The wife of former Bell Gardens Mayor Daniel Crespo pleaded guilty yesterday to voluntary manslaughter in the shooting of her husband. Under a plea deal with the district attorney's office, 45-year-old Lyvette Crespo will be sentenced to 90 days in jail.
According to her lawyer, Eber Bayona, Lyvette Crespo broke down in court after the announcement was read. “She needs to heal,” Bayona tells L.A. Weekly.
Evidence presented during grand jury proceedings in 2015 showed the Crespos, who were the subject of an L.A. Weekly cover story last year, had an extremely volatile relationship. They were childhood sweethearts who had their first child when Lyvette was just 15. But Daniel had at least two affairs and physically assaulted Lyvette on numerous occasions, according to testimony. They exchanged countless hate-filled text messages, which made their way into evidence at the grand jury hearing. Daniel's affairs filled Lyvette with jealousy, and she threatened to kill his mistress.
“I can give 25-life out of my life,” one text read. “That's how much time I would do if I get fucking fed up [and] reach the point that I would seriously without a doubt kill that BITCH. Then it will really be over.”
Prosecutors and Lyvette Crespo were close to reaching a plea deal that would have avoided forcing her to serve jail time, but those negotiations reportedly broke down in October. According to Bayona, the earlier deal collapsed after Daniel Crespo's brother and mother, who have filed a civil suit against Lyvette, objected.
Prosecutor Beth Silverman says she didn't know why the earlier plea deal fell through but that she is satisfied with the outcome of the case. She declined to elaborate. According to the L.A. Times, she told reporters outside the court room, “Not every case is deserving of the max sentence.”
James Devitt, the attorney for Daniel Crespo's mother and brother, told the Times the sentence was far too lenient, calling it “totally outrageous and wrong.” Devitt declined to comment to the Weekly.
During the grand jury proceedings, Lyvette Crespo claimed she shot her husband after he punched their son, Daniel Jr., in the face.
Bayona says Lyvette shot her husband in order to protect Daniel Jr.
“It’s really hard to say no to three months, versus 21 years,” Bayona says. “No one can guarantee what a jury is gonna do. She wants to get on with her life.”