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NEWS IN BRIEF: A summary of developments across Los
Angeles County | Community News File / Altadena

Woman Pleads No Contest to Endangering Patient

October 23, 1998

The mother of a gunman who was killed in the North Hollywood bank robbery pleaded no contest Thursday to endangering the health of a mentally retarded woman in her care.

Valerie Nicolescu-Matasareanu was sentenced to time served in County Jail. She also was placed on three years' probation and ordered to pay $200 in restitution.

Pasadena Superior Court Judge Janice Croft gave the 56-year-old Altadena resident credit for the time she has served behind bars since her arrest in January after failing to appear in court.

Nicolescu-Matasareanu was originally arrested in March 1997 for locking a mentally disabled woman in a darkened room under extremely unsanitary conditions.

The woman was discovered in a Pasadena building owned by Nicolescu-Matasareanu during a search for clues about her son, Emil, 30, and Larry Eugene Phillips Jr., 26, who died in the widely publicized bank robbery and shootout.

Deputy Dist. Atty. Hilda Weintraub said the room the woman was locked in at 304 E. Orange Grove Blvd. had no toilet, light or hot water.

In exchange for pleading no contest, prosecutors agreed to dismiss additional charges against her, including false imprisonment and running an unlicensed board and care facility.

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