Photo via City of Bell Gardens.
Photo via City of Bell Gardens.

Autopsy results on the body of Bell Gardens Mayor Daniel Crespo indicate he was fatally shot three times in the upper chest, an attorney for his family said Friday.

Crespo, 45, was shot to death by his wife, Lyvette Crespo, at his home on Sept. 30, according to the sheriff’s department. Deputies said Crespo and his wife were arguing, and their 19-year-old son intervened, leading to a struggle between the mayor and his son that ended when Lyvette Crespo opened fire.

Lyvette Crespo was not arrested. Her attorney has contended that she was a long-time victim of domestic violence and shot Daniel Crespo in defense of herself and her son.

At a news conference, William Crespo — the late mayor’s brother — said the autopsy report does not support the notion that Crespo’s wife shot him in self-defense. He also said he was disappointed that Lyvette Crespo has not been arrested or charged.

“It’s sad,” he said. “It’s wrong because it is just showing that you know you can get away with murder. Killing your husband is wrong. There was a lot of other ways, she could have called 911.”

William Crespo has said that Lyvette was trained with firearms.

His attorney, James Devitt, said he received a copy of the autopsy report about a week ago, and he claims it does not support Lyvette’s claim of self-defense. He said he is hopeful that District Attorney Jackie Lacey, whose office is reviewing the case, will charge Lyvette Crespo.

Lacey has “assigned a very tough prosecutor to this case and I have a feeling we’re going to have an indictment or an arrest by Christmas, is my hope,” Devitt said.

The coroner’s case report revealed details about the shooting investigation, including a contention by Crespo’s daughter that her father had been verbally and physically abusive to his wife over a period of 20 years, that the abuse had become more physical in the two years before the shooting and that on the night of her father’s death, her parents had been arguing over Crespo’s infidelity.

The daughter also told investigators Crespo had been known to drag his wife by her hair to force her to sleep in the same bedroom with him, though he never injured her seriously enough to require medical attention and no prior incidents of domestic violence had been reported to authorities.

“Reportedly, the decedent had threatened to kill her and the children if she attempted to report the abuse,” according to the coroner’s report, which also indicated that the daughter alleged Crespo’s mistress had begun making annoying phone calls to Lyvette Crespo at the family’s home.

Crespo owned handguns and had kept them locked in the home until recent years, when he began leaving them unlocked, his daughter told detectives.

A 9 mm handgun and three expended cartridges were recovered at the shooting scene.

City News Service

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