LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com) — A plea deal has fallen apart for the wife of slain Bell Gardens Mayor Daniel Crespo Sr., who claims she shot and killed him in self-defense after enduring years of abuse at his hands.
During a discussion about potential trial dates for Lyvette Crespo, 45, a judge asked if a plea deal had been struck.
The attorneys said they had tried to reach a deal, but the offer was apparently not approved by supervisors in the District Attorney’s Office.
Defense attorney Eber Bayona said the family had a strong voice in the decision-making process and that he believed the parties are now at an impasse.
A pretrial hearing was scheduled for Nov. 30, with a tentative trial date of Jan. 5.
Outside the courtroom, co-defense counsel Roger Lowenstein said his client had been considering two plea deals for probation with no jail time.
The first, for a deal involving a charge of involuntary manslaughter, was withdrawn by prosecutors who instead wanted a voluntary manslaughter plea.
“Lyvette Crespo is innocent. This is a self-defense case,” Lowenstein said, alleging her husband “tortured (her) for 28 years.”
However, given the risk of wrongful conviction, a possible 21-year sentence and a mandatory 10-year term for using a firearm, Lowenstein said it made sense for his client to take the deal and “start healing.”
William Crespo, the brother of Daniel Crespo Sr., spoke out against the deal when he learned of it.
Crespo was indicted by a grand jury on a voluntary manslaughter charge in the Sept. 30, 2014, shooting death of her husband.
Los Angeles County sheriff’s investigators have said the mayor and his wife were arguing when their then-19-year-old son, Daniel Crespo Jr., intervened, leading to a struggle between father and son.
Lyvette Crespo claims she was protecting the couple’s son when she grabbed a handgun and shot her husband, who had allegedly punched the young man in the face.
Bayona contends that Daniel Crespo “was a man who abused not only his wife but other women” and mentally and physically abused his children.
William Crespo has denied allegations that his brother was abusive, but said the mayor had a series of extramarital affairs that angered his wife.
A civil lawsuit filed Oct. 20, 2014, by Daniel Crespo’s mother alleges her daughter-in-law picked a fight with him knowing that their son would intervene, then opened a safe, grabbed a gun and killed her husband “with malice and in cold blood.”
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