A former international fugitive will spend the rest of his life in prison for stabbing a 50-year-old disabled neighbor to death inside her Pico Rivera home in 2012, a judge ruled Wednesday.
Luis Fernando Diofron, also known as Luis Fernando Diofron Lemus, 25, was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole for the Aug. 10, 2012 slaying of Denise Battey at her home in the 11900 block of Allard Street, Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office spokeswoman Sarah Ardalani said in a written statement.
He pleaded guilty to one count of murder on June 29. He also admitted to the special circumstance that the murder was done during the commission of a burglary, as well as the special allegation that he personally used a knife in the slaying.
“Lemus broke into his neighbor’s Norwalk home and fatally stabbed the 50-year-old woman,” Ardalani said.
Diofron was also initially accused of murder during the coarse of a rape, but the rape allegation was dismissed under a negotiated plea arrangement, officials said.
The killer, a Guatemalan national, was in the United States on a work visa and living next door to Battey at the time of the slaying, sheriff’s officials said.
He attacked her as she watered here garden, then dragged her inside her home where he stabbed her to death, according to investigators.
Diofron then fled to Guatemala, where he remained for two years before being captured in late-2014 and extradited back to California to face justice.
Battey worked for the U.S. Social Security Administration and tutored students on college preparation in her spare time, family members said. A recent back surgery, as well as severe sciatica in one of her legs, left her defenseless.
PHOTOS: Convicted murderer Luis Fernando Diofron, also known as Luis Fernando Diofron Lemus, 25, (left) and victim Denise Battey, 50, of Norwalk (right). [Courtesy]
POMONA >> A fight in downtown Pomona early Sunday left two men wounded, authorities said.
Two men in their early-20s suffered injuries not considered to be life threatening in the melee, which unfolded just before 2 a.m. in the 100 block of East Second Avenue, just east of Garey Avenue, Pomona police officials said in a written statement.
The suspect or suspects remained at large, and no description was available, officials said.
No further details were released regarding the circumstances of the stabbing, which police were investigating as attempted murder.
Anyone with information is asked to contact Pomona police at 909-620-2085. Tips may also be submitted anonymously to L.A. Regional Crime Stoppers at 800-222-8477.
POMONA >> Police have arrested a 20-year-old woman following the fatal stabbing of her boyfriend early Friday at their Pomona home, authorities said.
Officers were called to the 2200 block of West Valley Boulevard just after midnight for reports of an assault, Pomona police Lt. Ron McDonald said.
The victim, a 21-year-old man, was stabbed in their home, Sgt. Bert Sanchez said in a written statement.
“Emergency personnel attempted life saving measures, but were unsuccessful and the victim was pronounced deceased at the scene,” he said.
Shaqcore Dalvin Prawl died at 12:31 a.m., Los Angeles County Department of Medical Examiner-Coroner Assistant Chief of Operations Ed Winter said.
“During (detectives’) investigation, it was learned that a domestic violence incident occurred between the suspect and her boyfriend,”Sanchez said. “During this incident, the victim was stabbed.
Police arrested Chayenne Capri Lywood, 20, on suspicion of murder, according to Pomona police officals and Los Angeles County booking records.
Lywood was being held in lieu of $2 million bail pending her intitial court appearance, scheduled Tuesday in the Pomona branch of Los Angeles County Superior Court, records show.
No further details were released.
Anyone with information was urged to contact Pomona police at 909-620-2085. Tips may also be submitted anonymosuly to L.A. Regional Crime Stoppers at 800-222-8477.
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)
BALDWIN PARK >> A Baldwin Park man received a prison sentence of 16 years to life Friday for stabbing another man to death during a fight in late last year, authorities said.
Steven Barron, 55, pleaded “no contest” to a count of second-degree murder for the Dec. 9, 2016, slaying of 43-year-old Gilbert Ochoa of Baldwin Park, according to Los Angeles County District attorney’s officials. He also admitted the special allegation that he used a knife in the crime during Friday’s appearance in the Pomona branch of Los Angeles County Superior Court.
The fatal confrontation unfolded shortly after midnight in a residential garage in the 4000 block of Harland Avenue.
Barron, who was renting a room at the home, became involved in an argument with Ochoa as Ochoa was having a conversation with Barron’s landlord, Deputy Guillermina Saldana of the sheriff’s Information Bureau said at the time. Ochoa lived nearby.
“The fight led to a number of physical confrontations started by Barron,” district attorney’s office spokeswoman Sarah Ardalani said in a written statement.
“During one of the confrontations, Barron armed himself with a knife and Ochoa armed himself with an aluminum pole,”she said.
Barron suffered a broken arm during the fight, officials said.
He stabbed Ochoa in the chest with a large kitchen knife, sheriff’s officials said.
“Barron gained control of the pole and hit the victim over the head,” Ardalani said.
Police detained Barron for questioning and ultimately arrested him on suspicion of murder several hours later.
Friday’s sentencing was the result of a negotiated plea arrangement, Ardalani said.
If he had been convicted at trial of first-degree murder, Barron could have faced up to 26 years to life in state prison.
A judge sentenced a 28-year-old men to spend the rest of his life in a prison cell for fatally stabbing his then-14-year-old girlfriend’s grandparents to death as they slept in their bed in their Rosemead home nearly seven years ago.
A jury convicted Rodolfo Lopez late last year of two counts of first-degree murder, along with the special allegation of multiple murders for the Aug. 10, 2010, double-stabbing in the 4200 block of Arica Avenue, in which the elderly victims were stabbed more than 150 times, according to Los Angeles County sheriff’s officials and proscutors.
