A Pasadena man described by police as a “career criminal” was charged Tuesday with the dismemberment murder of a woman, believed to be his wife, whose remains were found last week in the Cypress Park area of Los Angeles.
Valentino Gutierrez, 56, allegedly boarded a Metro Gold Line train in Pasadena shortly after midnight last Thursday with a bicycle and a suitcase which contained the victim’s body, rode his bicycle from the Lincoln/Cypress station in Los Angeles to a Home Depot parking lot at Figueroa Avenue and Avenue 22 and lit the suitcase on fire before leaving the area, Los Angeles Police Department Deputy Chief Justin Eisenberg told reporters.
Gutierrez was arrested in Pasadena last Friday, 32 hours after police began their “exhaustive investigation,” the deputy chief said. A follow-up investigation led to an abandoned restaurant at California Boulevard and Arroyo Parkway in Pasadena, where investigators believe the victim was killed and chopped up on Jan. 30, Eisenberg said.
Capt. William Hayes, commander of the LAPD’s Robbery Homicide Division, said authorities believe the victim is Tiana Alfred, the defendant’s 31-year-old wife, but said her identity has not been conclusively determined.
“It takes a lot of determined effort” to dismember a body, Hayes said, declining to speculate on the motive for the slaying or how the woman was killed.
Los Angeles police used bloodhounds to track Gutierrez’s movement “prior to him callously disposing of our victim’s body,” Eisenberg alleged. He noted that firefighters responding to a rubbish fire discovered human remains after quickly putting out the blaze.
“Valentino Gutierrez is a career criminal with a very significant criminal history,” the deputy chief said, noting that the defendant’s criminal record includes convictions for domestic violence, sexual battery, battery, negligent discharge of a firearm, robbery, burglary, possession of a deadly weapon and narcotics.
Gutierrez appeared in a Pasadena courtroom Tuesday afternoon and was ordered to remain jailed in lieu of $2.2 million bail while awaiting arraignment Feb. 15 on one count each of murder and arson of property, along with an allegation that he used an accelerant.
He could face up to life in prison if convicted as charged, according to the District Attorney’s Office.
The Pasadena Police Department — which is working with the LAPD on the investigation into the killing — reported that it responded to the shuttered restaurant property for “homeless-related concerns” three times last year and will continue to work with the city’s Code Enforcement Section to conduct high-visibility patrols and ensure the structure is secured.
–City News Service
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