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California

Detectives look at Bell Gardens mayor’s reported extramarital affairs

Los Angeles County sheriff’s detectives examining the fatal shooting of Bell Gardens Mayor Daniel Crespo are investigating whether the victim had extramarital affairs with women, as part of the inquiry into the circumstances surrounding his death, sources told the Los Angeles Times on Friday.

The law enforcement sources, who requested anonymity because of the ongoing probe, said they had received information that Crespo had relationships with women besides his wife. But the sources stressed that it was only one of many leads they were pursuing in the investigation.

Another source said the mayor’s lifestyle was “definitely” a factor in the investigation into the fatal shooting of Crespo by his wife Tuesday afternoon at their Bell Gardens condominium.

Eber Bayona, an attorney representing Lyvette Crespo, told reporters that his client was a years-long victim of domestic violence, and was prepared to show investigators evidence, including photographs and statements.

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The mayor’s brother denied those allegations, telling KABC-TV Channel 7 that his brother was having an affair that he believed prompted a fight between the mayor and his wife immediately before the shooting.

Sheriff’s Lt. Steve Jauch declined to address the statements made by the attorney and the mayor’s brother, saying investigators did not want to discuss potential leads.

“We are going to keep our nose to the grindstone,” he said. “All we care about is a woman shooting her husband.”

Sheriff’s officials said the Crespos were arguing when their 19-year-old son intervened. The mayor punched the teenager in the face, prompting Lyvette Crespo to grab her husband’s gun and shoot him three times, Jauch said. 

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Lyvette Crespo and her son were questioned by detectives and were released within hours of the shooting. Investigators said it would be up to the district attorney’s office to determine whether to file charges.

Daniel Crespo Jr. and his mother had visible facial injuries that required medical treatment, sheriff’s officials said. Law enforcement sources said that when the mayor’s son was questioned by investigators, he backed up his mother’s claims that she shot Crespo to save the teen.

Bayona previously told The Times that he was confident his client would not be charged. “Domestic violence and battered woman syndrome is at the center of this case,” he said.

The initial information about the fight came from statements Lyvette Crespo and her son, Daniel Jr., made to detectives, sheriff’s officials said. Detectives were examining forensic evidence to determine whether it matched the accounts.

Coroner’s officials have conducted an autopsy on Daniel Crespo, but were preparing the final report Friday.

Bayona declined to discuss specifics of the case at a Thursday news conference, even as reporters shouted questions. An attorney representing the Crespos’ son and daughter said her clients “stand behind their mother.”

“Things were not as they seemed,” Claudia Osuna said, declining to elaborate. “It was a difficult life at home.”

The Crespos were high school sweethearts who married as teenagers and moved to Bell Gardens in 1987, according to the city’s website. He became involved in community affairs and was appointed to the city’s Planning Commission in 1999. Two years later, he was elected to the City Council.

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Follow @LAcrimes and @katemather on Twitter for more crime news from across Southern California.


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