Pico Rivera man sentenced for fatal beating of homeless man in Montebello

MONTEBELLO >> A Pico Rivera man began serving an 11-year prison sentence this week after being convicted of manslaughter for the beating death of a homeless man in Montebello in late-2015, authorities said.
Martin Emmannuel Bautista, 34, appeared in Los Angeles County Superior Court on Monday, where he entered a “no contest” plea to a count of voluntary manslaughter, according to Los Angeles County District Attorney’s spokesman Ricardo Santiago and Los Angeles Superior Court records. A charge of murder was dismissed.
The case stems from the Nov. 23, 2015, death of Fabian Ramirez, a 54-year-old homeless man, in a parking lot in the .
A motive in the fatal beating was not available. Montebello police Sgt. Julio Calleros has described the crime as “alarming” and “senseless.”
California law defines manslaughter as the killing of another person, “without malice.” Voluntary manslaughter describes a killing done without premeditation, “upon a sudden quarrel or heat of passion.
An autopsy determined Ramirez died from “blunt head trauma” and the death was ruled a homicide, according to Los Angeles County Department of Medical Examiner-Coroner records.
Bautista was arrested in connection with the killing the day after it occurred. If he had been convicted of murder at trial, as initially charged, he could have faced up to 25 years to life in prison.
A second man initially described by police as an accomplice in the slaying, 29-year-old Eric Daniel DeLeon of Pico Rivera, was arrested following a fight with police in Whittier on Dec. 5, 2015, according to Whittier police officials. He allegedly threw a barbecue at an officer and struck the officer with a chair before being wrestled into custody.
But he was never charged in connection with Ramirez’s slaying, records show.
He pleaded “no contest” to a count of assault on a peace officer in August of 2016 and was sentenced to 15 years in state prison. A charge of attempted murder on the Whittier officer was dismissed.

PHOTO: Martin Bautista (Courtesy)

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Man sentenced for crash that killed young Hacienda Heights couple

George Steward II, and his girlfriend Sabrina Castillo, 18, of Hacienda Heights. (Courtesy)

HACIENDA HEIGHTS >> A judge sentenced a man to probation and community service Wednesday for causing a crash that killed two 18-year-old high school sweethearts in their hometown of Hacienda Heights, officials said.
Key Jaison Kim, 69, pleaded “no contest” to two misdemeanor charges of vehicular manslaughter in connection with the Oct. 18, 2015, crash at the 7th Street offramp of the eastbound 60 Freeway, according to Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office spokeswoman Sarah Ardalani. California Highway Patrol officials described Kim as a Hacienda Heights resident.
Killed were George Andrew Steward II and Sabrina Delilha Castillo, who had recently graduated Los Altos High School, were had just started college, and were described by family members as “madly in love.”
Wednesday’s court proceeding in the El Monte branch of Los Angeles County Superior Court was an “open plea,” Ardalani said in a written statement. The prosecution did not negotiate a sentence with the defense before Kim entered his “no contest” plea.
In addition to five years of summary probation, “Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge Donna Hollingsworth also ordered the defendant to complete 800 hours of community service, attend the hospital and morgue program and complete the Mothers Against Drunk Driving Victim Impact Program.,” Ardalani said. Furthermore, Kim’s driver’s license was revoked for five years.
Kim was exiting the freeway about 7 p.m. when he lost control of his Lexus sedan, which flew off the side of the onramp and smashed into the Toyota Tacoma pickup truck which Steward was driving on 7th Avenue, with Castillo riding as a passenger. The top of the truck was sheared off by the impact.
Paramedics pronounced Steward and Castillo dead at the scene.
Kim was driving at “an extremely high rate of speed” and failed to stop at a stop sign just before the crash, California Highway Patrol officials said shortly after the crash.
Driving under the influence was not alleged.
“According to the prosecutor, the defendant committed pedal error by applying pressure on the accelerator pedal instead of the brakes while exiting the offramp.” Ardalani said.
Following a lengthy investigation by the CHP, Kim was charged with two counts of manslaughter in August of 2016, nearly 10 months after the deadly collision.
Loved ones said the young couple had a promising future.
Steward had been studying and playing football at Mt. SAC in Walnut, and Castillo was studying at Citrus College in Glendora.

