Man Sentenced to Life in Prison for Killing UCLA Student Found After Apartment Fire

Andrea DelVesco was found dead inside her Westwood apartment in September 2015

Three years to the day of the victim's death, a 25-year-old man was sentenced Friday to life in prison without the possibility of parole for killing a University of California Los Angeles student whose body was found after a fire at her Westwood apartment.

Alberto Hinojosa Medina, a former Fresno State University student, was convicted in May of first-degree murder for the Sept. 21, 2015, slaying of Andrea DelVesco, along with the special circumstance allegation of murder during the commission of a burglary.

He was also convicted of one count each of arson of an inhabited structure and cruelty to an animal -- the latter involving DelVesco's dog, which had to be euthanized, along with two counts of first-degree burglary with a person present involving DelVesco's apartment in the 10900 block of Roebling Avenue and another apartment across the street.

Before the sentencing, the victims' family members and friends spoke about the pain they have been through in the three years since her murder and a last wish that went unfulfilled because of the killer's actions.

A heartwrenching slideshow with childhood photos of the DelVesco was played for the courtroom. Medina sat in silence, watching the images.

"This is the date that he made the choice to take my wonderful, amazing daughter's life," said Leslie DelVesco, her mother. "May his life, as he has known it, also end today. 

"To express the agony is impossible. It's excruciating to me to see the pain that he has caused. True justice would be that he feels the pain and heartache every single second for the rest of his life."

DelVesco also talked about her daughter's wish to have her organs donated to science were she to die an untimely death. 

"By setting her on fire, he denied not only her life, but this last wish and hope," Leslie DelVesco said. 

Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Mark E. Windham called Medina's crimes "truly monstrous."

"He must never walk free again," Windham said, citing what he called the defendant's lack of remorse for his actions.

Prosecutors had opted earlier not to seek the death penalty against Medina.

During his opening statement in Medina's trial, Deputy District Attorney Victor Avila told jurors that DelVesco's " life was taken away from her by this defendant ... He stabbed her multiple times to silence her so she could not call out for help."

The woman's dog, Shay Panda, was also "silenced" and was found by firefighters at the foot of her bed, Avila told jurors.

The 21-year-old Austin, Texas, woman -- a member of the Pi Beta Phi sorority -- was entering her fourth year at UCLA, where she was studying psychology and Spanish.

Medina, who had come to the area to visit a friend who attended UCLA, subsequently drove his red 2010 Nissan Sentra back to Fresno, where he lived with two roommates, the prosecutor said.

Los Angeles police were notified when one of Medina's roommates tried to register a speaker that had been taken along with a laptop computer during the first Westwood burglary, and police subsequently went to Fresno, where they recovered items containing DelVesco's DNA at the residence, Avila said.

Copyright CNS - City News Service
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