Man accused of murdering his mother in Grover Beach allegedly had financial motive

Levente Laszlo Lazar

A man accused of stabbing to death his mother in her Grover Beach home is now facing an enhancement to his murder charged for allegedly being motivated by financial gain. 

San Luis Obispo County prosecutors filed the additional allegation in the Levente Laszlo Lazar murder case on Friday. Lazar, 26, could face the death penalty if convicted of murder and the enhancement, but prosecutors say they will only seek life in prison.

On Oct. 25, 2018, police officers conducting a welfare check at a condominium in the 200 block of 9th Street found the body of Athena Valentiny, 64. Valentiny was stabbed to death the day before, Grover Beach police said.

An investigation into the killing led detectives to identify Lazar as the primary suspect. Investigators then traveled to Bloomington, Indiana, where Lazar was living. 

Police searched Lazar’s home and arrested him for murder in November. Prosecutors have not released additional details about the motive for the murder.

Prior to being stabbed to death, Valentiny expressed concern about being victimized, though her concerns related to her speaking out about alleged prostitution and public drunkenness in her areas, as well as about noise and building code violations at the church next to her home.

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