LONG BEACH (CBSLA.com) — Police announced arrests Thursday in two separate high-profile homicides that left a young mother and a great-grandmother dead in Long Beach.
“In one case a young mother was gunned down right outside the home of relatives,” said Long Beach Police Chief Jim McDonnell. “And in the other a 76-year-old woman was stabbed to death in her own home.”
In July, 23-year-old Jazzmine Wash was gunned down by an alleged gang member after dropping her 3-year-old son at her family’s home.
Jason Haggerty, 30, reportedly feared that Wash was going to testify against him in an upcoming criminal case.
“Because of that fear, he used that to make the decision that she needed to die, so that she could not be a witness,” said Det. Lloyd Cox.
A 16-year-old girl was arrested as an accomplice in the murder. According to Long Beach police, Haggerty and the alleged 16-year-old accomplice were friends of Wash.
Long Beach police said Haggerty conspired with the teen to take the young mother to her grandparent’s home where he was allegedly lying-in-wait.
Earlier in the day, police said Wash was sitting on a bus bench in Los Angeles when a vehicle pulled up and a suspect pointed a gun at her but did not fire. The 16-year-old had come to the police station to pick up Wash after police completed their report of the incident.
Wash was shot and killed in Long Beach roughly an hour after leaving the station, police said.
Both suspects have been charged as adults. Haggerty is facing murder and attempted murder of Jazzmine Wash, with special circumstance allegations of lying-in-wait and murder of a witness to a crime.
Police also announced arrests in the murder of 76-year-old Leam Sovanasy, a Cambodian immigrant and devout Buddhist, more than four years ago in her Long Beach home. Sovanasy, who had survived genocide under the Khmer Rouge, was reportedly meditating in her room when two intruders and alleged drug users broke into her home.
“Sovanasy had sustained multiple stab wounds to her upper torso and died a violent death,” said Chief McDonnell.
Police identified the two suspects as Victorville resident Dontae Davis, 24, and Fred Battle, 25, of Long Beach.
The more than four-year-long investigation led police to a white Chevrolet Caprice seen in the area at the time of the murder. Police canvassed the community and local businesses, released a composite sketch and announced a $10,000 reward in August leading to the suspects.
Both suspects face charges of murder and first-degree burglary with a person present. Prosecutors will determine later if they will seek the death penalty against both men.