Jury deliberating in case of woman accused of killing Altadena man during kidnapping

LOS ANGELES — A jury was deliberating Wednesday in the case of a a woman accused of fatally shooting a man in Altadena while kidnapping his young nephew four years ago.
Mesha Arshaz Dean, 27, is charged with with murder with special circumstances, kidnapping and child abuse in connection with the March 18, 2007 death of 32-year-old Monroe Miles at his home in the 4000 block of Canyon Dell Drive in Altadena, Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office spokeswoman Jane Robison said.
The special allegation of murder during the commission of a kidnapping could have made Dean eligible for the death penalty.
“This is a special circumstances case, however (prosecutors) are not seeking the death penalty,” Robison said. If convicted as charged, “she faces life without the possibility of parole.”
The jury began deliberating on Dean’s fate Tuesday following her trial in Los Angeles Superior Court, officials said.
Dean is accused of shooting Miles while she and friend Vanessa Ochoa, 27, kidnapped Ochoa’s then-4-year-old son, who was staying with Miles and other relatives at his grandparents at and his grandparents that day. The boy’s father had left Miles, the child’s uncle, in charge of his son.
Both women arrived at the home, and Ochoa went inside and retrieved the boy, officials said.
The shooting took place outside the home when Miles tried to stop the women from taking the boy, officials said. Dean allegedly pulled a gun during the confrontation and fatally shot Miles in the chest before she and Ochoa fled to Las Vegas with the child.
Dean has reportedly maintained that the shooting was done in self-defense.
Authorities found the women and boy in Las Vegas after issuing an Amber Alert.
Ochoa pleaded guilty last year to charges of voluntary manslaughter, kidnapping and child abuse, Robison said. She was expected to be sentenced to 14 years and 4 months in prison when sentenced April 9.
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