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Parolee charged with stabbing death of soon-to-be-married Valley Village woman

September 15, 2010 |  6:14 pm

A wanted 34-year-old parolee was charged in absentia by Los Angeles County prosecutors Wednesday with fatally stabbing a Valley Village woman during a burglary and setting fire to her home.

Omar Armando Loera faces one count each of murder, burglary, arson and assault with a deadly weapon in the July 24 slaying of Cheree Osmanhodzic, 34. Prosecutors also charged him with the special circumstances of murder during a burglary and arson, which could make him subject to the death penalty.

Officials in the district attorney's office said a decision on whether to actually seek the death penalty will be made at a later date.

Loera, who gained early release from state prison in February after serving 23 months of a 32-month sentence in connection with a 2008 armed robbery, remains at large.

Officials with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement said Loera had been subjected to past "immigration enforcement actions." But spokeswoman Virginia Kice said the agency determined that he  was a U.S. citizen after "exhaustive review" before his release from Calipatria State Prison in the Imperial Valley.

On Tuesday, LAPD officials identified Loera as the suspect in Osmanhodzic's slaying after DNA and other unspecified evidence found at the scene provided a break in the case.

Lt. Alan Hamilton said that the killing appeared to be a random act and that that it was not known whether Loera was still in Southern California or had fled to another jurisdiction or country.

Osmanhodzic's slaying stunned Valley Village. She had been shopping for a wedding dress with her mother and fiance Adam Culvey the day of the killing.

After running an errand, Culvey told police, he returned to the couple's home, put his key in the door and began to push it open. He felt resistance. Moments later, he confronted a stranger, who ran out of the house and sprinted down the block.

Culvey said he gave chase and then walked back to his residence, only to find it was on fire. Inside, firefighters discovered Osmanhodzic, dead on the bedroom floor from multiple stab wounds.

-- Andrew Blankstein