Orange County District Attorney
Tony Rackauckas, District Attorney
401 Civic Center Drive West
Santa Ana, CA 92701
For Immediate Release
Susan Kang Schroeder
GANG MEMBER CONVICTED OF MURDERING FAMILY BUSINESSMAN IN MURDER-FOR-HIRE CONSPIRACY
*The Orange County District Attorney is seeking the death penalty in this case
SANTA ANA – A gang member was convicted today of murdering a family businessman after being recruited in a murder-for-hire conspiracy. Armando Macias, 35, Lancaster, was found guilty by a jury of one felony count of special circumstances murder with an allegation for murder for financial gain. He is also charged with possession of a firearm by a felon, being a gang member carrying a loaded firearm in public, kidnapping to commit robbery, attempted murder, two counts of conspiracy to commit a crime, street terrorism with allegations for murder during the commission of another felony and murder committed for a criminal street gang purpose. The sentencing enhancement allegations for the personal discharge of a firearm causing death and the personal use of a deadly weapon were found true.
The District Attorney is seeking the death penalty in this case. Opening statements in the penalty phase of the trial are expected to begin April 27, 2011, in Department C-45, Central Justice Center, Santa Ana.
In 2002, Deborah Perna, 54, Anaheim, became jealous after learning that her father intended to pass control of their family company to her 44-year-old brother, David Montemayor. Perna also believed that her brother was stealing from the business, where she worked as the office manager, and wanted to get rid of him.
Perna asked her co-worker, Edelmira Corona, 34, Pico Rivera, to help her arrange the murder by asking Corona’s friend to kill Montemayor. Corona and Perna solicited the help of gang member Anthony Navarro, 44, Canyon County, who recruited three members of a San Fernando Valley gang to kidnap and murder Montemayor in the murder-for-hire plot.
On Oct. 2, 2002, gang members Macias, Gerardo Lopez, 26, Pacoima, and Alberto Martinez, 33, Castaic, kidnapped the victim at his family-run business in Rancho Dominguez. The three defendants drove Montemayor, a married father of three, towards the victim’s Buena Park home, where they had been told the victim kept thousands of dollars in cash. Martinez was the driver.
Approximately one mile from the residence, the victim, who only had one arm, was able to escape from the car and run away from his attackers. As the victim ran for his life, Macias fired his weapon at the fleeing victim, executing him by shooting him in the head. Lopez also fired at the victim.
Martinez drove the three defendants as they fled the scene and became involved in a televised police chase during rush hour. Police eventually stopped the vehicle and arrested Macias, Lopez, and Martinez.