A Moreno Valley woman and her son were each sentenced Monday to 25 years to life in state prison for killing her husband after the victim discovered that she had been cheating on him with a convicted felon, who also helped beat the man to death.
Darla Anne Bennett, 47, her son, 30-year-old Sonnie Chavira, and her lover, 51-year-old David James Harrison, were convicted in May 2017 of first- degree murder for the slaying two years earlier of 47-year-old Juan Servin of Moreno Valley.
Riverside County Superior Court Judge Ronald Taylor imposed the required prison terms on Bennett and Chavira.
Harrison’s sentencing hearing was postponed to May 6 at the Riverside Hall of Justice. The defendant’s attorney requested the additional time to file motions challenging the ex-con’s prior felony strikes.
Servin was beaten to death on the night of Dec. 4, 2014, in the garage of his single-story home at 16418 Hazelwood Court.
The defendants and victim were drinking when Servin became agitated and made disparaging remarks about Bennett, who had been romantically involved with Harrison for two months, according to court papers.
Bennett later told investigators that she stepped out of the garage and returned moments later to find Harrison and Chavira striking her drunken husband on the head with blunt instruments. An autopsy revealed he had been hit 22 times and died from blunt force trauma.
Sheriff’s Detective Sean Freeman wrote in an arrest warrant affidavit filed within days of the murder that investigators spoke to several witnesses, who said Bennett and Servin had been at odds for a while, and that she had once expressed a desire to “kill that son-of-a-bitch.”
Harrison and Chavira wrapped Servin’s body in a yellow comforter, taped it up and tossed it into the back of the victim’s pickup truck. Harrison then drove into the Badlands, a sparsely populated area between Moreno Valley and Beaumont, where the remains were dumped alongside the eastbound Moreno Valley (60) Freeway, according to the prosecution.
Freeman said blood spatter was later identified on Harrison’s jacket, in the defendant’s Corvette and a Nissan Sentra that he’d rented around the time of the killing. He and Bennett were arrested in Long Beach a few days later.
Chavira was arrested in February 2015 in Dallas, Texas, where he had relocated. He had no documented prior felony convictions.
According to court records, Bennett, also known as Darla Anne Sell, had a prior conviction for embezzlement.
Harrison, also known as David James Butler, had priors for being a felon in possession of a concealed weapon and evading arrest, records showed.