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Sixteen-Year-Old Sentenced to
Life Without Parole for Murdering CHP Officer

March 10, 2005
Contacts: Joe Scott, Director of Communications
Sandi Gibbons, Public Information Officer
Jane Robison, News Secretary
(213) 974-3525

POMONA Valentino Mitchell Arenas was sentenced today to life in prison without possibility of parole for the murder of California Highway Patrol Officer Thomas Steiner outside the Pomona courthouse last April, the District Attorney's office announced.

Deputy District Attorney Linda Loftfield with the D. A.'s Crimes Against Police Officers Section (CAPOS) said Arenas received an additional 25 years to life after admitting the special allegation of personal use of a handgun to commit the crime.

"This was a just sentence, and I'm very satisfied," Loftfield said.

Arenas, who turns 17 on March 18, was sentenced by Pomona Superior Court Judge Philip Gutierrez.

Arenas pleaded guilty Dec. 6 to the first-degree murder of the 35-year-old CHP officer on April 21, 2004, outside the Pomona courthouse and admitted the killing was to impress members of a Pomona street gang. He also admitted to the special circumstance allegations of killing a police officer, lying in wait, committing a murder during a drive-by shooting and that the killing was connected to further a criminal street gang.

Although it was a special circumstances case, the defendant's age precluded the District Attorney from seeking the death penalty.


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