ALHAMBRA >> A Rosemead man pleaded not guilty to murder Thursday following the fatal stabbing of a Monterey Park man last month, officials said.
Angel Octavion Garcia, 18, is accused of fatally stabbing Alhambra Parks and Recreation Department employee Edward Mendoza, 35, Oct. 14 in a parking lot in the 1700 block of Potrero Grande, near Arroyo Drive, Los Angeles County sheriff’s officials said.
He entered his plea in Alhambra Superior Court, where he was ordered to return Jan. 9 for a preliminary hearing setting, Los Angeles County district attorney’s officials said in a written statement.
“There are no indications the two men knew each other,” according to the statement. A motive for the slaying has not been released.
Mendoza called 9-1-1 to report he had been stabbed, Lt. John Corina of the Sheriff’s Homicide Bureau said. Investigators have declined to release further details of the 9-1-1.
Paramedics rushed Mendoza to Los Angeles County-USC Medical Center, where he died from his injuries.
“Soon after the incident, a person came forward to police and identified Garcia as the assailant,” according to the district attorney’s office statement.
Mendoza had worked a part-time recreation leader for the Alhambra Parks and Recreation Department since 2001, city officials said. Most recently, he served as a children’s football referee at Almansor Park in Alhambra.
Recently, Ray said Mendoza was refereeing football for the children at Almansor Park, 800 S. Almansor St. in Alhambra.
Sheriff’s investigators arrested Garcia Oct. 18, according to Los Angeles County booking records. He was being held in lieu of $1.025 million bail.
Loved ones have created a memorial video in tribute to Menoza at www.eddiemendoza.org.
SANTA FE SPRINGS >> The second of two defendants denied murder and assault charges in connection with the fatal stabbing of a La Mirada woman during a fight over a parking space at the Santa Fe Springs Swap Meet last month, officials said.
Reggie Cervantes, 22, of South Los Angeles pleaded not guilty to one count of murder and one count of assault with a deadly weapon for the Oct. 17 stabbing in the parking lot of the swap meet at 13963 Alondra Boulevard, Los Angeles County District Attorney’s officials said in a written statement.
Cervantes is additionally accused of the special allegation that he personally wielded a knife in the crime, officials said.
Cervantes’ co-defendant Brenda Jasmine Rangel, 19, of South Los Angeles pleaded not guilty to murder and assault charges Oct. 21 in Norwalk Superior Court.
The two suspects are accused of fatally stabbing 43-year-old Elizabeth Yanez of La Mirada during a dispute over a parking space about 9;30 p.m., Whittier police officials said.
Yanez was in a vehicle with her two adult children when she got into an argument with Cervantes and Rangel, who were in another car, police and district attorney’s officials said.
“At some point, Cervantes exited his car and attempted to stab Yanez’s son, but was unsuccessful,” according to the district attorney’s office statement. “Cervantes then allegedly walked over to Yanez and stabbed her,”
Yanez succumbed to her injuries at an area hospital.
Investigators found and arrested Cervantes and Rangel in connection with the fatal stabbing the following morning at a South Los Angeles apartment, according to Whittier police Lt. Kent Miller said.
Prosecutors said Cervantes was previously convicted of robbery in 2009 and receiving stolen property in 2010.
Both face up to 25 years to life in prison if convicted as charged, officials said.
Cervantes and Rangel were being held in lieu of $1 million bail pending trial, according to booking records. They were scheduled to return to court Dec. 15 for a preliminary hearing.
POMONA >> A jury convicted an Anaheim man of murder Friday in the beating death of his 19-month-old son last year in Valinda, authorities said.
A Pomona Superior Court jury deliberated for less than two days before finding Jesus Vega Estrada, 44, guilty of second-degree murder, along with assault on a child causing death, Los Angeles County District Attorney’s officials said in a written statement. He faces up to 25 years to life to prison when he returns to court for sentencing Dec. 15.
Estrada beat his 19-month-old son after picking the child up from the home of the boy’s mother in Valinda about 11:15 p.m. on Nov. 27, 2013, prosectors said. He told the boy’s mother he was taking the child to buy candy and juice.
Eric Avian Cervantes died at a West Covina hospital early the next morning, Los Angeles County Department of Coroner Chief of Operations Craig Harvey.
“When Estrada and the child returned to the home about 11:45 p.m., the victim was vomiting,” according to the statement. “The parents then took the child to the hospital, where the toddler died early the next morning.”
Los Angeles County sheriff’s deputies arrested Estrada the same morning, according to officials and county booking records.
Coroner’s investigators determined Cervantes died from “blunt force trauma” to his liver, district attorney’s office spokeswoman Sarah Ardalani said.
Coroners officials further determined that child suffered his injuries when he was struck by an adult, Harvey said. Investigators ruled the death a homicide.
