California man who served 30 years for stepmom’s murder pleads guilty to killing doctor

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A Southern California man who served nearly 30 years for killing his stepmother pleaded guilty Monday to killing a retired doctor last year after he was released on parole, prosecutors said.

The man, Timothy Chavira, 57, was immediately sentenced to life without the possibility of parole in the death of Dr. Editha Cruz de Leon, 76, who was killed with a sharp object in her home Dec. 7, the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office said in a statement.

In 1986, Chavira was sentenced to 26 years to life for first-degree murder in the beating and stabbing death of his stepmother. He was released on parole in July 2017 after having served nearly 30 years, the district attorney’s office said.

An exact motive in the killing of Cruz de Leon was not clear.

“It appears the victim and Chavira had prior contact but there was no type of relationship between them,” Ricardo Santiago, a spokesman for the district attorney’s office, said in an email Monday afternoon.

Victim impact statements are scheduled for July 20, the district attorney’s office said.

Chavira pleaded guilty Monday to one count of murder along with a special circumstance allegation that he was previously convicted of first-degree murder, according to the district attorney’s office.