|For Immediate Release
Case # 05CF3536
April 25, 2008
|Susan Kang Schroeder
Public Affairs Counsel
CAR SALESMAN SENTENCED FOR
MURDERING 15-YEAR-OLD GIRL AND
SEXUALLY ASSAULTING THREE TEEN GIRLS
SANTA ANA – A car salesman was sentenced today to 63 years to life in prison for murdering a 15-year-old girl and sexually assaulting three other teenage girls working as prostitutes after picking them up in Santa Ana. Jonathan Phong Khanh Tran, 23, Garden Grove, was convicted on March 13, 2007 of one felony count murder, two felony counts of forcible rape, and one felony count of oral copulation under the color of authority. The jury also found true the sentencing enhancements for being armed with a firearm during sexual offenses.
On January 19, 2004, Tran picked up 15-year-old Hanna Montessori in his truck near Harbor Boulevard and 5th Street in Santa Ana. Montessori was a runaway from Georgia who was working as a prostitute. Tran drove away with the victim and kidnapped her with the intention of raping her. To escape from Tran, Montessori jumped 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 sexually assaulted three other female victims in the same area of Santa Ana. Between December 1, 2003 and December 31, 2003, the defendant picked up 17-year-old Jane Doe #1 under the guise of setting up a prostitution deal, drove her to a remote location, raped her at gunpoint, and stole her money. Tran also committed a similar attack against Jane Doe #2, 18, on January 15, 2004.
On September 16, 2005, Tran picked up 16-year-old Jane Doe #3, and drove her to a location where he showed the victim a badge, pretending to be a police officer. He then ordered the victim to orally copulate him in order to avoid arrest.
Senior Deputy District Attorney Cameron Talley of the Homicide Unit prosecuted this case.