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UPDATED: Rosas brothers sentenced

Ralph and Christopher Rosas to spend lives in prison for brutal 2006 murder

Posted: May 27, 2011 1:55 a.m.
Updated: May 27, 2011 1:55 a.m.

SAN FERNANDO — Brothers Ralph and Christopher Rosas were each sentenced to life without the possibility of parole at a hearing Thursday for the brutal 2006 murder of Louis Alexander Campanelli at the Canyon Country bar the two parties co-owned.

Before handing down her sentence in San Fernando Superior Court, Judge Cynthia Ulfig called Campanelli’s murder exceptionally violent.

Ulfig said she was disturbed to learn of the Rosas brothers’ extensive planning before bludgeoning Campanelli to death at the now defunct Mugsy’s Bar in the Canyon Country Plaza.

The brothers were convicted last month after a lengthy jury trial of first-degree murder with a special circumstance of lying in wait.

“I’ve been doing this a long time, and the evidence was indeed overwhelming,” Ulfig said.

Ralph Rosas offered to buy Campanelli’s stake in the bar for $40,000 so the brothers could run Mugsy’s together months after it opened in 2005. But Campanelli refused.

The bludgeoned body of Campanelli, 55, was found lying in a pool of blood behind the fledgling Canyon Country bar on Feb. 26, 2006. The Canyon Country man had been stabbed repeatedly. His face was crushed with a fire extinguisher.

Campanelli’s cousin Mary Kreutz read a two-page letter during the hearing detailing the anguish and trauma Campanelli’s murder had on the victim’s parents and family.

At the funeral, which the Rosas brothers attended, Campanelli’s mother had to be escorted away from the casket during the ceremony.

The experience was too traumatic for her to bear, Kreutz said.

“(The Rosas brothers) are not men, they’re cowards who lack respect for human life,” Kreutz said. “Louis Campanelli was a loving son who cared for his aging parents.”

Both Christopher and Ralph Rosas, who were shackled together in the courtroom and dressed in blue prison jumpsuits, said they were innocent.

“I would like to give my condolences to the family,” Ralph Rosas said, his head turned towards Campanelli’s family. “Louis was my friend also. You’ve got the wrong people. There’s no doubt we didn’t do this. Neither did my brother.”

In response, Deputy District Attorney Beth Silverman pointed out the overwhelming evidence, including witness statements and DNA that tied the brothers to the crime, that led two separate juries to convict the brothers after only a few hours of deliberation.

“I think it’s disgusting to address the family indicating they didn’t have responsibility for the murder,” Silverman said to the judge.

Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Detective Steve Lankford said Campanelli’s murder was the most violent he has seen during his 27 years with the department.

“I’ve never come across two defendants like this — they have absolutely no remorse,” Lankford said. “They know what they did. They’re delusional, and they can live in a fantasy world until they die in prison.”

Campanelli pleaded for his life and died slowly while choking on his own blood, Lankford said.

“This was like a thrill kill for them. It was a torture killing,” Lankford said. “Even when animals kill their prey, they kill them instantly. They don’t make them suffer.

“(The Rosas brothers) got what they deserved.”


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