Santa Monica Observer - Community, Diversity, Sustainability and other Overused Words

By Christine Emerson
Observer Staff Writer 

Victim Wrote His Name In Her Blood Before She Died.

"He was supposed to turn people into Pez dispensers by sneaking up behind them and slicing their throat,"

 

September 23, 2016

James Duane Grzeslo, 59, has been sentenced to 26 years to life in state prison for a 2011 murder. He'd been found guilty of one count of first-degree murder in August.

A man whose victim wrote his name in her own blood was sentenced today for her murder. James Duane Grzeslo, 59, was found guilty on August 10 of the first-degree murder of his girlfriend. Grzeslo was convicted of slashing the woman's throat with a knife at her Beverly Hills apartment in October, 2011.

His victim, Cathy Ann Carrasco-Zanini, 58, managed to write Grzeslo's name in her own blood before succumbing to her injuries and dying in her apartment.

At the trial, witnesses claimed that Grzeslo was possessive and jealous of Carrasco-Zanini's friendships with other people. Testimony was presented that Grzeslo would tell people that, as a Marine, he would turn them into 'Pez dispensers' by slashing their throats.

Grzeslo was sentenced on Monday to 26 years to life in state prison. The case was prosecuted by Deputy District Attorneys Keri Modder and Oksana Sigal. Investigation was done by the Beverly Hills Police Department.

From the LA Times:

Of all the lies that James Grzeslo spread about himself - from claiming that he was a decorated Marine who served in Vietnam to telling people he was a cardiothoracic surgeon even though he was really a nurse - one claim in particular stood out for sheer gruesomeness, prosecutors say.

"He was supposed to turn people into Pez dispensers by sneaking up behind them and slicing their throat," said Los Angeles County Deputy Dist. Atty. Oksana Sigal.

Though Grzeslo, 59, did serve in the military, Sigal said he entered the service after the Vietnam War and there was no evidence he had ever killed anyone.

No evidence, that is, until Oct. 26, 2011. That's when Sigal says Grzeslo acted upon his throat-cutting "fantasy" and nearly decapitated his girlfriend, 58-year-old Cathy Ann Carrasco-Zanini, in her Beverly Hills apartment. He was convicted of the killing last month and sentenced Monday to 26 years to life in prison.

"The victim was a pretty assertive woman, and he couldn't control her, and she most likely stood her ground," Sigal said.

After cutting her throat, Grzeslo fled, authorities said. Carrasco-Zanini managed to write two letters on her apartment wall in blood: "JG," Grzeslo's initials.

"I think it aligned with his fantasy of how he killed people. The way he murdered her was almost like cutting her head off," Sigal said.

James Duane Grzeslo, 59, has been sentenced to 26 years to life in state prison for a 2011 murder. He'd been found guilty of one count of first-degree murder in August.

 

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