A man convicted of killing his ex-wife and paralyzing her boyfriend in a shooting during a 2017 custody exchange in South Whittier has been sentenced to 40 years to life in prison, the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office stated Tuesday.
Efrem Ruben Lozoya, then 38, and ex-wife Nereida Villanueva, 33, had been divorced for several years when Lozoya arrived at her apartment in 13900 block of Coteau Drive on the morning of July 1, 2017.
Lozoya was at the apartment to drop off the former couple’s 7-year-old daughter when he was let in by their 9-year-old son.
Lozoya stormed into a bedroom shortly after entering the residence and shot Villanueva and her boyfriend.
Villanueva died as a result of the shooting and her boyfriend was left paralyzed, the District Attorney’s Office stated.
The couple’s children ran to a neighbor’s home after hearing the shots.
“I’m a mom. That’s heartbreaking. How could he do that to his own kids? Take away their mom,” a nearby resident said following the shooting.
Lozoya initially fled the apartment but turned himself in several hours later.
He pleaded guilty to multiple charges in July, including one count each of second-degree murder and attempted murder.