Alyssa Margie Gomez, 15 [Updated]
Alyssa Margie Gomez, a 15-year-old Latina, was found dead Monday, June 4, near the 4200 block of Sunset Boulevard in Silver Lake, according to Los Angeles County coroner's records.
Alyssa was a homeless teenager who had been living on the streets for at least three years, said LAPD Northeast Det. James Yamada, who handled the investigation. She had previously been in foster care, but ran away, he said.
The teen was involved in drugs and prostitution when she met Gilton Pitre, a 38-year-old black man, on June 3, Yamada said. The two went to the Olive Hotel in Silver Lake where they had sex. For reasons that remain unknown, Pitre killed Alyssa, Yamada said.
Her cause of death was listed as asphyxiation through strangulation, according to the coroner's office.
After he strangled her, Pitre wrapped Alyssa's body in a bedspread and put her in the trunk of his car, Yamada said. He then dumped her body in an alley behind the El Cid restaurant in Silver Lake. Alyssa's body was found by a restaurant worker on June 4.
Fourteen days after Alyssa was killed, authorities arrested Pitre and charged him with rape and murder. On Wednesday, Pitre was found guilty on the counts and sentenced to life in prison.
Two years before the Alyssa's slaying, Pitre was eligible for prosecution under the state's three-strikes law when he was charged with a felony for selling $5 worth of marijuana to an undercover police officer.
Previous strikes included a 1994 residential burglary and a 1996 rape.
Under the law, prosecutors could have sought a sentence of 25 years to life in prison. Instead, Pitre was allowed to plead guilty to a drug crime in exchange for a 32-month prison sentence, court records show.
Four days after Pitre was released from prison, he killed Alyssa.
-- Sarah Ardalani