[symple_googlemap title=”Ex-con gets life for strangling worker in Huntington Park” location=”2700 block of East Florence Avenue, Huntington Park, CA” height=”300″ zoom=”16″]

A man convicted of strangling a female employee during a robbery at a natural supplements store in Huntington Park was sentenced Monday to life in prison without the possibility of parole.

Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Robert J. Higa, who denied a motion for a new trial last week, sentenced 54-year-old Artura Bejarano Jr. for the March 15, 2012, robbery and killing of Veronica Hurtado Reyes at the Global Nature store in the 2700 block of East Florence Avenue.

Jurors in October deliberated for less than a day before reaching a guilty verdict and also finding true a special circumstance allegation of murder during the commission of a robbery.

The 39-year-old victim — who had been bound and gagged before being strangled with a bedsheet — was found in the back room of the store by customers, according to Deputy District Attorney Steven Schreiner.

Bejarano was also convicted of robbery, assault with a firearm and false imprisonment involving a takeover robbery at a Christian bookstore in Huntington Park 13 days before the killing, along with residential burglary, dissuading a witness and assault with a firearm involving an April 6, 2012, break-in at a home in Huntington Park.

Bejarano — who denied involvement in the crime spree — had previously been convicted of a half-dozen counts of burglary in Texas and California in the 1990s.

He was linked by DNA to Reyes’ killing and the robbery at the Christian bookstore, according to the prosecutor, and was arrested in June 2012.

The District Attorney’s Office opted not to seek the death penalty against Bejarano.

—City News Service

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