Couple sentenced in 2012 gang murder in Lake Los Angeles

A man and a woman were sentenced March 16 for their role in the gang-motivated killing of Christian Bojorquez, 21, in Lake Los Angeles in 2012, according to the Los Angeles County district attorney’s office. 

Rudolfo Alcantar, was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole; Rosie Lisa Morales was sentenced to 48 years to life in prison. 

On Aug. 5,  2016,  a jury found Alcantar guilty of first-degree murder. Jurors also found true the the special circumstance of lying in wait as well as two counts of a felon in possession of a firearm.  On Aug. 4, 2016, a different jury found Morales guilty of second-degree murder and arson. 

The juries also found that both defendants committed the crimes for the benefit of a street gang. 

On March 5, 2012, prosecutors said Bojorquez was lured, under false pretenses, by Morales to a remote area of Lake Los Angeles. When he arrived, Morales and Alcantar shot, beat and carjacked Bojorquez, prosecutors added. 

Morales and Alcantar then left him near the intersection of 180th Street East and Avenue M, according to prosecutors. Bojorquez was found by a passerby and was airlifted to a hospital in critical condition, but he died of his wounds nine days later, according to court testimony. 

Two days after the attack, Morales set fire to Bojorquez’s vehicle in Pearblossom in an attempt to destroy evidence of the murder. According to witness testimony, Borjorquez, who was associated with a gang, was targeted because the gang deemed him a snitch after a he had an interaction with police a year before. 

Contact the Homicide Report, and follow @latimeshomicide on Twitter.

A man and a woman were sentenced March 16 for their role in the gang-motivated killing of Christian Bojorquez, 21, in Lake Los Angeles in 2012, according to the Los Angeles County district attorney's office. 

Rudolfo Alcantar, was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole; Rosie Lisa Morales was sentenced to 48 years to life in prison. 

On Aug. 5,  2016,  a jury found Alcantar guilty of first-degree murder. Jurors also found true the the special circumstance of lying in wait as well as two counts of a felon in possession of a firearm.  On Aug. 4, 2016, a different jury found Morales guilty of second-degree murder and arson. 

The juries also found that both defendants committed the crimes for the benefit of a street gang. 

On March 5, 2012, prosecutors said Bojorquez was lured, under false pretenses, by Morales to a remote area of Lake Los Angeles. When he arrived, Morales and Alcantar shot, beat and carjacked Bojorquez, prosecutors added. 

Morales and Alcantar then left him near the intersection of 180th Street East and Avenue M, according to prosecutors. Bojorquez was found by a passerby and was airlifted to a hospital in critical condition, but he died of his wounds nine days later, according to court testimony. 

Two days after the attack, Morales set fire to Bojorquez’s vehicle in Pearblossom in an attempt to destroy evidence of the murder. According to witness testimony, Borjorquez, who was associated with a gang, was targeted because the gang deemed him a snitch after a he had an interaction with police a year before. 

Contact the Homicide Report, and follow @latimeshomicide on Twitter.

from http://homicide.latimes.com

Categories: Uncategorized

Pomona man convicted in stabbing death of friend in 2015

A man was convicted March 15 of stabbing his friend to death in a trailer in 2015, according to the Los Angeles County district attorney’s office. 

The jury deliberated for a day before finding George Hernandez guilty of second-degree murder in the killing of Albert Daniel Herrera, 36. 

Prosecutors said that on the evening of June 24, 2015, Herrera went to visit Hernandez at his Pomona trailer. That’s where Hernandez stabbed Herrera 40 times before fleeing to an ex-girlfriend’s home, according to prosecutors. Herrera died at the scene. 

The ex-girlfriend contacted police, and Hernandez was arrested early the next morning, prosecutors added. 

When Hernandez was taken into custody, police found Herrera’s blood on his clothing, according to evidence presented at trial. 

Hernandez is scheduled to be sentenced April 24. He faces a maximum possible sentence of 50 years to life in state prison. 

Contact the Homicide Report. Follow @jeromercampbell and @latimeshomicide on Twitter.

A man was convicted March 15 of stabbing his friend to death in a trailer in 2015, according to the Los Angeles County district attorney’s office. 

The jury deliberated for a day before finding George Hernandez guilty of second-degree murder in the killing of Albert Daniel Herrera, 36. 

