Two brothers accused of fatally stabbing another man during a fight in Monterey Park denied murder charges on Friday, authorities said.
Moises Garcia, 57, and Victor Garcia, 55, both of Monterey Park, are each charged with murder in connection with the June 10 stabbing death of 26-year-old Michael Anthony Villar of Monterey Park, according to Los Angeles County District Attorney’s officials.
Prosecutors further allege that Moises Garcia personally wielded the knife used in the killing, and that he has previously convictions for rape, rape in concert and forcible oral copulation in 1984, district attorney’s office spokeswoman Sarah Ardalani said in a written statement. His brother faces an additional charge of murder likely to produce great bodily injury.
The stabbing took place after the brothers and Villar became involved in a dispute over a parking space, as well as other issues, shortly after midnight in the 1200 block of College View Drive, Lt. Randy Moore of the Los Angeles County sheriff’s Homicide Bureau said.
“During the altercation, the men allegedly stabbed and assaulted Villar,” Ardalani said.
It was unclear whether the suspects and the victim were acquainted with one another prior to the deadly altercation.
If convicted as charged, Moises Garcia faces up to 66 years to life in state prison, while Victor Garcia faces a maximum sentence of 25 years to life in prison, she said.
According to county booking records, Moises Garcia was being held in lieu of $2.02 million bail, while Victor Garcia was being held in lieu of $1 million bail.
Both men are scheduled to return to the Alhambra branch of Los Angeles County Superior Court on July 20 for a preliminary hearing setting.
An online account set up to collect funds to help Villar’s family at www.gofundme.com/michaelvillar has collected more than $11,000.
“Michael was a kind, loving, gentle, and courageous soul who lived life to the fullest,” according to a memorial posted on the page. “A talented Los Angeles photographer, his love and appreciation for the simpler things in life was documented in his art.” A link to a gallery of Villar’s photos, https://www.instagram.com/arctic_mikey/, was included.
“He touched more lives than we will ever know. When Michael was in our presence, he made us feel special,” the memeorial continued.
“Michael’s family is grateful for the love and support you have demonstrated in this difficult time. It is gratifying to know he was loved by so many. Please feel free to share your stories and pictures with his family as they appreciate those precious memories.”
PHOTO: Michael Anthony Villar, 26, of Monterey Park, was fatally stabbed during an argument on June 10, 2017, in the 1200 block of College View Drive in Monterey Park. (Courtesy)
MONTEREY PARK >> Federal investigators arrested a Monterey Park woman Thursday who they say injected an “unknown substance” into another woman’s buttocks as a cosmetic procedure, which ultimately required major surgery to correct.
Ana Bertha Diaz Hernandez, 47, was arrested Thursday afternoon following the filing of a criminal complaint charging her with receipt of an adulterated and misbranded medical device, misbranding prescription drugs and smuggling.
The complaint alleged Hernandez injected a victim with the substance four times, starting in late-2015 and continuing into 2016 at a detached “treatment room” behind Hernandez home in the 600 block of South Garfield Avenue. The victim, identified in court documents as “I.T.,” suffered serious complications from the injection, and the substance had to be removed through a major operation. Additional treatment is also needed in the future.
“During a series of treatments that cost thousands of dollars, (Hernandez) explained to I.T. that she was injecting a ‘natural product,’ at points claiming the injections were ‘lamb’s fat,” U.S. Department of Justice spokesman Thom Mrozek said in a written statement.
The victim paid more than $5,000 to Hernandez for the procedures, which were intended to maker her buttocks appear “bigger and plump,” according to the complaint.
The woman who received the injection contacted the California Department of Consumer Affair’s Operation Safe Medicine Unit in late-2016 after developing pain.
“I.T. stated that the product (Hernandez) had injected into her buttocks had migrated to her ‘back, hips and legs,” Mrozek said. The woman ultimately received an operation from a doctor specializing in reversing cosmetic procedures.
The victim met Hernandez through a friend, who recommended Hernandez’s services, according to an affidavit filed in support of the case. Hernandez described herself as an esthetician and claimed she had been trained to do the injection procedure by a doctor in Mexico.
