Crime & Justice

Convictions for killing wife, LA deputy overturned

Photo illustration of crime scene yellow tape
Photo illustration of crime scene yellow tape
File/Flickr Creative Commons

An appeals court has upheld a decision to throw out the conviction of a Southern California man who confessed to killing his estranged wife and a Los Angeles County sheriff's deputy.

The Los Angeles Times reports the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled Tuesday that Reuben Lujan wasn't properly advised of his legal rights before he confessed to the 1998 killings.

The panel upheld a lower court ruling that overturned Lujan's first-degree murder convictions. 

Prosecutors say the Norwalk man used a concrete block to smash in the heads of 26-year-old Monica Lujan and her friend, off-duty Deputy Gilbert Madrigal.

Reuben Lujan was sentenced to life in prison without chance of parole.

Lujan could now have his first-degree murder conviction reduced to a lesser crime or be retried.