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Times coverage: Felon sentenced to life in prison for the 2007 death of a teenage girl

A Los Angeles man was sentenced to life in prison Wednesday for the 2007 strangulation death of a 15-year-old homeless girl.

Gilton Pitre, 38, was convicted on one count of first-degree murder, plus one count of unlawful sex with a minor under the age of 16. Pitre was accused of strangling Alyssa Gomez sometime between June 3 and 4 of that year after he had sex with her at the Olive Hotel off of Sunset Boulevard in Silver Lake.

After he killed the teen, Pitre wrapped her body in a bedspread and put her in the trunk of his car, said Det. James Yamada of the LAPD's Northeast Division, who handled the investigation. 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.

Pitre was arrested 14 days later after authorities connected him to Alyssa's death through DNA left behind at the crime scene, according to the Los Angeles County district attorney's office.

Two years before 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

Times staff writer Richard Winton has more about the case: Man gets life in prison for raping, killing homeless girl in case that brought scrutiny to D.A.'s three-strikes policy

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