A Long Beach man has been charged with killing two women — his estranged wife and a woman who was with a man he mistakenly thought was his wife’s boyfriend, the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office said Thursday.
Miguel Angel Prieto is accused of fatally shooting his wife, Maria Perez, 42, on April 11. That killing happened just two months after he shot another woman dead, according to prosecutors.
The DA’s office said he now faces two counts of murder and two counts of attempted murder.
In the earlier killing, on Feb. 9, Prieto allegedly walked up to a couple inside a car in Azusa and shot at them. He thought the man was his wife’s boyfriend, prosecutors said.
Police said the attack happened just before 10 p.m. in the 1500 block of West McKenley Avenue.
The man was taken to a nearby hospital for treatment and survived. But the woman, 38-year-old Rocio Sandoval, later died.
During the attack on his wife months later, Prieto shot her several times at her Covina home, according to prosecutors. Offficers responded to the scene in the 1300 block of West San Bernardino Road at about 2:45 p.m., according to police.
She was pronounced dead at the scene.
After speaking with witnesses and family members, the responding officers were led to consider Prieto a suspect, police said.
He fled the area but was found in Long Beach several hours later. Authorities found him at a Del Taco and found a revolver inside his van, Covina police Lt. Ric Walczak told the San Gabriel Valley Tribune.
He was then arrested in connection with his wife’s death.
Investigators later discovered Prieto was also involved in a third shooting on April 7 — just four days before he allegedly shot his wife to death, according to prosecutors.
In a news release, the DA’s office said Prieto “reportedly visited Perez’s aunt’s restaurant in Long Beach and shot at a woman he believed to be the aunt.” Prosecutors did not give information on the nature of that woman’s injuries.
If convicted of capital murder charges, Prieto faces a maximum sentence of the death penalty or life in state prison without the possibility of parole.
The charges against him also include a special circumstance allegation of multiple murders and another special allegation that he personally and intentionally discharged a handgun, causing great bodily injury and death.
Prosecutors also said Prieto was convicted of assault with a deadly weapon in 2015, in the criminal complaint against him.
While he was expected to be arraigned on May 10, his next court appearance was moved to June 28.