|For Immediate Release
February 28, 2007
Susan Kang Schroeder
Public Affairs Counsel
CAR SALESMAN FACES TRIAL FOR
MURDERING 15-YEAR-OLD GIRL AND SEXUALLY ASSAULTING THREE TEEN GIRLS
SANTA ANA – A car salesman will begin trial tomorrow on charges of murdering a 15-year-old girl and sexually assaulting three other teen girls working as prostitutes after picking them up in Santa Ana. Jonathan Phong Khanh Tran, 22, Garden Grove, is charged with murder, two counts of forcible rape, oral copulation under the color of authority, and a sentencing enhancement for being armed with a firearm during a sexual offense. If convicted, he faces a maximum sentence of life in prison. Opening statements are scheduled to begin tomorrow, March 1, 2007, at 10:00 a.m. in Department C-40, Central Justice Center, Santa Ana.
On January 19, 2004, Tran is accused of picking up 15-year-old Hanna Montesorri in his truck in the area of Harbor Boulevard and 5th Street in Santa Ana. Montessori was a runaway from Georgia who was working as a prostitute. Tran is accused of driving away with the victim and kidnapping her with the intention of raping her, compelling the victim to jump from the moving truck. She was later found lying in the street bleeding profusely from the head, and died a short time later from massive brain damage.
Tran is also accused of sexually assaulting three other female victims in the same area of Santa Ana. Between December 1, 2003 and December 31, 2003, the defendant is accused of picking up 17-year-old Jane Doe #1 under the guise of setting up a prostitution deal and instead driving her to a remote location, raping her at gunpoint, and stealing the money she had in her possession. Tran is accused of committing a similar attack against Jane Doe #2, 18, on January 15, 2004.
On September 16, 2005, Tran is accused of picking up Jane Doe #3, 16, and driving her to a location where he showed the victim a badge, pretending to be a police officer. He is accused of ordering her to orally copulate him in order to avoid arrest.
Senior Deputy District Attorney Cameron Talley of the Homicide Unit is prosecuting this case.