|For Immediate Release
Case # 02NF3143
March 28, 2011
|Susan Kang Schroeder
Chief of Staff
GANG MEMBER FACES DEATH PENALTY JURY TRIAL FOR MURDERING FAMILY BUSINESSMAN IN
*Two co-defendants have previously been sentenced to the
death penalty in this case
SANTA ANA – A gang member faces trial today for the special circumstances murder of a family businessman after being recruited in a murder-for-hire conspiracy. Armando Macias, 35, Lancaster, is charged with 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. He faces sentencing enhancement allegations for the personal discharge of a firearm causing death and the personal use of a deadly weapon.
The District Attorney is seeking the death penalty in this case. Opening statements are expected to begin today, March 28, 2011, at 9:30 a.m. 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 member Macias is accused of kidnapping the victim at his family-run business in Rancho Dominguez with co-defendants Gerardo Lopez, 26, Pacoima, and Alberto Martinez, 33, Castaic. 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 was able to escape from the car and run away from his attackers. As the victim ran for his life, Macias is accused of firing 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.
Martinez was convicted May 6, 2010, of one felony count each of special circumstances murder, conspiracy to commit the crime of murder, possession of a firearm by a felon, kidnapping to commit robbery, and street terrorism. The special circumstances sentencing enhancements for murder for financial gain, murder during the commission of robbery, murder during the commission of kidnapping, and murder committed for the benefit of a criminal street gang were found true. The jury also found true the sentencing enhancements for the vicarious discharge of a firearm causing death as a gang member and criminal street gang activity. He was sentenced to receive the death penalty Aug. 6, 2010.
Navarro was convicted Oct. 18, 2007, of one felony count of murder with allegations for committing murder during the commission of another felony and murder committed to benefit a criminal street gang. He was also convicted of one felony count of conspiracy to commit a crime and one felony count of street terrorism. The sentencing enhancement for murder committed by gang members with a firearm was found true. He was sentenced to receive the death penalty July 11, 2008.
Perna was convicted Oct. 28, 2005, of murder with the special circumstances of committing the murder in the course of attempted robbery and kidnapping and was sentenced Feb. 16, 2006, to life in state prison without the possibility of parole.
Lopez was convicted Dec. 14, 2005, of murder with the special circumstances of committing the murder in the course of attempted robbery and kidnapping. He was sentenced June 2, 2006, to life in state prison without the possibility of parole.
Corona pleaded guilty to manslaughter on March 24, 2004. She faces a maximum of 22 years in prison and is scheduled to be sentenced April 28, 2011, at 8:30 a.m. in Department N-3, North Justice Center, Fullerton.
Senior Deputy District Attorney Mike Murray of the Homicide Unit is prosecuting the case against Macias.