A state appeals court panel has upheld a Newhall man’s conviction for smothering his new bride three years ago.
In a ruling released Monday, the three-justice panel from California’s 2nd District Court of Appeal found there was “ample evidence” upon which jurors could conclude that Robert George Arvizu killed his wife, Courtney, with premeditation and deliberation.
Arvizu was convicted last year of first-degree murder for the May 2015 killing of his 25-year-old wife, whom he had married about two months earlier in Las Vegas.
He was also found guilty of assaulting a male friend who had driven him home from a party in Northridge at which Arvizu and his wife had argued.
The woman’s body was discovered after Los Angeles County sheriff’s deputies were asked to perform a welfare check at the couple’s apartment. Her husband was arrested less than two hours later.
“The record does not reflect a sudden quarrel or heat of passion killing. Rather, the evidence established that defendant allowed his anger toward Courtney to fester the entire afternoon and into the evening, and he acted on his stated intention of killing her once they were both back at the apartment together, and that he did so in a manner that would require several minutes of sustained effort to accomplish,” the panel found in its 17-page ruling.
The justices also rejected the defense’s contention that jurors should not have heard about incidents of domestic violence by Arvizu against two other women within 10 years of his wife’s killing, with the panel finding that they were “strikingly similar to the attack on Courtney.”
Arvizu was sentenced last August to 28 years to life in state prison.