Kawhi Leonard’s sister charged with murdering 84-year-old woman at Pechanga casino
TEMECULA – The Riverside County ,
Mary Assad and her family drove Assad’s elderly parents to the Pechanga Resort Casino near Temecula on Aug. 31 before continuing on for a day trip to Julian in San Diego County.
“We dropped them off at the valet and waved to them,” Assad said. “You would think it’s a safe place to take your parents.”
As Long Beach residents Afaf Anis Assad, 84, and her husband, Youanness, 94, walked inside the casino just before 7:30 a.m., the Riverside County Sheriff’s Department said, Kimesha Monae Williams and Candace Tai Townsel were walking out. But when the women saw a pink purse dangling from Afaf Assad’s left arm, they did an about-face.
Casino surveillance tape showed Williams and Townsel follow Assad into the women’s bathroom, according to court documents. Four minutes later, the women were gone, and Assad was found unconscious in the bathroom, her skull broken, her brain bleeding and the purse with about $1,000 inside missing.
Williams, 35, and Townsel, 39, both Moreno Valley residents, were arrested Sept. 3. Assad died Sept. 4. On Friday, Sept. 6, they were charged with murder, robbery, elder abuse and a special circumstance of committing a robbery during a murder that makes them eligible for the death penalty. The District Attorney’s Office has not decided whether to seek that penalty or life in prison without the possibility of parole, spokesman John Hall said.
Both women are being held without bail. They are due to be arraigned Sept. 19 at Southwest Justice Center in French Valley.
“Williams has a violent history and targeted a feeble elderly female and robbed her,” a sheriff’s investigator wrote in a court document that asked a judge to hold the 6-foot-2, 320-pound Williams without bail. She has convictions for petty theft, grand theft, misappropriating lost property, grand theft auto and attempted robbery, court records show. Townsel has a conviction in Riverside County for petty theft.
Mary Assad cried Friday as she talked by telephone about her mother’s death. Assad was preparing to head to a mortuary to make funeral arrangements.
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