Man paroled after murdering stepmom now accused in 2nd killing

A man convicted of murdering his stepmother in the 1980s who was released from prison on parole now has been accused of killing a second woman, prosecutors said.

Timothy Chavira was convicted of first-degree murder for beating and stabbing his stepmother in 1986, according to the Los Angeles County District Attorney's Office.

The victim, Laurie Anne Chavira, 48, had been missing for days before her body was found in the trunk of her car near her Los Angeles home, the Los Angeles Times reported at the time.

"The only motive I could come up with was hatred," Deputy District Attorney David E. Demerjian said then, according to the newspaper.

Chavira was sentenced to 26 years to life in state prison, prosecutors said.

He was granted parole on his fifth suitability hearing in March 2017, according to a spokesman with the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation. He was freed in July 2017 and placed on lifetime parole.

Chavira has now been accused of the Dec. 7, 2019, killing of 76-year-old retired doctor Editha Cruz de Leon, the district attorney's office said Monday.

She was killed at her Los Angeles home with a sharp object, prosecutors said. Cruz de Leon, a mother of five and grandmother of five, had worked as a gynecologist, the Los Angeles Times reported.

Chavira, 56, was arrested two weeks later. He's been charged with one count of murder with a special circumstance allegation because he was previously convicted of first-degree murder.

A district attorney's office spokesman declined to comment on motive.

If convicted, he faces the death penalty or life in prison without the possibility of parole, prosecutors said. A decision has not been made on whether the death penalty will be pursued.

Chavira's arraignment is set for March 2.

At Chavira's 2017 parole hearing, a commissioner said, "We believe he has accepted responsibility."

The commissioner added: "His risk is considered low at this time due to the inmate's demonstration of skills of managing stressors without resorting to violence for many years. He has been participating in active rehabilitation programs, including substance abuse services ... he has engaged in therapeutic treatment to address feelings of depression and anxiety."

The parole panel, said the commisioner, believed that "based on weighing all the evidence here today, that he is not a danger to society."
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