The Los Angeles Board of Police Commissioners signed off Tuesday on a $75,000 payout for a witness who provided information leading to a conviction and potential life prison term in a 2015 murder case.
The unnamed witness provided information that resulted in the Dec. 6 conviction of Richard David Villa for the murder of 19-year-old Jose Andres Escobar and the attempted murder of William Barrera on Jan. 10, 2015, in Hyde Park, according to a commission report.
The $75,000 reward was announced at a September 2015 news conference, and the witness came forward the following day. The reward was offered by the City Council, which must still give final approval for the reward to be paid out.
“It is the opinion of the lead detectives … the witness is qualified to receive the reward offer,” LAPD Chief Michel Moore wrote in his report. “The information provided by (the) witness enabled murder charges to be filed on the defendant and was directly responsible for the identification and conviction of Richard Villa.”
Escobar and his friend were in the area of Crenshaw Boulevard and West 59th Street about 7 a.m., collecting aluminum cans for cash, when a man confronted them and shouted, “Where you from?” The suspect, unidentified at the time, pulled out a handgun and shot at the victims multiple times, fatally wounding Escobar, the father of a year-old boy.
Villa, 42, was sentenced in January to 106 years to life behind bars.
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