Tony Rackauckas, District Attorney
401 Civic Center Drive West
Santa Ana, CA 92701
For Immediate Release
Susan Kang Schroeder
14-YEAR-OLD SENTENCED TO 40 YEARS TO LIFE IN PRISON FOR MUDERING RIVAL GANG MEMBER
*Defendant was prosecuted as an adult
SANTA ANA – A 14-year-old gang member prosecuted as an adult was sentenced today to 40 years to life in state prison for murdering a rival gang member over a perceived disrespect involving staring. Andrew Cervantes, now 15, Santa Ana, was found guilty by a jury Sept. 8, 2011, of one felony count each of second degree murder and street terrorism with sentencing enhancements for gang activity and the personal use of a firearm.
Cervantes’ co-defendant Jose Baldemar Moreno, 15, Santa Ana, was also prosecuted as an adult and pleaded guilty to one felony count of accessory after the fact on Sept. 21, 2011. He was sentenced to three years in custody with the Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation, Division of Juvenile Justice.
On June 22, 2010, Cervantes and Moreno were riding their bikes when they came across Manuel Orozco, 17, who was sitting in his parked car with a friend. As Cervantes and Moreno rode toward the car, Cervantes and Orozco locked eyes and one of the defendants made a hand gesture at Orozco.
Orozco exited the vehicle and called out to Cervantes and Moreno. Cervantes turned his bike around and began a verbal altercation with Orozco. Cervantes then pulled out a handgun and shot Orozco in the chest area. Cervantes and Moreno fled and Orozco died at the scene, only two homes away from his own.
Following the murder, Cervantes fled to Stockton, CA, where he was arrested on June 30, 2010, after an investigation by the Santa Ana Police Department linked him to the crime.
Cervantes will serve his sentence at the California Youth Authority until he turns 18, at which point he will be transferred to state prison.
Senior Deputy District Attorney Mark Geller of the Gang Unit prosecuted this case.