MONROVIA >> A Valinda man who strangled his girlfriend, sent pictures of her body along with an apologetic message to his mother, and left her body in an SUV parked in her parents’ backyard in Monrovia received a prison sentence of 46 years to life on Thursday, authorities said.
A jury convicted Joel Velazquez, 52, of voluntary manslaughter in May for the Sept. 21, 2014, death of 46-year-old Alice Medina-Kaplan, according to Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office spokeswoman Sarah Ardalani. He had initially been charged with murder.
Prosecutors alleged that Velazquez strangled the victim, Ardalani said in a written statement.
“Her body was later discovered inside an SUV parked behind a house owned by her parents on the 200 block of Mauna Loa Drive in Monrovia,” she said.
Shortly after the killing, Velasquez sent text messages to his mother, including photograph of her daughter’s body, along with an apology.
Medina-Kaplan reportedly suffered from schizophrenia. She had been living with Velazquez in the SUV when she was killed.
Velasquez has a prior conviction for making criminal threats in 2011, officials said.
* *NOTE: This story has been corrected to reflect that the killer sent pictures of the victim’s body to his own mother.
PHOTO: Homicide victim Alice Medina-Kaplan, 46. (Courtesy)
MONTEBELLO >> Police shot and killed a woman they say drove a car toward an officer and her boyfriend as police were investigating a report of a domestic dispute at a motel in Montebello on Saturday afternoon.
The fatal officer-involved shooting unfolded just after 4 p.m. outside the Quality Inn & Suites, 7709 Telegraph Road, Los Angeles County sheriff’s officials said.
Police were summoned to the pool area of the motel regarding a dispute between a woman and her boyfriend, both 28 years old, according to Deputy Kelvin Moody of the sheriff’s Information Bureau.
The couple, who were using the pool at the motel but were not guests, had been “drinking heavily during the day,” Moody said in a written statement.
“A verbal argument escalated to the point where the woman went inside the motel lobby and told the front desk clerk that her boyfriend had taken her purse,” Moody said. Motel staff called the police.
The woman then returned to her boyfriend and assaulted him, he said. She drove off just as a Montebello police officer was arriving.
“As the suspect drives away, she makes a U-turn and drives towards the officer and the boyfriend with her car, at which time an officer-involved shooting occurred,” Moody said.
“The woman was struck several times in the upper body,” Moody said. “She was transported to a local hospital where she was pronounced dead.”
The woman’s name was not available Sunday pending positive identification and notification of family, Los Angeles County Department of Medical Examiner-Coroner Investigator Rudy Molano said.
No further details were released.
SOUTH EL MONTE >> A SWAT team arrested a domestic violence suspect believed to be armed with a knife holed up inside a South El Monte home following a six-hour standoff on Sunday, authorities said.
The incident began about 1:20 p.m. in the 9600 block of El Poche Street, Deputy Juanita Navarro-Suarez of the Los Angeles County sheriff’s Information Bureau said in a written statement.
“Deputies contacted the suspect’s girlfriend at the location who informed them that during an argument, the suspect threatened her with a knife and made statements of setting the house on fire,” she said.
The suspect refused orders to come out of the home and surrender, officials said.
Officials evacuated nearby homes, shut off the natural gas supply to the home and summoned a sheriff’s Special Enforcement Bureau SWAT Team, as well as crisis negotiators, to the scene.
After hours of attempts talk the man into surrendering, deputies forced their way into the home and took the man into custody shortly after 7 p.m., officials said.
Martin E. Hernandez, 51, was booked on suspicion of felony spousal assault and making criminal threats, Navarro-Suarez said.
“The weapon, a knife, was recovered,” she added.
AZUSA >> A woman escaped Friday night after being held captive for at least a week, during which time she was repeatedly beaten, by her boyfriend at an Azusa apartment, police said.
Investigators found and arrested her alleged attacker, 32-year-old Jack Albert Davis of Azusa, later the same night, according to Azusa police Sgt. Robert Landeros. He was booked on suspicion of kidnapping, false imprisonment, domestic violence and assault with a deadly weapon.
Police received a report about 7 p.m. of a “seriously injured” woman in the 400 block of East 8th Street, “who advised that she fled from her apartment after being held against her will for at least one week,” Landeros said in a written statement.
Officials learned the woman had been held captive by her boyfriend.
“During the time she was held against her will by the suspect, he allegedly beat her repeatedly causing serious injuries to her face and body,” Landeros said. “Due to the severity of the victim’s injuries, she was transported to a local hospital emergency room for treatment.”
Officers quickly found and apprehended Davis in connection with the alleged series of crimes.
Davis, who is already on felony probation, or Post-Release Community Supervision, under the terms of AB 109 due to a prior conviction, was being held without bail pending his initial court appearance, according to police and Los Angeles County booking records.
