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Man charged with murder of woman on Los Angeles subway linked to previous violence

Man charged with murder of woman on Los Angeles subway linked to previous violence


A 45-year-old man suspected of fatally stabbing a woman as she got off a subway train in North Hollywood previously attacked a passenger, leading a judge to order him to keep his distance from the rail system during three years.

Elliot Tramel Nowden was arrested Monday shortly after a woman was found fatally injured on the ground on the dock at Universal Studios, Acting Los Angeles Police Chief Dominic Choi announced Tuesday during a meeting of the police commission.

The victim, Mirna Soza, was a 66-year-old mother of three who arrived in Los Angeles from Managua, Nicaragua several years ago. She was returning home from her job as a night security guard at an Original Tommys hamburger restaurant in North Hills when she was killed.

This incident is extremely, extremely tragic, Choi said.

In June 2019, Nowden was arrested and charged with attacking a passenger on a subway train in Los Angeles County. He pleaded no contest, spent five days in jail and was sentenced to 36 months' probation, according to court records.

Under the terms of his probation, he was prohibited from possessing weapons, using force or threatening violence. He was also ordered to stay off subway trains during his probation period.

But a few weeks later, Nowden appeared before a judge on charges of assault with a deadly weapon and battery. He was sentenced to four years in state prison after pleading no contest to the assault charge, according to court records, and received 179 days of credit for time served.

Nowden was paroled to the Department of State Hospitals on March 18, 2022, while serving his prison sentence, according to a spokesperson for the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation. He was released on parole in August 2022 and released on parole in March 2023.

Most recently, Nowden was arrested for trespassing on Jan. 31, according to LAPD Officer Norma Eisenman.

Authorities have released few details about what led to Monday's attack. Police said Soza was stabbed in the throat shortly after 5 a.m. as she got off the train. His attacker got off at the same stop and fled.

Residents in the area found the woman and called 911, authorities said. Paramedics took her to a local hospital, where she died from her injuries, according to the LAPD.

About 30 minutes after the LAPD arrived at the station, officers spotted a person matching the suspect's description near the intersection of Ventura Boulevard and Vineland Avenue.

The man, later identified as Nowden, was arrested by officers and questioned by detectives from the Valley Bureau's homicide division. Nowden was arrested on suspicion of murder after detectives reviewed available evidence, according to the LAPD.

He is being held on $2 million bail.

At Tuesday's police commission meeting, Commissioner Maria Lou Calanche asked Choi to ensure there was adequate security on the subway early in the morning, when riders tend to have higher incomes. weak.

Choi responded that the department's deployment is strategic based on crime trends and needs. He did not provide details.

It's not just a flat rollout, just saying those that have been rolled out, so we're looking at crime trends while looking at ridership. We review the activity and deploy accordingly, Choi added.

He said officers on trains, in stations and on buses, along with ambassadors for the metro systems, are a directed effort to increase our presence and safety on these lines.

Again, we can't be everywhere all the time, Choi said. The department tries to distribute officers and engage with riders to create a sense of safety and respond to crime trends or problems as they arise immediately and quickly.

Deputy Commissioner Rasha Gerges Shields said Monday's stabbing was a very unfortunate death and what appears to be a very unprovoked attack on a woman.

The LAPD described Nowden as a transient. Public records show his last known address was in Little Rock, Ark. He was a wanted fugitive in Texas in November 2008, according to court records, and had previously been charged in Bexar County, Texas, with theft and drug possession.

Nowden is being held at a Van Nuys jail, records show.

Investigators believe other people may have been attacked by Nowden. Anyone with information can contact homicide detectives with the LAPD's Operations Valley office at (818) 374-9550.

Staff writers Richard Winton and James Queally contributed to this report.




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