63-year-old homeless man stabbed in the face in Pasadena; suspect sought


PASADENA >> Police are seeking a homeless man who stabbed another homeless man in the face late Tuesday.
The attack was reported about 9:30 p.m., when a bleeding 63-year-old homeless man arrived at Union Station Homeless Services, 412 S. Raymond Ave., Pasadena police Lt. John Mercado said.
Union Station personnel first called 911 after the man showed up, apparently bleeding from his neck, the lieutenant said.
Police and paramedics determined the victim had been slashed in the jaw, the lieutenant said. He was treated for the injury, which was not considered to be life-threatening.
It was not clear where the stabbing occurred.
The victim described his attacker as a fellow homeless man in his 50s, however a detailed description was not available, Luna said. The motive also remained unclear Wednesday.
Anyone with information can reach Pasadena police at 626-744-4241. Tips may also be submitted anonymously to L.A. Regional Crime Stoppers at 800-222-8477.

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Cousins jailed in connection with stabbing outside Covina convenience store

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COVINA >> Two cousins are accused of attempted murder after a fight at a convenience store escalated into a stabbing late Friday, officials said.
Manuel Luis Melendez, 19, of West Covina and Eric Sebastian Garcia-Melendez, 21, of Pasadena, are each being held in lieu of $2 million bail pending their initial court appearances, according to Covina police officials and Los Angeles County booking records.
The incident unfolded about 2:10 a.m. at 7-Eleven, at Vincent Avenue and Badillo Street, Covina police Sgt. Gregg Peterson said.
Both suspects and the victim, a 27-year-old man, were inside the store when the victim accidentally bumped up against one of the cousins with his bicycle, the sergeant said.
An argument turned into a fight outside the store, and one of the two attackers pulled a knife and stabbed the victim in the abdomen and shoulder, Peterson said.
Paramedics took the victim to a hospital, where he was listed in stable condition after undergoing surgery, he said.
As the investigation into the stabbing continued, West Covina police received a report of a possible prowler in a backyard near the 7-Eleven, but across the city border in West Covina, Petson said.
Police found Melendez and Garcia-Melendez hiding in the backyard and arrested them in connection with the stabbing, officials said.
Both suspects are scheduled to appear for arraignment hearings Tuesday in West Covina Superior Court.

BOOKING PHOTOS of anuel Luis Melendez, 19, of West Covina [left] and Eric Sebastian Garcia-Melendez, 21, of Pasadena [right] courtesy of the Covina Police Department.

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California marks Victims’ Rights Week with early release of politician’s son who received commutation in fatal stabbing

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In a truly twisted irony, the State of California marked the start of National Crime Victims’ Rights Week Sunday by announcing the early prison release of the son of a former politician who had his already plea-bargained sentence for the fatal stabbing of 22-year-old San Diego college student Luis Santos commuted by then-governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, the Associated Press reports.

FILE - This April 7, 2016 file photo provided by the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation shows Esteban Nunez. Nunez, the son of former California state Assembly speaker Fabian Nunez, was freed from prison after his manslaughter sentence in the stabbing death of college student Luis Santos in San Diego was significantly reduced in 2011 by then-Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger. The CDCR said Sunday, April 10, 2016, that Esteban Nunez was released to parole supervision. (California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation via AP, File)

Esteban Nunez

Esteban Nunez and friend Ryan Jett stabbed Santos to death in 2008. One of the wounds pierced Santos’ heart. The killers were angry after being turned away from a party.

Both men were charged with murder, as well as assault with a deadly weapon for stabbing two other victims, who survived. But on the eve of their trial in 2010, as the LA Times reports,  both killers pleaded guilty to charges of voluntary manslaughter and assault with a deadly weapon. Each received a sentence of 16 years in prison. The plea bargain spared Nunez and Jett the possibility of a first-degree murder conviction at trial, which would have resulted in sentences of 25 years to life.

But as it turns out, Esteban Nunez is the son of former state Assembly speaker Fabian Nunez. And Fabian Nunez was a political ally of then-governor Schwarzenegger, who commuted Esteban Nunez sentence to seven years on his last day in office in 2011. He served less than six before his release over the weekend.

Per the AP:

In 2012, a Sacramento judge called the commutation “repugnant” but legal. In 2015, an appeals court wrote that “back-room dealings were apparent,” but upheld Schwarzenegger’s power to reduce the sentence.

Schwarzenegger said at the time that he acted because he thought the 16-year sentence was excessive, but he also acknowledged he was helping a friend.

Schwarzenegger explained the commutation in an August, 2011, Newsweek interview, saying, “Well, hello! I mean, of course you help a friend.”

Santos’ family receive no warning of the commutation, per the Sacramento Bee. They and San Diego District Attorney filed lawsuits seeking to invalidate the commutation, arguing that it violated the Victims Bill of Rights, also known as Marsy’s Law. Under the 2008 legislation, victims’ families have a right to be heard during post-conviction proceedings. A three-judge panel from the 3rd District Court of Appeals grudgingly upheld an earlier court finding that gubernatorial acts of clemency do not constitute “proceedings,” and therefore are not subject to the Victims Bill of Rights.