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Man sentenced for fatal stabbing of San Gabriel man in South Whittier


SOUTH WHITTIER >> A Pico Rivera man received a seven-year prison sentence for fatally stabbing hid ex-girlfriend’s new boyfriend during a fight in South Whittier in 2015.
George Delgado, 54, pleaded “no contest” to a charge of voluntary manslaughter on Sept. 14 in for the Sept. 26, 2015, stabbing death of 42-year-old Tyler Duran of San Gabriel, Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office spokeswoman Sarah Ardalani said.
The plea was the result of a negotiated plea arrangement, she said. Delgado was initially charged with murder, which carries a minimum sentence of 15 years to life in prison. He pleaded not guilty to the murder charge in October of 2015.
Friday’s sentence was handed down in the Norwalk branch of Los Angeles Court by Judge Joseph R. Porris.
Duran was at his girlfriend’s home in the 13500 block of Trumball Street, in the unincorporated county area of South Whittier, prior to the stabbing, prosectors said in a written statement.
Delgado, the woman’s ex-boyfriend, showed up and confronted the couple, officials said. Duran left, but returned a short time later.
“When Duran came back to the home, he was allegedly faced by Delgado again and the two men got into a fight,” according to the statement. “During the physical struggle, Delgado reportedly stabbed Duran.”
Duran soon succumbed to his wounds at a hospital, officials said.
Delgado fled and was sought as a fugitive for 11 days before he was ultimately captured in Pico Rivera.


PHOTOS: [ABOVE]George Delgado, 54, of Pico Rivera, left, pleaded “no contest” to a manslaughter charge on Friday, Jan. 13, 2017, for the fatal stabbing of Tyron Duran, 42, of San Gabriel, right, during a fight in South Whittier on Sept. 26, 2015. (Photos courtesy of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department and the DMV) [BELOW]  Los Angeles County sheriff’s officials investigate in the 13500 block of Trumball Street in South Whittier where Tyron Duran, 42, of San Gabriel, left, was fatally stabbed during a fight on Sept. 26, 2015. (Photo by Brian Day)

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Pasadena man charged with manslaughter in alleged DUI crash that killed Altadena man

PASADENA >> A driver accused of killing a motorcyclist in a drunken driving-related crash in Pasadena early New Year’s Day faces a vehicular manslaughter charge, officials said.
Prosecutors charged Shawn Antonio, 42, of Pasadena vehicular manslaughter without gross negligence on Wednesday, Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office spokeswoman Sarah Ardalani said.
The charge stems from a crash between his BMW X3 SUV and a motorcyclist about 4:40 a.m. on Sunday at Fair Oaks Avenue and Washington Boulevard.
Killed was Carl Steve Perry, 57, of Altadena, Los Angeles County Department of Medical Examiner-Coroner Assistant Chief of Operations Ed Winter said. An autopsy determined Perry died from traumatic injuries, and the death was ruled accidental.
Perry was southbound on Fair Oaks Avenue when Antonio made a left turn in front of him, causing the collision, according to Pasadena police Lt. Mark Goodman. Paramedics took Perry to a hospital, where he soon succumbed to his injuries.
Police determined Antonio was under the influence of alcohol and arrested him on suspicion of vehicular manslaughter, Goodman said.
Antonio appeared in court but entered no plea Wednesday, district attorney’s office spokesman Ricardo Santiago said. His arraignment hearing was postponed to Jan. 11 in the Pasadena branch of Los Angeles County Superior Court.
Initially held in lieu of $2 million bail, Antonio’s bail was reduced to $50,000 bail during Wednesday’s proceedings, officials said.
He was released from custody Thursday morning pending the legal process after posting bail, Los Angeles County booking records show.
If convicted as charged, Antonio faces a maximum sentence of four years in state prison.