The boy had also suffered broken ribs, trauma to his head and bruising on his body, district attorney’s officials said.
The injuries were believed to have been inflicted by Estrada’s hand or fist, Ardalani said. No weapon was believed to have been involved in the fatal attack.
During trial, Los Angeles County Deputy District Attorney Michael Matoba argued that Estrada had committed to previous, unreported incidents of abuse against his son on Oct. 17 and Oct. 20, district attorney’s officials said.
A specific motive for the attack was unclear, however Ardalani said Estrada and the boy’s mother had been arguing over the amount of his child support payments prior to the killing.
Estrada was held without bail pending the trial process due to a hold placed on him by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials.
Hello. I’m working on a large-scale project documenting unsolved homicides in the San Gabriel Valley between 2000 and 2010, and I’m reaching out to families and loved ones who wish to draw renewed attention to unsolved cases. If your friend or family member was the victim of an unsolved homicide in the San Gabriel Valley between 2000 and 2010 and you wish to talk, feel free to reach me at (626) 544-0812, or at email@example.com. Thank you.
- Brian Day
Crime reporter – San Gabriel Valley Tribune
BALDWIN PARK >> Prosecutors Thursday charged a Baldwin Park man Thursday with murder in connection with the death of a woman at her Baldwin Park home last month, officials said Thursday.
Juan Carlos Santana, 42, was arrested on suspicion of burglary and receiving stolen property the day after Patricia Sigala Salva was found dead Oct. 18 inside her home in the 3700 block of Idaho Street in Baldwin Park, according to Los Angeles County booking records and Los Angeles County District Attorney’s officials.
Prosecutors charged Santana Thursday with the murder of Patricia Sigala Salva, according to a felony complaint filed in Pomona Superior Court. Sheriff’s and coroner’s officials have declined to release any information regarding the woman’s identity, however public records indicate she was in her early-60s and had lived at the Baldwin Park home for at least 20 years.
Salva had been shot, according to court documents. She died sometime between Oct. 16 and Oct. 18, when her body was discovered.
He was initially charged with burglary and receiving stolen property, however prosecutors have since added the charge of murder, district attorney’s office spokeswoman Sarah Ardalani said. He was scheduled to be arraigned on the murder charge Jan. 8 in Pomona Superior Court.
Prosecutors also accused Juan Santana of the special allegations that he personally used a handgun in the crime, and that he committed the murder during the coarse of a burglary, according to a felony complaint filed in
Arrested and charged in the same case as Juan Santana was 19-year-old Andres Javier Santana and 44-year-old Deborah Jean Curiel, according to officials and booking records. Both were jailed Oct. 19 on suspicion of receiving stolen property.
The elder Santana was being held without bail, records show, while Andres Santana has been released on bail pending legal proceeding, and Curiel was being held in lieu of $20,000 bail.
The relationships among the suspects were not clear, nor was their relationship with Salva. The suspects’ cities of residence were also not available.
Numerous calls in recent weeks to handling detectives at the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Homicide have not been returned. And sheriff’s investigators ordered a “security hold” on the case at the Los Angeles County Department of Coroner, preventing the release of any information, coroner’s officials said. The security hold remained in effect Thursday.
Police said the woman’s body was discovered after residents reported suspicious circumstances at her home.
Someone called Baldwin Park police to report seeing a person running out of the garage of the home with an item believed to be beer, police said. Neighbors also told police they had not seen the woman who lives at the home in several says.
Lt. Ed Hernandez of the Sheriff’s Homicide Bureau said the woman had rented space in the house to roommates in the past, but was living alone at the time of her death.
NORWALK >> Gunfire at a Norwalk park left one man dead early Saturday, authorities said.
The fatal shooting took place about 6:20 a.m. at Arthur Gerdes Park, 14700 Gridley Road, Los Angeles County sheriff’s Sgt. Jose Navares said.
Deputies responded to several calls reporting gunshots and a “victim down” when they encountered a man in his 20s who had been shot, the sergeant said.
Paramedics rushed the wounded man to a hospital, where he succumbed to his injuries, Navares said.
No suspects were in custody, and no suspect description was immediately available.
Detectives from the Sheriff’s Homicide Bureau are handling the investigation. Anyone with information can reacht he bureau at 323-890-5500.
LOS ANGELES >> A Los Angeles jury ruled Wednesday that an elderly Montebello man was sane when he strangled his wife at the couple’s Montebello apartment in 2012, officials said.
The jury convicted Baghdo Hayrapetyan, 75, of second-degree murder Oct. 30 for the March 5, 2012, death of 63-year-old Anahit Hayrapetyan at an apartment in the 2000 block of West Whittier Boulevard, Los Angeles County District Attorney’s officials said in a written statement. But the Baghdo Hayrapetyan maintained that he was not guilty by reason of insanity.
