Burbank Man Convicted of Killing Stepmother

Times Staff Writer

A Burbank man was convicted Friday of stabbing and bludgeoning his stepmother to death, then stuffing her body in the trunk of her car.

“The only motive I could come up with was hatred,” Deputy Dist. Atty. David E. Demerjian said of the killing.

Sentencing for Timothy Chavira, 24, is scheduled Dec. 3. First-degree murder carries a sentence ranging from 26 years to life in prison, Demerjian said.


A seven-man, five-woman jury in Pasadena Superior Court deliberated 3 1/2 days before convicting Chavira of killing Laurie Anne Chavira, 48, a former night communications supervisor at St. Joseph Medical Center in Burbank.

She disappeared the night of Aug. 22, 1986, and her body was found 11 days later in the trunk of her car at the corner of Frederic Street and Empire Avenue, about a mile from her Clybourn Avenue home.

Chavira had been beaten with a chair or table leg, which was discovered in the trunk. She also had been stabbed in the chest. Her body had decomposed, forcing investigators to identify her through dental records, Demerjian said.

There were no witnesses to the killing, he said.

Prosecutors relied on physical evidence, including keys and a bank card, that tied Timothy Chavira to his stepmother’s death, Demerjian said.

One of Chavira’s friends, he added, testified that Chavira said a day before the killing that he hated his stepmother. Defense witnesses, however, testified that Chavira loved her.

Chavira, who lived with his father and stepmother, did odd jobs, including electrical and construction work, Demerjian said.

Laurie Anne Chavira was last seen alive at a supermarket where she bought groceries after leaving the medical center at 9:30 p.m. on Aug. 22. Her husband, Daniel Chavira Sr., came home from his late shift at a security firm about 6:30 a.m. and found bloodstains in the kitchen and bathroom, Demerjian said.

Timothy Chavira disappeared the day after the killing. Demerjian said investigators traced Chavira through motel receipts to Bakersfield, Pasadena and eventually Oregon, where he was arrested by Portland police Sept. 4, 1986.

Police found his stepmother’s car and house keys in the trunk of Chavira’s car, Demerjian said.