Trial starts Monday in death of Bell Gardens mayor

- As he weeped, Willie Crespo said, “I feel like this is just a nightmare and I’m going to wake up out of this and I don’t.”

Just over two years ago, Crespo’s brother was killed. Daniel Crespo was the Mayor of Bell Gardens. His wife, Lyvette, was indicted by a grand jury on a charge of voluntary manslaughter and of firing three shots into Crespo's chest and killing him.

At her arraignment, she pleaded not guilty.

After it happened, it was described as self-defense. We contacted her lawyer's office. As of this writing, attorney Eber Bayona has not returned the calls. In the past though, the law firm has said Crespo was a victim of decades of abuse by her husband and that she was protecting her then 19-year-old son.

When you mention that to Willie Crespo, he disagrees.

“That’s not the way you protect your son. You protect your son by calling the cops.”

Both the grand jury and Willie Crespo describe the marriage as rocky, mainly because of the late-mayor’s affairs and not-so-discreet relationships with other women.

“He had a zipper problem, ya know, and she said she was going to leave him," Crespo said. 

But that never happened, and now, he’s worried she will walk free because of a possible plea deal.

Both he and the attorney for the civil case, James Devitt, say Deputy DA Beth Silverman called and told them she was working on a plea deal for Lyvette Crespo.

“The plea that they’re offering is five years probation, which is the most they can give, no jail time, and she won’t be able to own a gun,” Devitt said.

The Deputy DA wouldn’t confirm or deny whether a deal was going to be proposed on that. She did tell us, “I do not believe there will be any disposition of the case at this time. I do not believe there will be a plea deal next week.”

Meanwhile, as we walked across Grand Park, Willie Crespo was feeling the emotional weight of the upcoming trial bearing down on him.

“It takes two. It was both of their fault. Ya know, she already knew," Crespo said about the conflict that ended his brother’s life. "She should have left him and then called the cops and just left him.”

As for the trial starting Monday, he says it will be painful to relive the past and to remember how his younger brother died. He doesn't even know if he can look at his sister-in-law.

“It really hurts me a lot," he said. "I miss him so much. I miss him. I miss him a lot.”

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