A son of a family that owns a prosperous cement-making business in Guatemala has been sued by the parents of a Brentwood woman he once dated and allegedly killed in South Africa in 2015.

Malibu restaurateur Howdy Kabrins and Doris Weitz, the father and mother of  Gabriela Kabrins Alban, filed the lawsuit in Los Angeles Superior Court against Diego Dougherty Novella.

Novella’s family has owned Cementos Progreso for more than a century and the business is worth more than $1 billion, the suit states.

Novella is on trial for the woman’s murder in South Africa, the suit states.

The wrongful death complaint filed Wednesday seeks unspecified damages. A representative for Novella could not be immediately reached.

Alban and Novella met in Malibu in 1999 when Alban was a student at Pepperdine University, the suit states. Novella, a citizen of Guatemala, was not a student at the university, the suit states.

The two dated for a time and they had sporadic contact after their relationship ended, the suit states. However, they resumed their ties years later after Alban divorced her husband, the suit states.

“Defendant remarked constantly of how he adored and loved Gabriela,” the suit states.

Alban moved to Guatemala to live with Novella, but she “learned of his dark side and came to fear him,” according to the lawsuit.

After Alban contracted Lyme’s disease, Novella persuaded her to enroll in a purification program in South Africa, the suit states. The two checked into the Camps Bay Retreat Hotel in Cape Town in July 2015, according to the complaint.

The two were scheduled to attend a retreat where Alban was to get treatment for her disease, but on the evening of July 28, 2015, Novella killed Alban, the suit alleges.

“He beat and strangled her and smashed her head into concrete or some other solid surface,” the suit alleges.

Alban’s teeth were shattered and the blows caused hemorrhaging to her brain, the suit states.

“Evidence also suggests that he used a curling iron to rape and sexually assault her,” according to the lawsuit.

Novella called family members in Guatemala as well as the Guatemalan embassy in the United States looking for ways to escape, but was arrested after initially resisting arrest, the suit states.

Novella did not deny he killed Alban and his criminal defense rests on his claim of diminished capacity, according to the complaint.

–City News Service

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