Castro Valley Teens Plead Not Guilty To Killing Barbara Latiolais

Christian Birdsall, 16, and Cody Nicosia, 18, have been charged with murder under special circumstances for allegedly strangling then burning the victim in her own home.


Christian Birdsall, 16, and Cody Nicosia, 18, plead not guilty Friday to charges that they strangled Barbara Latiolas during a burglary and later set fire to her Castro Valley home to destroy the evidence.

The accused pair appeared at the Hayward Hall of Justice where the case, in which they are charged with murder under special circumstances, will be heard

The body of the 58-year-old Latiolais was found at 12:15 a.m. on Oct. 18 after firefighters responded to a blaze at her house at 2431 San Carlos Avenue.

Alameda Country sheriffs who investigated the murder/arson described the crime as "the kind of case that fears and nightmares are made of."

Within 48-hours they had tracked the accused teens through a Volvo that they allegedly stole outside the house and later abandoned.

At the time that their arrests were announced, detectives said the teens had "cooperated" -- they avoided the term confession -- and described how the pair had come to steal guns belonging to Latiolais's longtime partner, 60-year-old retired San Francisco fireman Mike Rice.

They knew the guns were in the house because Birdsall had a distant connection to Rice and had done yard work at the house.

Birdsall also knew that Rice was out of town, police said.

According to the arresting officers, on the day of the killing the pair waited outside the house for Latiolais to leave. When she didn't they changed their plan: Birdsall knocked on the door and offered to do some yardwork and, when Latiolais opened the door, he let Nicosia in and together they strangled the victim, police say.

Detectives say the two young men then went out to eat at a local restaurant, drove around for a while, and then returned to the house before midnight where they soaked the victim's body in gasoline and set it aflame.

Outside the Hayward Hall of Justice Friday, defense attorney Albert Wax told a Bay Area News Group reporter that his client, Cody Nicosia, was feeling remorseful.

The accused pair are scheduled to return to court April 19 for a pretrial hearing.

Read more on the case:

  • Detectives on the hunt after discovery of the body.
  • Mike Rice remembers his partner.
  • Police announce the arrest of the suspects.
  • Shocking details of the crime.

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x January 05, 2013 at 01:13 AM
And I quote: Dickson said that when detectives came to the home Thursday to question Nicoscia, the teen’s father told him to come clean if he had done anything wrong. At that point, Dickson said that Nocosia looked at his father and said, “We killed someone.” http://castrovalley.patch.com/articles/teen-killers-had-lunch-in-between-strangling-burning-barbara-latiolais-detectives-say#photo-11910413
Rob Phillips January 05, 2013 at 01:52 AM
What you do when you think no one is looking is the true measure of your character. You can pet puppies and help old ladies across the street when in the company or view of others. But when you strangle another human being for no other reason than profit, and then treat that former human being's body with complete disrespect, you no longer qualify for regular mercy. These young men should be hung on the rack, drawn and quartered and their intestines boiled in oil while they are alive and able to see it done so they can feel the incredible agony. Then, and only then, should they be shown the mercy a of quick bullet to the head to put them out of their misery. Then their bodies should be dragged down Castro Valley Blvd and out into Cull Canyon and fed to a pack of wild dogs. If this were another time and place, their friends and family would all be burdened with a heavy sense of shame. Unfortunately, we live in a time where we are encouraged to feel sorry for them because they weren't born into ideal circumstances and didn't receive enough monetary and psychological public assistance. That's alot of BS. I know a guy who was born with a black father from Kenya and a white mother from Kansas. His parents burdened him with a funny name. His parents divorced. His step father moved him to Indonesia for a time. The circumstances of his youth were extremely unstable. He overcame his circumstances by his will and determination to succeed. These two scumbags made a differnt choice.
peggy cash January 05, 2013 at 02:23 AM
It's a big leap to go from theft (that carries a nominal sentence if caught) to murder with special circumstances (details are pretty horrific) that they had to realize would be a much bigger deal if caught had they had a sense of remorse. There is something very pathological about the 2 of them - one a leader and one a follower and that is not something that ever seems to be fixable no matter what their age. Keep them out of society and depending on how that goes for 40 years...re-evaluate if that horrific act came out of young men with immature minds or true psychopaths.
Jerry Wright January 10, 2013 at 11:34 PM
I am disgusted.


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