Cop killer’s case tossed by top court

first_img AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREWhy these photogenic dumplings are popping up in Los AngelesArenas pleaded guilty to first-degree murder in December 2004, on the day jurors were to be selected for his trial. Because of his age, he was not eligible for the death penalty. In May, a three-judge panel from the 2nd District Court of Appeals upheld Arenas’ sentence, rejecting an argument that Pomona Superior Court Judge Philip S. Gutierrez abused his discretion and imposed too severe a sentence. The appellate court panel found in its May 30 ruling that the judge “employed the appropriate factors in determining whether to accord leniency in appellant’s case.” “Officer Steiner was shot and killed, not in a traffic stop or in a confrontation with a suspect where he would be on his guard, but in a most cold-blooded and cowardly manner,” Associate Justice Kathryn Doi Todd wrote in the May 30 ruling. “Appellant chose Officer Steiner at random because of the uniform he wore … As appellant himself said more than once, `He didn’t have a chance.”‘ The California Supreme Court will not review the prison sentence of the teenager who gunned down a California Highway Patrol officer outside the Pomona courthouse two years ago. The court last week denied a petition to revisit the case of Valentino Mitchell Arenas, who was sentenced to life in prison without parole for the confessed killing of Thomas Steiner, who worked out of the CHP’s Santa Fe Springs office. Arenas, who was 16 at the time of the shooting, told police he drove to the courthouse on the afternoon of April 21, 2004, intending to impress a local street gang by killing a police officer. Steiner, dressed in the blue uniform of the CHP’s commercial vehicle enforcement detail, had just finished testifying in a traffic case and was waiting at a crosswalk when the teen approached and shot him in the back of the head. Arenas’ attorney had argued that his client’s low IQ and heavy use of methamphetamine in the three days prior to the shooting were factors that should have had more weight in bringing a more lenient sentence. The appeals court ruled the judge had acted appropriately. The appeal of that decision to the state’s highest court, filed July 10, was rejected Wednesday. Steiner was a 35-year-old father of a nearly 3-year-old boy and a 13-year-old stepson. He was married and lived in Long Beach.160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!last_img