In the Pasadena Courthouse This Week

Published : Monday, December 3, 2018 | 6:04 AM

This week, four high-profile Pasadena criminal cases will move forward in Pasadena Courthouse of the Los Angeles County Superior Court. Here are updates and profiles of each of these cases.


Sentencing for Anthony Seth Mcdaniel, December 5

Anthony Seth McDaniel, 41, was convicted in October of two felony counts of kidnapping to commit oral copulation, after being charged with allegedly kidnapping two women on April 30, 2016 for the purpose of sexually assaulting them.

The charges included allegations that he caused great bodily injury to one of the victims and that he had a previous conviction in 2008 of assault with intent to commit a sexual assault.

McDaniel allegedly invited two women to get into his truck to give them a ride. Instead, he reportedly took the women to a different location in an attempt to sexually assault them. One of the women jumped from the moving truck and suffered a fractured ankle. The other was allegedly threatened with a gun but managed to escape when the suspect allegedly pushed her out of the vehicle after a collision on the freeway.

On May 20, 2016, he pleaded not guilty to the charges.

McDaniel could face two life terms in state prison.

Deputy District Attorney Fernanda Barreto prosecuted the case.


Preliminary Hearing Setting for Valentino Gutierrez, December 6

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 of the Arson and Explosives Section is prosecuting.


Preliminary Hearing Setting for Miguel Castaneda and Valentina Rosales , December 6

Miguel Castaneda and Valentina Rosales are charged with the murder of a 23-year-old man during a fight October 1 in the parking lot of the Rose Bowl in Pasadena.

Castaneda, 23, of Los Angeles, faces one count of murder with an allegation of using a knife as a deadly and dangerous weapon. Rosales, 23, of Pasadena, faces one count of accessory after the fact.

Prosecutors said Demetrio Tapia Jr., 22, a Pasadena resident, was stabbed to death on October 1. Investigators believe the killing stemmed from a heated exchange on social media.

The criminal complaint includes allegations that Castaneda was convicted in 2017 for vehicle theft with a prior and Rosales was convicted in 2015 for second-degree robbery.

Bail for Castaneda is set at more than $2 million and at more than $1 million for Rosales. If convicted as charged, Castaneda faces a possible maximum sentence of 27 years to life in state prison. Rosales faces up to six years in prison.

Deputy District Attorney Iliana M. Alvarez is prosecuting.


Pretrial for Jacob Mallory Bersson, December 6

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 show 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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