A 38-year-old man was charged Wednesday with murder in the beating and stabbing deaths of his two young children at their Lancaster home.
Prospero Guadalupe Serna is charged two counts of murder; one count of attempted murder; two counts of assault of a child under 8 years of age causing death; and one count of child abuse. Serna was detained Saturday near the family’s home north of Los Angeles after deputies responded to a report of child abuse at the residence.
“When deputies arrived, they discovered that the two children had been beaten and stabbed to death,” the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office said in a statement. “Two other children, one who was injured, were found hiding in the residence.”
The children who died were identified in court documents as Serna’s 7- and 3-year-old daughters.
The children’s mother also was home at the time of the attack, prosecutors said. Serna was arrested a few blocks away, authorities said.
If convicted as charged, Serna will face a maximum sentence of life without the possibility of parole plus 25 years in prison.
Arraignment was scheduled for Wednesday. It was not immediately clear whether Serna has an attorney.
The criminal complaint includes the special circumstance allegation of multiple murders, along with allegations that he personally used a sharp object during the commission of the crime, personally inflicted great bodily injury on a child under five years old, and that he has a prior conviction from 2017 for unlawfully causing a fire of a structure or forest land.
“Two young lives were abruptly cut short in an astonishing act of brutality,” District Attorney George Gascón said in a statement announcing the charges. “This is a profoundly heart-wrenching tragedy that has shaken our community to its core. Our hearts ache for the innocent lives lost and those who will have to live the rest of their lives reliving a nightmare.”
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