Autopsy describes abuse by mayor before his death

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LOS ANGELES (AP) — An autopsy report for a Southern California mayor who was shot to death by his wife provides more detailed allegations that he inflicted domestic abuse over a span of two decades.

According to the report, the daughter of Bell Gardens Mayor Daniel Crespo told investigators hours after the September shooting that her father had been verbally and physically abusive toward her mother over the last 20 years. But she said the abuse had become more physical in the last two years amid arguments over his infidelity, the Los Angeles Times reported Saturday ( ).

Crespo and his wife, Lyvette Crespo, were not sleeping in the same bedroom and he would drag her by the hair to force her to do so, according to the coroner's report. The couple's daughter, Crystal Crespo, said the abuse had never been reported and did not leave her mother with serious injuries.

Lyvette Crespo shot her 45-year-old husband three times in the chest with a 9 mm pistol at close range, the report said. Los Angeles County sheriff's officials have said she claimed she shot her husband in self-defense after he got into a physical altercation with their 19-year-old son.

The shooting shocked the city of 43,000 people in suburban Los Angeles and brought to light allegations of violence that were never previously aired by the couple, who were high school sweethearts and married as teenagers in 1986.

After the shooting, a lawyer for Crespo's wife alleged there was a history of abuse, but the coroner's report includes more detailed allegations.

Crespo, who was elected to the City Council in 2001, was a Los Angeles County deputy probation officer.

His brother, William Crespo, disputed Crystal Crespo's account in the coroner's report and wants Lyvette Crespo held accountable for the shooting. His lawyer, James Devitt, said the mayor slept upstairs while his wife slept downstairs, and that dragging someone upstairs would have left noticeable injuries.

Prosecutors are reviewing an investigation by sheriff's homicide detectives into the shooting, the newspaper reported.


Information from: Los Angeles Times,

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