A man and woman who robbed a La Mirada convenience store of $700 worth of Red Bull energy along with their two young children in a brazen crime caught on camera have admitted to robbery and child abuse charges, authorities said.
Elizabeth Kathy Larez, 27, of La Puente and Bryan Gary Corona, 27, of Whittier, were immediately sentenced to jail and prison, respectively, during their court appearances on Friday, according to Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office spokeswoman Sarah Ardalani.
Larez pleaded “no contest” to two counts of robbery and one count of child abuse, while Corona pleaded “no contest” to two counts of robbery and one count of child abuse, Ardalani said in an email.
Lares was sentenced to 365 days in county jail and three years of formal probation, she said. A three-year state prison sentence was suspended, but could be reimposed if Larez violates her probation. She was also ordered to attend 52 weeks of parenting classes and barred from possessing any dangerous weapons.
Corona received a sentence of three years in state prison, Ardlani said.
The charges stem from a June 10 robbery at an ampm minimart at 13550 Beach Blvd., just south of Imperial Highway. The heist was captured on video by store surveillance cameras.
•Video: Surveillance camera footage of La Mirada Red Bull robbery
Larez and Corona entered the store about 11:30 p.m., accompanied by their two sons, ages 9 and 10, as depicted in the video.
The man and woman first distract their clerk while the two boys leave the store carrying cases of Red Bull, the video shows. When the clerk tried to stop the theft, Larez and Corona pelted him with cans of the beverage before also grabbing cases of Red Bull and running out the door.
Investigators released the video in hopes of generating clues, and anonymous tipsters soon helped police identify Larez and Corona as the robbers, Los Angeles County sheriff’s Detective David Sotomayor said at the time.
Deputies and Buena Park police found and arrested the suspects July 14 at the Portola Inn and Suites, 7921 Orangethorpe Ave. in Buena Park, officials said. The children were placed in the custody of family members.
Sotomayor said Corona admitted he had sold the drinks.
POMONA >> A Baldwin Park man received a sentenced of 25 years to life in prison Tuesday after a Pomona Superior Court jury convicted of murder and child abuse for the death of his 20-month-old son, authorities said.
The jury deliberated for about an hour before finding David Paz Vasquez, 34, guilty of second-degree murder and child abuse causing death for the June 12, 2013, death of his son, Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office spokesman Greg Risling said. Judge Bruce Marrs immediately sentenced Vasquez to 25 years to life in state prison.
Los Angeles County sheriff’s investigators identified the young toddler as Joshua Anderson Vasquez.
His father brought him to Citrus Valley Medical Center – Queen of the Valley Campus about 10:50 a.m. before he was pronounced dead at 11:08 a.m., Los Angeles County sheriff’s and coroners officials said. Doctors determined the boy died from blunt force trauma to his torso and head, and detectives responded the man’s home in the 3700 block of Downing Avenue to investigate, Detective Eddie Brown of the Sheriff’s Homicide Bureau said at the time.
The toddler’s mother was at work when the fatal injuries occurred, officials said.
“Vasquez told investigators that placed the child on a bed and told him not to move,” district attorney’s officials said in a written statement. “The toddler fell onto the floor and Vasquez became so upset that he struck his son on the head and abdomen and then took him to the hospital.”
“It appears Vasquez slammed the victim’s head against the floor and that he used a shoe to strike the child in the abdomen,” Risling said. The victim’s injuries included a broken skull, broken ribs and internal bleeding to the abdomen, officials said.
An autopsy determined the boy died of “blunt force trauma inflicted by caregiver,” and the case was ruled a homicide, Los Angeles County Department Coroner Assistance Chief of Operations Ed Winter said.
Detectives arrested David Vasquez on suspicion of murder late the same day.
About 15 months prior to the child’s death, when he was five months old, he suffered a broken leg when Vasquez yanked him away from his mother, the district attorney’s statement said. “After that incident, the toddler was placed in foster care for about a month and then went to his grandmother’s house for six months. “He was then returned to his parents.”
SAN DIMAS >> A 29-year-old San Dimas man convicted of assaulting his then-1-year-old son, leaving the child disabled, received a life sentence Wednesday, officials said.
A Pomona Superior Court jury convicted James David Higbee of assault on a child causing paralysis and child abuse on Nov. 17, Los Angeles County District Attorney’s office spokeswoman Sarah Ardalani said. The jury also found true the special allegation that Higbee personally inflicted great bodily injury in the crimes.
The toddler’s maternal grandmother dropped the child off at his father’s San Dimas home for a visitation on Sept. 27, 2011, officials said. The parents were separated.
“When the paternal grandmother returned to the home from a short trip to the grocery store, the boy’s body was limp, his breathing was loud and uneven and his eyes had rolled back in his head,” Ardalani said.
The boy suffered two skull fractures and severe brain injuries, she said.
“At trial, doctors testified that the child had numerous skull and brain surgeries as a result of his injuries,” Ardalani said. “Despite medical treatment, the now-4-year-old child is physically disabled.
The boy continues to suffer with educational deficits and the rights side of his body remains weak, Ardalai said.
It was unclear how exactly the injuries were inflicted, Ardalani said.
Higbee, who had remained free on bail pending the trial process, was remanded into custody following his conviction in November, Ardalani said.