Prosecutors said that on the evening of June 24, 2015, Herrera went to visit Hernandez at his Pomona trailer. That's where Hernandez stabbed Herrera 40 times before fleeing to an ex-girlfriend’s home, according to prosecutors. Herrera died at the scene. 

The ex-girlfriend contacted police, and Hernandez was arrested early the next morning, prosecutors added. 

When Hernandez was taken into custody, police found Herrera’s blood on his clothing, according to evidence presented at trial. 

Hernandez is scheduled to be sentenced April 24. He faces a maximum possible sentence of 50 years to life in state prison. 

Contact the Homicide Report. Follow @jeromercampbell and @latimeshomicide on Twitter.

from http://homicide.latimes.com

Categories: Uncategorized

Gang member charged with killing traffic guard at Venice construction site

A 29-year-old gang member has been arrested and charged with killing a traffic guard at a Venice construction site last summer, authorities said.

Gregory Wherry was taken into custody in Mid-March and formally charged last week with the Aug. 3 fatal shooting of Marvin Ponce in the Oakwood section of Venice, according to a spokesman for the Los Angeles County district attorney’s office.

The slaying — on a street corner in broad daylight — stunned community members and Ponce’s co-workers. Witnesses described the gunman as wearing a black mask resembling something out of a movie, compounding the intrigue.

For months, Los Angeles police detectives searched through phone records and social media accounts related to Wherry and arrested him March 9. He pleaded not guilty last week to the charge and remains in custody on $2-million bail.

Wherry and Ponce were associated with gangs, and prosecutors allege Wherry carried out the killing because of his gang ties.

Wherry is a member of the Venice Shoreline Crips, a primarily black gang that originated in Oakwood and has held sway in the neighborhood for decades, according to multiple affidavits filed in court.

Ponce, 37, was associated with the Avenues gang, a Latino gang that formed in northeast L.A. in the 1950s. He had served more than a decade in prison after pleading guilty in 2001 to attempted murder involving other Avenues gang members, according to court records.

The case underscores how Venice struggles with violent street gangs even as it has become one of the city’s trendiest enclaves.

About 4 p.m. on Aug. 3, Ponce was at the end of his shift and cleaning up traffic equipment when a man dressed in black approached him, aimed a chrome revolver and opened fire.

Clad in a fluorescent work vest, his body lay in the street at 7th and Brooks avenues as detectives and coroner’s officials arrived at the scene.

Within an hour of the shooting, a tip forwarded to police identified the gunman as G-Roc — Wherry’s gang moniker, according to an affidavit filed in Los Angeles County Superior Court.

A second witness said he was riding his bicycle along Brooks Avenue when he saw a man near a covered gate wearing basketball shorts and a mask that resembled Hannibal Lecter’s from “The Silence of the Lambs.”

Despite the disguise, the witness recognized the suspect as G-Roc.

The witness rode off on his bike, and a minute later, heard two gunshots, according to court papers.

Dets. Dave Vinton and Tyler Adams used search warrants filed in L.A. County court to obtain records from phones, email addresses and social media accounts linked to Wherry.

The Instagram account @Venice_Top_Model contained “dozens of photographs clearly depicting” Wherry, according to a search warrant affidavit.

One image showed Wherry donning a facemask with airholes — similar to the mask described by witnesses, according to the warrant. The photograph no longer appears on the Instagram page.

Wherry has been convicted of several crimes dating from 2005, when he pleaded no contest to disturbing the peace. He was convicted of dealing narcotics in 2008 and pleaded no contest to an assault charge in 2014. He was arrested along Venice’s boardwalk in 2016 on suspicion of violating a gang injunction.

The address he provided to officers was also in the Oakwood neighborhood, less than a block from the scene of Ponce’s killing, according to jail records.

For about three years, Ponce had worked for Right of Way, a San Dimas company that provides traffic control for construction sites, film shoots and other events.

His boss eulogized him as a “model employee” who treated colleagues with respect.

The sunny portrayal clashed with the violence Ponce and other members of the Avenues gang carried out on the night of Oct. 6, 1999, according to court records.

Ponce and three other Avenues members approached Hugo Cruz outside his apartment building and demanded money.

Cruz refused. Ponce and other gang members beat him, knocked him down and kicked him, according to court papers.

After dragging the man out of the apartment, Ponce and two others hit him and ransacked his apartment.

Ponce and another man took out guns and threatened to kill Cruz, who replied that he had no cash. He was shot in the head and leg.