“We are compelled to conclude that, while Schwarzenegger’s conduct could be seen as deserving of censure and grossly unjust, it was not illegal,” the panel of judges wrote in their opinion.

PHOTOS via the Associated Press

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Teen wounded in South Whittier stabbing


SOUTH WHITTIER >> Deputies are seeking five young men and a young woman who attacked and stabbed a fellow teen late Friday in the unincorporated county area of South Whittier, officials said.
The attack took place just before midnight along Painter Avenue, near Mulberry Drive, Los Angeles County sheriff’s Sgt. Anthony Fernandez said.
The victim, a teenage boy, was attacked by the group, he said. One of them pulled a knife and stabbed him in the abdomen.
Paramedics took the wounded teen to a hospital with injuries not considered to be life-threatening.
The circumstances and motive in the crime remained under investigation, Fernandez said. A detailed suspect description was not available.

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UPDATED: Woman stabbed two-dozen times in Monterey Park; husband accused of attempted murder


MONTEREY PARK >> Police detained a man after his wife was found lying in the street nude and suffering from two-dozen stab wounds in front of their Monterey Park home late Thursday, officials said.
Police first received reports of a stabbing about 8:25 p.m. at Newmark Avenue and Monterey Pass Road, Monterey Park police Lt. Scott Wiese said.
Callers reported, “a woman in the street, with no clothes on, bleeding,” he said.
Officers found the woman, 56, suffering from about 25 stab wounds or cuts, police said. She was taken to a trauma center for treatment.
The wounds to the woman’s head, face and torso appeared relatively superficial and were not initially believed to be life threatening, he said. She was conscious when taken to the hospital.
Officers then followed a trail of blood to a house in the 1200 block of West Newmark 0402_NWS_SGT-L-MPSTABAvenue, where they detained the woman’s husband, 63-year-old Kam Hing Wong.
“They located the suspect outside of the residence and took him into custody without incident,” Monterey Park police officials said in a written statement.
He was booked on suspicion of attempted murder and domestic violence, police said.
Wong is pictured with what appears to be blood on his head and shirt in his police booking photo.
According to Los Angeles County booking records, Wong was being held without bail pending a scheduled arraignment hearing Wednesday in the Los Angeles Superior Court Alhambra branch.

PHOTO of Kam Hing Wong, 63, courtesy of the Monterey Park Police Department.

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Man convicted of murder for 2014 Monterey Park stabbing

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MONTEREY PARK >> A jury convicted a South San Gabriel man Friday of murder for the seemingly random fatal stabbing of another man in a Monterey Park parking lot in 2014, authorities said.
An Alhambra Superior Court jury found Angel Octavion Garcia, now-20, guilty of second-degree murder for the Oct. 14 slaying of Alhambra Parks and Recreation Department employee Edward Mendoza, 35, in a commercial parking lot in the 1700 block of Portrero Grande, near Arroyo Drive, according to Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office spokeswoman Sarah Ardalani.
Jurors also found true the special circumstance that Garcia personally used a knife in the murder, she said. The deliberations took about one day.
He faces 16 years to life in state prison when he returns to court for sentencing April 8.
Garcia and Mendoza were strangers when they encountered one another by chance in the parking lot about 9:10 p.m., according to prosecutors and Los Angeles County sheriff’s officials.
“It appears Mendoza was in the wrong place at the wrong time,” Ardalani said.
Garcia, who was 18 at the time, stabbed Mendoza, “after he was humiliated over a failed drug transaction involving another person from earlier in the night,” district attorney’s officials said in a written statement.
Though Mendoza had nothing to do with the prior incident, “The defendant took his anger out on Mendoza,” the statement said.
The men briefly argued before Garcia pulled a knife and stabbed Mendoza once in the upper torso, Lt. John Corina of the sheriff’s homicide bureau said shortly after the killer’s capture.
Mendoza managed to call 911 after being wounded, according to Deputy District Attorney Theodore Swanson, who prosecuted the case.
He managed only to tell the dispatcher he had been stabbed in the heart, and gave his location, before the line went silent.
Paramedics found Mendoza collapsed in the parking lot, officials said. He succumbed to his injuries at a hospital about an hour later.
Garcia initially escaped capture.
“Soon after the incident, a person came forward to police and revealed Garcia had confessed to the stabbing a man,” according to the district attorney’s office statement.
Deputies found and arrested Garcia at his home on Oct. 22, eight days after the fatal attack. He denied the charges.
Mendoza had worked part-time as a recreation leader for Alhambra’s Parks and Recreation Department since 2001, city officials said. He had also begun refereeing kids’ football games at Almansor Park in Alhambra, coworkers said.
“It was a tragic case that resulted in the death of what appears to be a man who had a number of family and friends who loved him,” Swanson said.
Loved one’s have created a tribute video for Mendoza, which can be viewed online at www.eddiemendoza.org.

