Women Honored for Bravery in Foiling Murder-for-Hire Plot

Two women who rushed to the aid of a Long Beach woman who had been beaten with a baseball bat were among six people honored Wednesday by Los Angeles County District Attorney Jackie Lacey at a Courageous Citizens awards ceremony.

Debbie Carr of Lakewood, 66, and Noelle Van Deursen of Long Beach, 45, were lauded for helping the woman, who was crying for help after the Oct. 11, 2013 attack at her home.

"I'm sitting up and I had chills, that kind of scream not just somebody yelling outside," Van Deursen said.

The two walked to their neighbhor's house, and found their neighbor after being beaten by a man with a metal bat. 

"She was just covered in blood," Van Deusen said.

The man disappeared and it took investigators a month to piece it all together.

Quick action by the two helped save the woman's life. She told them about the attack and their statements helped police arrest three people in connection with the crime, including the woman's daughter, Holly Ramos, and her boyfriend, Frank Haverly, who were sentenced to 31 years to life in prison after being convicted in a murder-for-hire plot, according to the District Attorney's Office.

"Kept telling the story over and over because she thought she was going to die," Carr said. "So it was a matter of getting the story out because she didn’t think she was going to live through it and she wanted to make sure he was caught."

Also honored were:

Laura Astrin of Seal Beach, 37, Amber Goebel of Long Beach, 38, and Luis Enrique Vieyra, who went to the aid of a 74-year-old partially blind man who was struck in the head and knocked down while using a walker on a Long Beach train platform May 7, 2015.

The man's assailant, Marcus Jamar Bartlett, was subsequently arrested and sentenced to four years in state prison after pleading no contest to battery with serious bodily injury.

Lawrence Sears of Los Angeles, 57, who was working as a custodian at a Green Line Metro station June 4, 2015, when he tackled a man trying to grab a woman's purse and held onto the man until a Los Angeles County sheriff's deputy arrived at the scene.

The assailant, Andre Deshawn Bryant, subsequently pleaded no contest to assault and battery charges and was sentenced to two years in state prison.

"What our honorees did was not easy," the county's top prosecutor said during a ceremony in Long Beach. "These brave people chose to act. They saved lives and helped stop criminals. By honoring them today, we repay their courage in a small way."

City News Service contributed to this report.

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