Los Angeles

Judge Calls Man Sentenced to Life for Murder of 62-Year-Old Seamstress Predator and Coward

Maria Elena Rivas was attacked as she returned home from buying groceries for Christmas.

A 22-year-old man was sentenced Thursday to life in state prison without the possibility of parole for a stabbing that killed a 62-year-old seamstress walking home after buying Christmas groceries, prosecutors said.

Kenyata Blake was found guilty April 15 of one count of first-degree murder and two counts of second-degree robbery in the death of Maria Elena Rivas. She was stabbed on Dec. 22, 2014 in the Adams-Normandie area and her handbag was stolen.

During a dramatic court hearing during Blake's sentencing on Thursday, an irate judge Mark Arnold called Blake a predator.

Blake interrupted, saying, "You want to do that too?"

"He's a predator and a coward," Arnold said.

The crime shocked the community.

Blake wrestled for the victim's purse as she was walking home. As Rivas held onto her purse, Blake pulled out a knife, stabbed her in the heart and left her to die, said Los Angeles County Deputy District Attorney Brian Chang.

"After the murder the defendant laughs about it and brags about it to his adopted sister," Chang said.

During sentencing, Blake's defense attorney asked for leniency, saying his client was 18 at the time and was not unlike many other troubled youth.

"Their judgment is poor or nonexistent often times," his attorney said.

But Arnold had none of it.

"There are many people in the inner city who are young and don't commit the cowardly types of crimes that this defendant has committed," the judge said, before ordering a bailiff to take Blake away.

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