A state appeals court panel has upheld a man’s conviction for fatally stabbing his 69-year-old wife in the Westlake district about 4 1/2 years ago.
The three-justice panel from California’s 2nd District Court of Appeal rejected the defense’s contention that there was insufficient evidence that the Sept. 28, 2008, killing of Violeta Alonte Monlion Berg was deliberate and premeditated.
The defense also unsuccessfully appealed a Los Angeles Superior Court judge’s finding that Ronald L. Berg was mentally competent to stand trial.
“Immediately before the murder, appellant said he begged his wife to stay with him because he could not function without her. Appellant’s statements to the police that he was enraged about this situation establish a motive for the murder from which the jury could rationally find the murder was deliberate and premeditated,” the justices found in a 20-page ruling released Monday.
Berg told police that he brought two knives from the kitchen into the bedroom where his wife was sleeping.
“He struck her twice with an iron, and when she fought back, stabbed her with the knives,” according to the appellate court panel’s ruling. “This interview was played for the jury.
The jury could reasonably infer that when he brought the two knives into the bedroom from the kitchen, appellant planned to kill his wife.”
Berg — who was 72 at the time of the crime — called 911 to report that he had stabbed his wife and that she was dying.
He was convicted of first-degree murder and sentenced to 26 years to life in state prison.