Prosecutors concluded that a woman acted in self-defense when she fatally stabbed a 32-year-old man who assaulted her in his Costa Mesa apartment and dropped the murder case against her, the Orange County District Attorney’s Office announced Tuesday.
Amber Angelovic could have faced 26 years to life in prison if convicted of murder with a sentencing enhancement for the personal use of a deadly weapon.
Senior Deputy District Attorney Heather Brown appeared in court Monday to ask the court to dismiss the charges.
“The People have obtained additional evidence and are now convinced Ms. Angelovic had a lawful right to self-defense and therefore are unable to proceed,” Brown said.
Angelovic stabbed 32-year-old Derek Valentine inside his apartment shortly after 5 a.m. on March 11, 2017. He was pronounced dead at 5:50 a.m., and she was arrested at the scene.
The two, who had gone out once before, had been drinking at a Costa Mesa bar before taking an Uber ride back to Valentine’s apartment, where Angelovic called 911 from the bedroom, saying he would not let her leave and began hitting her in the face and throwing her to the floor, prosecutors said.
Fearing she would be raped or killed, she stabbed him twice the chest with a knife she carried for personal protection, relying on a self-defense drill she learned in a class, according to the D.A.’s office. The Florida State University graduate lived in Huntington Beach at the time.
A search of Valentine’s apartment yielded books on how to convince women to agree to sex, a white board with notes on how to stalk women and numerous text messages that were considered misogynistic, according to prosecutors, who said investigators also found online searches for date rape drugs.
When charges were filed, now-retired Senior Deputy District Attorney Matt Murphy said Valentine was described by those who knew him as “super nice.”
“The decision to dismiss criminal charges — especially charges that involve the death of a person — is not a decision that is made lightly,” said Orange County District Attorney Todd Spitzer. “As prosecutors we must not only consider the evidence; we must also consider all possible defenses. After a thorough review and careful consideration there is insufficient evidence in this case to prove murder beyond a reasonable doubt. It is for that reason — and that reason alone — that I am requested these charges be dismissed.”
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