Photo via Pixabay
Photo via Pixabay

A La Puente woman pleaded no contest Thursday to murdering an 82-year-old man whose body was found in his West Covina home that was set aflame.

Brenda Armstrong, 41, entered her plea to one count each of first-degree murder of Ralph Simonian and arson of an inhabited structure. She is expected to be sentenced to 30 years to life in prison on Dec. 14.

Armstrong was a waitress at a local restaurant that Simonian frequented. She stabbed Simonian and set on fire his house in the 900 block of South Holiday Drive. His body was found Nov. 15, 2012.

Armstrong was arrested in September 2013 in Delaware.

“We believe that the murder was committed during a burglary,” said Deputy District Attorney Tony Cho, who prosecuted the case, when asked about Armstrong’s motive.

The criminal complaint against Armstrong included a special circumstance allegation that the murder was committed during a burglary.

That would have made Armstrong eligible for the death penalty if convicted as charged, however, prosecutors opted not to pursue the death penalty in this case.

–City News Service 

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