California Supreme Court building. Photo via Wikimedia Commons
California Supreme Court building. Photo via Wikimedia Commons

The California Supreme Court refused Wednesday to hear the case against a former Los Angeles Fire Department captain convicted of murdering a woman whose body was found about a mile away from his Eagle Rock home.

The state’s highest court denied a defense petition seeking review of the case against David Del Toro, who is serving a 15-year-to-life prison term for the Aug. 16, 2006, killing of Jennifer Flores.

The 42-year-old woman — who died of strangulation with blunt force trauma to the head — was found dead about a mile from Del Toro’s home.

Police followed tire marks to Del Toro’s home, where officers found blood in his truck and a red stain on the driveway. Officers found other blood evidence inside the home, with testing later determining that it came from Flores.

During his trial, Del Toro told jurors, “I don’t believe I killed her … I just didn’t kill her … I don’t know how I’d know — but I didn’t kill her.”

Del Toro disputed the prosecution’s contention that he had made sexual advances to Flores that were rebuffed and said he fell asleep after drinking. He testified that another man had stopped by the house earlier that night.

A state appellate court panel affirmed Del Toro’s conviction last November. However, one of the appellate court justices on that panel wrote that he believed the case should have been sent back to the trial court so Del Toro’s attorney could have questioned jurors about alleged jury misconduct and potentially filed another motion for a new trial.

Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Lance Ito denied the defense’s motion for a new trial in November 2011, saying then that he had conducted an “extensive inquiry” into the defense’s allegations and determined that the panelists had deliberated fairly after the ouster of two jurors, who were replaced with alternate jurors.

At Del Toro’s sentencing in December 2011, Ito said the events leading up to the killing were “baffling” given all the “wonderful things” the 23- year fire department veteran had done in his life.

City News Service

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