A judge sentenced a Fresno man to life in prison without the possibility of parole Friday for stabbing and killing a 21-year-old UCLA student during a break-in at her Westwood apartment in 2015, then setting the home ablaze exactly three years ago.
A Los Angeles County Superior Court jury convicted Alberto Hinojosa Medina, 25, in May of first-degree murder for the Sept. 21, 2015, killing of Andrea DelVesco. They also found true the special circumstance of murder during the commission of burglary and convicted Medina of arson, cruelty to an animal and two counts of burglary.
He showed little emotion as the judge informed him he would spend the rest of his life behind bars. The charges could have sent Medina to death row, but prosecutors elected not not seek capital punishment in the case.
Medina's accomplice, 25-year-old Eric Marquez, admitted to charges of burglary and acting as an accessory after the fact in late-2017. He's since been sentenced to two years and eight months in state prison. Marquez was also a student at UCLA.
Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge Mark Windham said Medina is too dangerous to ever be released.
"He brutally murdered a beautiful, innocent person. He seriously wounded an entire community. He must never walk free again," the judge said.
Medina burglarized an apartment in the 10900 block of Roebling Street before breaking into DelVesco's apartment nearby, the Los Angeles County District Attorney's Office said in a written said.
"He fatally stabbed DelVesco and set her apartment on fire," according to the statement.
Investigators tracked Medina down in his hometown of Fresno five days after the killing, according to authorities and Los Angeles County booking records. A knife with DelVesco's blood on it was found in his home.
The animal cruelty charge resulted from harm Medina did to DelVesco's pet dog, which was burned in the fire and had to be euthanized, CNN reported.
Friends and officials described DelVesco as a fourth-year UCLA student from Austin, Texas. She was a member of the Phi Beta Phi sorority.
The case drew scrutiny, and ultimately resulted in the termination of two LAPD officers, after is was learned that officers had checked on a report of suspicious circumstances at the home less than an hour before it went up in flames, CNN reported.
The officers, along with their rookie trainees, responded to a call reporting a woman heard screaming about 6:15 a.m, according to CNN. They looked around and left six minutes later, noting there was no evidence of a crime. The officers did not knock on any doors at the apartment complex.
The same neighbor called police a little more than half an hour later after DelVesco's apartment went up in flames, CNN reported. It was then that her body was discovered with 19 stab wounds.