|For Immediate Release
Case # 07ZF0012
August 21, 2009
|Susan Kang Schroeder
Public Affairs Counsel
DISGRUNTLED FORMER CO-WORKER SENTENCED TO 50 YEARS TO LIFE FOR EXECUTION-STYLE MURDER OF MAN WHO REPLACED HIM AS LANDSCAPING COMPANY SUPERVISOR
SANTA ANA – A disgruntled former co-worker was sentenced today to 50 years to life in state prison for shooting a man twice, once execution-style in the back of the head, after becoming angry that the victim had replaced him as supervisor at the landscaping company where they both worked. Manuel Gonzales Melgoza, 42, Santa Ana, was found guilty by a jury on June 8, 2009, of one felony count murder with a sentencing enhancement for the personal discharge of a firearm causing death.
In the morning on Nov. 27, 2006, Melgoza waited in the Stanton neighborhood of former co-worker Israel Quiros, who had replaced him as a supervisor at a landscaping company where the two had worked together. The defendant had worked as a supervisor, but had been demoted and was later fired. At approximately 6:15 a.m., Quiros left in his car for work and Melgoza began to follow the victim.
After realizing he was being followed, Quiros attempted to lose the defendant by turning into a neighborhood in Garden Grove. When Melgoza followed, the victim stopped his car and got out. Melgoza also stopped his car and got out, armed with a rifle. From approximately 10 feet away, Melgoza shot Quiros one time in the shoulder. The victim fell forward onto his stomach. Melgoza walked over the victim, put his rifle to the back of Quiros’ head, and executed him. Two teenagers sitting on a nearby curb witnessed the murder.
During the trial, Melgoza claimed that the victim had been following him and that he had acted in self defense.
Senior Deputy District Attorney Scott Simmons of the Homicide Unit prosecuted this case.