A jury convicted a Los Angeles man on Thursday of attacking, threatening and kidnapping his ex-girlfriend in Duarte in May, authorities said.
The Alhambra jury found Albert Casillas, 38, guilty of kidnapping, domestic violence and making criminal threats following a four-day trial, Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office spokesman Ricardo Santiago said in a written statement.
He faces up to 24 years and four months in state prison when he returns to the Alhambra branch of Los Angeles County Superior Court on Sept. 28.
The series of crimes took place on May 3.
Casillas went to his ex-girlfriend’s Duarte home and, while in front of the woman’s residence, forced her into his vehicle and threatened to hurt her if she got out,” Santiago said. Casillas then drove the victim from the kidnapping scene at Millbrae and Central avenues to his home in East Los Angeles.
A witness reported the abduction, and deputies arrived to find the woman suffering from injuries to her body, Los Angeles County sheriff’s Lt. John McClure said at the time.
The woman told deputies she had not been the victim of any crimes, but deputies arrested Casillas based on her injuries and the accounts of witnesses, McClure said.
The jury convicted Casillas of all three crimes with which he was charged.
DUARTE >> Deputies are seeking a trio of armed robbers who held up an IHOP restaurant in Duarte on Friday night.
The crime unfolded about midnight at the restaurant, 988 Hamilton Road, Los Angeles County sheriff’s Lt. Frank Ruiz said.
Two men wearing masks, accompanied by a woman, entered the store and ordered three employees to the ground, sheriff’s officials said in a written statement.
At least one of the robbers carried a gun, Ruiz said.
Apparently unable to find cash inside the store, the robbers ultimately fled with only an employee’s backpack, which contained “miscellaneous items,” and a VISA gift card from the cash register, according to the lieutenant.
Detailed suspect descriptions were not available, and no getaway car was seen, officials said.
Anyone with information can reach the sheriff’s Temple Station at 626-285-7171. Tips may also be submitted anonymously to L.A. Regional Crime Stoppers at 800-222-8477.
Detective have arrested a suspect in connection with the slaying of a 20-year-old La Puente man found who was found shot to death inside a vacant home in Duarte in April following what investigators described as a drug deal gone wrong.
Ricardo Anthony Resendez faces a murder charge for the April 1 shooting of Christian Sanchez in the 2600 block of Calle Martos, according to a criminal complaint filed against him.
He was arrested by deputies from the sheriff’s Temple City Station just before 4 p.m. on Tuesday, Los Angeles County booking records show.
After identifying Resendez as a suspect in the slaying, he was arrested at his home in an unincorporated county area near Duarte without a struggle, Lt. Joe Mendoza of the sheriff’s Homicide Bureau said.
“The motive was a drug deal gone bad,” Mendoza said.
The suspect and victim met at the home prior to the shooting, the lieutenant said. “That’s were the suspect shot the victim.”
No further details regarding the circumstances of the slaying have been released.
In addition to the murder charge, prosecutors also allege the special circumstance of murder during the commission of a robbery, as well as the special allegation that he personally discharged a firearm resulting in great bodily injury and death, according to Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office spokeswoman Sarah Ardalani.
The special circumstance makes Resendez potentially eligible for the death penalty. Prosecutors will decide later whether to seek capital punishment in the case.
Los Angeles County District Attorney’s officials filed the murder charge on Wednesday, Los Angeles County Superior Court and booking records show.
He entered no plea during a court appearance in the Alhambra branch of Los Angeles County Superior Court. An arraignment hearing was postponed until Sept. 20.
Resendez was being held without bail.
DUARTE >> A woman is accused of arson after she allegedly torched her family’s home in Duarte during an argument, authorities said.
The fire broke out about 3 p.m. at a house in the 3000 block of Freeborn Street, Los Angeles County sheriff’s Lt. Ronald Daily said.
Deputies were first summoned to the home for a family disturbance among adult family members, the lieutenant said.
“One of the family members had deliberately lit a fire,” he said.
The others inside the home escaped without injury, but the flames engulfed the home, resulting in “substantial” damage, according to Daily.
Deputies found and arrested the alleged arsonist at the scene, he said.
The woman’s identity was not available as she was taken to a hospital prior to booking after complaining of a pre-existing medical issue, he said.
