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Updates on killings of Severa Madrona, 76, and Francisco Aguirre Jr., 31

Photo: Severa Madrona. Credit: DMV. Readers contacting the Homicide Report have asked for updates on two homicides that took place over the last several years.

There have been significant developments in these cases, including arrests and a conviction.

On Sept. 18, 2007, Severa Madrona, a 76-year-old Filipina, was beaten while taking her daily morning walk in Gardena.

Witnesses said they saw a man fleeing the area after the assault. Police were called and Madrona was pronounced dead at the scene.

Soon after the incident, authorities released a sketch of a possible suspect. More than a month after Madrona was killed, Los Angeles County sheriff's deputies arrested Thedward Candler, a 27-year-old black man, in connection with her death.

Candler was charged with murder involving special circumstances. The felony complaint alleges that Madrona's killing took place during the commission of other felonies: rape, sodomy and kidnapping. He was previously convicted of attempted robbery in 2000 and assault with a deadly weapon in 2001.

According to an official from the Los Angeles County district attorney's office, Candler is scheduled to begin his trial Jan. 14 in Torrance Superior Court. If convicted, Candler could be sentenced to death or face life without the possibility of parole.

Photo: Francisco Aguirre Jr. Credit: Family handout. Francisco Aguirre Jr., a 31-year-old Latino, was killed in a hit-and-run Saturday, Jan. 19, 2008, in San Pedro.

According to Los Angeles Police Department Det. Frank Weber, Aguirre and his friends were returning from a birthday celebration and had made a final stop at a 7-Eleven. Inside the store, a man got into a verbal confrontation with one of Aguirre's friends.

As Aguirre and his friends were returning to their limo bus, the man — who had been waiting in the parking lot — reversed his van and plowed through the group, injuring two people and dragging Aguirre from the lot and into the street. He died instantly.

Homicide detectives with the LAPD's Harbor Division arrested Samuel Pinto, a 36-year-old Latino, on suspicion of murder later that evening. Four days later, the Los Angeles County district attorney's office filed murder charges against Pinto.

Almost a year and a half after Aguirre was killed, Pinto pleaded no contest to one count of vehicular manslaughter and two counts of assault with a deadly weapon (not a firearm) causing great bodily injury.

He was sentenced to eight years and four months in prison, with 681 days credit for time served. Probation was denied on all charges.

-- Sarah Ardalani

Top photo: Severa Madrona. Credit: DMV. Bottom photo: Francisco Aguirre Jr. Credit: Family

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