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Man sentenced for running over, killing sleeping man with SUV in South El Monte

SOUTH EL MONTE >> A drunken driver who ran over and killed a man who was sleeping in a South El Monte parking lot in September received a 12-year prison sentence this week, authorities said.
Steven Agredano, 47, of South El Monte pleaded “no contest” to gross vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated and drunken driving in connection with the fatal incident, which took place about 5:45 p.m. on Sept. 17 in the 2600 block of Rosemead Boulevard, according to Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office spokeswoman Sarah Ardalani. An additional charge of driving with blood-alcohol level above .08 percent was dismissed.
Killed was Elias Contreras Garcia, 57, of South El Monte, according to Los Angeles County Department of Medical Examiner-Coroner’s officials. An autopsy determined he died from “craniocerebral trauma” and the death was ruled an accident.
He was asleep in the parking lot, for unknown reasons, when Agredano ran over him with a Toyota 4Runner SUV, sheriff’s officials said at the time.
Following his plea on Tuesday in the Pomona branch of Los Angeles County Superior Court, Agredano received his 12-year prison sentence from Judge Salvatore Sirna, Ardalani said.
It was far from Agredano’s first time in front of a judge.
Agredano was convicted of arson and burglary after setting fire to the vacant home of a neighbor in March of 2012. He was sentenced to four years in state prison, records show. It was unclear when he was released.
He was also convicted of battery on a peace officer in August and domestic battery in January, according to court records.
Agredano was convicted of recklessly evading police in 2011, resisting arrest in 2008, as well as vandalism, reckless driving and battery in 1995.

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Rowland Heights woman guilty of manslaughter for fatal scissor attack

ROWLAND HEIGHTS >> A Rowland Heights woman is expected to receive a 12-year prison sentence next month after pleading “no contest” Wednesday to a manslaughter charge for stabbing her brother’s girlfriend to death with a pair of scissors last year, authorities said.
Lisette Kimberly Moreno, 20, pleaded “no contest” to a charge of voluntary manslaughter for the fatal Aug. 16, 2015, stabbing of Annette Martinez, 21, of Rowland Heights, Los Angeles County District attorney’s officials said in a written statement.
In addition the manslaughter charge, Moreno also admitted to the special allegation that she personally used a weapon, scissors, in the killing.
Following the negotiated plea arrangement, Moreno is expected to receive 12 years in state prison when she returns to the Pomona branch of Los Angeles County Superior Court for sentencing on Nov. 29, according to the statement. Moreno was first charged with murder following her arrest.
If convicted of murder at trial, she could have faced a potential maximum sentence of more than 25 years to life in prison.
Moreno became involved in an argument with Martinez about 2 a.m. as they were at the home of Martinez’s boyfriend’s family in the 1900 block of Batson Avenue.
Information regarding what the dispute was over was not available.
Martinez left behind a then-6-month-old daughter and a then-18-monthold son, family members said.


PHOTO [TOP] – of Lisette Moreno, 21, of Rowland Heights (Courtesy) [BELOW] – Annette Martinez, 21, of Rowland Heights (Courtesy)

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West Covina man convicted of manslaughter for fatal stabbing of father


WEST COVINA >> A 21-year-old man pleaded “no contest” to involuntary manslaughter on Wednesday for the fatal stabbing of his father during a fight at their West Covina home last year, authorities said.
At what was scheduled to be a pretrial hearing in the case of Maverick Jacob Jimenez, the defendant accepted a negotiated plea deal in connection with the Aug. 16, 2015, fatal stabbing of his father, 49-year-old Joey Alfred Jimenez, Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office spokeswoman Sarah Ardalani said.
“The defendant also admitted a special allegation that her personally used a deadly and dangerous weapon, a knife, during the commission of the crime,” district attorney’s officials said in a written statement.
He’s expected to receive a six-year prison term when he returns to the Los Angeles County Superior Court’s Pomona branch for sentencing on Jan. 4.
Maverick Jimenez became involved in physical fight with his father about 3:30 a.m. at their home in the 900 block of Las Rosas Drive, according to prosecutors and West Covina police officials.
“During the altercation, the defendant stabbed his father,” the district attorney’s office statement said.
The motive behind the fight was not available.
Paramedics took Joey Jimenez to a hospital where he died from his injuries, officials said.
West Covina police arrested Maverick Jimenez at the scene, West Covina police spokesman Rudy Lopez said at the time.
Maverick Jimenez was initially charged with murder in the case, which could have resulted in a sentence of more than 25 years to life in prison if convicted at trial.

