LOS ANGELES (CNS) - A transient's conviction was upheld today for the bludgeoning deaths of an 89-year-old man and his 75-year-old wife during a burglary at their secluded hilltop home in an unincorporated area near La Verne the day after Christmas in 2014.
The three-justice panel from California's 2nd District Court of Appeal found that “substantial evidence'' supported Luke Matthew Fabela's conviction on first-degree murder charges for the Dec. 26, 2014, killings of 89-year-old Armie “Troy'' Isom and his 75-year-old wife, Shirley.
The appellate court justices noted that that the evidence demonstrated that Fabela “brutally murdered'' the two by “repeatedly striking them with a heavy solid object and stabbing them with a knife or other sharp instrument.''
“Fabela's attack on Shirley was particularly vicious as the evidence suggested that he also dragged her out of the house by her hair and tried to force her into the trunk of her car before killing her,'' the panel noted in a 29-page ruling.
Fabela, now 29, was convicted in May 2019 of first-degree murder and residential burglary, along with an unrelated residential burglary less than three weeks later.
Jurors also found true the special circumstance allegation of multiple murders and murder during the commission of a burglary.
Shirley Isom was found dead in the driveway next to her car, while her husband was found inside the house and died that day of blunt force head trauma after being taken to a hospital.
The only item taken was a cell phone belonging to Shirley Isom, which was never found, according to Deputy District Attorney Tannaz Mokayef.
While Fabela was jailed in San Bernardino County for an auto theft case, Los Angeles County sheriff's officials announced in May 2015 that he had been linked by DNA to the killings.
He was subsequently transferred to Los Angeles County in February 2016 in connection with the murder case, in which he was sentenced in September 2019 to two consecutive life prison terms without the possibility of parole.
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