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Crime Watch: Brothers re-arrested for murder of Mugsy's Bar owner

Breakthrough in 2006 slaying

Posted: August 18, 2008 12:48 p.m.
Updated: October 19, 2008 5:02 a.m.

Two brothers arrested and released two years ago in connection with the beating and stabbing death of Mugsy's Bar owner Louis Campanelli have been arrested again for the same slaying, this time charged with first-degree murder.

Christopher Rosas, 47, and his brother Ralph Rosas, 46, were arrested without incident Friday, according to one of the two homicide detectives handling the case.

"It was something that was long overdue," said Detective Steven Lankford of the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department's Homicide Bureau.

On Friday morning, Lankford and sheriff's deputies arrested Ralph Rosas at his residence in Santa Clarita.

Then, later in the evening that same day, Lankford accompanied Arizona law enforcement officers in the town of Glendale, Ariz., outside Phoenix, in arresting Christopher Rosas at his place of employment.

Christopher Rosas moved to Arizona and began work with a trucking company there, Lankford said.

On Feb. 26, 2006, Mugsy's Bar owner Louis Campanelli, 55, was found stabbed and beaten to death inside the Canyon Country establishment.

A month later, both Rosas brothers were arrested by Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff's Station deputies at the bar, which Christopher Rosas co-owned.

"Originally, these two were arrested in March 2006 but were subsequently released by the District Attorney's office on insufficient evidence," he said. "Obviously, the sheriff's homicide bureau felt otherwise."

Lankford and his partner at the time, Sgt. Jeff Cochran, pursued the case and, on Friday, arrested one brother in Santa Clarita and the other in Arizona.

Ralph Rosas was arraigned in San Fernando Superior Court Monday morning on a charge of first-degree murder. He is being held without bail.

His brother was expected to be arraigned in the same court on the same charge Monday as well.

In March 2006, Christopher Rosas was charged with possession of methamphetamines and released on a $10,000 bond.

At that time, no charges were filed against Ralph Rosas.

When the original charges were dropped, investigators were reportedly in the midst of gathering physical evidence.

The sole witness, an unidentified woman, wrote in a four-page statement that Campanelli had been beaten to death, but stated she could not see the assailants because she was hit over the head and had a plastic container placed over her head.

It was then that she reportedly heard Campanelli being murdered. While she wrote in her initial statement that she could not hear who the killers were, she later told investigators she believed Chris and Ralph Rosas committed the murder.

Campanelli was badly beaten and received blunt trauma to the face, according to the county Coroner's Office.

Signal Staff Writer Brian Charles contributed to this report.


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