Transient beat, stabbed elderly couple to death ‘for a cellphone,’ jury decides


A 27-year-old transient who was linked to the brutal slayings of an elderly couple through a jailhouse DNA swab was found guilty of the pair’s murder Thursday.

A jury found Luke Matthew Fabela guilty in the deaths of the La Verne couple, who were found by a groundskeeper in their 80-acre hillside estate on Roughrider Road on Dec. 26, 2014, the Los Angeles County district attorney’s office said.

Shirley Isom, 74, and Armie “Troy” Isom, 89, were victims of what authorities called an extremely bloody attack. Both had been viciously beaten and stabbed, according to Los Angeles County sheriff’s Lt. Dave Coleman.


Shirley Isom died at the scene, while her husband died later at a hospital.

Prosecutors said the two were killed “for a cellphone” — the only piece of property that had been removed following the attack.

DNA evidence from a jailhouse swab led investigators to Fabela, who was already in custody after pleading guilty to a vehicle theft in San Bernardino a few weeks after the Isoms’ slayings. He had no fixed address and authorities said he moved between Claremont, Pomona, Montclair, La Verne and San Bernardino, living with relatives and acquaintances.

Fabela has a lengthy record of property crimes. He also has a domestic-violence conviction.

He is scheduled for sentencing on Aug. 30.

Twitter: @cshalby