VIrgin Mary ordered screwdriver killing

This comes from WDN reporter Airan Scruby:


NORWALK – A man who allegedly stabbed his disabled cousin to death said he did so on orders from the Virgin Mary, according to an expert mental health witness.

Gray Maria, 23, was found incompetent to stand trial after testimony Tuesday from two psychologists. Maria was transferred to Patton State Hospital, where he will undergo treatment and report back to Commissioner Michael Schuur in 90 days.

“I don’t think there’s any doubt that he suffers from mental illness,” Schuur said.

Maria has been jailed since June 2006, when he allegedly stabbed Victor Najera with a screwdriver. Najera, then 17, ran for help to a nearby McDonald’s restaurant at 11755 Whittier Blvd. in Whittier, according to Sgt. Mitch Loman of the sheriff’s Homicide Bureau.

Maria then allegedly went to his cousin’s house in the 7300 block of Ridgeview Lane in the unincorporated area of West Whittier, Loman said.

He watched television with Mara Del Real, 19, who had cerebral palsy and was in a wheelchair, and her older brother.

When the brother left the room, according to Loman, Maria stabbed Del Real with a knife, just hours after the first attack. She died at Presbyterian Intercommunity Hospital.

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Career criminal linked to 1996 killing

This story comes from Sandra Molina in today’s Whittier Daily News:

LONG BEACH – A Long Beach man released from custody after being identified as a suspect in the 1996 killing of a Whittier resident has been charged in that case, as well as in a fatal stabbing in Long Beach last month.

Jeffrey Means, 42, is accused of bludgeoning to death Hal Shaw, 48, on June 12, 1996, in the 7900 block of Newlin Avenue in Whittier, police said.

He also is accused in the stabbing death of Ronald Henry, 67, of Long Beach at a home in the 900 block of Dawson Avenue in that city on Dec. 19.

Means is charged with two counts of murder, two counts of special circumstances of multiple murders, two counts of murder in the course of a robbery, and two counts of residential robbery.

He is being held without bail by the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department, Deputy District Attorney Karen Thorpe said Wednesday.

Means did not enter a plea, and his arraignment was continued to Feb. 5.

Because of the alleged special circumstances, he is eligible for the death penalty if convicted.


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Murder-suicide gunman had been deported 3 times

Here’s some John and Ken fodder.

Gustavo Tellez, the man who shot his wife to death in Whittier Monday before turning the gun on himself had been deported three times, ICE officials said today.

Additionally, Whittier police said they were called to victim Suzanne Jaramillo’s home several times for domestic altercations between Tellez and Jaramillo. Apparently they never checked Tellez’s status.

Reporter BRian Day will have the complete story later this evening.

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Suspect caught in D.B. home invasion robbery

Sources are telling us that a man suspected in the home invasion robbery on Overlook Ridge Road in Diamond Bar that went arwy in early December has been captured.

The man captured after a police pursuit is a suspect in the killing of Panalal Shah.

Here’s what Brian Day has so far:

ROWLAND HEIGHTS Deputies arrested a possible murder suspect after a pursuit that ended with the suspects vehicle flipping over, officials said.

The man is being investigated in the murder of 63-year-old Panalal Himatlal Shah at his Diamond Bar home during an apparent home invasion robbery, said Los Angeles County Sheriffs Lt. John Saleeby.

The chase began shortly before 1:40 p.m. when deputies spotted the suspects vehicle, Saleeby said.

After a minute-long chase, the suspects vehicle crashed and flipped over in front of 18501 Gale Ave, he said.

The suspect fled on foot, but did not make it far due to his injuries, said Saleeby.

Deputies arrested the man and took him to a hospital for treatment of injuries not believed to be life-threatening, he added.

Saleeby expected the suspect, whose name was not immediately available, would be booked on suspicion of murder Friday.

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Homicide database update (latest in a series)

Just a little over a week into 2008 and there’s been four homicides in the area, according to a variety of public records.

They’ve been added to the Homicide database on the right rail, we’ll keep it going this year. I hope to finish the map portion of the database later this month.

For those innovative souls out there, feel free to link to the database.

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City sues company in traveling salesmen slaying case

The city of Albuquerque is suing a company that hired two traveling salesmen accused of killing an elderly couple and stealing their camera.

One of the two salesmen charged in the case was identified last week as Travis Rowley, a native of Glendora, who has had some run-ins with police in Orange County.

Here’s a brief that appeared in the Santa Fe New Mexican this week:

Salesmen’s company sued

ALBUQUERQUE A Nevada company that employed two traveling magazine salesmen accused of killing an elderly Albuquerque couple this month is being sued by the city of Albuquerque.

The lawsuit accuses Integrity Program of not conducting background checks on the two men or otherwise doing an adequate job of ensuring they would not be a danger to the city. The city is seeking punitive damages and a restraining order that would prevent the company from doing business in Albuquerque.

“All we have to show is that (Integrity Program) violated our ordinance,” said Assistant City Attorney Greg Wheeler.

Integrity Program did not immediately return messages seeking comment.

The company employed Travis Rowley, 23, and Michael Lee, 21, to sell magazine subscriptions in the Albuquerque area. The two men are charged with murder in the Dec. 4 deaths of Tak Yi, 79, and his wife, Pung Yi, 69. The couple was found beaten to death in their home.

Rowley and Lee remain in the Metropolitan Detention Center in lieu of $2 million cash bond each.


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“Wrongfully targeted”

Homicide investigators made two arrests in the killing of Luis and Pepe Estrada of Baldwin Park. The father and son were shot to death outside their Downing Avenue home on Nov. 14.

Police now say that Luis was wrongfully targeted by gang members seeking one of his family instead.


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Isaac Campbell in custody


The man accused of killing his girlfriend then dumping her body in a trashcan, covering it with kitty litter then leaving the can in his friend’s Arcadia backyard has been extradited to LA from Hennepin County Jail in Minnesota.

Isaac Campbell is due in Alhambra court on Dec. 18, according to the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department’s inmate locator.

Crime scene thanks the anonymous tipster for the heads up.


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