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Man Sentenced for Murder of Girlfriend

A 24-year-old North Hollywood man who stabbed his girlfriend to death because he suspected her of seeing other men was sentenced to 28 years to life in prison Tuesday.

Eliceo O. Avalos was convicted last month of first-degree murder in the death of Berta Herrera-Mendoza, 33, of North Hollywood.

San Fernando Superior Court Judge Howard J. Schwab sentenced Avalos to the maximum term for murder and added an enhancement for using a deadly weapon.

Deputy Dist. Atty. Edwin F. Greene said Avalos stabbed Herrera-Mendoza more than 50 times as she sat in her car July 5, 1989.

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Avalos waited outside a house near the 5800 block of Cleon Avenue in North Hollywood where Herrera-Mendoza was visiting, then followed her as she drove away, Greene said.

“When she got to a stop sign, he jumped into her car” and confronted her about the other men.

According to Avalos, who later confessed the crime to police, Herrera-Mendoza initially denied the allegations, Greene said.

“Finally, he took out a knife to get her to confess and she finally did,” Greene said. Avalos then stabbed the woman repeatedly.

During the trial, defense attorneys argued that Avalos killed Herrera-Mendoza in the heat of passion because he was distraught over suspicions of unfaithfulness.


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