Appeals court upholds ruling denying resentencing for Bakersfield woman convicted of murder

Crime Watch

FRESNO, Calif. (KGET) — An appellate court has upheld a Kern judge’s decision to deny resentencing for a woman who was sentenced to life without parole for her role in a 2010 robbery in which the victim was killed.

Milani Larrea, 48, had sought to be resentenced under changes to the state’s felony murder rule. She argued her first-degree murder conviction shouldn’t stand because she was not the actual killer, didn’t assist her co-defendant in the killing and didn’t act with reckless indifference to human life during the robbery.

Superior Court Judge John W. Lua denied her petition, finding the jury, based on its verdicts, concluded she was a major participant in the robbery and had, in fact, acted with reckless indifference to human life.

“These are factual findings the jury had to have made based on the evidence presented at the trial,” Lua said according to court documents.

The 5th District Court of Appeal upheld Lua’s ruling late last month, stating the jury’s special circumstance finding that the murder was committed during the course of a robbery makes Larrea ineligible for resentencing, according to appellate documents.

Larrea and Abel Gaeta Jr., 42, were convicted in 2012 of murder and robbery in the death of Wesley Nunley, 54.

A third defendant, Ronnie Fleming, pleaded no contest to voluntary manslaughter and robbery and was sentenced to 11 years in prison, court records show.

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