News Releases

June 26, 2014: Man Charged in Connection with La Puente Killing

Sarah Ardalani, Public Information Officer
(213) 257-2000

A 35-year-old man charged with the death of a homeless man pleaded not guilty late yesterday, the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office announced.

Marco Antonio Villanueva (dob 12/30/78) was charged with one count of murder in case KA106377.

The defendant appeared before Judge Jack Hunt at the Los Angeles County Superior Court in Pomona and his bail was set at $1 million.

Deputy District Attorney Duke Chau, who is assigned to the case, said on June 18 passersby discovered Ruben Zermeno’s body near a trash bin in La Puente.

The 56-year-old victim had suffered major trauma to his head and face, the prosecutor said. Law enforcement was alerted about the death and detectives began a homicide investigation.

Authorities located a witness that linked Villanueva to the fatal beating and, a week later, the defendant was charged in connection with the killing.

The defendant’s next court appearance is scheduled for July 23 at the Los Angeles County Superior Court in Pomona in Department N.

If convicted as charged, Villanueva faces a maximum sentence of 15 years to life in state prison.

The case remains under investigation by the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department Homicide Bureau.