Jack Bezner, 71, and his wife Susan Bezner, 64, died in the attack, officials said.
Their granddaughter, then-14-year-old Sophia Cristo, lived with them. She carried out the attack with Lopez, then-21, after the grandparents discovered Cristo had been involved in a check forgery scam and threatened to notify authorities, according to Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office spokeswoman Sarah Ardalani.
During Lopez’s appearance Friday in Los Angeles County Superior Court, Judge Craig Richman sentenced the killer to life in prison without the possibility of parole, court officials said.
Jurors convicted Cristo in March of 2015 of the murders of her grandparents.
The jury also found true the special circumstances of lying in wait and multiple murders, as well as the special allegation that she personally used a knife to stab her grandmother. Susan Bezner was stabbed 112 times during the grisly attack.
Though the couple was attacked as they slept in their bed, evidence indicated they fought for their lives before ultimately succumbing to their wounds, prosecutors said.
Investigators found and arrested Lopez and Cristo two days after the murders as they were driving the Bezners’ stolen SUV through Horison City, Texas.
Though the special allegation of multiple murders made Lopez eligible for the death penalty, prosecutors did not seek capital punishment in the case.
Cristo was ineligible for capital punishment due to her age at the time of the slayings.
Cristo also faces life in prison without the possibility of parole when she returns to court for sentencing on July 18.
NORWALK >> A former international fugitive admitted on Thursday breaking into the home of his then-neighbor in Norwalk stabbing the 50-year-old disabled woman to death in 2012, authorities said.
Luis Fernando Diofron, also known as Luis Fernando Diofron Lemus, 25, was captured in Guatemala two years after the Aug. 10, 2012, slaying of Denise Battey in the 11900 block of Allard Street, according to Los Angeles County sheriff’s officials.
After nearly three more years awaiting trial, Difron pleaded guilty to a charge of first-degree murder, along with the special circumstance allegation of murder during the commission of a burglary, as well as the special allegation that he personally used a knife in the murder, according to Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office spokesman Ricardo Santiago.
Prosecutors initially accused Diofron of the additional special circumstance of murder during the commission of a rape. Under Thursday’s negotiated plea arrangement, the allegation of sexual assault was dismissed.
“(Diofron) broke into his neighbor’s home and fatally stabbed the 50-year-old woman,” Santiago said in a written statement. “Following the killing, the defendant fled to Guatemala where he remained for several years. (He) was located in December 2014 and extradited to Los Angeles County four months later.”
Diofron is expected to be receive a life term in prison without the possibility of parole when he returns to the Norwalk branch of Los Angeles County Superior Court for sentencing on July 19, Santiago said.
Diofron was living next-door to his victim while staying in the U.S. on a work visa, Detective Ray Lugo of the sheriff’s Homicide Bureau said shortly after his capture.
He attacked Denise Battey as she watered her garden during the early-morning hours, like she did every morning, according to investigators and her twin sister, Annese Battey.
Difron then dragged Denise Battey inside her home, where he stabbed her to death, officials said.
He then fled to his native Guatemala.
But detectives received a tip in late 2014 that the killer had been spotted near Guatemala City, Lugo said. Sheriff’s detectives, aided by Guatemalan police and the FBI, arrested Diofron without a struggle on Dec. 4, 2014. He was extradited back to the Los Angeles County to face justice four months later.
The victim was defenseless from her attacker, having just undergone back surgery and suffering from severe sciatica in her one of her legs.
Denise Battery worked for the U.S. Social Security Administration and tutored students on college preparation in her spare time, Annese Battery said. She was a fan of classic cinema and was known for handing out her homegrown tomatoes in her neighborhood.
Denise Battey dreamed of one day having a small home or condominium on the back, her sister said.
Luis Fernando Diofron, also known as Luis Fernando Diofron Lemus, 25, [LEFT] pleaded guilty on Thursday, June 29, 2017 to the murder of neighbor Denise Battery, 50, of Norwalk [RIGHT] on Aug. 10, 2012. Difron was captured in his antive Guatemala two years after the murder. (Courtesy)
WHITTIER >> A group of teens stabbed and seriously injured a man following an argument in Uptown Whittier on Thursday afternoon, police said.
The attack took place about 6:50 p.m. in the 6700 block of Comstock Avenue, according to Whittier police Lt. Steve Dean.
A 25-year-old man was walking down the street when he exchanged words with a group of young men in their late-teens who appeared to be gang members, Dean said.
The teens followed the man as he walked down a breezeway, he said. “A fight ensues. The victim gets stabbed in the thigh.”
The knife severed the victim’s femoral artery, the lieutenant said. The man was taken to a hospital in where he was in stable condition.
A description of the attackers was not available.
Anyone with information can reach Whittier police at 562-567-9200. Tips may also be submitted anonymously to L.A. Regional Crime Stoppers at 800-222-8477.
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.
AZUSA >> Rescuers rushed a man to a trauma center after he was stabbed in Azusa late Friday, officials said.
The stabbing was reported shortly before 7:30 p.m. at or near a convenience store at Citrus Avenue and Gladstone Street, Azusa police Cpl. Jason Kimes said.
The victim, initially described as an Azusa man, then showed up at Foothill Presbyterian Hospital in Glendora, where doctors decided to have him flown by helicopter to Los Angeles County-USC Medical Center in Los Angeles for further treatment, he said.
An update on the victim’s condition was not immediately available, nor were details regarding the circumstances of the stabbing, according to the corporal.
Anyone with information can reach Azusa police at 626-812-3200. Tips may also be submitted anonymously to L.A. Regional Crime Stoppers at 800-222-8477.