Calif. Man Pleads Guilty in Wife’s Murder; Woman Attacked with Chain Saw, Set on Fire

August 19, 2005

A Hawthorne, California man accused of attacking his estranged wife with a chain saw and setting her on fire pleaded guilty recently to her murder in exchange for a sentence of life in prison without the possibility of parole, the District Attorney’s office announced.

Deputy District Attorney Mary Suzukawa said 36-year-old Carlos Hernandez Romo pleaded guilty to the special circumstances murder of his wife, the attempted murder of her male companion, arson and burglary. The plea was entered before Torrance Superior Court Judge William Hollingsworth. Sentencing was scheduled for Oct. 7 before Torrance Superior Court Judge Andrew C. Kauffman.

Romo was arrested on Sept. 28, 2004, shortly after the attacks on his estranged wife, Paz Maya Romo, in her mid-30s, and Fredy Flores, at the woman’s home in the Lennox area. Both were attacked with a chain saw, authorities said, and the woman was set on fire.

The defendant originally was charged with two counts of attempted murder, burglary and arson. The complaint was amended to allege the special circumstances murder of Mrs. Romo after the woman died on Oct. 8, 2004. She had been cut on her head and body. There were burns over 90 percent of her body.

Suzukawa said the defendant pleaded guilty in exchange for the life-without-parole sentence. He has remained in custody without bail.

Suzukawa said the Romos’ daughter, now 12, and son, now 10, are living with relatives.

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