By Marisa Gerber and Richard Winton
May 5, 2015
He was hardly discreet about his affairs.
Daniel Crespo, the mayor of Bell Gardens, bought one girlfriend a ring during a trip to Las Vegas for a faux wedding. He sent his wife an audio recording of him bragging to a co-worker about his dalliances. He rented out a six-bedroom home he owned, but kept one room empty so he could rendezvous there with women on his lunch breaks and after work.
His wife, Lyvette, called the room his “man cave” and knew about the affairs, which were often the subject of angry and threatening texts, a prosecutor told grand jurors last month.
Grand jury transcripts made public Monday provide new details about the mayor’s tumultuous marriage to his childhood sweetheart, his numerous infidelities and the criminal case prosecutors have made against his wife in his fatal shooting last year.
During the hearing that led up to the indictment, Deputy Dist. Atty. Beth Silverman told grand jurors that Lyvette and Daniel Crespo had a “very rocky … very difficult, dysfunctional relationship,” the court papers show.
Silverman said Daniel Crespo was obsessive about recording himself and his conversations with others, and one recording captured an exchange with his wife
in which he asked: “Why would you threaten to shoot me?”
“Well, if you cheat, that’s what I would do,” Lyvette responded, the prosecutor told grand jurors.
Last month, after hearing from prosecutors and numerous witnesses, the grand jury indicted Lyvette Crespo on a charge of voluntary manslaughter with an allegation that she was armed with a handgun at the time of the crime. Voluntary manslaughter is defined as killing without prior intent and during a sudden quarrel or in the heat of passion.
Lyvette Crespo, 43, has pleaded not guilty.
Her lawyer, Eber Bayona, has insisted that the killing was justifiable and in defense of Lyvette Crespo and her son. The lawyer said Lyvette Crespo had suffered decades of abuse by her husband and was trying to protect her son when she opened fire.
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