|For Immediate Release
Case # 08CF2409
May 14, 2009
|Susan Kang Schroeder
Public Affairs Counsel
FATHER SENTENCED FOR ATTEMPTING TO HIRE HITMAN TO MURDER EX-GIRLFRIEND OVER CHILD CUSTODY BATTLE
SANTA ANA – A father was sentenced today to three years in state prison for trying to hire a hitman to murder his ex-girlfriend in order to end an ongoing custody battle over their 5-year-old son. Daniel Villanueva Patino, 30, Santa Ana, mortgage broker, pleaded guilty to the court to one felony count of solicitation to commit murder.
At approximately 9:30 p.m. on Aug. 14, 2008, Patino met a friend, Jose T., at a fast food restaurant in Santa Ana. He told Jose T. that he wanted to have his ex-girlfriend, then 30-year-old Jane Doe, killed because he was tired of battling over custody issues related to their 5-year-old son. Patino asked Jose T. if he knew a hitman or if he knew of a way to get rid of Jane Doe.
On Aug. 15, 2008, Patino met Jose T. again for lunch to further discuss having Jane Doe murdered. He gave his friend a photo of the victim, her home address, and keys to her house and car. After lunch, Jose T. reported his conversation with Patino to the Orange County Sheriff’s Department.
On Aug. 18, 2008, Patino went to the same fast food restaurant in Santa Ana to meet an undercover deputy, whom he believed to be a hitman that Jose T. had found. Patino told the deputy that he wanted Jane Doe dead and was willing to pay $10,000. He told the deputy that he wanted Jane Doe killed the following weekend because he had custody that weekend and did not want his son around Jane Doe when she was murdered. He suggested that the deputy make it look as though the victim had been killed in a car crash. The defendant was arrested as soon as the meeting ended.
Deputy District Attorney Andy Manssourian of the Special Prosecutions Unit prosecuted this case.