Santa Paula Times

Yajayra Lizette Dominguez

Yajayra Lizette Dominguez sentenced 40 years to life
in slaying of Ashley Calanche

March 20, 2015
Santa Paula News

A Superior Court judge Tuesday sentenced a woman to 40 years to life in prison for fatally shooting a young Santa Paula woman, an aspiring photographer, a homicide that occurred midday in a busy park.

Yajayra Lizette Dominguez, 33, cried as she appeared before Superior Court Judge Kevin DeNoce March 17 who before imposing the sentence said the 2013 killing of 21-year-old Ashley Calanche was “senseless and tragic … ”

A jury found Dominguez guilty in January for second-degree murder in the shooting death of Calanche, whose large family has been in Santa Paula for generations.

During the trial Senior Deputy District Attorney Rebecca Day told jurors that although the two women did not know each other Dominguez had sent Calanche threatening Facebook messages due to an alleged threat Calanche had made toward a friend of Dominguez’s. 

One message written by Dominguez read, “my waistline is pretty crazy,” alluding to the gun she carried at her waist.

On September 27, 2013, Calanche posted that she had to miss her class at Brooks Institute in Santa Barbara where she was studying photography; instead, she and her sister went to nearby Mill Park where Calanche planned to take photos as a class self-assignment.

There about 1 p.m. she encountered Dominguez whose reputation for violence was reflected in her “La Boxer” nickname.

Dominguez, who had come to Mill Park with a friend, got into an argument with Calanche and they began to fight which only ended when Dominguez shot Calanche in the head with a small, double-barreled Derringer handgun.

Before she fled Dominguez pleaded with Calanche’s sister not to tell police she had shot the other woman, crying that she would lose her children.

When Dominguez was found guilty in January, jurors — who had only spent a few hours deliberating — also found true that Dominguez intentionally discharged a firearm causing great bodily injury or death.

The 40 years to life sentence received by Dominguez according to a Santa Paula Police statement, “means that Dominguez will not be eligible for her first parole hearing until September of 2053 or when Dominguez will be 71 years old.  

“The Santa Paula Police Department,” notes the statement, “would like to thank the Ventura County District Attorney prosecutors and investigators for their assistance in this case.”

Dominguez’s conviction and sentencing was for one of the nine murders that occurred in Santa Paula from May 2013 to July 2014.

Out of the remaining eight homicides, suspects have been arrested in six of the cases, police are actively seeking one identified suspect and only one homicide has yet to have an identified suspect.