Suspects in brutal beating and robbery of elderly couple in El Cerrito home arrested in Oakland

Suspects in brutal beating of elderly couple in El Cerrito home arrested in Oakland.

Two suspects are in custody in connection with a heartless robbery in El Cerrito last month during which a couple in their 90s were beaten and tied-up in their home.

John Lee, 30, and Donna Demitro, 24, were arrested Tuesday in Oakland by the U.S. Marshals Task Force, according to the El Cerrito Police Department.

The arrests came after evidence found at the crime scene was processed at the Contra Costa County Office of Sheriff Crime Lab in Martinez, leading to warrants being issued for Lee and Demitro, according to El Cerrito police.

Police then requested assistance from the U.S. Marshals in locating the suspects. Further information about the investigation wasn’t immediately available.

The horrific attack occurred Sept. 13 and was preceded the previous day by a conversation about the victims’ flowers outside their Richmond Street home. Lee and Demitro allegedly drove up in front of couple’s house and started a conversation about the flowers and eventually talked their way into the home.

After the suspects left, the couple realized a wallet, cash and jewelry were missing from a bedroom. But the suspects would return the following day with far more sinister intentions, police said.

The suspects showed up with a dolly and were again invited into the home after offering the dolly to the couple. The female suspect attacked the wife in the kitchen after requesting warm water. She was beaten and stabbed in the arm with a sharp instrument and bound with light rope, police said.

Meanwhile, the male suspect beat and bound the husband in a back bedroom.

The suspects made off with a safe from the home, using the dolly they brought to carry it out.

When the female suspect caught the wife trying to call 911, she beat her again, police said.

While they suffered serious injuries, they survived the attack.

Lee and Demitro, who remain in custody, were booked into jail on a litany of charges including robbery, assault with a deadly weapon, elder abuse, burglary, battery causing serious bodily injury, false imprisonment, conspiracy and an enhancement for causing great bodily injury to a person over 70 years old.

The ECPD gave shout outs to the county’s forensics and crime lab, its DA’s office and US Marshals.


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