Lyvette Crespo was a longtime victim of domestic abuse, says her attorney

By Johnny Dodd
April 24, 2015 06:30 PM
Nick Ut/AP

Seven months after the mayor of Bell Gardens, California, was fatally shot in his home, his wife, Lyvette Crespo, 43, was indicted by a grand jury on a charge of voluntary manslaughter.

Crespo entered a not guilty plea in a downtown Los Angeles courtroom on April 23 in the killing of Daniel Crespo, 45, who died after being shot three times in the chest. Bail for Lyvette, who has claimed she shot her husband in self defense, has been set at $150,000.

Lyvette’s attorney, Eber Bayona, has said his client was a longtime victim of domestic abuse at the hands of her husband, adding that Lyvette and her children endured a “difficult and intolerable home life.”

Paramedics were called to the couple’s condominium shortly after 2:30 p.m. on Sept. 30, 2014.

“My parents got in an argument and there were shots fired,” an emotional Daniel Crespo Jr., 19, frantically told the dispatcher. “It wasn t my mom s fault. She was defending herself.”

Daniel is asked by the dispatcher if “your mom shot your father?” He replied: “Yes . . . He hurt me, he hurt me. He’s on the floor dying.”

According to reports, Crespo and his wife had gotten into an argument and Daniel attempted to intervene. The two began struggling and Crespo reportedly punched his son several times in the face.

During the fight, Levette retrieved a 9 mm pistol from a safe at the home and fired three shots at her husband, hitting him in the right chest. He died at a nearby hospital less than an hour later.

Police took Levette and her son – who both sustained facial injuries during the confrontation that required treatment – in for questioning, but they were later released and no charges were filed at the time.

According to the coroner’s report, the couple’s daughter told detectives that her father had been “verbally and physically abusive” to her mother for over 20 years, adding that the abuse had become “more physical” over the past two years. The couple was not sleeping in the same bedroom and Crespo was “known to drag her by the hair to force her to do so.”

None of the prior incidents were ever reported to police and Crespo, according to his daughter, “threatened to kill” his wife and children if Lyvette ever notified police about the abuse. Not long before the shooting, Crespo’s mistress had reportedly begun making “annoying calls” to Lyvette, her daughter told detectives.

Weeks after Crespo’s death, a civil wrongful death lawsuit, demanding more than $53 million in punitive damages, was filed against Lyvette on behalf of her husband’s mother.

“Daniel was no angel and he obviously he had a bit of a zipper problem,” said attorney James Devitt at a press conference in October 2014. “But in California, you cannot use deadly force against non-deadly force. You can t just shoot people five times because they re having a bad day.”

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