PHOTO: Edward Mendoza, 35, of Monterey Park was fatally stabbed late Tuesday, Oct. 14, 2014, in a commercial parking lot in the 1700 block of South Portrero Grande Drive in Monterey Park. Angel Octavion Garcia, 20, of South San Gabriel, was convicted of the murder on Friday, March 18, 2016. (Courtesy)

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Man wounded in San Gabriel stabbing


SAN GABRIEL — A man showed up at the San Gabriel Police Department for help after being stabbed in the chest at a nearby liquor store Saturday morning, authorities said.
The wounded victim drove to the police station, 625 S. Del Mar Ave., just after 9 a.m., San Gabriel police Sgt. Brian Sagocio said.
By chance, San Gabriel firefighters happened to be at the station to use it’s gasoline pumps and were able to immediately begin treating the man, he said.
The man had suffered a stab wound that punctured one of his lungs, officials said.
After undergoing surgery at Los Angeles County-USC Medical Center, “It looks like he’s going to make it,” Sagocio said.
The victim told investigators he was inside of his car near a liquor store just north of the police station, at Del Mar and Angeleno avenues, when he was stabbed by to male attackers, the sergeant said.
He managed to drive to the police station, just over 400 feet away, to seek aid.
The victim, who was believed to have gang ties, did not appear to be cooperating with investigators, Sagocio said.
The motive and circumstances of the attack remained under investigation Saturday night, he said. No further details were available.

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Man wounded in Monterey Park stabbing


MONTEREY PARK >> Police are investigating the stabbing of a man in a residential Monterey Park neighborhood early Wednesday morning, officials said.
Officials first received a call reporting the stabbing about 2 a.m. at a home in the 400 block of South Lincoln Avenue, Monterey Park police Sgt. Paul Yniguez said.
Rescuers took the victim to a hospital with injuries to his upper torso that were not considered to be life-threatening, the sergeant said.
The stabbing occurred just inside the entryway of a home, he said. Further details, including a suspect description, were not available, as the victim did not appear to be cooperating with investigators.
Authorities shut down Lincoln Avenue in front of the crime scene from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. as they conducted follow-up investigation, police said.
Anyone with information can reach Monterey Park police at 626-573-1311. Tips may also be submitted anonymously to L.A. Regional Crime Stoppers at 800-222-8477.

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Woman guilty of stabbing another woman to death in South Whittier

SOUTH WHITTIER >> A jury convicted a woman Thursday for the fatal stabbing of the fatal stabbing of another woman during a an argument along a residential street last year.
A Norwalk Superior Court jury deliberated for one day before finding Vanessa Rebecca Celaya, also known as Vanessa Cella, 30, of Rubidoux, guilty of second-degree murder for the Sept. 5 stabbing in the 11500 block of Obert Avenue, in the unincorporated county area of South Whittier, according to Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office spokeswoman Sarah Ardalani.
The jury also convicted Cella of robbery, and found true the special allegation that she personally used a knife in the slaying.
Killed in the stabbing was Michelle Alexis Young, 31, of Los Angeles, coroner officials said.
The two women did not know one another before they met by chance on the street, Ardalani said.
“The defendant thought the victim was talking about her,” Ardalani said. It was later determined the victim had not been talking about Celaya.
“Celaya walked up to victim Michelle Young and the two women had a verbal exchange. At some point, the defendant stabbed Young several times,” district attorney’s officials said in a written statement.
Paramedics pronounced Young dead at the scene.
“Following the assault, Celaya broke into a tire shop, threatened a security guard inside and demanded a change of clothing before leaving the store,” according to the statement.
Deputies quickly apprehended Celaya nearby, officials said.
Celaya faces up to 18 years in state prison when she returns to court for sentencing March 8.

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Covina gas station attendant stabbed during failed robbery


COVINA >> A man stabbed a gas station attendant in what police described as a robbery gone awry in Covina Monday afternoon.
The attack took place about 5 p.m. at a 76 gas station at Barranca Avenue and Rowland Street, Covina police Lt. Tim Doonan said.
The attendant was treated at hospital for his injuries and released later in the day, the lieutenant said.
Surveillance video footage obtained by CBS Los Angeles depicts the victim making change for a customer when the attacker approaches him from behind and begins stabbing him in the shoulder.
The injured clerk fought the assailant off and chased after him as he got into a small black SUV with no license plates on it and fled, empty-handed.
Police described the robber as a Latino man appearing to be over 50, short, with salt-and-pepper colored hair and a beard.
The video depicted him wearing a black, short sleeve shirt with red rings around the sleeves, blue pants, a black hat and black gloves.
Anyone with information can reach Covina police at 626-384-5595. Tips may also be submitted anonymously via L.A. Regional Crime Stoppers at 800-222-8477.

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