|For Immediate Release
Case # 08ZF0027
November 10, 2009
|Susan Kang Schroeder
Chief of Staff
GANG MEMBER CONVICTED OF SHOOTING AT TWO INNOCENT GARDENERS, MURDERING ONE
AND INJURING OTHER
SANTA ANA – A criminal street gang member was convicted today of murdering an innocent gardener and injuring another. Sergio Martinez, 33, Stanton, was found guilty by a jury today, of one felony count of special circumstances murder, two felony counts of attempted murder, one felony count of possession of a firearm by a felon, and one felony count of street terrorism. The sentencing enhancements for criminal street gang activity, great bodily injury, the personal discharge of a firearm, personal discharge of a firearm causing death, and personal discharge of a firearm causing great bodily injury were all found true. Martinez has a prior strike conviction for assault with a deadly weapon in 1996. The defendant faces a sentence of life in state prison without the possibility of parole at his sentencing Dec. 17, 2010, at 8:30 a.m. in Department C-40, Central Justice Center, Santa Ana.
Co-defendant Juan Carlos Castillo, 27, Anaheim, is charged with one felony count of special circumstances murder, two felony counts of attempted murder, and one felony count of street terrorism. He faces sentencing enhancements for criminal street gang activity and the vicarious discharge of a firearm by a gang member. Castillo is scheduled for a pre-trial hearing Dec. 10, 2010, at 9:00 a.m. in Department C-40.
On June 24, 2006, Martinez approached a group of young men on Olinda Lane in Anaheim, argued with them and pulled out a firearm. He pointed the gun at the crowd and pulled the trigger several times, but the gun malfunctioned and did not fire. Martinez fled the scene to an apartment at 3421 Olinda Lane.
At approximately 7:00 p.m. on June 26, 2006, Martinez was at the Olinda Lane apartment, where Castillo is accused of handing him a loaded firearm. Martinez then left the apartment and started walking toward Ariel Place. Victims Jorge Flores and Fausto Acevedo, who worked together as gardeners, were on the corner of Ariel Place and Canoga Street. They were talking and drinking beers together with a few other men when Martinez approached them and asked them where they were from. Martinez pulled out a firearm and pointed it at victim Acevedo’s chest and stomach.
Jorge Flores tried to swipe the gun away, but Martinez pulled back and started running. Martinez ran backwards watching as both victims chased after him. Martinez fired several rounds, hitting 30-year-old Flores in the chest, murdering him. Martinez also shot 23-year-old Acevedo, permanently lodging a bullet in his left hand. Martinez fled the scene.
The Anaheim Police Department investigated the case and arrested Martinez shortly after being identified by witnesses at the crime scene.
Senior Deputy District Attorney Colleen Crommett of the Gang Unit is prosecuting this case.