Man gets 227 years to life

Rene Munoz, 39, killed his girlfriend and shot at four police officers in 2008.

September 09, 2010|By Veronica Rocha,

LOS ANGELES — A 39-year-old man convicted of killing his girlfriend and trying to kill four Glendale police officers during a shootout at Forest Lawn Memorial Park was sentenced Thursday to serve 227 years to life in prison.

Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge John Fisher denied issuing probation to Rene Munoz, who was convicted in May of killing Kelly Collins-McCowen, 37, outside a Los Angeles bowling alley on April 3, 2008.

He also refused his attorney's motion for a new trial.

Immediately after being sentenced, Munoz requested to speak.

"It wasn't a fair trial," he said. "There was not substantial evidence."

Fisher quickly ordered him to be jailed, but Munoz continued to speak loudly.

"I had a bullet in my head when they shot me," he said.


A sheriff's deputy began hauling a handcuffed Munoz off, even as he spoke to Collins-McCowen's mother.

"I didn't do it," he told her.

A woman with Collins-McCowen's mother yelled at Munoz, urging him not to speak to her.

As she began exiting the courtroom, she exchanged words with Munoz's family.

Collins-McCowen's mother declined to make a statement in court about the case.

Her daughter was found shot to death about 8 p.m. April 3, 2008, outside a bowling alley on Venice Boulevard in Los Angeles.

After killing his girlfriend at the bowling alley, Munoz drove to the cemetery, where his father and grandfather were buried, police said.

Soon after, Glassell Park residents called police reporting hearing a gunshot on the cemetery grounds on South Glendale Avenue.

Forest Lawn security then called Glendale police reporting a suspicious car parked on the cemetery lawn.

When officers arrived at the cemetery, they were met with gunfire.

Glendale Police Officers Justin and John Darby, who are brothers, and Kelley Cook and Kyle Heinbechner then radioed in that they had been fired at.

Police surrounded the cemetery, where Munoz, who doesn't have a criminal history, pointed a gun at a special weapons and tactics vehicle.

Munoz recorded his phone conversation with a friend during the standoff, in which he admitted to shooting his girlfriend three times, police said.

"Justice was served," Deputy Dist. Atty. Marguerite Rizzo said about the sentencing.

After several hours of negotiation with Munoz via his cell phone, he appeared to be giving up until he suddenly stepped on the accelerator of his car and charged a police barricade.

Officers fired shots at his Escalade, and it crashed into one of the patrol cars. Munoz survived a shot to his head.

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