The Homicide Report

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Hollywood: Roger Cota, 51

August 11, 2009 | 10:39 pm
Location of Cota's stabbing. Click for demographic information about this area.Roger Cota, a 51-year-old white man, was stabbed in the 5500 block of Sunset Boulevard in Hollywood and died Thursday, August 6, officials said.

Cota was the first victim in a stabbing rampage that took place that day in Hollywood, also killing Keith Falin, a 43-year-old white man. Two others were injured.

Police responded to a radio call about a man shot at 1:22 p.m. and found Cota with stab wounds to his left side. He was taken to a hospital, where he was pronounced dead about an hour later.

Police arrested Domingo Linares Rodas, a 53-year-old Latino, at 5:10 p.m. on the day of Cota's killing. LAPD said they have linked him to all four of the stabbings. Los Angeles County district attorney's officials have charged him in connection with two, Falin's death and another assault, but not the stabbing death of Cota. Officials said the other stabbings are still being investigated.

Police allege that Rodas preyed on his victims -- described by police as transients -- over a period of several hours as motorists and pedestrians filled the streets.

The stabbings occurred near the site where Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa and Police Chief William J. Bratton had held a news conference hours earlier to announce that crime had dropped markedly in Hollywood and that 40 additional officers would be assigned to the area.

City officials said the stabbing illustrates the difficulties of policing in a busy, urban environment.

If convicted, Rodas faces a maximum sentence of life in prison with the possibility of parole, the district attorney said. Los Angeles County jail records indicate there is an immigration hold in his case, which is typically an indication that there is some question about a suspect's immigration status.

-- Robert J. Lopez and Anthony Pesce