Son of beloved Burbank teacher charged with her murder

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By Yosi Yahoudai
Founder and Managing Partner

Prosecutors on Thursday filed a murder charge against the Burbank man accused of killing his own mother, a beloved teacher in the Burbank Unified School District.

Authorities say Kyle Lombardo, 25, killed Karyn Lombardo, 57, during an altercation at the family’s home on North Avon Street Tuesday evening.

Karyn had worked at Bret Harte Elementary School for over 30 years. 

“It is also my understanding at this time that this tragedy is the result of an accident following an altercation between a son and a mother who my client deeply loved,” said Jimmy Chu, a public defender assigned to Kyle’s case.

Chu claims the death was accidental, but did not provide further details. He also said a weapon was not used during the altercation.

Karyn’s official cause of death was blunt force trauma to the head, according to the coroner’s office.

“My office and I are investigating all aspects including potential mental health factors and intellectual, developmental disability to ensure a fair legal process for Mr. Lombardo,” Chu said.

Karyn’s husband, Vince Lombardo, spoke with KTLA 5 News on Wednesday evening, saying he was out of town at the time of the altercation.

“We texted, and everything was fine,” he recalled. “I expected to see her today and then I got the call.”

Vince said Kyle has a mental condition and they’ve tried seeking mental health help for him. The police have also been called to their home in the past.

“It’s a reactionary system, and that’s basically what I was told,” Vince said of his son. “Until something happens, they can’t do anything. That’s there’s not enough [help for] these people, especially when they become adults.”

A makeshift memorial with flowers and personal notes continued to grow outside Hart Elementary on Thursday as the school community grieved.

“She would always tell us that if we were down, just to love ourselves and to talk to our parents about it,” recalled Zoe Bautista, Karyn’s former student. “She would make us feel like we were the luckiest kids in the world.”

“She was just so nice,” said a local Burbank parent. “She was very upfront, very sweet and very kind.”

Some community members are questioning whether this deadly incident could have been prevented. 

“The father is saying that he’s very frustrated and angry that the police were called to their house a number of times,” said Dr. Carole Lieberman, a forensic psychiatrist who is not involved with the case. “Unfortunately, a lot of mistakes are made largely now because there are so many people in need of mental health help compared to how many people, either private practitioners or hospitals, are available.”

Lombardo was being held on $2 million bond. The next arraignment hearing is scheduled for May 22. If convicted, he could face a maximum sentence of life in prison.

“My deepest condolences go out to the victim’s loved ones during this tremendously difficult time,” said Los Angeles County District Attorney George Gascón in a statement. “Ms. Lombardo, a beloved teacher in the Burbank community, had her life senselessly taken. I want to assure the victim’s family and the community that our office is fully committed to seeking justice and accountability in this tragedy.”

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About the Author
Yosi Yahoudai is a founder and the managing partner of J&Y. His practice is comprised primarily of cases involving automobile and motorcycle accidents, but he also represents people in premises liability lawsuits, including suits alleging dangerous conditions of public property, third-party criminal conduct, and intentional torts. He also has expertise in cases involving product defects, dog bites, elder abuse, and sexual assault. He earned his Bachelor of Arts from the University of California and is admitted to practice in all California State Courts, and the United States District Court for the Southern District of California. If you have any questions about this article, you can contact Yosi by clicking here.