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
The Justice for Homicide Victims advocacy group is planning to host it’s 30th annual gathering Sunday at Rose Hills Memorial Park in Whittier, bringing together hundreds of people to honor the memories of slain loved ones and discuss the state of victims’ rights.
Justice for Homicide Victims 30th Memorial Foundation Event will take place from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. inside Gate 19 of the Rose Hills, 3888 Workman Mill Road, organizers said.
Keynote speakers are to include San Bernardino County District Attorney Michael Ramos, as well as actor, director and producer Griffin Dunne, who is the son of JHV founder Ellen Griffin Dunne.
Honored guests will also include victim’s rights advocate Marcella Nicholas. Marsy’s Law, also known as the California Victim’s Bill of Rights, is named for her daughter, who was slain in 1983 at age 21.
The candidates for Los Angeles County Sheriff have been invited to speak, and several candidates for Los Angeles County Superior Court judge were scheduled to address the group, JHV Board Member Jeanette Chavez said.
Chavez, who lost her 16-year-old daughter Sammantha Salas to a shooting in 2008, said Sunday would be a good time for families affected by homicide who have not yet become involved with a support group to visit with others in similar situations.
In addition to JHV, “We’ll have other organizations there that will be able to help them in the area,” Chavez said.
And meeting with other families also dealing with the violent loss of a loved one can be a therapeutic process, she said.
“I remember when the detective told me about Parents of Murdered Children,” she said. “I started going to their sessions. And you know what, it was the best thing I’ve ever done. I’ve heard other mothers in my position. They understood the pain I was going through, losing a child.”
And JHV, in conjunction with the group Justice for Murdered Children, planned to announce a new, monthly grief counseling program at Sunday’s event, Chavez said.
“You will be able to send a message on a balloon to your loved one, doves will be released and songs will be sung,” organizers said in written statement. “Pictures of over 250 homicide victims will be displayed. Please feel free to being a picture to share.”
To RSVP or for more information, email Jane at JHVinfo@gmail.com. Information is also available on JHV’s website at www.justiceforhomicidevictims.net.
This comes from Jan Williams, whose son and grandsons were killed last summer at their home in Rowland Heights. Manling Williams, wife and mother of the victims, is awaiting trial for slayings, and could face the death penalty. Here’s Jan’s commentary:
Jan Williams, whose son and grandsons were killed last August at their home in Rowland Heights, will be participating in a rally supporting Marcy’s Law, described as a bill of rights for victims of violent crimes. The press conference will take place outside the condo where Neal, Devon and Ian were slain. Here’s the top of the press release:
As children prepare to go house to house “trick or treating” on Halloween Friday, a Los Angeles man will be traveling across Los Angeles and Orange County from murder scene to murder scene. He will not be gathering candy, but stories of murder. The man is a local criminal prosecutor who worked with Broadcom billionaire Henry Nicholas to give victims rights by co-writing Prop 9, the “Victims Bill of Rights”. The prosecutor, a local Deputy District Attorney, “Marsy’s Law” in memory of Nicholas’s murdered sister, is on the November 4, 2008 ballot.
Press Conferences/ “Yes on Prop. 9″ Tour of Murder Scenes (Oct. 29, 30, 31)
Over the three day period there will be a series of press conferences featuring the prosecutor who wrote Marsy’s law and the victims stories that inspired the changes in the law. Family members of murdered victims will tell not only the story of the murder, but the story of how they were re-victimized by the criminal justice system. The pilgrimage will begin on Wednesday October 29, 2008 in Malibu at the scene of 20 year old Marsy’s brutal shotgun murder and end in Orange County, with victims right leaders who inspired the writing of Prop 9.
The Board of Supervisors doubled the $10,00 reward being offered for information in the slaying of a 90-year-old Altadena woman. This comes from one of our wire services:
The reward for information leading to an arrest and conviction was originally posted a
few days after the body of Evelyn Mosely was found on May 8 in her home, which had
been deliberately set on fire.
Firefighters who quickly extinguished the blaze at 3225 Lincoln Ave. discovered her
body in the kitchen, and investigators found signs of a struggle.
A housekeeper was booked on suspicion of murder hours later but was quickly exonerated and set free.
Anyone with information about Mosely’s death was asked to call sheriff’s homicide Lt.
Liam Gallagher at (323) 890-5500.
Although we initially reported the unidentified man who was killed in this incident was from an unidentified street gang, officials now say the dead man was a member of the Azusa 13 Gang.
From Brian Day’s story:
AZUSA – A man was shot to death early Sunday in a gang-related attack, authorities said.
The shooting occurred about 1:15 a.m. in an alley in the 100 block of Newburgh Street, said Los Angeles County sheriff’s Deputy Rick Pedroza.
The dead man was initially described only as a 23-year-old Azusa resident pending notification of family members, said Los Angeles County
Department of Coroner Investigator Jerry McKibben.
He is believed to have been a member of a local street gang, Deputy Derrick Thompson said.
The man died at the scene after being shot several times in the “upper torso,” said Deputy Derrick Thompson.
Twelve-year-old Albert Garcia and his father Juan were buried in Riverside Monday at a private ceremony.
Montebello police continue to badger the family about talking to the media, while they are apparently making little progress in their investigation. I received this note from a family member regarding police pressure in the case:
The cops told (the family) to not talk to the press because we were going to ruin the case.
I wonder if this is the sort police communication with citizens that Montebello’s new city council approves of?
The video speaks for itself. Albert was shot and killed in Montebello by gang bangers trying to crash a graduation party for a blind girl.
Police have remained completely silent regarding progress of their investigation.
This comes from reporter Amanda Baumfeld:
Didn’t know if you’d like to post some juicy details about the El Monte barricade but it got kinda crazy.
So Watchara had the brilliant idea of having us walk around to a side street. We got a front seat view of everything. It broke down like a movie. As were walking towards the house we heard the SWAT team get on a loud speaker, “This is the U.S. Marshall and El Monte Police Department. We know you’re in there. Come out with your hands up.”
Then all of a sudden we see them just bust out the front windows and then pop two things of tear gas in the home. But the noise was so loud it definitely sounded like gunshots. A group of people claiming to be related to German Palacios, a person of interest in the April 12th murder of Jack Edward Hicks, stood right by us crying and waiting to see what was happening.
One more shot of tear gas before officers emerged from the home with Palacios in custody.