SANTA ANA, Calif. – Orange County District Attorney Todd Spitzer has dismissed murder charges against a woman who was assaulted by the man she ended up killing. New evidence discovered during the course of the investigation into this case revealed Amber Angelovic had acted in self-defense.
On March 14, 2017, 21-year-old Amber Angelovic was charged with one felony count of murder and an enhancement of the personal use of a weapon for killing 32-year-old Derek Valentine inside Valentine’s Costa Mesa home.
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On March 11, 2017, Angelovic and Valentine took an Uber to Valentine’s home after a night of drinking at a Costa Mesa bar. The two had been on one date prior to that night.
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She called 9-1-1 from Valentine’s bedroom to report that Valentine prevented her from leaving and began hitting her in the face and throwing her down.
Fearing that she would be raped or killed, Angelovic said she grabbed a knife which she carries for personal protection and engaged in a self-defense drill she learned in a self-defense class.
Costa Mesa police officers found Valentine dead at the bottom of the stairs with two stab wounds to his chest.
A search of Valentine’s home revealed drug paraphernalia, books on how to get women to have sex with you, a white board with handwritten notes about how to stalk women, and numerous text messages in which he denigrates women and discussions about overcoming women’s will to have sex.
A search of his computer also revealed internet searches for date rape drugs.
Senior Deputy District Attorney Heather Brown appeared in court on February 10, 2020 to ask the court to dismiss the charges.
“The People have obtained additional evidence and are now convinced Ms. Angelovic had a lawful right to self-defense and therefore are unable to proceed,” said Brown. “The People are making a motion to dismiss based on lack of sufficient evidence and in the interest of justice.”
“The decision to dismiss criminal charges – especially charges that involve the death of a person – is not a decision that is made lightly,” said Orange County District Attorney Todd Spitzer. “As prosecutors we must not only consider the evidence; we must also consider all possible defenses. After a thorough review and careful consideration there is insufficient evidence in this case to prove murder beyond a reasonable doubt. It is for that reason – and that reason alone – that I am requested these charges be dismissed.”
The District Attorney’s Office obtained express permission from Angelovic and her attorney John Barnett to identify her as an assault victim.