Southern California -- this just in

« Previous Post | L.A. NOW Home | Next Post »

L.A. man charged with capital murder in two shooting deaths

January 2, 2009 |  3:29 pm

A Los Angeles man was charged today with capital murder for the Dec. 20 shooting deaths of two people, including a sheriff’s employee who was hit in the head by a round that missed its intended target and hit her outside her mother’s home.

Leonard Mitchell, 46, is charged with the killings of Alexander Castro, 23, and sheriff’s records clerk Adriana Pizarro, 34. Mitchell and Castro had become embroiled in a verbal confrontation shortly before the shooting, police said.

Mitchell allegedly shot Castro in the head as he sat inside his vehicle. Pizarro was about 150 feet away outside her mother’s home at Central Avenue and 50th Street in Los Angeles when she was hit in the eye by a round intended for Castro. She was taken to County-USC Medical Center and pronounced dead about an hour later.

Mitchell was arrested Tuesday. The murder charges include the special circumstance allegation of multiple murders, which could make Mitchell eligible for the death penalty if convicted. Prosecutors are expected to decide later whether to pursue the death penalty in the case.

-- Richard Winton