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Friday, November 8, 2013

Murder LA 000035

The LA Times recently interviewed Mark Fajardo, who has been Los Angeles' coroner since August. The discussion touches on how this is the busiest coroner's office in the country - because New York has several - and having to compartmentalize his job from his home life.

When asked if any cases stuck with him he has a quick answer, one from his tenure as a pathologist in Riverside County.

On December 25th, 2005, 11-year-old Ricky Morales was instructed to clean the bathroom. He was born in Los Angeles but was sent to live with his aunt and uncle in a Washington trailer park after his mother went to jail. They had since moved to Corona, CA.

He had been routinely abused by his 42-year-old uncle, Raul Sarinana, resulting in internal injuries. On that Christmas Day, apparently due to those injuries, he threw up a meal his aunt had made, which she took as an insult. His punishment was to clean the bathroom.

When his uncle checked in on him he was displeased by the boy's progress so he kicked him and locked him in a bedroom closet. Ricky tried to get out, so he was kicked again. His uncle then returned to eat Christmas dinner with his wife. Hours later they checked back on the boy and found him dead.

Cathy and Raul Sarinana
via Murderpedia

Raul called 911 to report that he had injured his nephew.

Police found the boy in the closet, which even had blood spatter on the ceiling.

The boy had family scattered around LA, including a cousin in Downey who remembers Sarinana as his "favorite uncle." Police learned from at least one of those relatives that Ricky's 13-year-old brother, Conrad, was also living with the Sarinanas.

Their search for the older sibling ended in a trash can in the Sarinana's carport. Raul is said to have confessed to slamming the boy's head into a wall back in Washington, killing him. Conrad was wrapped in a bag and put in the trash can, which was then filled with cement. Apparently they took it with them from Washington and kept him outside with their car. Somebody held onto his journal, too, since it was entered into evidence.

Ricky and Conrad Morales
via Murderpedia

Raul and his wife, Cathy, were tried simultaneously but with separate juries in 2009.

Los Angeles' new coroner testified against them.

They were both found guilty of first-degree murder and sentenced to death. A member of Cathy's jury, which consisted of 11 women and one man, said they felt that she was the mastermind, she having testified that her husband "had the mind of a 15-year-old."

Raul and Cathy Sarinana have not been executed as of November 2013.