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Man gets life in slaying of West Hills couple

December 19, 2007|Tiffany Hsu | Times Staff Writer

A Canoga Park man was sentenced Tuesday to life in prison without the possibility of parole for fatally stabbing an elderly couple in their West Hills home during a botched burglary in 2001, attorneys said.

Gregory Douglas Miner, 32, was convicted last month in Van Nuys Superior Court of murdering World War II Navy veteran William Lasky, 76, and his wife, Bertha, 73.

After a 15-day trial, Miner was also found guilty of several robbery and burglary charges, said Deputy Dist. Atty. Shellie Samuels. He is ineligible for parole because the jury convicted him of special circumstances -- murdering the couple during the commission of a burglary and robbery.

The couple's son and two daughters attended each day of the trial, Samuels said.

Miner's attorney, David Sakata, could not be reached for comment. Miner was accused of breaking into the Laskys' home with possibly two accomplices and stealing electronics, cameras and jewelry before being confronted by William Lasky.

Lasky was taken hostage at knifepoint while the house was ransacked. When Bertha Lasky returned home from shopping, the robbers slit her throat and stabbed William three times in the chest, authorities said.

Miner told investigators that one of his accomplices also sexually assaulted Bertha Lasky, though Samuels said the coroner could not confirm that she had been raped.

Police said the robbers then drove the couple's 1995 Buick Regal for 50 miles before returning to the house to set it on fire, apparently to destroy evidence of the crime. Firefighters found the couple in their bed after responding to reports of a blaze at the house, in the 7200 block of Pomelo Drive, the morning of Feb. 5.

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tiffany.hsu@latimes.com

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