There was a break in a 2007 cold case murder when two men were arrested in connection with the death of an 82-year-old Rosemead man, who was in a coma for nearly a year after he was robbed and assaulted in his garage, Los Angeles County Sheriff’s officials said Sunday.
Adrian Gardea, 26, from Whittier, and Leonard Alegre, 36, from Montebello, are being held without bail at Rio Hondo Superior Court.
Pending charges against the men, admitted gang members from the San Gabriel Valley area, include one count each of murder, robbery and burglary, as well as crimes against the elderly, a special circumstance allegation.
Local news from across Southern California
In the early afternoon on Nov. 5, 2007, police responded to the 8500 block of Guess Street in Rosemead, where they found Robert Hewitt in his garage, according to a sheriff’s officials.
Hewitt suffered multiple blunt force trauma injuries and was transported to the hospital, where he remained in a coma until he died 11 months later.
Police said the suspects attempted to use Hewitt’s stolen credit cards after the robbery and were identified and interviewed, but could not be directly tied to the case.
Scientific evidence found at the scene implicated the two suspects who were interviewed and allegedly used the stolen credit cards, but police said the case went cold because there was not enough evidence to file criminal charges for the robbery or murder.
After having gone cold for several years, investigators “were able to gain additional information through investigative techniques” and arrested the two suspects in connection to the murder and robbery, sheriff's officials said.
Gardea and Alegre were arraigned on May 14.