A 31-year-old man was found guilty Wednesday for the murder of a woman whose three children were later kidnapped, the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office announced.
Jurors deliberated for less than a day before finding Alex Valdez guilty of one count of first-degree murder. The panel also found true a special circumstance allegation of killing a witness.
Sentencing was set for March 1 when Valdez, of Fresno, faces life in prison without the possibility of parole, Greg Risling, spokesman for the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office said.
Deputy District Attorneys Mario Haidar and Kathy Ta prosecuted the case.
In August 2016, Kimberly Harvill was murdered and her body was discovered in a remote area of Gorman.
Prosecutors said Harvill was killed by 29-year-old Joshua Robertson and Valdez because the victim was a witness to a shooting in Fresno involving the two defendants that occurred days before her murder.
Robertson and the victim’s half-sister, Brittney Sue Humphrey, 24, both of Fresno, kidnapped Harvill’s children ages 5, 3 and 2 after the crime occurred.
The children were later found abandoned in a New Mexico motel. Humphrey and Robertson were arrested later in Colorado and Valdez was arrested in Fresno.
In January, Robertson entered an open, no contest plea to one count of first-degree murder, three counts of kidnapping, two counts of an unrelated arson and one count each of possession of a firearm by a felon and possession of flammable material.
An open plea is a plea that was not negotiated with prosecutors.
Robertson was immediately sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole.
Humphrey pleaded no contest to three counts of kidnapping and was sentenced to 13 years in prison in September 2017.