Handyman confesses to killing L.A. bishop, authorities say
A 61-yr-outdated person who prosecutors explained has admitted that he killed Bishop David G. O’Connell was billed Wednesday with a single rely of murder in the capturing death of the substantially lauded religious leader.
Carlos Medina, a handyman whose spouse worked as a housekeeper for the bishop , also faces a distinctive allegation of applying a firearm for the duration of the criminal offense, Los Angeles County Dist. Atty. George Gascón declared throughout a news conference Wednesday. If convicted, he could deal with 35 decades to everyday living in jail.
In detailing the prices, Gascón mentioned Medina admitted to the killing to investigators.
“I know this has been a shock for our community,” Gascón stated. “This was a brutal act of violence from a particular person who devoted his existence to creating our neighborhoods safer, more healthy and normally served with enjoy.”
Medina is accused of killing the 69-calendar year-old priest Saturday in his Hacienda Heights house, where he lived on your own.
“His reduction is one that I definitely sense will be felt for decades to occur,” Gascón claimed. “Charging Mr. Medina will under no circumstances mend the great damage that was brought on by this callous act.”
O’Connell was uncovered useless Saturday in his bedroom with several gunshot wounds, Gascón said.
In an interview, Gascón mentioned O’Connell was probable asleep when the capturing happened.
“By all counts, Bishop O’Connell was a saint for Los Angeles,” he reported.
Legislation enforcement sources familiar with the investigation claimed the firearm involved was a little-caliber weapon and that O’Connell’s wounds weren’t evidently obvious to the deacon who initially found the bishop’s physique.
According to the resources, the bishop was shot five situations.
Neighbors reported they heard no gunshots or strange noise coming from the household until eventually deputies and paramedics descended on the tranquil community just right before 1 p.m. Saturday.
Medina was taken into custody at his Torrance residence Monday, right after he barricaded himself for some time. Inside, investigators recovered two firearms, such as a .38 caliber handgun that detectives suspect he used to destroy O’Connell, in accordance to sources acquainted with the investigation.
Investigators had been led there two times after the slaying, aided by a tipster who informed officers that Medina had been performing surprisingly because the killing, Los Angeles County Sheriff Robert Luna explained Monday just after asserting the arrest.
Surveillance video also confirmed a “dark, compact SUV” — thought to belong to Medina — at O’Connell’s house at about the exact time the killing took location, Luna said.
Medina appeared briefly in courtroom Wednesday afternoon, where by Decide Armenui Amy Ashvanian established bail at $2.3 million.
A Spanish language interpreter relayed the court proceedings to Medina, but he did not speak through the short court overall look.
His arraignment was scheduled for March 22.
Officers have but to disclose what may perhaps have motivated the killing. Following asserting Medina’s arrest, Luna mentioned the tipster who pointed law enforcement to the suspect claimed Medina had claimed that the bishop owed him dollars connected to his function as a handyman.
Sheriff’s Lt. Michael Modica stated that when Medina was interviewed, he furnished various reasons for the killing, but “none of them created sense to the investigators.”
“We never imagine there is any validity to the owing of funds,” he reported, referring to the motive suggested by the tipster.
Los Angeles County Public Defender Ricardo Garcia explained in a statement to The Moments that Medina “is presumed harmless and entitled to a vigorous protection.”
“We are delicate to the effects this situation has experienced on our group but at the very same time caution in opposition to any hurry to judgment, either by the public or the media, until eventually all the details are set up in court docket,” the assertion stated.
Deputy Community Defender Pedro Cortes, who was assigned to symbolize Medina in courtroom, did not answer to a ask for for remark.
Medina has a prolonged history of private drug use arrests and convictions from 2005 to 2017, and detectives are investigating no matter if he experienced been working with narcotics at the time of the killing, in accordance to legislation enforcement resources.
Medina has narcotics arrests in 2005, 2007, 2011 and 2017, in accordance to law enforcement officers not authorized to examine his legal history. At least two of the convictions were being for drug possession, but the handyman did not have a history of violent arrests.
In the unincorporated Torrance community the place Medina and his wife rented a two-bedroom yellow stucco house, neighbors stated the couple led peaceful, common life and were friendly with their neighbors.
“He never ever mentioned nearly anything offensive,” mentioned Francisco Medina Lopez, 74, a neighbor who stated he was welcoming with Medina. “It’s so bizarre.”
Medina, who walked with a limp, was usually seen tinkering on his vehicles or functioning on his garden, neighbors stated. His wife was a fixture in the community who was routinely noticed going for walks a massive white pet that inhabitants explained belonged to the bishop.
The two neighbors would at times drink beers or share meals jointly, building small speak even though listening to ranchera songs.
While Medina’s wife labored for the bishop, Medina Lopez reported the couple did not feel notably spiritual and did not convey it up in discussions or adorn their home with Catholic objects and images.
But Medina Lopez mentioned he always considered nicely of his neighbor, who would occasionally give him a trip to the swap meet or close by merchants.
“He was your average older person, always talkative and in a superior temper,” stated Luis Lopez, who lived in a property powering the Medinas’ residence. “He was a common popular person.”
Right after information of the bishop’s death distribute, about a dozen folks stood with candles and prayed the rosary Saturday beside police tape around his home.
O’Connell, who earned the title of bishop in 2015, was a “peacemaker with a heart for the lousy and the immigrant,” Archbishop José H. Gómez of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Los Angeles explained in a statement Sunday.
“He had a enthusiasm for setting up group in which the sanctity and dignity of every human lifetime was honored and guarded,” the statement by Gómez read through. “He was also a very good mate, and I will overlook him significantly. I know we all will.”
Born in County Cork, Eire, O’Connell studied for the priesthood at All Hallows Faculty in Dublin and was ordained in 1979, according to the archdiocese.
He served as associate pastor at several parishes in Los Angeles, which include at St. Frances X. Cabrini in South Los Angeles for 14 yrs. He then became pastor of Ascension, where by he oversaw a congregation of about 4,000 households and two schools with about 500 learners.
In the neighborhoods he served, he was recognized as a calming middleman, primarily just after the 1992 riots. The Catholic Information Agency claimed at the time that O’Connell, not but a bishop, labored at trying to rebuild rely on amongst police and the South L.A. group.
He also served as founder and chairman of the interdiocesan SoCal Immigration Process Force, which assisted children who experienced entered the United States without adult companions.
“He was the aid of the helpless and the hope of the hopeless,” stated Los Angeles County Supervisor Janice Hahn Monday all through an psychological news meeting.
Gómez fought back again tears and his voice cracked Monday as he called O’Connell “a excellent close friend of Los Angeles.” He recalled the bishop’s fluent Spanish, tinted with a Irish accent.
“Every day he wanted to show compassion to the weak, to the homeless, to the immigrant and to all individuals dwelling on society’s margins,” Gómez said. “He was a very good priest, and a superior bishop and a man of peace.”