Ponce was charged with attempted murder, assault and robbery. On Jan. 24, 2001, he pleaded guilty to attempted murder and was sentenced to 13 years in state prison.

Bikers ride past a memorial left Aug. 5 for Marvin Ponce, who was shot to death at the corner of 7th and Brooks avenues. (Genaro Molina / Los Angeles Times)

A 29-year-old gang member has been arrested and charged with killing a traffic guard at a Venice construction site last summer, authorities said.

Gregory Wherry was taken into custody in Mid-March and formally charged last week with the Aug. 3 fatal shooting of Marvin Ponce in the Oakwood section of Venice, according to a spokesman for the Los Angeles County district attorney’s office.

The slaying — on a street corner in broad daylight — stunned community members and Ponce’s co-workers. Witnesses described the gunman as wearing a black mask resembling something out of a movie, compounding the intrigue.

For months, Los Angeles police detectives searched through phone records and social media accounts related to Wherry and arrested him March 9. He pleaded not guilty last week to the charge and remains in custody on $2-million bail.

Wherry and Ponce were associated with gangs, and prosecutors allege Wherry carried out the killing because of his gang ties.

Wherry is a member of the Venice Shoreline Crips, a primarily black gang that originated in Oakwood and has held sway in the neighborhood for decades, according to multiple affidavits filed in court.

Ponce, 37, was associated with the Avenues gang, a Latino gang that formed in northeast L.A. in the 1950s. He had served more than a decade in prison after pleading guilty in 2001 to attempted murder involving other Avenues gang members, according to court records.

The case underscores how Venice struggles with violent street gangs even as it has become one of the city’s trendiest enclaves.

About 4 p.m. on Aug. 3, Ponce was at the end of his shift and cleaning up traffic equipment when a man dressed in black approached him, aimed a chrome revolver and opened fire.

Clad in a fluorescent work vest, his body lay in the street at 7th and Brooks avenues as detectives and coroner’s officials arrived at the scene.

Within an hour of the shooting, a tip forwarded to police identified the gunman as G-Roc — Wherry’s gang moniker, according to an affidavit filed in Los Angeles County Superior Court.

A second witness said he was riding his bicycle along Brooks Avenue when he saw a man near a covered gate wearing basketball shorts and a mask that resembled Hannibal Lecter’s from “The Silence of the Lambs.”

Despite the disguise, the witness recognized the suspect as G-Roc.

The witness rode off on his bike, and a minute later, heard two gunshots, according to court papers.

Dets. Dave Vinton and Tyler Adams used search warrants filed in L.A. County court to obtain records from phones, email addresses and social media accounts linked to Wherry.

The Instagram account @Venice_Top_Model contained “dozens of photographs clearly depicting” Wherry, according to a search warrant affidavit.

One image showed Wherry donning a facemask with airholes — similar to the mask described by witnesses, according to the warrant. The photograph no longer appears on the Instagram page.

Wherry has been convicted of several crimes dating from 2005, when he pleaded no contest to disturbing the peace. He was convicted of dealing narcotics in 2008 and pleaded no contest to an assault charge in 2014. He was arrested along Venice’s boardwalk in 2016 on suspicion of violating a gang injunction.

The address he provided to officers was also in the Oakwood neighborhood, less than a block from the scene of Ponce’s killing, according to jail records.

For about three years, Ponce had worked for Right of Way, a San Dimas company that provides traffic control for construction sites, film shoots and other events.

His boss eulogized him as a “model employee” who treated colleagues with respect.

The sunny portrayal clashed with the violence Ponce and other members of the Avenues gang carried out on the night of Oct. 6, 1999, according to court records.

Ponce and three other Avenues members approached Hugo Cruz outside his apartment building and demanded money.

Cruz refused. Ponce and other gang members beat him, knocked him down and kicked him, according to court papers.

After dragging the man out of the apartment, Ponce and two others hit him and ransacked his apartment.

Ponce and another man took out guns and threatened to kill Cruz, who replied that he had no cash. He was shot in the head and leg.

Ponce was charged with attempted murder, assault and robbery. On Jan. 24, 2001, he pleaded guilty to attempted murder and was sentenced to 13 years in state prison.

