A state appeals court panel today upheld a woman's conviction for murdering a neighbor and stabbing three of the victim's relatives with a 12-inch knife during a pre-dawn attack in Lakewood more than six years ago.
The three-justice panel from California's 2nd District Court of Appeal rejected an appeal filed on behalf of Virginia Ann Krall, who was sentenced in January 2011 to just over 36 years to life in state prison.
Krall was convicted in August 2009 of second-degree murder for the June 16, 2006, killing of Yolanda Meraz, 37, who was stabbed 30 times in the 4300 block of Quigley Avenue.
She also was convicted of three counts of attempted murder for the stabbings of Meraz's mother, daughter and sister, along with one count of residential burglary.
Jurors in her first trial deadlocked on whether she was sane or insane at the time of the crime, resulting in a sanity phase retrial. A second jury later determined that she was sane.
Krall's trial attorney and family contended she was mentally ill.
Meraz's daughter, Megan Bufford, who spoke at Krall's sentencing, begged the judge to keep her mother's killer in prison for life.
"I never want to see the day when she is released," Bufford told Norwalk Superior Court Judge Robert J. Higa.