The same jury found Wednesday that the convict was sane when he killed his wife during an argument, officials said.
Baghdo Hayrapetyan is due back in Los Angeles Superior Court Feb. 10 to be sentenced by Judge Sam Ohta, district attorney’s officials said. He faces 15 years to life in state prison.
The convicted killer was being held without bail in the meantime at the Twin Towers Correctional Facility in Los Angeles.
Family members found the body of Anahit Hayrapetyan, along with and unconscious and bleeding Baghdo Hayrapetyan at their apartment, Lt. Ed Hernandez of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Homicide Bureau said. Detectives determined the man’s severe stab wounds were self-inflicted.
ROSEMEAD >> An 18-year-old Rosemead man died early Saturday after two men he asked to leave a Halloween party returned with a gun and shot him, authorities said.
Jesse Garcia died at a hospital following the 1 a.m. shooting at a party held in a small residential cul-de-sac in the 7900 block of Virginia Street, Los Angeles County sheriff’s and coroner’s officials said.
Both Garcia and the two suspects were at the party prior to the shooting, sheriff’s officials said in a written statement.
“The victim asked the suspects to leave the party. A short time later, the suspects returned to the party with a firearm and shot at the victim, striking him in the torso,” Sgt. Carmen Arballo of the Sheriff’s Headquarters Bureau said.
Garcia was rushed to a hospital where he died from his injuries.
Although he was a Rosemead resident, the victim did not live at the home where the Halloween party was hosted, sheriff’s officials said.
No getaway car was seen.
“The suspects fled the location on foot in an unknown direction and out of view,” Arballo said.
Detectives initially described the killers as two young men between 17 and 21 years old. Detailed descriptions were not available.
By Saturday afternoon, only a small piece of yellow crime scene tape in the street was the only sign of the fatal shooting. Several neighborhood residents said they did not know what took place early Saturday morning.
Officials asked anyone with information to contact the Sheriff’s Homicide Bureau at 323-890-5500. Tips may also be submitted anonymously to L.A. Regional Crime Stopper at 800-222-8477.
SANTA ANA >> A La Habra gang member received a sentence of 50 years to life in state prison Friday for fatally shooting a Westminster man outside a La Habra Halloween party eight years ago, authorities said.
A Santa Ana Superior Court jury convicted David Anthony Parga, a 28-year-old member of the West Side La Habra street gang, late last year of second-degree murder for the Oct. 29, 2006, slaying of 27-year-old Leland Washington, according to Orange County District Attorney’s officials.
In addition to finding Parga guilty of murder, the jury also found true special allegations that the crime was gang-related, and that Parga personally used a firearm in the killing, district attorney’s officials said in a written statement.
Washington, a senior at California State University, Long Beach, attended a Halloween party in the 400 block of West First Street when he was shot to death shortly after 1:30 a.m., officials said.
Though the party was attended by many gang members, Washington had no gang ties, district attorney’s officials said in a written statement.
Washington went to the party at the invitation of two friends, but returned to his car after he was unable to find them.
“Outside of the house, Parga approached Washington and shot him without provocation several times in the torso,” according to the district attorney’s office statement. “Parga murdered the victim for a criminal street gang purpose. Washington and Parga did not know each other, and the victim had no previous contact or conflict with anyone at the party.”
Washington’s friend placed the wounded man into a car, called 9-1-1 and rushed him to the La Habra Police Department, officials said. He was then taken to a hospital, where he was pronounced dead.
After the investigation into Washington’s murder went cold, prosecutors developed new evidence and charged Parga with the killing in 2009. He was already serving a jail sentence for leading police on a chase in a stolen car that ended with a crash in Whittier about two weeks after the slaying.
ALTADENA >> A man died Thursday after being shot during an argument outside an Altadena hamburger stand Thursday afternoon, authorities said.
The shooting took place just before 4:30 p.m. at Fair Oaks Avenue and Calaveras Street, Los Angeles County sheriff’s officials said. A witness flagged down a deputy within a minute of the shooting.
“The victim was sitting in front of Fair Oaks Burger when a suspect approached him,” sheriff’s Lt. Robert Lewis said. “An argument ensued. A weapon was produced. Three or four shots were fired at the individual.”
Paramedics rushed the wounded man to Huntington Hospital in Pasadena for treatment, Lewis said.
The victim succumbed to his wounds a short time later, sheriff’s officials said.
The shooter got into a dark gray, four-door sedan along with a second suspect, Lewis said. The car sped away heading east on Calaveras Street, Lewis said. The two suspects were described only as male.
Deputies set up a search perimeter in a three block radius surrounding the shooting scene and continued hunting for the suspects Thursday night, he said.