LOS ANGELES – Preliminary proceedings for a GEO Group Inc. employee who is charged with murder begin today.
Efrem Lozoya, 38 who was identified as the Montebello Police Department Jail Administrator has pleaded not guilty to the murder and attempted murder of his ex-wife Nereida Villanueva, 33 and the attempted murder of her boyfriend in the South Whittier neighborhood.
The shooting is said to have taken place in front of the couple’s two children ages 9 and 7 using Lozoya’s on the job weapon. Neighbors reported that the children fled the July 1, 2017 scene screaming for help as they banged on the doors of nearby neighbors.
The children are scheduled to appear to testify in court on Tuesday, against the wishes of the Los Angeles County prosecutor and of the Villanueva family. This will be the first time that the children will see their father since the incident, according to family.
Lozoya is being held on $2 million bail and is facing up to 75 years to life in prison if convicted.
Iranian Immigrant Dies in Aurora Detention Center
Immigrant rights organizations, American Friends Service Committee (AFSC) Colorado, Rocky Mountain Immigrant Advocacy Network (RMIAN) and Detention Watch Network (DWN) have condemned the death of Kamyar Samimi, 64. Samimi died on Saturday while in the custody of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) at the GEO Aurora Detention Center.
“As members of the Iranian American Community we are saddened by this tragedy and condemn any and all inequitable acts toward fellow Colorado residents,” shared Fara Novin, “Mr. Samimi is survived by two daughters, a sister, an uncle and an ex wife with considerable extended family and relationships in the Iranian community.”
Since 2003, 177 people have died in immigrant detention – in fiscal year 2017 alone, there were 12 deaths in detention centers in the US. Recent investigations into deaths in immigration detention, Fatal Neglect: How ICE Ignores Deaths in Detention and Systemic Indifference: Dangerous and Substandard Medical Care in US Immigration Detention, have found that inadequate medical care has contributed to numerous deaths. The American Friends Service Committee (AFSC) reports that on November 6th, 2017, just 11 days before Mr. Samimi entered the GEO facility, AFSC Colorado and Regis University held a Day of the Dead themed vigil honoring those who have died in ICE custody and call for an end to the expanding for-profit detention system.