Three decades after his first murder conviction, Pasadena man pleads guilty to another


For the second time in his life, Timothy Chavira has been convicted of murder, acknowledging in a guilty plea entered Monday that he killed a 76-year-old woman in December, county prosecutors said.

Upon entering the plea, Chavira, 57, immediately began serving a life sentence in state prison without the possibility of parole, according to the Los Angeles County district attorney’s office. He had previously served a nearly 30-year sentence for murdering his stepmother.

Chavira was arrested in December and charged with the murder of Editha Cruz de Leon, a retired gynecologist and grandmother. Her body was found in her El Sereno home the morning of Dec. 8, 2019. She had died of strangulation and sharp force injuries, the Los Angeles County medical examiner-coroner found.


Deputy Dist. Atty. Cynthia Barnes, who prosecuted Chavira, described the killing as “out of the blue.”

“We honestly don’t know the motive and we don’t know why he picked her,” Barnes said. “It’s just so sad. Why her?”

Chavira had been released on parole two and half years earlier, having spent nearly three decades in state prison for killing his stepmother, Laurie Anne Chavira.

Late one August night in 1986, Chavira, then 23, stabbed and clubbed his stepmother to death, a jury found. His father returned home from his job at a security firm the following morning and found bloodstains in the kitchen and bathroom, The Times reported.

Laurie Anne Chavira’s body was discovered 11 days later, stuffed in the trunk of a car abandoned in Burbank. A furniture leg used to bludgeon her was found alongside the body.

When Chavira was arrested two weeks later in Portland, authorities found his stepmother’s keys and bank card in the trunk of his car.


“The only motive I could come up with was hatred,” Deputy Dist. Atty. David E. Demerjian, who tried the case, said after a Pasadena jury returned a guilty verdict in 1987.

Thirty-two years later, Los Angeles detectives and FBI agents arrested Chavira at a home in Pasadena, about a mile and a half from the courthouse where he was first convicted of murder.