Bikers ride past a memorial left Aug. 5 for Marvin Ponce, who was shot to death at the corner of 7th and Brooks avenues. (Genaro Molina / Los Angeles Times)

from http://homicide.latimes.com

Categories: Uncategorized

Former ‘Power Rangers’ actor pleads guilty to killing roommate with sword

A former actor who once played one of the Power Rangers in the children’s superhero television series has pleaded guilty to voluntary manslaughter for stabbing his roommate to death with a sword, prosecutors said.

Ricardo Medina, 38, entered the plea Thursday in Antelope Valley court, admitting that he killed Josh Sutter after the two had a dispute at a Green Valley home in January 2015, according to a statement by the Los Angeles County district attorney’s office.

He faces up to six years in state prison when he is sentenced later this month, prosecutors said.Medina was charged with murder in January 2016, one year after the fatal clash.

Investigators said Medina and Sutter had argued over the way Medina’s girlfriend had parked her car minutes before the stabbing. As the argument continued, investigators said, Sutter forced his way into Medina’s room.

Medina grabbed a sword he kept by the door and stabbed Sutter multiple times before calling 911, police said. Medina initially claimed that he acted in self-defense. The Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department, when asked by a reporter in 2016 why it waited a year to charge Medina, did not offer an explanation.

Aside from one-off appearances on “CSI: Miami” and “ER,” Medina was mostly known for portraying the Red Lion Wild Force Ranger in the children’s show “Power Rangers Wild Force” from 2002 to 2003. He also played the villainous character Deker in “Power Rangers Samurai” in 2011 and 2012, according to his IMDb profile.

Calls to Medina’s attorney were not immediately returned.

Sutter, 36, moved to Los Angeles in 2011 to help his sister, Rachel Kennedy, open a business specializing in the sale of rescued dogs. The home where the stabbing took place was meant to be a haven for the dogs, according to Kennedy, who said Medina began living there after she hired him to care for the animals. But Medina began acting erratically not long after he was hired, Kennedy said.

The two argued frequently and at one point he threatened to release the dogs into the wild, she said.

While she didn’t think six years was a long enough prison sentence, Kennedy said Thursday she was relieved to finally hear Medina admit guilt in the grisly slaying.

Thursday would have been her brother’s 38th birthday, she said.

“This was the first step in maybe getting some of my life back,” Kennedy said. “We just want him where he belongs, and to start trying to live again. That’s what Josh would want.”

Contact the Homicide Report. Follow @latimeshomicide on Twitter.

A former actor who once played one of the Power Rangers in the children’s superhero television series has pleaded guilty to voluntary manslaughter for stabbing his roommate to death with a sword, prosecutors said.

Ricardo Medina, 38, entered the plea Thursday in Antelope Valley court, admitting that he killed Josh Sutter after the two had a dispute at a Green Valley home in January 2015, according to a statement by the Los Angeles County district attorney’s office.

He faces up to six years in state prison when he is sentenced later this month, prosecutors said.Medina was charged with murder in January 2016, one year after the fatal clash.

Investigators said Medina and Sutter had argued over the way Medina’s girlfriend had parked her car minutes before the stabbing. As the argument continued, investigators said, Sutter forced his way into Medina’s room.

Medina grabbed a sword he kept by the door and stabbed Sutter multiple times before calling 911, police said. Medina initially claimed that he acted in self-defense. The Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department, when asked by a reporter in 2016 why it waited a year to charge Medina, did not offer an explanation.

Aside from one-off appearances on “CSI: Miami” and “ER,” Medina was mostly known for portraying the Red Lion Wild Force Ranger in the children’s show “Power Rangers Wild Force” from 2002 to 2003. He also played the villainous character Deker in “Power Rangers Samurai” in 2011 and 2012, according to his IMDb profile.

Calls to Medina’s attorney were not immediately returned.

Sutter, 36, moved to Los Angeles in 2011 to help his sister, Rachel Kennedy, open a business specializing in the sale of rescued dogs. The home where the stabbing took place was meant to be a haven for the dogs, according to Kennedy, who said Medina began living there after she hired him to care for the animals. But Medina began acting erratically not long after he was hired, Kennedy said.

The two argued frequently and at one point he threatened to release the dogs into the wild, she said.

While she didn’t think six years was a long enough prison sentence, Kennedy said Thursday she was relieved to finally hear Medina admit guilt in the grisly slaying.

Thursday would have been her brother’s 38th birthday, she said.

“This was the first step in maybe getting some of my life back,” Kennedy said. “We just want him where he belongs, and to start trying to live again. That’s what Josh would want.”

