LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com) — The wife of slain Bell Gardens Mayor Daniel Crespo pleaded guilty Wednesday to voluntary manslaughter for shooting him three times in their home just over two years ago.
Lyvette Crespo, 45, faces three months in county jail, 500 hours of community service and five years formal probation under a disposition reached with the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office. She is set to be formally sentenced on Jan. 5.
Daniel Crespo Sr., 45, was shot to death on Sept. 30, 2014 at the couple’s home in Bell Gardens following an argument, according to authorities. Lyvette Crespo later claimed she had been the victim of domestic violence for years, while Crespo’s brother told reporters his sister-in-law may have learned his brother was having an affair.
One of the woman’s attorneys told the judge that she wanted to plead no contest, but the prosecutor insisted on a guilty plea and Crespo eventually acquiesced after speaking with her lawyers.
“She should plead guilty to what she did,” Deputy District Attorney Beth Silverman said outside court. “The factual basis is that she shot him three times in the chest.”
Outside court, Crespo’s brother William objected to the plea agreement, which he said he heard about for the first time during the hearing.
“I’m hurt. I’m confused, all kinds of emotions are going on right now,” he told reporters. “I’m so shocked. I still can’t believe that she’s gonna get away with this … She should pay for what she did. She killed my brother.”
He said he believes his sister-in-law’s sentence “should be a long time,” or the death penalty.
“She should receive the same thing she did to my brother,” he said. “She should receive the death penalty.”
Another of her attorneys, Roger Lowenstein, told reporters last month that two deals had been on the table. The first, involving a plea of involuntary manslaughter, was withdrawn by prosecutors who then sought a voluntary manslaughter plea. Both deals were for probation with no jail time, he said.
“Lyvette Crespo is innocent. This is a self-defense case,” Lowenstein said, alleging her husband “tortured (her) for 28 years.”
He said then that it made sense for Crespo to take the deal and “start healing” given the risk of a possible 21-year sentence and a mandatory 10-year term for using a firearm if she had gone to trial and been convicted.
Crespo was indicted in April 2015 on the voluntary manslaughter charge.
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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