SAN JOSE (CBS SF) — The friend of a San Jose woman murdered in her own home by an undocumented immigrant with a long criminal record on Monday said Bambi Larson’s accused killer deserves the death penalty.
Diane Collman is a local author and friend to South Bay homicide victim Larson. She is outraged and demanding both justice and a change to the policies that allowed homeless undocumented immigrant Carlos Arevalo-Carranza to walk free despite his lengthy record.
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“And I want to know, why he was allowed to be here?” asked Collman. “And why the hell he wasn’t taken and put somewhere where he could never get back out and do this?”
Collman remembered Larson as a special friend who was always giving over her time.
“She was the gentlest, kindest, most decent human being,” said Collman.
The two first met when she was Larson’s yoga instructor. The two became close friends over the years.
Larson was there the night before Collman went in for a risky surgery to remove a cancerous tumor. She was there when Collman lost her home to water damage.
And Larson was one of the few people who showed up to Collman’s local book signing event.
Collman described Larson as a once in a lifetime kind of friend.
“She showed up in my life in good times, and she showed up in my life in really hard times,” explained Collman. “And what’s even more extraordinary is I never had to ask her. She just showed up.”
Investigators say security camera footage captured Arevalo-Carranza entering Larson’s home in the early morning hours of February 28.
Detectives say the suspect stabbed Larson in the neck and torso several times, then walked down the street, ditching bloody clothing in a garbage bin.
Arevalo-Carranza crossed the border in 2013 and has a long rap sheet, including meth use, petty crimes and battery of an officer. ICE had submitted so-called detainer requests to hold the suspect until they could question him.
But according to county policy, the detainers were not honored, and Arevalo-Carranza was released a total of four times in Santa Clara County.
“And it’s much bigger than her poor grieving family, or a poor grieving friend,” said Collman. “This is much bigger now.”
Collman said that legislators bear some of the responsibility for what happened to Larson.
“And some of the policy makers, they sit behind iron gates. They have protection. They make the rules for the rest of us,” said Collman. “And I can tell you that my friend was a very law abiding human being. She trusted those rules. She followed them. She thought they were keeping her safe. And they failed her.”
Collman told KPIX she wants more than justice for her friend. She wants her brutal homicide to be a catalyst for change.
“I want our community to feel a sense of outrage. And I want her death to stand for something,” said Collman. “She was good to me and a lot of people like me. And I want her to save lives now.”
When asked if she felt Arevalo-Carranza deserved the death penalty, Collman was adamant.
“I want the death penalty over and over for this monster. Of course I do! Of course I do,” she said. “And I’m a yoga instructor! I’m somebody who wouldn’t hurt anything.”
But because of the moratorium on capital punishment signed by Governor Gavin Newsom last week, the death penalty will likely not be an option in this case.