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Bell Gardens mayor killed by wife 'in cold blood,' his brother alleges

The shooting of Bell Gardens Mayor Daniel Crespo by his wife three weeks ago was not an act of self-defense but a premeditated killing "with malice and in cold blood," Crespo’s brother alleged in a lawsuit filed Monday.
The suit was filed on behalf of Crespo’s mother, Otilia Santos, and demands more than $53 million in damages. The mayor's brother, William Crespo, is acting as her guardian for the suit.

The filing comes as detectives continue their investigation into the mayor's death last month at his Gage Avenue home in Bell Gardens. No charges have been filed.

Allegations in the lawsuit counter assertions by Lyvette Crespo’s attorney that his client was a years-long victim of domestic violence who was trying to protect her son.
"A reasonable person would have first called 911," an attorney for Santos and William Crespo wrote in the lawsuit. "Lyvette Crespo is a cold-blooded killer."
The lawsuit alleged that the conflict between the couple arose because Lyvette refused to let her husband sleep. It said Lyvette picked a fight with her husband knowing their son would intervene, at which time she took a pistol out of a safe and shot her husband in the upper torso.
Lyvette Crespo's attorney, Eber Bayona, said the lawsuit contained many factual inaccuracies, but he  declined to elaborate. "I don't know where he's getting his facts," Bayona said. "There were only three people present."
Investigators have said the mayor punched his son in the face, prompting his wife to fire the shots. In the 911 call reporting the incident, the couple’s 19-year-old son told dispatchers Lyvette was "defending herself."

"It wasn't my mom's fault," the teen says after telling dispatchers that his father had been shot, according to the 911 recording released by authorities. "He hurt me, he hurt me," the caller said. "He's on the floor dying.... Nobody ever knew."

Officials also said Daniel Crespo Jr. and his mother had visible facial injuries that required treatment after the shooting.
The elder Crespo's mother is living in a nursing home, according to her attorney James Devitt.

For news on the courts, follow @vicjkim.

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