Contact the Homicide Report. Follow @latimeshomicide on Twitter.

from http://homicide.latimes.com

Categories: Uncategorized

Authorities seek public’s help in double slaying of Taiwanese couple in Diamond Bar

Authorities on Wednesday appealed to the public for information in the October 2016 fatal stabbing of a Taiwanese couple in Diamond Bar, offering a $30,000 reward for information in the killings.

About 9 a.m. on Oct. 20, 2016, a family friend discovered Mei “Marian” Chu Chung, 57, and Cheng “David” Long Wang, 60, inside their home in the 3300 block of Bent Twig Lane in Diamond Bar, authorities said. The couple had been stabbed to death after an apparent struggle, and more than $10,000 in cash was missing from the home, said Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Capt. Steve Katz.

The couple had two adult children. Gary Wang, 31, a doctor of internal medicine in Iowa, flew to Los Angeles for Wednesday’s news conference.

Wang said telling his 4-year-old daughter that her grandparents are in heaven was difficult, and he hopes anyone with information will come forward.

“They were taken away from my life so suddenly, so brutally,” he told reporters.

In 2000, Wang’s family immigrated to the United States from Taiwan and became a “classic American success story,” Sheriff Jim McDonnell said.

Wang, a computer programmer, and his wife, Chung, an art teacher, were married for 30 years and were well known in Diamond Bar. Chung hosted art classes for children in a studio in her home.

Detectives are unsure whether the attacker was alone but said there were signs of forced entry into the home. Investigators have interviewed neighbors and canvassed the area.

“This is extremely unusual,” Katz said. “It appears to be isolated and tragic all on its own.”

County Supervisor Janice Hahn said the double homicide shocked the upscale community where the couple lived. They were the only people killed in the community of more than 50,000 last year, according to coroner’s data.

“We will ultimately find you,” Hahn said. “We will ultimately find justice.”

Katz said that although detectives have not exhausted all leads, they are looking for more information.

“We are seeking that piece to the puzzle,” he said. “We are in need of a helping hand.”

Wang said the incident has been a “giant tragedy,” but he carries on because he sees his parents in his children.

“I’m not asking much. I’m just asking for some justice for my parents,” Wang said.

Anyone with information is asked to call the Sheriff’s Department Homicide Bureau at (323) 890-5500. Those who wish to remain anonymous can call Crime Stoppers at (800) 222-8477.

Photo, above: Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Capt. Alfred Reyes, left, speaks to Gary Wang after a news conference as Sheriff Jim McDonnell and county Supervisor Janice Hahn look on.

Photo, right: A reward poster displayed at the news conference.

Credit: Irfan Khan, Los Angeles Times

Contact the Homicide Report. Follow @nicolesantacruz and @latimeshomicide on Twitter

Authorities on Wednesday appealed to the public for information in the October 2016 fatal stabbing of a Taiwanese couple in Diamond Bar, offering a $30,000 reward for information in the killings.

About 9 a.m. on Oct. 20, 2016, a family friend discovered Mei “Marian” Chu Chung, 57, and Cheng “David” Long Wang, 60, inside their home in the 3300 block of Bent Twig Lane in Diamond Bar, authorities said. The couple had been stabbed to death after an apparent struggle, and more than $10,000 in cash was missing from the home, said Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Capt. Steve Katz.

The couple had two adult children. Gary Wang, 31, a doctor of internal medicine in Iowa, flew to Los Angeles for Wednesday’s news conference.

Wang said telling his 4-year-old daughter that her grandparents are in heaven was difficult, and he hopes anyone with information will come forward.

“They were taken away from my life so suddenly, so brutally,” he told reporters.

In 2000, Wang’s family immigrated to the United States from Taiwan and became a “classic American success story,” Sheriff Jim McDonnell said.

Wang, a computer programmer, and his wife, Chung, an art teacher, were married for 30 years and were well known in Diamond Bar. Chung hosted art classes for children in a studio in her home.

Detectives are unsure whether the attacker was alone but said there were signs of forced entry into the home. Investigators have interviewed neighbors and canvassed the area.

“This is extremely unusual,” Katz said. “It appears to be isolated and tragic all on its own.”

County Supervisor Janice Hahn said the double homicide shocked the upscale community where the couple lived. They were the only people killed in the community of more than 50,000 last year, according to coroner’s data.

“We will ultimately find you,” Hahn said. “We will ultimately find justice.”

Katz said that although detectives have not exhausted all leads, they are looking for more information.

