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VENTURA COUNTY NEWS

Oxnard Man Gets 16 Years to Life in Killing

Court: The 23-year-old longtime gang member admitted last month to the 1999 beating and strangling of a young mother at a Saviers Road motel.

February 23, 2001|ANNA GORMAN | TIMES STAFF WRITER

An Oxnard man was sentenced Thursday to 16 years to life in state prison for killing a young mother in a Saviers Road motel room.

Salvador Sumaran, 23, originally pleaded not guilty to second-degree murder, but changed his plea to guilty last month. Sumaran, a longtime gang member, then admitted to the September 1999 killing of 20-year-old Janet Williams.

About a dozen family members, including Williams' 4-year-old son, attended the sentencing hearing in Ventura County Superior Court. A few showed Judge Steven Hintz photographs of Williams, an aspiring model, and told him how much they have missed her. They urged the judge to give Sumaran the maximum sentence.

"I'll never be able to accept the vicious and brutal way Janet died," said Sue Perkins, Williams' aunt. "Since Janet was taken away from us, we haven't been able to live a normal life. We've all suffered."

Williams' sister, Kim Navarro, broke down in tears and lashed out at Sumaran, who was sitting quietly next to his defense attorney. "How could you do that? Why? What were you thinking?"

Williams left her home the night she was killed, planning to attend a neighborhood party with friends, according to family members. She never returned home, and police found her body the next day.

Authorities said Sumaran beat Williams, strangled her and left the body outside the Ros-eda Motel in Oxnard on Sept. 10, 1999. Sumaran, who had registered at the motel that night, was arrested at the Ventura County Jail four days later.

Sumaran has been held in Ventura County Jail on $500,000 bail since then.

During a preliminary hearing, a cab driver identified Sumaran as the man he had picked up with an unidentified woman the night of the slaying. Sumaran had asked the driver to recommend a cheap motel and then asked him to return one hour later, the detective testified.

Deputy Dist. Atty. Bob Calvert told Hintz that Sumaran did not know Williams until shortly before the slaying. And days later, he said, "she is lying outside a hotel room beaten and strangled to death."

"Not only was she an attractive young woman, she was also obviously a loving mother," Calvert said as he pointed to a large framed photograph of Williams and her son, Matthew.

Sumaran, who is taller than 6 feet with tattoos on his neck and arm, glanced at members of his family as he was escorted back into custody. He has a criminal record for theft, vandalism and drug use. His defense attorney declined comment.

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