A man who allegedly admitted he had killed his mother and 6-year-old nephew in their apartment in the Westlake district of Los Angeles four days before Christmas in 2020 was ordered Monday to stand trial.
Superior Court Judge Craig Richman denied the defense’s request to dismiss the case against David Cordoba, now 27, who is charged with murdering his 60-year-old mother, Maria Rodas-Lemus, and his nephew, Alan Cordova-Robles, and trying to kill his own brother.
Cordoba’s mother died from multiple stab wounds and blunt force trauma of the head, while his nephew died of asphyxia and stab wounds inflicted at or near the time of his death.
Los Angeles police Det. Ryan Watterson said Cordoba subsequently “admitted to killing Maria and Alan” and believed at the time of the interview that he had killed his brother, Erick.
Cordoba told police he attempted to choke his mother with his hands after she got off a phone call, punched her several times and knocked her unconscious, stabbed her in the neck, used a skateboard to bludgeon her head and stabbed her additional times after dragging her into a bedroom, according to the detective.
Cordoba said he then walked to his brother’s room, punched his nephew several times, picked him up and held him in a choke hold before stabbing him, the detective testified.
The defendant told police that he tried to clean up some of the blood leading from the kitchen to his mother’s bedroom and planned to wait for his brother to arrive so he could kill him, but that his brother was able to wrestle the knife away, according to the detective.
Cordoba told police he had overheard the woman on a phone call, didn’t believe she was really his mother and believed she was going to have him kidnapped and sold as a sex slave, the detective said under cross-examination.
The defendant’s brother testified that he and his older brother had two prior confrontations — one in 2017 in which his brother struck him and another in August 2020 in which his brother allegedly threatened him. He said he spoke to his mother the day of the attack and that she assured him everything was O.K., but said he subsequently got a message to “come really fast, Daddy” and that he subsequently received a message back to come home at night, which he thought was unusual.
The defendant’s brother testified that he felt a sharp pain as he struggled with his brother, who started “bum-rushing me” as he walked in the apartment door, and realized he had been stabbed in the back. He said that he yelled out for his mother and that the defendant responded that he had killed her.
Erick Cordova testified that he was able to flee the apartment after getting the knife away from his brother. He said he spent hours in the hospital before learning from his sister that their mother and his son were “laying down and there’s blood.”
“I was crying hysterically in the hospital,” he said, noting that police officers subsequently arrived to take him to the police station. “I just wanted to see my son and I wanted to see my mom.”
He acknowledged that he had told police that his brother had told him at one point they were not siblings and that his brother pointed to the dog and indicated that was Erick.
“I told them that David reacts kind of different,” he said of his interview with police involving the earlier alleged attack in 2020. “I told them he might possibly have mental health issues.”
Cordoba was arrested Jan. 6, 2021, by Los Angeles police in connection with the killings and has remained behind bars since then.
He is due back in a downtown Los Angeles courtroom for arraignment Feb. 7.