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Escaped Murderer Is Charged in Carjack Attack

Crime: Marvin Sandoval was among three teens who fled Juvenile Hall with a gun July 31. The car was found later. Another youth broke out of custody last week.

October 04, 2002|RICHARD WINTON | TIMES STAFF WRITER

A convicted murderer who escaped with two other inmates from Central Juvenile Hall has been charged with stabbing a woman during a brutal carjacking, authorities said Thursday.

Los Angeles police detectives said the victim identified Marvin Alexander Sandoval, 17, as her assailant in the Aug. 6 carjacking. Her vehicle was later recovered near the border with Mexico, police said.

Jose Rene Argueta, 18, a Los Angeles street gang member, led the July 31 escape from the central hall in Lincoln Heights by overpowering unarmed guards with a handgun smuggled into the facility. Using a ladder and sheets, Argueta, Sandoval and a convicted carjacker, Fernando Nupiri, 18, scaled the hall's 20-foot wall.

Probation officials acknowledged Wednesday that another juvenile escaped last Thursday from a psychiatric facility. The 18-year-old is the second inmate to escape while on a visit to an outside medical facility, and brings to five the number who have escaped while under the supervision of the facility.

Six days after Sandoval fled, investigators said, he assaulted a woman in the 1200 block of South Redondo Boulevard. Detectives said Sandoval demanded her keys, stabbed her in the stomach and drove away with her car, leaving her bleeding. The woman, according to law enforcement sources, suffered deep wounds despite having offered no resistance.

Police in National City, in San Diego County, found the car a few days later.

At the time of his escape, Sandoval was awaiting sentencing for a murder that occurred in the same area of Los Angeles as the carjacking.

That escape began when Argueta asked guards to release him from a locked room in a special housing unit for the most violent inmates so he could get a drink of water. Once outside, he produced a .45-caliber handgun and forced three guards to release Sandoval and Nupiri.

After locking the guards in a utility room, the three fled to an outside yard and used a 5-foot ladder from a utility closet placed on a 3-foot tree stump to climb to a rooftop. They then scaled a perimeter wall.

Argueta was previously convicted of first-degree murder and conspiracy in the shooting of a 27-year-old former leader of an Armenian street gang at a Hollywood Boulevard deli. He was awaiting sentencing when he escaped.

After the escape, the county Board of Supervisors asked the county Probation Department, which runs the juvenile halls, to work with the sheriff's custody division to find room in the county jails to house teenagers convicted of adult crimes and awaiting sentencing.

The most recent escape was of an 18-year-old from Ingleside, a Rosemead psychiatric facility, said Ken Kondo, a Probation Department spokesman.

Kondo said the juvenile, who was awaiting trial for drug possession, escaped through a window.

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