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VALLEY ROUNDUP | Van Nuys

16 Years to Life Given in Slaying

August 09, 2000|CAITLIN LIU

A Van Nuys man who led police to his own arrest when he reported a foul odor coming from his ex-girlfriend's home was sentenced to 16 years to life in prison for her slaying, prosecutors said Tuesday.

After Robert Vann Carson, 35, complained of an odor, police became suspicious when officers failed to smell anything unusual outside the Van Nuys apartment of 21-year-old Lea Diann Thomas on Aug. 3, 1999.

But inside, police found the body of the woman, who had been stabbed to death. Carson was arrested the next day.

Carson, convicted of second-degree murder in a bench trial before Van Nuys Superior Court Judge Michael Hoff, was sentenced Monday, Deputy Dist. Atty. Ed Abele said. A

ccording to court records, Carson had a previous misdemeanor conviction involving a domestic violence-related offense, for which he received three years' probation.

The couple had a history of problems, and Thomas was trying to break up with Carson shortly before he killed her, according to police.

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