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Third suspect arrested in slaying of pregnant newlywed in Mid-City

October 5, 2010 |  3:42 pm

Jana Collins, 26. Credit: Department of Motor Vehicles Los Angeles police detectives said Tuesday they have arrested a third man in connection with the gang-related slaying of Jana Collins, 26, a newlywed who was four months pregnant.

The first two suspects, Cecil Levi Laurent, 23, and Asfaw Abebe, 24, were arrested shortly after the May 5 killing. The third man, identified as Javier Angulo Romero, 19, was arrested Tuesday morning in Atlanta by the U.S. Marshals Service after spending nearly six months on the run.

LAPD Det. Eric Spear said Romero hopped a plane to Atlanta two days after the murder. Romero, who is biracial and bilingual, "changed his physical appearance in an attempt to elude the Marshals in Atlanta," Spear said.

The Los Angeles County District Attorney's Office has charged the three suspects with five felony counts, including murder, in connection with the slaying in the 1900 block of South Corning Street, a working-class neighborhood east of Robertson Boulevard in Los Angeles. 

If convicted, the men face a maximum state prison sentence of life without the possibility of parole.

Collins was hit by gunfire as she sat alone in a parked car. Her husband had just gotten out when two men pulled up in a sport utility vehicle and began firing multiple times.

The Santa Monica native was hit once in the head. Friends jumped in the car and drove her to a nearby hospital, where she was pronounced dead.

Investigators said that Collins was at "the wrong place at the wrong time” and that her husband was the intended target.

Neighbors told The Times in May that the victim and her husband were often seen visiting the area.

"It was a lot of diligent police work," said Lt. Anne Clark, the commanding officer for West Los Angeles-area detectives. "We never put this case on the back burner, we never gave up."

Anyone with information about the crime is asked to call West Los Angeles homicide detectives at (310) 444-1541. Those who want to remain anonymous should call Crimestoppers at 1-800-222-TIPS (800-222-8477).

Tipsters may also contact Crimestoppers by texting to phone number 274637 (C-R-I-M-E-S on most keypads) with a cell phone. All text messages should begin with the letters “LAPD.”

Tipsters may also go to LAPDOnline.org, click on "webtips" and follow the prompts.

-- Andrew Blankstein

Photo: Jana Collins, 26. Credit: California Department of Motor Vehicles