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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Pit bull hailed as hero after defending owner during West Covina stabbing; suspect identified

0111_NWS_SGT-L-PITBULLFOLO

WEST COVINA >> Police Sunday released the name of a man they say stabbed a dog walker in an unprovoked attack before being mauled by the victim’s loyal pit bull and arrested Saturday afternoon.
Jason Perez, 28, of West Covina was booked on suspicion of attempted murder and assault with a deadly weapon in connection with the unusual incident, which unfolded about 3:30 p.m. Saturday in the 600 block of South Glendora Avenue, West Covina police officials said.
He remained hospitalized Sunday for treatment of significant dog bite injuries to his buttocks, arm, leg and torso, West Covina police Lt. Dennis Patton said.
The victim of the bizarre stabbing, a 19-year-old West Covina man, suffered non-life-threatening injuries, including puncture wounds to his shoulder area inflicted by a screwdriver, ice pick or similar tool, police and the victim said.
The victim, who asked that his name be withheld out of safety concerns, said based on the strange behavior of his attacker, the stabbing may have been a result of mistaken identity.
Perez passed by the victim and his mother minutes before the attack and stopped to compliment them on their dog, the victim said.
He approached the family a second time and asked if the victim was named “Christian,” which he is not, the man said.
Ultimately, Perez approached the mother and son a third time, the victim said. “When he gets alongside me, he stops and says, ‘This is for my daughter,” as he began slashing and stabbing.
“I was backpedaling. I ended up tripping. He was trying to slash me with, I believe, a screwdriver,” the dog owner said.
The victim’s mother stood over her son and blocked some of the swings by hooking the attackers arm with her own, he said.
The family’s 5-year-old red nose pit bull, Droogie, rushed to his family’s aid and began biting Perez.
Even as the dog bit, the suspect appeared fixated on continuing his attack on the young man, the victim said. The victim got to his feet and began running, still clutching Droogie’s leash. The attacker chased after him for nearly a block.
Perez was gaining on the victim when, coincidentally, his brother happened to drive by. The victim jumped into his brothers car and to safety. By that point, the dog was utterly exhausted.
Police who happened to be at a nearby DMV office quickly responded to witnesses’ 911 calls, the victim said.
Police captured the Perez as he fled on foot nearby. Officials said it appeared his attempt to flee was slowed by the injuries inflicted by the protective pet.
The injured victim said his wounds weren’t serious. Though still achy, “I’m feeling fine today,” he said Sunday.
Upon returning home, the victim said he discovered that Droogie had also suffered a small puncture wound to the back of his neck during the incident. The injury did not appear serious, and Droogie Sunday was “back to his normal self.”
He said he felt fortunate.
“The way it all worked out, something was working for me,” he said.
As for Droogie, he has been rewarded for his crime fighting, the victim said.
“We gave him leftover food last night, sausages this morning and a lot of treats in between.”

PHOTO of Droogie, a 5-year-old red nose pit bull, courtesy.

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Police: Pit bull bites suspect after unprovoked stabbing of owner in West Covina


WEST COVINA >> Police arrested a man in connection with the unprovoked stabbing of a dog walker Saturday with help from the vicim’s pit bull, who bit the attacker in defense of his owner, police said.\
The victim, described as a 19-year-old man, was walking his dog along with his mother about 3:30 p.m. in the 600 block of South Glendora Avenue when the suspect approached, West Covina police Lt. Travis Tibbetts said.
“Without provocation,” the suspect stabbed the victim several times with a sharp object, the lieutenant said.
“After the stabbing, the victims’s dog chased after the suspect and bit him on the arm and on the buttocks,” the lieutenant said.
Officers soon found the suspect in the area, Tibbetts said. The man tried to run from police, but was soon captured. It appeared his flight was slowed by the wounds inflicted by the loyal pit bull.
The victim’s injuries were not considered life-threatening, police said.
Police took the suspect to a trauma center for treatment, Tibbetts said. He was expected to be booked on suspicion of attempted murder and assault with a deadly weapon.
The suspect’s identity was not available pending the booking process.

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Delivery driver accused of stabbing customer in Covina during argument over late pizza

0104_NWS_SGT-L-PIZZACOVINA >> An argument over a late pizza escalated into a stabbing when a pizza delivery driver slashed the customer late Saturday, police said.
The alleged attack unfolded about 11:30 p.m. at a home in the 600 block of North Mangrove Avenue, Covina police Sgt. Ryan Davis said.
The suspect, a driver for Dominos Pizza, delivered a pizza to the home and became involved in an argument with the customer, a man in his 20s, who claimed the pizza was late, the sergeant said.
The argument turned into a fight, during which the delivery man slashed the customer in the neck, wrist and hand with an unknown sharp object, Davis said.
Paramedics took the wounded man to a hospital for treatment of wounds described as significant, but non-life-threatening, he said.
Officers found and arrested the suspect, 31-year-old Michael Parker of Glendora, at the Domino’s Pizza shop on Glendora Avenue in Covina, Davis said.
Parker was booked on suspicion of assault with a deadly weapon and released from custody Sunday morning pending a court appearance after posting $30,000 bail, records show.

BOOKING PHOTO of Michael Charles Parker, 31, of Glendora courtesy of the Covina Police Department.

