MAN TO BE SENTENCED FOR TRYING TO KILL LIVE-IN GIRLFRIEND WITH A PLANK OF WOOD ON CHRISTMAS EVE

OCDASeal

Orange County District Attorney
Press Release


Tony Rackauckas, District Attorney
401 Civic Center Drive West
Santa Ana, CA 92701

For Immediate Release
August 18, 2006
Contact:

Susan Schroeder
Public Affairs Counsel
(714) 347-8408 Office
(714) 323-4486 Cell

MAN TO BE SENTENCED FOR TRYING TO KILL
LIVE-IN GIRLFRIEND WITH A PLANK OF WOOD
ON CHRISTMAS EVE

SANTA ANA – A man will be sentenced today for trying to kill his live-in girlfriend, repeatedly abusing her, and brutally beating her with a plank of wood on Christmas Eve 2004. David Barela, 48, of Orange, was convicted by a jury of attempted murder, two counts of domestic battery causing injury with a prior conviction of domestic violence, arson of another person’s property, criminal threats, and child abuse. The jury also found that the defendant caused great bodily injury during a domestic violence incident and that he was personally using a piece of wood as a deadly weapon. He is facing life in prison and is scheduled to begin sentencing today, August 18, 2006, at 1:45 p.m. in department C-43, Central Justice Center, Santa Ana.

After a night of drinking on September 15, 2002, Barela returned home to his live-in girlfriend, Jane Doe.  Barela forced Doe into a closet, lit a match, and set her clothes on fire by burning them on the stove.  He then threatened Doe by telling her she would burn like the match. 

On December 24, 2004, Barela became angry with Doe and her 8-year-old grandson.  He cursed the child, and when Doe tried to stop him, he went into his room and returned with a 2” x 4” plank of wood.  Barela approached the victim from behind while she sat watching television.  He held the plank in his hand and began striking Doe in the head with full force.  He beat her multiple times, finally breaking the wood in two pieces.  Doe slumped to the ground and attempted to crawl away as her grandson looked on in horror, but Barela began hitting her again with the larger remaining piece of wood. 

Barela has a history of domestic violence.  In 1995 he pled guilty to corporal injury for abusing his then live-in girlfriend.  He punched her and threatened to cut off her fingers and “mess up” her face so that other men wouldn’t find her attractive.  In 1998 he received a strike for abusing another female victim.  He was living with a woman who, on April 19, 1998, he strangled until she fell unconscious.  When she awoke, he wrapped a leather jump rope around her neck, stood on her back as she lay on the floor and pulled up on the rope until the victim agreed to be quiet.  He pled guilty to corporal injury as a repeat offender and assault with a deadly weapon.

Deputy District Attorney Tony Ferrentino of the Felony Projects Unit is prosecuting this case.

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