“We are seeking that piece to the puzzle,” he said. “We are in need of a helping hand.”

Wang said the incident has been a “giant tragedy,” but he carries on because he sees his parents in his children.

“I’m not asking much. I’m just asking for some justice for my parents,” Wang said.

Anyone with information is asked to call the Sheriff’s Department Homicide Bureau at (323) 890-5500. Those who wish to remain anonymous can call Crime Stoppers at (800) 222-8477.

Photo, above: Los Angeles County Sheriff's Capt. Alfred Reyes, left, speaks to Gary Wang after a news conference as Sheriff Jim McDonnell and county Supervisor Janice Hahn look on.

Photo, right: A reward poster displayed at the news conference.

Credit: Irfan Khan, Los Angeles Times

Contact the Homicide Report. Follow @nicolesantacruz and @latimeshomicide on Twitter

from http://homicide.latimes.com

Categories: Uncategorized

Family seeks answers in killing of grandmother in Del Rey: ‘We were not ready to lose her’

In the days after Herminia Galvez-Sandoval’s mother was found dead in the parking lot of the Mar Vista Gardens housing development, her 5-year-old son had been crying and asking for his grandmother more than usual.

The funeral would be in three days, and Galvez-Sandoval had to tell him. There, in the hallway of her Inglewood home, she broke the difficult news. Grandma, she said, is in heaven.

For Galvez-Sandoval’s family, there aren’t many more details in the killing of Juanita Sandoval. On the night of  Feb. 17, Sandoval, 56, was found by a resident in a rainy parking lot in the 4900 block of Marionwood Drive with blunt force trauma to the head, police said.

Investigators have not yet ruled out robbery as a motive and are looking for more people to come forward about what they may have seen. Last week, the City Council approved a $50,000 reward that Los Angeles Police Det. Angel Gomez hopes will spark tips.

Gomez, who previously worked in the area as a gang enforcement officer, said people who live in the project of about 600 units are concerned.

It has been two years since someone was killed there, and Gomez has recently attended several community meetings to urge cooperation from residents who may be afraid to talk to the police.

“Any little piece that we can put together … would be great,” he said.

It’s unclear whether any of the cameras in the housing development hold clues to the slaying, Gomez said. Police are still reviewing the footage.  

The president of the Resident Advisory Council at the project said residents, some of whom are living in the U.S. illegally, are afraid and reluctant to come forward. William Escalera, who has lived in Mar Vista Gardens in Del Rey for about five years, added that security has been a problem in recent years. A security gate at the entrance to the project is broken, some of the cameras don’t work, and residents often complain about broken lights, he said.

Dora Rangel, a resident of five years and the secretary for the Resident Advisory Council, said she was neighbors with Sandoval and would sometimes watch her grandson.

“We’re trying to get information, but nobody wants to talk,” Rangel said.

Sandoval’s family is puzzled why someone would hurt the 4-foot-11 grandmother, who came to the U.S. from Guatemala more than 30 years ago.

Sandoval was known for her sassy sense of humor and her ability to nurture. She was a friendly presence, one who frequently donned a scarf and high heels to boost her petite frame.

For Maritza Galvez-Sandoval, 24, one of her first memories of her mother is one of generosity. When Maritza was young, she remembers driving home late one night through South Los Angeles. Her mother spotted an elderly woman waiting at a bus stop and told her she would give her a ride home.

“I know that wasn’t the first time, and it wasn’t the last time,” said Maritza Galvez-Sandoval.

Sandoval’s husband, Juan Galvez, 73, said he misses his partner of more than 30 years.

“She was my friend, my wife, my love,” he said.

The recent tragedy is not the first for the family. In November 2003, the oldest daughter, Johanna, then 24, was killed in a car accident in Guatemala along with Sandoval’s parents and a cousin.

Only recently did the family feel as though they were starting to recover.

Sandoval’s killer “took everything,” said Herminia Galvez-Sandoval.

“My mom was the energy, the flavor. In reality, they ruined our lives. We were not ready to lose her,” she said.

Their mother taught Maritza Galvez-Sandoval how to cook, showed Herminia Galvez-Sandoval how to bathe her son for the first time.

The sisters say their mother wouldn’t have remained silent if she’d witnessed a crime.

“You never know who is listening, who is watching,” Herminia Galvez-Sandoval said. “We want people to come out.”

