Crime and Courts

Former Bell Councilman Charged With Murdering Wife of 50 Years

NBCLA

A former Bell city councilman pleaded not guilty Thursday to fatally shooting his 81-year-old wife of 50 years at their home.

Danny Lee Harber, 76, was arraigned at the Downey courthouse on the murder charge, which includes an allegation that he used a handgun, according to the Los Angeles County District Attorney's Office.

His next court date is on Sept. 18 at the Norwalk courthouse, when a preliminary hearing date is scheduled to be set.

Shots rang out, and a woman was found dead inside. A man was detained for questioning. Kim Baldonado reports Sept. 1, 2020.

Harber's wife was shot in the upper body about 6:40 a.m. Tuesday in the 4900 block of Weik Avenue in Bell and was pronounced dead at the scene, according to Los Angeles County Sheriff's Deputy Juanita Navarro-Suarez.

Donna Harber had suffered from mental health issues, including dementia, former Bell Councilwoman Nestor Valencia told NBC4.

"I know he had been very saddened and frustrated with the mental health of his wife which includes dementia," Valencia said.

The victim's husband was arrested just after 7 a.m. Tuesday and has remained jailed since then in lieu of $2 million bail, jail records show.

He faces a possible maximum sentence of 50 years to life in state prison if convicted as charged.

He served on the Bell City Council from 2011 to 2013.

"As former mayor of Bell, I worked with Danny for many years. I know him well. I know his family. It's very sad, very tragic to hear what occurred," said Nestor Valencia, also a former Bell City Council Member.

Nestor Valencia, Danny Harber and Violeta Alvarez were part of the new crop of 2010 Bell city council members who were elected in the wake of the city's corruption scandal.

NBC4's Kim Baldonado contributed to this report.

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