Detectives from the sheriff’s Arson-Explosives Detail were summoned to take over the investigation.
A 16-year-old Arcadia boy died following a shooting in a residential neighborhood between Monrovia and Duarte early Sunday, authorities said.
Gabriel Shea Carlos died in the 1:40 a.m. shooting in the 400 block of Schrode Avenue in the unincorporated county area, according to Los Angeles County Department of Medical Examiner-Coroner Investigator Jerry McKibben said.
“Detectives have learned that Temple Station deputies responded to a ‘shots fired’ call at the location,” Deputy Lisa Jansen said in a written statement. “Upon their arrival, they found a male Hispanic juvenile unconscious and suffering from at least one gunshot wound to the upper body.”
Paramedics pronounced Carlos dead at the scene.
No further details were available.
“There is no suspect information at this time and detectives believe this incident is not gang related,” Jansen said.
A memorial of flowers, candles, a rosary, a gray shirt and a baseball cap adorned with a 1970s-era Atlanta Braves logo marked the site of the shooting on Sunday afternoon. Mourners gathered there did not wish to comment.
Sunday morning’s shooting is the 5th fatal attack reported in the Duarte-Monrovia area this year.
It took place two weeks after residents of the Duarte and Monrovia areas marched through both cities to decry the recent spate of violence.
Anyone with information can reach the sheriff’s Homicide Bureau at 323-890-5500. Tips may also be submitted anonymously to L.A. Regional Crime Stoppers at 800-222-8477.
Dozens of community members, including several families who have lost loved ones to violence, marched through the streets of Duarte and Monrovia on Saturday to respond to recent shootings in the area with a message of peace.
The Duarte-Monrovia Peace March, organized by the Community Mediation Team, drew demonstrators of all ages to Duarte City Hall before they made a 1.5-mile trek to the Mary Wilcox the Mary Youth Center in Monrovia. Marchers wore white clothing and carried signs reading, “Peace & Unity,” and “Love Conquers Hate.”
Monrovia police Chaplain Steve Martinez had a message for the family members of slain loved ones who took part in the event
“I know it’s been difficult for you. It could have weeks ago, months ago, years ago, but you’re here today, and we are here to support you, and show love to your family and to honor the memory of the person that you lost and that you still love,” he said.
“And this is also a sign to show people in the community that we want to do something. We want to make a change.”
The Monrovia-Duarte community has seen four people killed and four others wounded in a space of at least eight shootings reported since January.
Among them was 39-year-old Kirinda Morehead of Duarte, who was shot to death on Feb. 18 as he arrived home with his fiancee and two young children in the 2300 block of Bashor Street.
“As he got out of his truck, someone shot him 12 times,” said Diane Myrick, the mother of Morehead’s fiancee. Though the couple was not yet married, she said she already thought of Morehead as her son-in-law.
“He was a hard-working, loving, family-loving, Christian man who did not deserve to be gunned down in the street like that in front of his children and his fiancee,” she said.
“All we can do now is just hope and pray that the person who perpetrated this act this act upon this family (is caught),” Myrick said.
“And we just want to thank the city of Duarte for all that you’re doing to ensure that the these streets are safe,” she said. In 25 years living in the area, “I’ve never experienced anything like we have in the past few months.”
“It’s a struggle day-by-day,” Myrick said. “These shooters just pull up, and they have no clue what they’re leaving behind. No clue. But God is able, and we’ll get through this together.”
The family of 18-year-old Oscar Garcia, who was shot to death in his hometown of Monrovia on April 22, carried pictures of the slain Canyon Oaks High School as they marched.
Garcia was visiting with friends in a residential garage in the 100 block of West Cypress Street while visiting friends when an attacker opened fire on the group of teens. Garcia was mortally wounded and another teenage boy was seriously injured in the shooting, but survived. Investigators suspect the shooter was looking someone else when he encountered and shot the teens.
“Without any though, he just went ahead and shot my brother,” David Garcia said. “He was a good kid.”
Garcia was an avid skateboarder who loved spending time at the Monrovia Skate Park, family members said.
To honor Garcia’s memory, loved ones have begun circulating a petition to formally rename the park after him. The petition is available online at www.change.org/p/the-community-of-monrovia-naming-the-skatepark-after-oscar-garcia.
