Man sentenced to life in prison without parole for murdering his mother

Levente Laszlo Lazar


A 27-year-old Indiana man was sentenced Wednesday to life in prison without the possibility of parole for murdering his mother at her Grover Beach home.

In Oct. 2018, Levente Laszlo Lazar drove from Indiana to his mother’s home in Grover Beach. Lazar stabbed his mother 10 times in the neck before plundering the home and driving off with some of his mother’s possessions.

A few days later, Grover Beach officers found the body of Athena Valentiny, 64, lying inside her condominium. Valentiny was a nurse at the California Men’s Colony.

Investigators found Valentiny’s will at Lazar’s home. During the murder trial, prosecutors argued Lazar intended to liquidate his mother’s estate to pay for his upcoming wedding to a trophy girlfriend, as well as to pay off tax liens and student debt.

Lazar’s trial concluded with a jury finding him guilty of first-degree murder and an enhancement for committing the crime for financial gain. The enhancement to the murder conviction allowed for Lazar to receive a life sentence without the possibility of parole.

Judge Matthew Guerrero issued the sentence Wednesday morning, after which District Attorney Dan Dow released a statement saying the punishment fits the crime.

“While no amount of punishment will bring our victim Athena Valentiny back, a sentence of life in prison without the possibility of parole is a just outcome for this senseless murder,” Dow said in the statement.

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