Man Who Murdered Stepmom in 1986 Is Charged in Stabbing, Strangling Death of Retired El Sereno Doctor

A Pasadena man who served nearly three decades in prison for killing his stepmother in 1986 was charged with murder Monday in the stabbing and strangling death of a retired El Sereno doctor, the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office said in a news release.

Timothy Chavira, 56, was charged with one count of murder along with a special circumstance allegation that he was previously convicted of first-degree murder, the DA’s office said.

Editha Cruz de Leon, 76, was found dead in her home in the 3900 block of North Van Horne Avenue in El Sereno on Dec. 8, 2019, the Los Angeles Police Department said. An autopsy later found that she died from “sharp force injuries and strangulation,” according to an L.A. County coroner’s report.

Chavira was arrested almost two weeks later in Pasadena and booked into a Los Angeles jail where he is being held without bail. It’s unclear whether Chavira and de Leon knew one another before the attack, and authorities did not provide information on a motive in the killing.

The man had been released on parole in 2017 after being sentenced to 26 years in prison for beating and stabbing his stepmother to death in the ’80s, the DA’s office said.

The deputy district attorney at the time told the Los Angeles Times that the only motive they could come up with for the brutal killing was “hatred.”

Chavira now faces the death penalty or life in prison without the possibility of parole if convicted as charged, according to the DA’s office.

The Los Angeles Police Department is still investigating the killing and no further details were available.

Chavira’s arraignment is scheduled for Monday.

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