|For Immediate Release
Case # 02NF3143
September 5, 2007
Susan Kang Schroeder
Public Affairs Counsel
GANG MEMBER FACES TRIAL FOR KILLING FAMILY BUSINESS MAN IN MURDER-FOR-HIRE CONSPIRACY
*District Attorney is seeking the death penalty
SANTA ANA – A gang member faces trial tomorrow for the special circumstances murder of a family business man after recruiting three lower level gang members to help him in a murder-for-hire conspiracy. Anthony Navarro, 40, Canyon Country, is charged with one felony count of murder with allegations for committing murder during the commission of another felony and murder committed for a criminal street gang purpose. He is also charged with one felony count of conspiracy to commit a crime and one felony count of street terrorism. Navarro also faces a sentencing enhancement for murder committed by gang members with a firearm. The District Attorney is seeking the death penalty against Navarro. Opening statements are scheduled to begin tomorrow, Thursday, September 6, 2007 at 10:00 a.m. in Department C-45, Central Justice Center, Santa Ana.
On October 2, 2002, 44-year-old David Montemayor was kidnapped by three men at his family-run business in Rancho Dominguez. The three accused kidnappers, Gerardo Lopez, 22, Pacoima, Armando Macias, 31, Lancaster, and Alberto Martinez, 29, Castaic, were members of a San Fernando Valley gang and had been recruited by a higher level gang member, Navarro, to kidnap and murder the victim in a murder-for-hire plot. The three men are accused of driving Montemayor, a married father of three, toward his home in Buena Park, where they had been told the victim kept thousands of dollars in cash. Approximately one mile from the residence, the victim was able to escape from the car and run away from his attackers. Macias and Lopez are accused of firing their weapons at the fleeing victim, murdering him by shooting him in the head. The defendants are accused of fleeing the scene and becoming involved in a televised police chase during rush hour. Police eventually stopped the vehicle and Lopez, Macias, and Martinez were taken into custody.
The victim’s sister, Defendant Deborah Perna, 50, Anaheim, was later charged with hiring the gang members to murder her brother. Perna believed her brother was stealing from the family business, where she worked as the office manager, and wanted to get rid of him. She was also jealous after learning that their father intended to pass control of the family company to the victim. Perna asked her co-worker, defendant Edelmira Corona, 30, Pico Rivera, to help her arrange the murder by asking Corona’s friend Navarro to kill Montemayor. Navarro is accused of recruiting lower-level gang members Lopez, Macias, and Martinez to carry out the kidnapping and murder.