The family of 18-year-old Malcolm Mency of Duarte also added their voices to the march.
Mency, who had just become a father, was shot to death at Broderick and Felberg avenues, in an unincorporated county area between Duarte and Monrovia, as he walked home from work on Dec. 22.
“I have in my heart a long list of families impacted that have not made the headlines,” said CMT Co-Chair and former Duarte Mayor Lois Gaston, who hosted the event.
Representatives from numerous local churches, organizations and government agencies took part in the assembly.
Capt. David Flores of the Los Angeles County sheriff’s Temple Station, which patrols Duarte and nearby unincorporated county areas, said he was glad to see the strong show of community involvement.
“My heart goes out to all of you who have lost someone or know someone who was lost,” he said.
“It’s good that we’re here,” the captain added. “This comes down to citizenship and making a stand for what’s right and coming together for the community, so I’m so happy to see everyone here. When the community comes together and we partner together, good work can be done. And truly this a great step in that direction.”
DUARTE >> A report of an apparent burglary in progress in Duarte led deputies to arrest three suspects and recover a loaded pistol, as well as about an ounce of heroin, authorities said.
The incident began about 12:40 p.m. when man called 911 report two men and a women were at his front door in the 2900 block of Elda Street, jiggling the door handle in an attempt to break in, Los Angeles County sheriff’s Lt. Robert Hahnlein said.
“The resident reported that the individuals did not enter his house and left the area in a black Range Rover,” sheriff’s officials said in a written statement.
Deputies soon saw and pulled over an SUV matching the description of the burglar’s vehicle at Royal Oaks Drive and Greenbank Avenue in Duarte,
“The female driver had a no-bail warrant out of Oregon and was driving with a suspended license,” according to the statement. “A loaded .40-caliber (handgun) was found in the vehicle along with approximately an ounce of heroin.”
Further information regarding that the woman was wanted for out of state was not available.
The woman, along with two male passengers, were expected to be booked on suspicion of attempted burglary and possession of heroin for sales, Hahnlein said.
Karine Garabedyan, 32, Rosalio LopezUribe, 27, and Joshua Taft, 33, all of Oregon were expected to be booked on suspicion of attempted burglary and possession of heroin for sales, Hahnlein said. At least one of the suspects was also expected to face charged in connection with the gun.
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.
DUARTE >> An East L.A. man is accused of kidnapping and domestic violence after witnesses reported seeing him force his girlfriend into a car in Duarte on Wednesday afternoon, officials said.
Deputies first responded to the area of Millbrae and Central avenues about 1:45 p.m., Los Angeles County sheriff’s Lt. John McClure said. Witnesses reported seeing a man forcing a woman into a car before driving off.
Deputies soon identified the possible suspect and headed to his home on Ferguson Drive in East Los Angeles, on the border between Commerce and East Los Angeles, McClure said.
The man and the woman complied with deputies’ orders to come out of the home about 5 p.m., he said.
The woman told deputies she had not been the victim of a crime, McClure said. But based on witness accounts, deputies arrested the man on suspicion of kidnapping and domestic violence.
The suspect’s identity was not available pending the booking process.
DUARTE >> A car-to-car shooting in an unincorporated county area near Duarte on Friday afternoon left one vehicle riddled with bullets, but no injuries were reported, officials said.
The shooting took place about 3:45 p.m. in the area of California Avenue and Camino Real Street, Los Angeles County sheriff’s Sgt. Erick Martinez said. Two people were inside the car that was struck with a volley of gunfire, but both escaped injury.
“(The victims’) vehicle was parked on the side of the road. Another vehicle pulled up alongside of it, at which time a number of rounds were fired,” Martinez said. “The victims’ vehicle was struck six times.”
The shooter was believed to be a lone man in an older model, silver, four-door Nissan Sentra he said. The car was last seen heading west on Camino Real.
Sheriff’s gang detectives were handling the investigation into the attack.
Monrovia, Duarte and the unincorporated county area that separates them have seen at least 10 shootings since January, leaving four victims dead and five more wounded.
Anyone with information can reach the sheriff’s Temple Station at 626-285-7171. Tips may also be submitted anonymously online to L.A. Regional Crime Stoppers at 800-222-8477.