PHOTO of Maverick Jacob Jimenez, courtesy

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Glendale woman sentenced for DUI crash that killed Whittier man in Pico Rivera


PICO RIVERA >> A Glendale woman who triggered a fatal crash when she drove through a red light in Pico Rivera while drunk has begun serving a six-year prison term for the crime, officials said Wednesday.
Christine Vahe Mesdjian, 28, pleaded “no contest” to gross vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated during a pretrial hearing on Thursday in the Norwalk branch of Los Angeles Superior Court, Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office spokeswoman Sarah Ardalani said.
“She was immediately sentenced to six years in state prison,” Ardalani said.
An additional count of felony DUI was dismissed in connection with the Feb. 15, 2015, three-vehicle crash that claimed the life of David Andrew Jaramillo, 59, of Whittier.
Mesdjian initially told investigators she fell asleep at the wheel prior to the crash, Los Angeles County sheriff’s Detective Jose Marquez said. But skid marks created in the street prior to the collision contradicted her story, he said.
Mesdjian was driving a Toyota pickup truck north along Paramount Boulevard about 8 p.m. when she blew through a red light and hit the passenger side of a Toyota Scion heading east on Slauson Avenue, according to Marquez.
The force of the collision pushed the Scion into a Toyota Camry heading west on Slauson Avenue.
Jaramillo, who was driving the Scion, died at the scene.
Mesdjian and three people inside the camera were treated for injuries as well, officials said.
Deputies did not arrest Mesdjian the night of the crash, but ultimately turned over the findings of their investigation to prosecutors, who obtained an arrest warrant for Mesdjian in late June of 2015. She turned herself in to authorities June 30.

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Gang member sentenced for Pasadena crash that killed two during police chase on Christmas, 2012


PASADENA >> A judge sentenced a gang member to more than three decades in prison for killing an 11-year-old boy and his 25-year-old cousin when he crashed an SUV into their family’s minivan in Pasadena on Christmas Day of 2012.
The Pasadena jury found Darrell Lee Williams, 25, guilty in November of two counts of manslaughter and five counts of assault with a deadly weapon in connection with the crash at Marengo Avenue and Maple Street, according to Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office spokesman Ricardo Santiago. The conviction was his third strike under California’s Three Strikes Law. He was acquitted of a charge of possession of a firearm by a felon.
Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge Dorothy L. Shubin sentenced Williams to 30 years to life in prison, Santiago said.
Killed were Tracey Ong Tan of Glendale and Kendrick Ng of Daly City. Ng was visiting relatives for the holidays. Ng’s parents and sister suffered serious injuries.
Williams was fleeing from an FBI SUV, driven by an FBI agent with a Pasadena police officer riding as a passenger, that had tried to pull over the Dodge Durango Williams was driving, authorities said.
“Williams refused to stop because he had a firearm in the SUV while on parole and a high-speed chase began,” Santiago said in a written statement.
William’s girlfriend and passenger in the fleeing SUV, 23-year-old Brittany Washington of Los Angeles, pleaded no contest to a charge of possession of a firearm by a convicted felon in 2014 and received a two-year jail sentence, officials said.
The fatal pursuit occurred as Pasadena police and FBI agents were conducting gang-suppression patrols following the fatal shooting of community youth coach and sheriff’s department employee Victor McClinton, 49, of Pasadena earlier on the same deadly Christmas Day in Pasadena.
A Los Angeles jury continued deliberating Friday in the case of alleged gang members Larry Darnell Bishop, 23, of Chino and Jerron Donald Harris, 28, of Pasadena, accused of gunning down McClinton with an errant bullet intended for a rival gang member.
The trial is the second for Bishop and Harris after a jury failed to reach a verdict in their first trial last July.

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


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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