Court records show Davis, also known as Jack Albert Hutchinson, has a lengthy criminal history dating back to 2003, at age 18.
Davis was briefly jailed for violating his parol in March, and again in June, records show.
Prior convictions in Los Angeles County include petty theft with a prior theft conviction in 2012; drug possession and possession of drug paraphernalia in 2011; domestic violence in 2008; vandalism in 2005; as well as domestic violence, burglary, battery, assault with a deadly weapon and driving a car without the owner’s consent in 2004.
Davis was scheduled to appear for an arraignment hearing Tuesday in the West Covina branch of Los Angeles County Superior Court.
A Monterey Park man who attacked his wife in the shower — stabbing her 32 times with a pair of scissors, a meat cleaver and a hammer before she managed to escape — received 15 years to life in prison for the grisly crime, authorities said.
A Pasadena jury convicted Kam Hing Wong, 64, of attempted murder in May for the attack, which took place on March 31, 2016, at the couple’s home in the 1200 block of Newmark Avenue. They deliberated for less than a day before finding Wong guilty of the stabbing, as well as finding true the special allegations that he personally used deadly weapons during the crime, and that he inflicted great bodily injury on the victim.
He received his sentence Thursday from Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge Curtis A. Kin, court officials said.
“Wong began his attack on his wife by stabbing her in the head with a pair of scissors while she was inside the shower at their Monterey Park home,” Los Angeles County District Attorney’s officials said in written statement.
“According to court testimony, Wong continuously stabbed his wife on her neck, chest and back with the scissors as he told her that he wanted to kill her,” the statement said. “As the victim ran from the defendant, he continued to slash and stab her using a large kitchen knife, and later, a meat cleaver.”
The victim suffered 32 stab and slash wounds in all, prosecutors said.
Police responded to a report of a bloody, nude woman running in the street at Newmark Avenue and Monterey Pass Road , Monterey Park police Lt. Scott Wiese said at the time. They encountered the then-56-year-old victim.
A trail of blood quickly led them back to the couple’s home, where they found and arrested Wong in the backyard, according to police and prosecutors.
He’s pictured with blood on his head and shirt his booking photo.
The woman was taken to a hospital, where “hundreds of stitches” were needed to close her dozens of wounds, according to the district attorney’s office statement.
Authorities were not aware of any specific argument or issue that preceded the unprovoked attack, District Attorney’s office spokesman Ricardo Santiago said.
Wong and the victim were married two or three years prior to the attack, after Wong’s previous wife died, he said.
The stabbing was believed to have been motivated by a general “disillusion with his new marriage,” Santiago said.
PHOTO: Kam Hing Wong, 64, is pictured with blood on his head and shirt in this police booking photo. He was convicted of attempted murder in May, 2017, for stabbing his wife 32 times at their home in the 1200 block of Newmark Avenue in Monterey Park on March 31, 2016. He was sentenced to 15 years to life in prison on Thursday, June 8, 2017. (Courtesy)
DUARTE >> An East Los Angeles man accused of kidnapping, assaulting and threatening his ex-girlfriend in Duarte earlier this week denied criminal charges on Friday, authorities said.
Alberto Casillas, 37, of East Los Angeles is accused of kidnapping, domestic violence and making criminal threats, according to Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office spokeswoman Sarah Ardalani. He pleaded not guilty to the charges during his arraignment hearing on Friday afternoon in the Alhambra branch of Los Angeles County Superior Court.
“The felony complaint also alleges that the defendant was previously convicted of making criminal threats in 2010,” Ardalani said in a written statement.
The defendant showed up at the home of his ex-girlfriend in the area of Millbrae and Central avenues in Duarte about 1:45 p.m. on Wednesday, prosecutors and Los Angeles County sheriff’s officials said.
“While in front of the woman’s residence, the defendant allegedly forced the ex-girlfriend into his vehicle and threatened to hurt her if she got out,” Ardalani said.
“Casillas then reportedly drove the pair to his East Los Angeles home, the prosecutor added. A witness to the alleged abduction contacted law enforcement about the attack,” she said.
Deputies found both Casillas and his alleged victim at the suspect’s home on Ferguson Drive in East Los Angeles, on the border between Commerce and East Los Angeles, sheriff’s Lt. John McClure said.
“When officers arrived at the defendant’s home, they allegedly found the victim in the driveway with injuries to her body,” Ardalani said. Casillas was arrested without a struggle.
Casillas is scheduled to return to court May 17 for a preliminary hearing, court officials said.
He was initially held in lieu of $100,000 bail pending his initial court appearance, county booking records show. But the court granted a request from the prosecution that bail be increased to $250,000, Ardalani said.
If convicted of all charges, Casillas faces up to 24 years in state prison.