Hollywood Man's Conviction Upheld for Father's Bludgeoning Death

The defense contends there is insufficient evidence to support the jury's first-degree murder verdict.

A state appellate court panel upheld the murder conviction of a Hollywood man who used a dumbbell to fatally beat his 62-year-old father, whose body was discovered in a storage locker in Irwindale.

The three-justice panel from California's 2nd District Court of Appeal rejected the defense's contention that there was insufficient evidence of premeditation and deliberation to support the jury's first-degree murder verdict against Jonathan Pedraza.

"In the present case, there was evidence from which a reasonable jury could conclude that defendant had planned the murder," the justices found in a 10-page ruling released Monday. "The jury reasonably could infer that defendant knew that his dumbbell probably was in the storage unit, and asked (his father) Miguel to take him there so he could commit the murder in the unit and out of the view of witnesses."

Jurors also convicted Pedraza, who was 24 at the time of the crime, of one felony count of vandalism and two misdemeanor counts of hit-and-run driving.

Pedraza crashed his vehicle through an exit gate at A-1 Storage, where his father's body was later discovered in a storage unit where blood stains were found on the ground, the walls and some of the items inside, according to the appellate court panel's ruling.

An autopsy determined that Miguel Pedraza had suffered numerous skull fractures that were consistent with being struck in the head with a heavy object.

His son was was arrested in Baldwin Park after colliding with two vehicles, getting out of his car and going up the steps toward the roof of a senior citizens' facility.

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