Ex-LA fire captain convicted of murdering woman

AP News
Posted: Mar 17, 2011 5:42 PM
Ex-LA fire captain convicted of murdering woman

A former city fire captain was found guilty of second-degree murder for beating and choking a homeless woman who refused to have sex with him.

The conviction was announced Thursday in the case of David Del Toro, who could now face 15 years to life in prison.

Del Toro, a 23-year Fire Department veteran, attacked Jennifer Flores in his Eagle Rock home on Aug. 16, 2006.

"He's not going to suffer nearly as much as he made my sister suffer," the victim's brother, Richard Flores, said after the verdict.

Del Toro was acquitted of a first-degree murder count, which would have required a finding that the killing was planned.

Flores, 42, was a homeless acquaintance of the 54-year-old fire captain. He broke her nose, jaw and ribs and strangled her after Flores refused to have sex with him, prosecutors say, then used his pickup truck to carry or drag her nude body to a street a mile away, possibly to make it appear she was a hit-and-run victim.

Investigators found tire tracks and a bloody trail from the body to Del Toro's home and discovered blood in the home and his truck.

Del Toro testified that he never sought sex from the woman and didn't remember killing her.

"I don't believe I killed her ... I just didn't kill her," he testified.

His defense team argued that he went to bed and passed out from heavy drinking and exhaustion after working more than 200 hours over a two-week period leading up to the killing.

They claimed he later woke up and tried to clean up an unexplained mess at his home.

The fact that Del Toro was drunk at the time may have prompted jurors to acquit him of premeditated murder, prosecutor Bobby Grace told City News Service.

Del Toro retired from the Fire Department following his arrest.

Jurors deliberated for about two weeks but had to start over Monday after two panelists were excused and replaced with alternates.