Photo via Pixabay
Photo via Pixabay

Jury selection is expected to begin a week from Monday for the trial of a 45-year-old Moreno Valley woman, her son and her lover, who are accused of killing her husband after he discovered that she had been cheating on him.

Darla Anne Bennett, her 28-year-old son, Sonnie Chavira, and David James Harrison, 48, are charged with first-degree murder and a sentence-enhancing allegation of killing for financial gain in the 2014 slaying of 47-year-old Juan Servin of Moreno Valley.

Harrison is additionally charged with being a convicted felon in possession of a firearm and a sentence-enhancing allegation of committing a crime while on bail.

Riverside County Deputy District Attorney Chris Cook and all of the defendants’ attorneys informed Superior Court Judge Helios Hernandez Monday that they were ready to proceed with trying the case, prompting Hernandez to assign the matter to a courtroom at the Riverside Hall of Justice for pretrial motions on Thursday.

According to an arrest warrant affidavit filed by sheriff’s Detective Sean Freeman, Servin was beaten to death in the garage of his single-story home at 16418 Hazelwood Court on the night of  Dec. 4, 2014.

The defendants and victim were drinking when Servin became agitated and allegedly made disparaging remarks about Bennett, who had been romantically involved with Harrison for months, Freeman said.

According to the detective, Bennett later confessed to investigators that she stepped out of the garage and returned moments later to find Harrison and Chavira striking her drunken husband on the head with blunt instruments, including a broken broom handle. An autopsy later revealed he had been hit 22 times.

Freeman stated that investigators spoke to several witnesses, who alleged that Bennett and Servin had been at odds for a long time, and she had once expressed a desire to “kill that son-of-a-bitch.”

Harrison and Chavira allegedly wrapped Servin’s body in a yellow comforter, taped it up and tossed it into the back of his pickup truck, which Harrison drove to an area known as the Badlands, between Moreno Valley and Beaumont, according to the affidavit. Harrison allegedly dumped the remains alongside the eastbound Moreno Valley (60) Freeway, near Gilman Springs Road.

The defendants allegedly carted a number of items out of the home, including the victim’s shotguns, and Bennett went about trying to clean blood off the garage floor, according to Freeman.

The detective alleged that blood spatter was later identified on Harrison’s Obama jacket, in the defendant’s Corvette and a Nissan Sentra that he’d rented around the time of the killing. He and Bennett were arrested in Long Beach a few days later.

Chavira was located in Dallas two months after the crime and was taken into custody without incident. He has no documented prior felony convictions.

According to court records, Bennett, also known as Darla Anne Sell, has a prior conviction for embezzlement from 2006, for which she was sentenced to probation.

Harrison, also known as David James Butler, has priors for being a felon in possession of a concealed weapon and evading arrest. He has other convictions outside the county that resulted in prison time, though court records did not specify any details.

Bennett and Chavira are each being held in lieu of $1 million bail at the Smith Correctional Facility in Banning. Harrison is being held in lieu of $1.2 million bail at the Southwest Detention Center in Murrieta.

— City News Service

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published.