Booking Photo. Levente Laszlo Lazar (DOB:05/07/1992)

Man sentenced to serve life in prison without possibility of parole

Author: District Attorney
Date: 12/11/2019 11:35 AM

This morning a Judge sentenced Levente Laszlo Lazar (27) to life in prison without the possibility of parole for murdering his mother, Athena Valentiny (64), in her Grover Beach home on October 24, 2018. A San Luis Obispo County Jury earlier found Lazar guilty of premeditated murder for the purposes of financial gain.

District Attorney Dan Dow announced today that Levente Laszlo Lazar (DOB:05/07/1992) of Indiana was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole for the pre-meditated murder of his mother, Athena Valentiny (64), in her Grover Beach home on October 24, 2018.  Lazar was also convicted of a special circumstances allegation that he murdered Mrs. Valentiny for financial gain, subjecting him to a life term in prison without the possibility of parole. 

“While no amount of punishment will bring our victim Athena Valentiny back, a sentence of life in prison without the possibility of parole is a just outcome for this senseless murder,” said District Attorney Dan Dow.  “Mr. Lazar was wrong when he thought he could literally get away with murder by using technology and deception to hide his involvement.  We will always use every means at our disposal to find those responsible, even when they attempt to conceal their tracks.”

During the three week long jury trial, jurors heard testimony describing evidence that the defendant traveled to California from Indiana while using a ‘burner phone’ to conceal his travel and that while traveling back to Indiana he searched on the internet for any news article about his mother’s murder – even before law enforcement had discovered that the victim was dead. Additionally, the jury heard evidence that the victim’s original will naming him as the beneficiary was found in Lazar’s Indiana home and that the defendant had inquired about the value of her property and estate within a few months prior to her death.  Athena Velentiny was killed in her home by multiple stab wounds.  No murder weapon was found at the scene.  Her body was discovered on October 25, 2018 when law enforcement conducted a welfare check at her residence.

The sentence was imposed by San Luis Obispo County Superior Court Judge Matthew G. Guerrero. 

This case was investigated by the Grover Beach Police Department and the District Attorney’s Office Bureau of Investigations and was prosecuted by Deputy District Attorneys Kelly Manderino and Lindsey Bittner.

A copy of the charging document can be accessed here. A copy of the defendants booking photo can be found here.

Please contact Assistant District Attorney Eric J. Dobroth at 805.781.5819 with any questions.

# # #