Anyone with information is asked to call LAPD West Bureau detectives at (213) 382-9470. Those who wish to remain anonymous can call Crime Stoppers at (800) 222-8477.

Contact the Homicide Report. Follow @nicolesantacruz and @latimeshomicide on Twitter.

Photo: Maritza Galvez-Sandoval, 24, center — flanked by sister Herminia Galvez-Sandoval, 32, and father Juan Galvez, 73 — shows a photo on phone of her parents with their grandchild. Credit: Irfan Khan / Los Angeles Times

In the days after Herminia Galvez-Sandoval’s mother was found dead in the parking lot of the Mar Vista Gardens housing development, her 5-year-old son had been crying and asking for his grandmother more than usual.

The funeral would be in three days, and Galvez-Sandoval had to tell him. There, in the hallway of her Inglewood home, she broke the difficult news. Grandma, she said, is in heaven.

For Galvez-Sandoval’s family, there aren’t many more details in the killing of Juanita Sandoval. On the night of  Feb. 17, Sandoval, 56, was found by a resident in a rainy parking lot in the 4900 block of Marionwood Drive with blunt force trauma to the head, police said.

Investigators have not yet ruled out robbery as a motive and are looking for more people to come forward about what they may have seen. Last week, the City Council approved a $50,000 reward that Los Angeles Police Det. Angel Gomez hopes will spark tips.

Gomez, who previously worked in the area as a gang enforcement officer, said people who live in the project of about 600 units are concerned.

It has been two years since someone was killed there, and Gomez has recently attended several community meetings to urge cooperation from residents who may be afraid to talk to the police.

“Any little piece that we can put together … would be great,” he said.

It’s unclear whether any of the cameras in the housing development hold clues to the slaying, Gomez said. Police are still reviewing the footage.  

The president of the Resident Advisory Council at the project said residents, some of whom are living in the U.S. illegally, are afraid and reluctant to come forward. William Escalera, who has lived in Mar Vista Gardens in Del Rey for about five years, added that security has been a problem in recent years. A security gate at the entrance to the project is broken, some of the cameras don’t work, and residents often complain about broken lights, he said.

Dora Rangel, a resident of five years and the secretary for the Resident Advisory Council, said she was neighbors with Sandoval and would sometimes watch her grandson.

“We’re trying to get information, but nobody wants to talk,” Rangel said.

Sandoval’s family is puzzled why someone would hurt the 4-foot-11 grandmother, who came to the U.S. from Guatemala more than 30 years ago.

Sandoval was known for her sassy sense of humor and her ability to nurture. She was a friendly presence, one who frequently donned a scarf and high heels to boost her petite frame.

For Maritza Galvez-Sandoval, 24, one of her first memories of her mother is one of generosity. When Maritza was young, she remembers driving home late one night through South Los Angeles. Her mother spotted an elderly woman waiting at a bus stop and told her she would give her a ride home.

“I know that wasn’t the first time, and it wasn’t the last time,” said Maritza Galvez-Sandoval.

Sandoval’s husband, Juan Galvez, 73, said he misses his partner of more than 30 years.

“She was my friend, my wife, my love,” he said.

The recent tragedy is not the first for the family. In November 2003, the oldest daughter, Johanna, then 24, was killed in a car accident in Guatemala along with Sandoval’s parents and a cousin.

Only recently did the family feel as though they were starting to recover.

Sandoval’s killer “took everything,” said Herminia Galvez-Sandoval.

“My mom was the energy, the flavor. In reality, they ruined our lives. We were not ready to lose her,” she said.

Their mother taught Maritza Galvez-Sandoval how to cook, showed Herminia Galvez-Sandoval how to bathe her son for the first time.

The sisters say their mother wouldn't have remained silent if she'd witnessed a crime.

“You never know who is listening, who is watching,” Herminia Galvez-Sandoval said. “We want people to come out.”

Anyone with information is asked to call LAPD West Bureau detectives at (213) 382-9470. Those who wish to remain anonymous can call Crime Stoppers at (800) 222-8477.

Contact the Homicide Report. Follow @nicolesantacruz and @latimeshomicide on Twitter.

Photo: Maritza Galvez-Sandoval, 24, center -- flanked by sister Herminia Galvez-Sandoval, 32, and father Juan Galvez, 73 -- shows a photo on phone of her parents with their grandchild. Credit: Irfan Khan / Los Angeles Times

from http://homicide.latimes.com

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