“(Hernandez) told I.T. that the product was safe and will stay in place until the day she dies,” the affidavit states. “(Hernandez) told I.T. that she has used the product on herself and others.
The suspects further told I.T. that she obtains the substance from Mexico, and that, “the product is so popular that she had to leave the country to by some more.”
The exact substance injected by Hernandez has not been determined, but it is believed to have been silicone, officials said. Silicone has never been approved by the FDA for body contouring purposes, and is considered dangerous even if administered by a doctor.
“Included among the risks of such injections are the potential of injection into a blood vessel resulting in embolism, migration of injected silicone to other bodily regions and resultant interference with organs and bodily systems, serious sepsis infection and infection-related disorders, silicone-filled scar tissue formations, necrosis, skin discoloration, immune system hyperactivity and related adverse systemic conditions, disfigurement, discomfort and pain,” according to the criminal complaint.
If convicted as charged, Hernandez faces up to 26 years in federal prison. She was scheduled to make her initial court appearance Friday in federal court in Los Angeles.
MONTEREY PARK >> A two-vehicle crash sent one car careening into a Monterey Park apartment building on Thursday afternoon, but resulted in no significant injuries, authorities said.
The collision took place just after 2:40 p.m. at the corner of Ridgecrest and Brightwood streets, Monterey Park police Sgt. Bob Hung said.
“One vehicle was traveling north on Ridgecrest Street, at the intersection of Brightwood Street, when it collided with another vehicle which was traveling west on Brightwood Street,” the sergeant said. “The collision caused the vehicle traveling west on Brightwood Street to leave the roadway and collided into an apartment building located on Ridgecrest Street.”
The car ended up plowing into the apartment, Hung said. No injuries were reported inside the building. It was unclear whether anyone was inside the affected apartment at the time.
A passenger in one of the cars was treated for apparently minor injuries, Hung said. Both drivers were unhurt.
Officials helped the displaced residents of the damaged apartment find temporary lodging, he said. Inspectors were summoned to check on the safety of the rest of the structure.
“Neither drugs nor alcohol are suspected to have played a factor in the collision which is still under investigation,” he said.
MONTEREY PARK >> A man died and two others were being detained for questioning after fight over a parking space escalated into a stabbing in Monterey Park early Saturday, authorities said.
The fatal stabbing took place about 12:25 a.m. in a residential neighborhood in the 1200 block of College View Drive, according to Deputy Trina Schrader of the Los Angeles County sheriff’s Information Bureau.
“Preliminary investigation revealed that the victim was involved in a verbal altercation with two other male Hispanic adults regarding a parking space,” sheriff’s officials said in a written statement. “During the course of the argument, a physical altercation occurred in which the victim was stabbed.”
The victim, described only as a man, was stabbed multiple times in the “upper body,” according to the statement.
He succumbed to his wounds at a hospital, Schrader said.
The two men believed to have been involved in the stabbing were detained for questioning.
“No other suspects are sought at this time,” the sheriff’s department statement said.
The sheriff’s Homicide Bureau is helping Monterey Park police with the investigation. Anyone with information is asked to contact homicide detectives at 323-890-5500. Tips may also be submitted anonymously to L.A. Regional Crime Stoppers at 800-222-8477.
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)
MONTEREY PARK >> A woman was struck in the head with a beer bottle during an attack as she and a man walked down a street in Monterey Park, police said.
The assault with a deadly weapon took place just after 3 p.m. as a man and woman in their 20s were walking in the 2000 block of Bleakwood Avenue, near East Los Angeles College, Monterey Park police Lt. Eric Kim said.
They were approached by four suspects, and became involved in an argument over an unknown subject, the lieutenant said.
“The female was struck with a beer bottle,” according to Kim. She suffered a small cut to her head but declined to be taken to a hospital. The man who accompanied the woman was not injured.
A detailed description of the suspects was not available, and the motive in the attack was unclear.
Anyone with information can reach Monterey Park police at 626-573-1313. Tips may also be submitted anonymously to L.A. Regional Crime Stoppers at 800-222-8477.
