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Grover Beach murder suspect testifies in trial

Grover Beach murder suspect takes the stand in trial
Posted at 11:12 PM, Oct 16, 2019
and last updated 2019-10-17 21:48:39-04
Attorneys present closing arguments in Grover Beach matricide trial

The man charged with murdering his mother in Grover Beach last fall took to the stand Wednesday during his trial.

Levente Laszlo Lazar, 27, was composed when being questioned in a San Luis Obispo County courtroom Wednesday afternoon.

He discussed terms of his mother’s will and details of his trip to the Central Coast prior to his mother, Athena Valentiny, 64, being found dead in her home on South 9th Street in October of 2018.

Lazar lived in Indiana and killed his mother for financial gain, according to prosecutors.

The defendant testified that in mid-October of that year, he started talking to his mom about making a trip from Indiana to California.

He said the conversation was done over a secret phone because he did not want his girlfriend to find out he was planning to come to California.

Lazar said the reasoning was because he worried his girlfriend would find out the trip was intended to get her a promise ring.

Once in California, Lazar testified that he told his girlfriend he wasn’t ready to get married because of his failures.

Th failures reportedly being that he had recently lost a “good portion” of his inheritance, $40,000-$50,000.

He testified that his mother was the only one who knew he had lost the money, saying he discussed it at-length with her because she was “financially astute and she saved all her money.”

Jail logs show he has been in custody in San Luis Obispo County Jail since Dec. 6, 2018.

Jury selection began in the case at the end of last month and opening statements took place a few days later.

District Attorney Dan Dow previously said that if convicted, prosecutors would ask for a sentence of life in prison without the possibility of parole for Lazar.