Orange County District Attorney
Tony Rackauckas, District Attorney
401 Civic Center Drive West
Santa Ana, CA 92701
For Immediate Release
Susan Kang Schroeder
INDICTED GANG MEMBER SENTENCED TO LIFE WITHOUT PAROLE FOR MURDERING ONE MAN AND SHOOTING TWO OTHERS IN 2000 AT HOUSE PARTY
*Five additional gang member co-defendants have been indicted in this case
SANTA ANA – An indicted gang member was sentenced today to life in prison without the possibility of parole for murdering one man and shooting two others at a backyard house party in 2000. Edward Ayache, 27, was found guilty by a jury Nov. 4, 2009, of one felony count of special circumstances murder for the benefit of a criminal street gang, two felony counts of attempted murder, one felony count of street terrorism, and sentencing enhancements for criminal street gang activity and the vicarious discharge of a firearm causing death as a gang member.
Five additional co-defendant gang members face the same charges as Ayache. Ayache and Steve Morales, 26, Orange, were indicted on Jan. 29, 2009. Ayache was in custody at the time of his indictment after being arrested in Cypress on Jan. 9, 2009, for an unrelated case of one felony count of possession of a firearm by a felon, an additional felony count of street terrorism, and one misdemeanor count of resisting and obstructing an officer. Morales was arrested Feb. 5, 2009, and is scheduled for a pre-trial trial setting conference on Feb. 26. 2010, in Department C-40, Central Justice Center, Santa Ana.
Four additional co-defendants were indicted on May 29, 2009. Johnny Losoya, 31, was indicted as a fugitive and was brought back to Orange County in July 2009 after being arrested in Roswell, NM, for domestic disturbance on June 19, 2009. Daran Gudehus, 35, Soquel, Santa Cruz County, was arrested March 5, 2009. Daniel Cervantes, 25, Buena Park, was arrested March 17, 2009. Gilbert Montijo, 28, formerly of Anaheim, was in custody on an unrelated case at the time of the indictment and was transported to Orange County from state prison. Losoya faces a pre-trial hearing March 12, 2010, in Department C-40. Cervantes, Gudehus, and Montijo are scheduled to face jury trial March 8, 2010, in Department C-40.
Circumstances of the Case
The jury heard the following facts before rendering the guilty verdict against Ayache: At approximately 11:00 pm. on Nov. 18, 2000, the defendants went to a backyard birthday party at a house located at 8127 Stanford Avenue in Garden Grove. The defendants were not closely associated with anyone at the party. Shortly after arriving, the defendants started a verbal argument with several people affiliated with other gangs at the party after yelling out the name of their Anaheim criminal street gang and displaying gang hand signs.
The argument escalated into a physical fight and the defendants shot and murdered victim Michael Olvera, 19, at close range after knocking him to the ground. The victim was shot one time in the leg and three times in the back. After shooting Olvera, the defendants fired into the crowded party. Victim Filipe Ochoa, then-20, was shot in the arm. The defendants fled the scene. As victim Manny Estrada, then-21, attempted to chase after them into the front yard, the defendants shot at him, hitting Estrada in the arm.