A man accused of fatally stabbing a former girlfriend and her two young children after breaking into their Riverside home, then fleeing to a neighboring city where he was shot during a confrontation with police and left partially paralyzed must stand trial for murder and other charges, a judge ruled Tuesday.
Selvin Chajon Rodriguez, 25, could face life in prison without the possibility of parole or the death penalty if convicted in the August 2012 slayings of 25-year-old Laura Reveriano, her 4-year-old son, Selvin Chajon Reveriano, and 19-month-old daughter, Emily Chajon Reveriano.
Following a preliminary hearing at the Riverside Hall of Justice, Riverside County Superior Court Judge Bernard Schwartz found there was sufficient evidence to bound Rodriguez over for trial on three counts of first-degree murder, two counts of assault on a child resulting in death, burglary, making criminal threats, auto theft and special circumstance allegations of taking multiple lives in the same crime.
Schwartz set a post-preliminary hearing arraignment for Jan. 29. Rodriguez is being held without bail at the Robert Presley Detention Center in Riverside.
According to the victim's loved ones, Reveriano and Rodriguez had been romantically involved roughly eight months before the killings, but the mother of two decided to break off their relationship because of Rodriguez's controlling nature and insistence that she marry him.
Rodriguez allegedly became obsessed with Reveriano, harassing her via telephone and in person, witnesses told police.
Rodriguez, a native of Guatemala who was in the country on a work visa, intensified his harassment, which allegedly turned criminal five days before the killings when he stole the victim's green Honda sedan parked in front of her residence in the 10400 block of Granger Street, according to police.
Rodriguez also managed to snatch her mobile phone and smashed a window on the single-story, three-bedroom home Reveriano and her children shared with two other families, the District Attorney's Office alleges.
Reveriano filed for a restraining order two days before the fatal assaults. However, before it took effect, around 6:45 a.m. on Aug. 30, 2012, Rodriguez allegedly broke into the victim's home, forced his way into her room and attacked her with a 10-inch butcher knife, investigators said.
"One of Laura's housemates, another woman, heard the children screaming and looked into the room," Deputy District Attorney Michelle Paradise told City News Service. "She said that Laura was on her knees, and the defendant had a knife pointed at her chest. The children were screaming, 'No, Papi. No!"'
The woman fled back into her room and hid, Paradise said. According to the witness, the screaming fell silent within a couple of minutes, and she emerged from her room to check on the victims, at which point she saw Reveriano and the youngsters unconscious and covered in blood.
As police were called to the location, Rodriguez fled in the victim's Honda, heading west into Corona, where the vehicle apparently stalled on Interstate 15, near Grand Avenue, according to the prosecution.
Rodriguez approached a motorist parked on Grand Avenue and repeatedly asked her for a ride, but she locked her doors and refused his entreaties, Paradise said.
About that time, a Corona patrol unit located the Honda, and officers began searching the area for Rodriguez, who was walking along railroad tracks when an officer armed with an AR-15 rifle encountered him from a short distance away, according to the prosecution.
Paradise alleged Rodriguez was carrying the butcher knife and attempted to flee but was shot, the bullet causing spinal damage that left him paralyzed from the waist down.
The prosecution alleges Rodriguez told his older brother via a phone call and text message just prior to his capture that "I'm sorry for what I did" and "screwed up" by attacking the children.
Both Laura Reveriano and her daughter were pronounced dead at the scene. Her son clung to life until reaching Riverside Community Hospital, where he died a short time later. --Paul Young, City News Service