The trial of a man accused of armed robberies in Hawthorne, Gardena and Lawndale has been postponed after a key prosecution witness was shot to death in her car outside her South-Central Los Angeles home.
Victoria Patton, 27, was killed Monday night by a lone gunman who leaned inside the driver's window and fired while her three young children watched, Los Angeles police said.
In response, Torrance Superior Court Judge Cecil J. Mills postponed the trial of Juan Elvis Hutcherson, 28, until next Thursday. Miss Patton, who once lived with Hutcherson, had identified him during a preliminary hearing as the man who held up an armored car guard at a department store in Hawthorne.
Lt. Charles Massey said detectives are "kind of leaning" toward a suspicion that Miss Patton was killed by someone who wanted to influence the outcome of the trial.
Hutcherson remains free on $150,000 bail.