GANG MEMBER CONVICTED OF MURDER, KIDNAPPING, AND CARJACKING IN GANG-MOTIVATED CRIME SPREE

Orange County District Attorney
Press Release


Tony Rackauckas, District Attorney
401 Civic Center Drive West
Santa Ana, CA 92701

For Immediate Release
Case # 09CF0613
 





February 8, 2011

Susan Kang Schroeder
Chief of Staff
Office: 714-347-8408
Cell: 714-292-2718

Farrah Emami
Spokesperson
Office: 714-347-8405
Cell: 714-323-4486

GANG MEMBER CONVICTED OF MURDER, KIDNAPPING, AND CARJACKING IN
GANG-MOTIVATED CRIME SPREE

 

SANTA ANA – A criminal street gang member was convicted today of murdering one man and kidnapping and carjacking another in a gang-motivated crime spree. Johnny Guevara, 29, Santa Ana, was convicted today of one felony count each of special circumstances murder for the benefit of a criminal street gang, carjacking, kidnapping in the commission of a carjacking, unlawful taking of a vehicle, two felony counts each of street terrorism and being a felon in possession of a firearm, and sentencing enhancements for the personal discharge of a firearm causing death, the personal use of a firearm, and committing a crime for the benefit of a criminal street gang. The sentencing enhancements for prior prison convictions for possession of a controlled substance in 2008, second degree burglary in 2005, possession of a controlled substance with a firearm in 2004, and vehicle taking and attempted automobile theft in 2003 were found true.

 

Guevara faces a maximum sentence of life without the possibility of parole plus an additional 25 years to life in state prison at his sentencing on March 18, 2011, at 9:00 a.m. in Department C-41, Central Justice Center, Santa Ana.

 

At approximately midnight on Oct. 22, 2008, Guevara and an unknown accomplice approached the vehicle of a 38-year-old driver at the intersection of Fairview Street and Warner Avenue in Santa Ana. The two men disguised their identities by wearing masks and carjacked and kidnapped the victim at gunpoint. The defendants forced the victim to drive them for several minutes before pushing him out of the vehicle and fleeing the scene in the car.

 

The carjacked vehicle was located that same day parked one block from the defendant’s home. The victim was unable to identify his kidnappers because of their masks, but DNA was collected from the vehicle’s steering wheel.

 

At approximately 3:00 a.m. on Nov. 16, 2008, Guevara drove up to an industrial complex parking lot in Santa Ana in a stolen white sedan, which had been unlawfully taken from Garden Grove four days earlier. A group of friends, whom the defendant did not know, were drinking in the parking lot. Guevara got out of his stolen vehicle and asked the group what gang they claimed. Miguel Lopez, 18, gave the name of a tagging crew.

 

Guevara then yelled the name of his Hispanic criminal street gang and pulled out a firearm. He fired six shots, murdering Lopez by shooting him in the head. The victim died at the scene. Guevara fled and abandoned the stolen sedan less than a mile from the crime scene. A water bottle left inside the vehicle was tested for DNA.

 

On Nov. 17, 2008, one day after the murder, Guevara was driving a friend’s borrowed car when police officers attempted to stop him in a routine traffic stop for failing to wear a seatbelt. The defendant refused to stop and led police on a high-speed chase before abandoning the vehicle and fleeing on foot. He left behind in the vehicle ammunition of the same caliber used to murder Lopez.

 

Guevara’s DNA, which had been collected due to his prior convictions, was matched to the steering