Wife of Slain Bell Gardens Mayor Indicted on Voluntary Manslaughter Charge

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The wife of slain Bell Gardens Mayor Daniel Crespo Sr. pleaded not guilty Thursday to a grand jury indictment charging her with voluntary manslaughter for his shooting death last fall.

The grand jury indictment was unsealed Thursday against Lyvette Crespo, 43, who allegedly shot her husband three times in the right side of the chest at their home last Sept. 30.

She was ordered to be taken into custody in lieu of $150,000 bail and is due back in Los Angeles Superior Court for a pretrial hearing May 29.

If convicted as charged, she could face up to 21 years in state prison, according to the District Attorney’s Office.

Former Bell Gardens Mayor Daniel Crespo, right, with his son, pictured center, and his wife Lyvette Crespo, left, during his swearing in ceremony in 2013. (EGP News photo archive)

Former Bell Gardens Mayor Daniel Crespo, right, with his son, pictured center, and his wife Lyvette Crespo, left, during his swearing in ceremony in 2013. (EGP News photo archive)

“I want to ask the public to maintain an open mind and to wait until all the evidence has been presented before they make a final opinion about what happened,” Lyvette’s attorney Eber Bayona said during a press conference Thursday afternoon outside the courthouse. He was referring to what he claims is the negative portrayal of his client by the media.

Lyvette was a longtime victim of domestic violence and she will be acquitted of all charges, he said.

“From day one I have told you Mrs. Crespo was a battered woman,” he said, adding that she suffers from battered woman’s syndrome. “[Daniel Crespo] was a man who abused not only his wife but other women…and mentally and physically abused his children.”

Lyvette Crespo’s attorney Eber Bayona, center, maintained his client’s innocence outside the Clara Shorthridge Foltz Criminal Justice Center in downtown Los Angeles.   (EGP photo by Nancy Martinez)

Lyvette Crespo’s attorney Eber Bayona, center, maintained his client’s innocence outside the Clara Shorthridge Foltz Criminal Justice Center in downtown Los Angeles. (EGP photo by Nancy Martinez)

Lyvette’s family is in a state of  shock, but they plan on doing everything they can to get her off on bail, the attorney said.

Los Angeles County sheriff’s investigators have said the mayor and his wife were arguing when their 19-year-old son, Daniel Crespo Jr., intervened, leading to a struggle between father and son. Lyvette Crespo allegedly grabbed a handgun and shot her husband, who had allegedly punched their son in the face.

Lyvette Crespo’s attorney has contended that she was a longtime victim of domestic violence.

             –Mayor Mourned Amid Claims of Abuse and Infidelity http://staging.egpnews.com/2014/10/mayor-mourned-amid-claims-of-abuse-infidelity/

A civil lawsuit filed last Oct. 20 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.”

Daniel Crespo’s brother, William, has denied the allegation, but hinted the mayor had an extramarital affair.

“To the outside world Daniel Crespo was a great mayor. A great community leader, but he was also an abusive husband,” said Bayona. “This is the man who took his wife’s face and shoved it into a computer screen when she was looking at an assemblymember after his election.”

Bayona told reporters to expect even more “ugly facts” about Mayor Crespo to come out during the trial.

     — Lawsuit Claims Mayor’s Wife Killed Him in ‘Cold Blood’ http://staging.egpnews.com/2014/10/lawsuit-claims-mayors-wife-killed-him-in-cold-blood/

Bell Gardens’ City Manager Phil Wagner released a statement following news of the indictment on behalf of the city.

“The City of Bell Gardens continues to mourn the tragic and untimely death of former Mayor Daniel Crespo and our hearts go out to the family as they, too, continue to grieve,” said Wagner. “At this time, it’s in the hands of the justice system and all we can do is to keep the Crespo family and the community in our thoughts and prayers. This is has been a tremendous loss for Bell Gardens.”

Updated April 24, 2015: Comments made by Lyvette Crespo’s attorney added]

Updated April 24, 2015 3:16p.m.: Statement by Bell Gardens Manager

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