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Man wanted in 1985 L.A. slaying evaded arrest by altering name

May 24, 2012 |  4:25 pm

A San Jose man who'd been on the run for 27 years  has been arrested and booked on suspicion of killing his sister’s lover in South Los Angeles in 1985, authorities said.

Abel Avila-Perez, 53, was able to escape detection by making minor changes to his name after the crime, authorities said.

Avila-Perez was arrested in San Jose, where he’d been living since the incident, said LAPD Det. Kelle Baitx, a homicide supervisor.

Authorities said he's suspected of gunning down Arnulfo Medina, 30, as Medina walked near Main and 37th streets with Avila-Perez’s sister on July 10, 1985.

Avila’s sister was married at the time, Baitx said.

Avila-Perez was quickly identified as the suspect and a warrant was issued for his arrest. He fled and changed his first name to Avel, according to a California driver’s license.

Baitx said a state computer system often identified him by his maternal last name, Perez. In Latino cultures, people use paternal and maternal last names, which often causes confusion among authorities in the United States, who often use the maternal last name when filling out documents, such as driver’s license forms.

Baitx said detectives in LAPD’s Newton Division, charged with tracking down murder suspects with warrants for their arrests, developed information that Avila was living in San Jose.

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 -- Sam Quinones

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