The wife of a suburban Los Angeles mayor who was shot in his home pleaded not guilty Thursday to voluntary manslaughter.
Lyvette Crespo, 43, entered the plea to a grand jury indictment. She was ordered held on $150,000 bail and could face up to 21 years in state prison if convicted.
Crespo shot Bell Gardens Mayor Daniel Crespo three times in the chest on Sept. 30. She has told authorities it was self-defense after he punched their 19-year-old son in the face after he intervened in the couple’s argument.
Daniel Crespo Jr. called 911 to report the shooting, telling a dispatcher: “He’s on the floor dying. He hurt me.”
Daniel Crespo, a Los Angeles County deputy probation officer, was elected in 2001 to the City Council of Bellflower, a city of about 42,000 residents. The mayor’s position rotated among council members.
He and his wife were high school sweethearts and married as teenagers in 1986.
However, the autopsy report contained allegations by a daughter, Crystal Crespo, that her father had been verbally and physically abusive toward her mother over two decades.
She said the abuse had become more physical in recent years because of arguments over Daniel Crespo’s infidelity, but it was never reported and never left serious injuries.
Daniel Crespo’s brother, William Crespo, has denied the abuse allegations.
The mayor’s mother filed a $53 million lawsuit last fall in which she calls Crespo a “cold-blooded killer” who picked a fight with her husband knowing their son would intervene.
SOURCE: The Associated Press