In the Pasadena Courthouse This Week

Published : Monday, August 27, 2018 | 1:54 PM

This week, three high-profile criminal cases will move forward in the Pasadena Courthouse of the Los Angeles County Superior Court. Here’s an update and profile of each of these cases.


Preliminary Hearing Setting for Johnny Paul Siganoff, aka John Siganoff, John Szabo, and Frank Siganoff, August 29

Johnny Paul Siganoff, aka John Siganoff, John Szabo and Frank Siganoff, 33, of Phoenix, Arizona, is charged with one felony count each driving or taking a vehicle without consent, carjacking, assault upon a peace officer, two felony counts of attempted carjacking and three felony counts of resisting arresting officer.

The District Attorney’s Office said Siganoff stole a car from a gas station clerk in Mission Viejo on May 30. The defendant later crashed into two vehicles on the 134 Freeway at Harvey Drive in Glendale and reportedly tried to carjack those two vehicles before returning to the car he had previously carjacked and fleeing. He was pursued and was arrested after a struggle near Riverside Drive and the 134 in Burbank.

The defendant pleaded not guilty to the charges during his arraignment on June 4.

Siganoff faces a possible maximum sentence of more than nine years in state prison if convicted as charged. Bail was set at $300,000.

Deputy District Attorney Iliana Alvarez is prosecuting.


Preliminary Hearing Setting for Valentino Gutierrez, August 30

Valentino Gutierrez, 57, homeless, is charged with one count each of murder and arson of property. He also is accused of using an accelerant.

Gutierrez was arrested on February 2 outside Union Station Homeless Services in the 400 block of South Raymond Avenue by a large contingent Los Angeles Police, after firefighters and police discovered the remains of his wife burning in a Los Angeles Home Depot parking lot. Detectives traced him to Pasadena.

Gutierrez pleaded not guilty during his arraignment February 15. He is currently being held at the Twin Towers Correctional Facility in Los Angeles, with bail set at $2.17 million.

If convicted as charged, Gutierrez faces a possible maximum sentence of life in prison.

Deputy District Attorney Rachel Bowers is prosecuting.


Pretrial for Jacob Mallory Bersson, August 31

Jacob Mallory Bersson, 33, is accused in the fatal stabbing of his cousin, Pasadena chef Lawrence Bressler, and Bressler’s wife, Denise, in October 2014. He is charged with two counts of capital murder, and with a special circumstance allegation of multiple murders and personally using a knife in the murders.

Bersson was living with the Bresslers at the couple’s apartment in the 200 block of North Madison Avenue at the time of the attack, according to the Pasadena Police Department.

Court records showed Bersson had just recently moved from Florida to Pasadena that year and was living with the victims at 290 N. Madison Avenue. Police said in the early morning of October 13, 2014, Bersson forced his way into the Bresslers’ bedroom and stabbed them repeatedly with a knife.

Lawrence Bressler was able to call 911 before 6:30 a.m. and identified Bersson as the attacker. Bressler later died in surgery; his wife Denise had died shortly after arriving at a hospital.

Bersson was arrested on the day of the murders. He is currently being held in lieu of $1 million bail. He could face the death penalty if convicted.

During his arraignment in 2016, Bersson pleaded not guilty to the charges.

Deputy District Attorney Fernanda Barreto is prosecuting.















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