Transient accused of beating man to death claims God told him to

Transient accused of beating man to death claims God told him to do it

A transient who is accused of beating another homeless man to death over space in a parking lot told detectives that God told him to do it.

Marco Antonio Villanueva, 35, is believed to have beaten Ruben Zermeno, 56, to death with a blunt object, said Lt. Steve Jauch of the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department.

The dispute over the space allegedly occurred in the 13900 block of Valley Boulevard in an unincorporated area near Hacienda Heights, the San Gabriel Valley Tribune reported.  

He also said God told him he "had to do it," Jauch told The Times.

Hours after Zermeno's body was found June 18, police in Hacienda Heights arrested Villanueva on suspicion of stealing a gold Honda Accord. They found the car parked in a driveway at a home on Blue Sky Road as Villanueva slept on the porch.  

During the course of the investigation, detectives learned a man living in a gold Honda Accord was seen in the parking lot during the days preceding the murder.

Villanueva admitted to the killings when interviewed by detectives on Friday, Jauch said. He has since been charged with murder.

For breaking news in Los Angeles and the Southland, follow @debbietruong or email her at debbie.truong@latimes.com

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