• Son of Tacoma Opera artistic administrator pleads not guilty to second-degree murder charge

    By: Kevin McCarty


    TACOMA, Wash. - Maria Levy-Aldrete, artistic administrator with the Tacoma Opera, was found dead Monday.

    According to a probable cause affidavit, Maria Levy-Aldrete’s son, Sebastian Levy-Aldrette, 49,  claimed his mother was killed by an intruder, a mysterious 6-foot-tall person he couldn’t describe to police.

    Sebastian Levy-Aldrette's father claims his son is innocent and was charged because of circumstantial evidence.  But prosecutors said the man brutally murdered his 77-year old mother, then concocted a story to cover it up.

    Sebastian Levy-Aldrete told investigators that, in the early-morning hours on Monday, he heard his mother screaming. He went to help her and got into a struggle with a person who cut him on the face and then ran away.

    But Tacoma police said there was no sign of a break-in and that Sebastian Levy-Aldrete appeared to have tried to clean up blood before calling 911. When officers arrived, they found Maria Levy-Aldrete in the bedroom of the apartment she shared with her son. Prosecutors said she had been beaten with a liquor bottle and strangled.

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    “Everybody is totally shocked,” said Noel Koran, general director of the Tacoma Opera. Koran worked with Maria Levy-Aldrete for five years. He says her death has left the company stunned.

    “We are learning more every day, and it’s a terrible situation,” Koran said.

    Maria Levy-Aldrete had a lifelong love of the opera. She worked for opera companies in San Diego and Connecticut and became chief administrator for the Indiana University opera program before retiring and moving to Tacoma to be close to her grandchildren. She joined the Tacoma Opera in 2012.

    “I don’t know of a more selfless person. I can’t even tell you how many times Maria would say to me, 'Noel what can I do? I only want to help,'” Koran said.

    Bernard Levy, Levy-Aldrete’s ex-husband, spoke with KIRO 7 by phone from his home in Newport, Oregon, saying he doesn’t believe accounts of the slaying given by police and prosecutors, claiming the arrest of his son is a shock to his family.

    Sebastian Levy-Aldrete pleaded not guilty to a charge of second-degree murder during his arraignment Thursday. His bail was set at $2 million.

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