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Covina man accused of stabbing brother


COVINA >> An argument between brothers escalated into a stabbing near Covina late Saturday, sending one to a hospital and the other to jail, authorities said.
Juan Huizar, 19, was booked on suspicion of assault with a deadly weapon following the stabbing, which took place about 9:40 p.m. at their home in the 21000 block of Arrow Highway, in an unincorporated county area between Covina and San Dimas, Los Angeles County sheriff’s Sgt. Vicki Gregory said.
He’s accused of stabbing his 23-year-old brother in the neck- and shoulder-area during an argument, the sergeant said.
Paramedics rushed the victim to a trauma center by helicopter as a precaution, though the wounds were ultimately determined to be superficial and non-life-threatening, Gregory said.
According to county booking records, the younger brother was being held in lieu of $30,000 bail pending his initial court appearance, scheduled Tuesday in West Covina Superior Court.

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Attackers stab woman while trying to rob her of her shoes in Covina


COVINA >> Two women attacked and stabbed another woman late Wednesday while trying to rob the victim of her shoes, officials said.
A 24-year-old La Puente woman was walking to a friend’s home about 9:20 p.m. when two other women approached her near a carport in the 1000 block of E. Badillo Street, Covina police Lt. Tim Doonan said.
One of the woman demanded the victim’s shoes, he said.
The victim refused to give up her shoes and became involved in a fight with the woman who was trying to rob her, Doonan said. The second suspect also jumped into the fray.
The victim’s friend emerged from his home to find the two attackers standing over the injured woman, Doonan said. They fled when he yelled at them.
Doonan said the victim then realized she had been stabbed. A friend took her to a hospital, where she was treated for a 1-inch slash wound to her chest.
Both attackers were described as black women in their mid-20s, Doonan said. One stood about 5 feet 9 inches tall and weighed about 150 pounds, and wore a black sweater and blue jeans. She wore her hair in a bun.
The second attacker was about 5 feet 5 inches tall and 200 pounds.
Anyone with information can reach Covina police at 626-384-5595. Tips may also be submitted anonymously to L.A. Regional Crime Stoppers at 800-222-8477.

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Man wounded in Azusa stabbing


AZUSA >> A man was wounded, but is expected to survive, after a fight escalated into a stabbing in Azusa late Friday, police said.
The stabbing took place just after 11 p.m. in a residential neighborhood in the 300 block of N. Soldano Avenue, according to Azusa police Lt. Mike Bertelsen.
Police responding to reports of a stabbing found the victim suffering from stab wounds to his upper torso, Bertelsen said in a written statement.
“It appeared the victim and at least one associate were standing near the street when they were approached by an unknown number of male suspects,” he said. “A fight started and the victim was stabbed during the altercation.”
Paramedics took the injured man to a hospital with injuries not believed to be life-threatening, police said.
The motive in the stabbing remained under investigation, Bertelsen said. No suspect description was available.
The victim, described as a local man in his 20s, did not appear to be cooperating with investigators, Sgt. Rick Hayden said. Detectives suspected the attack was gang-related.

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Covina man sentenced for fatal stabbing of neighbor

LOS ANGELES >> A judge sentenced a Covina man to prison Friday for fatally stabbing a neighbor in 2012.
Luis Alberto Villaneda, 36, received a sentence of 16 years to life in state prison after a Los Angeles Superior Court jury convicted him in May of last year of the Aug. 29, 2012 slaying of 38-year-old Homeboy Industries employee Gonzalo Robles, Los Angeles County District Attorney’s officials said.
The jury convicted Villaneda of second-degree murder, along with the special allegation that he used a knife to commit the crime.
Villaneda and Robles had been involved in an argument earlier in the day in the neighborhood where both men lived in the 3600 block of Shadyglen Drive, in an unincorporated county area near Covina, district attorney’s office spokeswoman Sarah Ardalani said in a written statement.
Robles considered the matter resolved by nightfall, Ardalani said. “However, Villaneda still harbored animosity toward Robles.”
The next day, Villaneda and a friend went to Robles’ home and became involved in a fight with him, authorities said.
“During the fight, the defendant pulled out a knife. Villaneda’s friend told him to leave, but the defendant refused,” Ardalani said.
Robles tried to get Villaneda to drop the knife, she said. “Another tenant threw the victim a smaller knife to protect himself.”
“After Villaneda began swinging at the victim, Robles stabbed the defendant in the shoulder,” Ardalani said. “Then Villaneda fatally stabbed the victim in the heart.”
Investigators found and arrested Villaneda hours later at a nearby convenience store.
Robles was pronounced dead in his own backyard. His roommate described him a father with another child on the way at the time of his death.
He worked at Homeboy Industries in Los Angeles, which provides employment opportunities and support to reformed gang members and others trying to improve their lives following incarceration.

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Man stabbed while walking down street in Pasadena


PASADENA >> A man stabbed another man in the back in an unprovoked attack as the victim walked down the street in northwest Pasadena early Wednesday, officials said.
A 41-year-old Pasadena man was walking down Los Robles Avenue, just south of Woodbury Road, about 5 a.m. and felt a sharp pain in his back, Pasadena police Lt. John Luna said.
“He saw man running south on Los Robles, then he discovered he was stabbed with an unknown object,” Luna said. No further description of the attacker was available.
The man was treated at hospital for a small stab wound that did not appear to be serious, the lieutenant said.

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