Former Muir teacher to stand trial in murder case:Hot and Latest News
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Former Muir teacher to stand trial in murder case

A former John Muir High School English teacher should be tried on charges of murdering his ex-wife's boyfriend in Arcadia last March, a judge ruled Thursday.

Pasadena Superior Court Judge Laura F. Priver found "sufficient cause" to hold Brandon Michael Landreth, 30, of Pasadena to answer to charges of first degree murder and set an arraignment for Jan. 30.

Citing testimony that Landreth had made threats against another of his ex-wife's lovers, Priver also javascript:void(0)set Landreth's bail at $5 million.

Landreth pleaded not guilty at his first arraignment in April in the shooting of 25-year-old Justo Cesar Morales at Morales' parents' Canyon Road home in northern Arcadia.

In initial police reports of the crime, a gunman knocked on Morales' front door, then opened fire immediately after Morales opened the door. The gunman then rode off on a skateboard, witnesses told detectives.

Prosecutors outlined the case against Landreth at a preliminary hearing Thursday. A friend of Landreth, Gerald Gracian, and Landreth's ex-wife, Tania, both claimed he had confessed to shooting and killing Morales.

Tania Landreth testified that the defendant had met her on her front lawn in the days after Morales' death and confessed to killing Morales.

"I asked, `Was he in pain?"' she recounted tearfully. "He told me, `He died quickly."'

She also said that Landreth had made threats against Morales' life close to 100 times over the
course of two years.

Landreth's attorney pointed out that police were unsuccessful in their attempts to tape Landreth's confession by wiring Tania.

He also asked her why she had not gone to the police upon hearing the threats against Morales' life, to which she replied that Landreth had threatened her too.

At a hearing in April, investigators cited items police found inside Landreth's car when officers stopped it in Pasadena on April 2, three days after Morales was shot.

Inside his silver Volkswagen police found camping gear, a backpack full of clothing and other articles, and $9,000 in cash Landreth had withdrawn from his bank, investigators said.

In a search of Landreth's home, authorities recovered a handgun and ammunition. They also found a piece of paper with the address of another possible victim. That man, like Morales, also had dated Landreth's ex-wife, police said.

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