MONTEREY PARK >> Police in Monterey Park are seeking a man who robbed and sexually battered a woman last week and may be responsible for a similar crime last month on the same block, officials said Thursday.
In both cases, a man approached and tried to rob women in the 800 block of West El Repetto Drive, according to Monterey Park police Sgt. Rick Munder.
The most recent crime occurred about 11:40 p.m. on Dec. 15, police said.
“A female was approached by the described suspect while seated in her vehicle,” Munder said in a written statement.
“He demanded money from the victim. When the victim told him she had no money, the suspect fondled the victim in her car,” he said.
The man fled on foot before police arrived and was not found. He was described as a Latino man of about 5 feet 10 inches tall and of medium build.
The victim was able to help police create a composite sketch of her attacker.
Police were looking into the possibility the crime was related to another incident reported on Nov. 17 at an apartment complex, however a concrete link had not been established, Munder said.
“A female was approached in the walkway of her apartment complex by the described suspect,” the sergeant said. “He demanded money from the victim and attempted to grab her, however, the victim fought back.”
The would-be robber, described as a Latino man of about 6 feet tall and of medium build, was not found.\
In both incidents, the suspect wore a hooded sweatshirt, police said.
Anyone with information is asked to contact Monterey Park police detectives at 626-307-1487. Tips may also be submitted anonymously to L.A. Regional Crime Stoppers at 800-222-8477.
MONTEREY PARK >> A pair of burglars stole two rare bottles of cognac — together valued at $53,000 — from a Monterey Park liquor store earlier this week, police said.
The crime took place about 3:50 a.m. on Monday at Wing Hop Fung, a liquor and grocery store at 725 W. Garvey Ave., according to Monterey Park police Lt. Bill Cuevas.
The two unidentified intruders first broke into a neighboring business, then climbed into a shared attic to access the liquor store through the ceiling, the lieutenant said.
“Once inside, the suspects stole two high-priced bottles of alcohol,” Cuevas said in a written statement.
They were a bottle of Louis XIII Rare Cask 426 Cognac Second Edition, worth $28,0000, and a bottle of Louis XIII Black Pearl Cognac Anniversary Edition, worth $25,000, he said.
Once inside, the burglars immediately made their way to a display case containing the two high-priced Cognacs, police said. No other items were believed to have been stolen.
Police released surveillance video footage of the burglary in hopes of generating leads from the public.
The video depicts the two men rushing through the store before using a ladder already stored in the business to make their escape back through the ceiling.
Anyone with information is asked to contact Monterey Park police detectives at 626-307-1236. Tips may also be submitted anonymously to L.A. Regional Crime Stoppers at 800-222-8477.
Photo.video courtesy of the Monterey Park Police Department
MONTEREY PARK >> Police in Monterey Park plan to crack down on pedestrian and bicycle safety Monday during a special enforcement campaign, authorities said.
Officers pay special attention to traffic violations by bicyclists, pedestrians and motorists that endanger pedestrian safety, Monterey Park police officials said in a written statement.
The officers will distribute “sidewalk education,” answering questions, giving warnings and issuing citations when appropriate, he said.
Authorities will focus their efforts on areas in the city that tend to see higher numbers of pedestrian- and bike-involved collisions.
Funding for the campaign is being provided by a grant from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, through the California Office of Traffic Safety.
MONTEREY PARK >> Officials have identified an Arcadia woman who died after being struck by an SUV on a Monterey Park sidewalk on Thursday morning.
Meiping Lin, 68, died at the scene of the 8 a.m. collision at Garfield and Avondale avenues, Los Angeles County Department of Medical Examiner-Coroner Investigator Rudy Molano said.
Two men who were also struck by the same SUV when it drove up onto the sidewalk were hospitalized in critical condition, according to Monterey Park police Lt. Gus Jimenez.
The three pedestrians were walking on a sidewalk when a small SUV suddenly veered to the right side of the road and struck them, police said. The out-of-control SUV then also struck to other cars.
The cause of the crash remained under investigation. The woman at the wheel of the SUV was also taken to a hospital for treatment of an apparent medical issue.
Any witnesses, or anyone with information, can reach Monterey Park police at 626-573-1311.
PHOTO by Michael Ares