2008.
Lee Leeds shot and killed four people, one of them his own father.
He claimed he was insane at the time and initially pleaded not guilty.
Leeds received treatment for paranoid schizophrenia at a mental hospital.
It took four years for judges to declare him mentally competent to stand trial, as well as sane when he committed the murders.
In July 2012, he was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole.
The Central Coast experienced one of the worst storms in California history on March 1st, 1983.
That's number 29 on our list.
The "100-year storm" produced more than 25-foot waves that damaged every pier in the county.
The Avila Wharf took the greatest beating.
One-hundred feet of the pier fell into the ocean and one child died in the collapse.
The storm also overflowed San Luis Creek, isolating the town of Avila Beach.
A 2,700 foot Union Oil pier also collapsed, spilling oil and gasoline into the water.
Number 28 is a murder trial that had people around the nation focused on the Central Coast.
On July 22nd, 1995, Arroyo Grande 15-year old Elyse Pahler died from being choked and stabbed more than 12 times.
Her killers, three teenaged boys, then had sex with her corpse.
All three were later sentenced to prison, but Elyse's murder got national attention six years after her death when her parents sued the band Slayer in 2001.
They claimed the band's lyrics served as an "instruction manual" for the boys to murder her, promoting devil worship, necrophilia, and human sacrifice.
Her parents lost their case, but it attracted media attention for its impact on First Amendment rights.
At number 27, an oil pipeline broke, spilling 600 barrels, or more than 25,000 gallons, of crude oil into Avila Beach waters and surrounding land on August 3rd, 1992.
The spill harmed animals in the area, including birds, otters and salmon.
Pipeline owner Unocal had to pay $1.4 million dollars to state and federal fish and wildlife departments to restore the area.
That restoration took seven years.
For our number 26 story, people flock to the Central Coast for our wine.
Established in 1983, the Paso Robles American Viticulture Area is California's fastest growing wine region, claiming 26,000 acres, more than 200 wineries, and more than 40 grape varieties.
Halfway between San Francisco and L.A., wine country sits off Highway 101, just six miles from the sea.
And Paso Robles has unique soil qualities, setting its wine apart from others in California.
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