Two women were convicted Tuesday of murdering the daughter of a former El Segundo city councilman and nearly killing the woman's 12-year-old adopted daughter.
Erica Dawn Olson, 20, and Linette O'Neil Blocker, 19, were found guilty of the Feb. 9, 1994, slashing and strangulation of Tairree Lynn West, 25. Both women were convicted of the special circumstances of murder committed during a burglary, meaning they could receive life in prison without possibility of parole when they are sentenced in July.
Ashley Luchessa, West's 12-year-old daughter, who survived the attack and testified during the trial, tearily said the two women "got what they deserved."
"But none of this will bring my mom back," said Luchessa, an El Segundo Middle School sixth-grader who called 911 to report the attack, even though she had suffered a nine-inch gash from the top of her cheek to the middle of her throat.
According to prosecutors, the two women and two male companions broke into West's El Segundo apartment about 1:30 a.m., intending to steal money. The men attacked West with a butcher knife, while the women began choking Ashley and West's 6-month-old daughter, Carlie. Ashley woke up and staggered into the living room, then was slashed with a knife before the assailants fled without any money.
Olson quietly wept in Torrance Superior Court Judge Francis J. Hourigan's courtroom as the verdicts were handed down: guilty of first-degree murder, attempted murder, first-degree burglary and child abuse of the baby.
Minutes later, Blocker sat expressionless as the same verdicts were read.
Robert Brandon Foster, 19, and Terral Brewington, 20, are scheduled to come to trial this summer. Foster, the man prosecutors say did the killing, faces the death penalty.
"We've solved two problems, but we have two more to take care of," said former Councilman Alan West, the victim's father, who is caring for Carlie. Ashley is living with her birth father.
Family and friends said Tairree West had known Olson for several years and had allowed the woman to live in West's apartment when Olson became homeless.