A judge on Jan. 28 is expected to decide whether the attorney for the mother of Bell Gardens Mayor Daniel Crespo, whose wife is accused of fatally shooting him at their home, will get copies of the homicide investigation report he says he needs to get his client’s case ready for trial.
Otilia Santos’ attorney, James Devitt, filed court papers Dec. 31 in Los Angeles Superior Court asking a judge to order the Bell Gardens Police Department to turn over the police report and all documents related to the death of her son.
“The report will be needed by plaintiff’s experts to prepare for trial,” Devitt wrote. “It is obviously material and there is good cause for its production since it may relate to the defenses in this case, as well. There is no alternative way to procure it.”
In court papers filed Wednesday, lawyers for the Police Department said they will only turn over the records sought by Devitt if ordered by a judge to do so. The department handed over the investigation into Crespo’s death to the Sheriff’s Department shortly after the mayor was killed, according to the BGPD attorneys’ court papers.
Both the Sheriff’s Department and the District Attorney’s Office believe that the records sought by Santos’ attorney are privileged because the investigation into the death of the plaintiff’s son is still ongoing, according to the court papers of the Police Department lawyers.
The public interest in prosecuting a homicide is more important than a plaintiff’s ability to pursue a civil suit, according to the court papers of the attorneys for the BGPD.
Santos filed suit Oct. 20 against daughter-in-law Lyvette Crespo over the death of Daniel Crespo, 45, who was shot Sept. 20.
Sheriff’s investigators said he and his wife were arguing when their 19-year-old son, Daniel Crespo Jr., intervened, leading to a struggle between father and son. Lyvette Crespo allegedly grabbed a gun and shot her husband, who had punched their son in the face.
Santos alleges her son was shot in cold blood. The lawsuit alleges his wife picked a fight with him knowing that their son would intervene, then Crespo opened a safe, grabbed a gun and killed her husband “with malice and in cold blood.”
Lyvette Crespo, 43, was not arrested. Sheriff’s officials forwarded their investigation to the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office, which will decide whether any charges should be filed.
Lyvette Crespo’s attorney contends she was a longtime victim of domestic violence. Crespo’s brother, William, has denied the allegation, but hinted the mayor had an extramarital affair.
— Colleen Park, MyNewsLA.com