The California Supreme Court refused Wednesday to review the case of a convicted murderer who unsuccessfully sought to be re-sentenced for a 1998 attack that left a 79-year-old San Pedro man dead and injured his 91-year-old wife, who died six months later.
Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge Richard Goul had rejected a bid for re-sentencing by Rosalba Martinez Contreras, now 62, who is serving life in prison without the possibility of parole for the Sept. 29, 1998, killing of Valentine Partida.
Contreras was also convicted of the attempted murder of the man’s wife, Elvira, along with arson of an inhabited structure, according to a July 13 ruling from California’s 2nd District Court of Appeal.
The state appeals court panel noted in its four-page ruling that the prosecution presented evidence that Contreras owned a joint bank account with Valentine Partida, from which hundreds of thousands of dollars had been withdrawn as of Sept. 16, 1998 — the majority of it by the defendant.
The Daily Breeze reported that Contreras enticed Valentine Partida to sell properties at below-market value to her friends and associates — with the properties subsequently being re-sold at higher prices in which she made the commissions — and that she gained access to the couple’s bank accounts and siphoned $2 million.
Contreras bludgeoned Valentine Partida with a hammer, lacerated the victim’s wife with a razor blade and then set the home on fire, according to the appellate court panel’s ruling.
Valentine Partida’s charred body was found in his bedroom, while his wife was alive when firefighters arrived but she died six months later, the justices noted.
Elvira Partida died of smoke inhalation, the Daily Breeze reported.
A recent change in state law allows defendants convicted in some murder cases to file petitions seeking re-sentencing. In denying Contreras’ petition for re-sentencing, the judge found that she was not eligible for relief because she was the actual killer, according to the appellate court panel’s ruling.
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