Son accused of killing father in Irwindale appears in court

IRWINDALE — Arraignment was postponed Wednesday for a man suspected in the beating death his father, whose body was found inside an Irwindale storage locker.
Jonathan Pedraza, 24, is due back in Pomona Superior Court Sept. 25 to answer to a charge of murder, court officials said. He was already awaiting trial on an unrelated misdemeanor case and had just been released from jail three days prior to the killing.
Pedraza is accused of beating 62-year-old Miguel Pedraza to death with a dumbbell, Lt. Liam Gallagher of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Homicide Bureau said.
A motive in the alleged killing remained unknown, the lieutenant said.
“We don’t know what set him off or what occurred,” he said, adding that the son has denied the killing to investigators.
Los Angeles County Commissioner Wade Olson set bail for Pedraza at $1 million, officials added. He was previously being held without bail.
Though Jonathan Pedraza was initially listed by sheriff’s officials as a Hollywood man, authorities said Wednesday that the father and son were Glendora residents.
Miguel Pedraza’s body was found just after 4 p.m. Friday inside a storage facility at A-1 Mini Storage, 4391 Irwindale Ave. in Irwindale, sheriff’s investigators said.
Jonathan Pedraza, who had been spotted by witnesses allegedly smashing his way through a security gate to escape the storage facility shortly before the body was found, was arrested hiding on the roof of a Baldwin Park apartment building, Gallagher said.
“We found some evidence both in the car and on him that we think indicates (Jonathan Pedraza was) connected,” Gallagher said.
When a company employee went to check the locker believed to have been accessed by Jonathan Pedraza, the door was found to be partially open and a foot was sticking out, the lieutenant said.
Detectives believe the killing took place at the storage facility immediately before Jonathan Pedraza was seen smashing through the gate, Gallagher said. A dumbbell that detectives believe to be the murder was found in the locker.
Los Angeles County Department of Coroner’s Investigator Christie McCrackin said Miguel Pedraza died of “blunt head trauma” and the case was ruled a homicide.
In addition to murder, Jonathan Pedraza is also accused of personally using a dumbbell to kill his father, felony vandalism and two counts of hit-and-run, officials said.
According to Los Angeles County court records, Jonathan Pedraza’s only previous criminal conviction was for possession of drug paraphernalia in January of 2009.
Jonathan Pedraza has been released from jail just three days prior to the killing on Aug. 31, court officials said.
He had been arrested Aug. 14 in West Covina on suspicion of resisting, delaying or obstructing a peace officer or emergency medical technician; destruction of evidence and possession of narcotics, West Covina police Lt. David Rozeboom said.
In that case, West Covina responded to a disturbance call in West Covina involving a person possibly under the influence of drugs, Rozeboom said.
“When they contacted him, he destroyed the (methamphetamine) that he had by pouring it into a liquid drink,” the lieutenant said.
Prior to the killing, Jonathan Pedraza was scheduled for a jury trial Tuesday in West Covina Superior Court on charges of resisting, delaying or obstructing a peace officer or EMT and destroying evidence, court officials said. The murder case forced a schedule change.

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