|For Immediate Release
Case # 02NF3143
November 15, 2007
JURY RECOMMENDS DEATH FOR GANG MEMBER CONVICTED OF KILLING FAMILY BUSINESS MAN
IN MURDER-FOR-HIRE CONSPIRACY
SANTA ANA – A jury recommended today that a gang member receive the death penalty 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, was found guilty on October 18, 2007 of 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 was also convicted of 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. Navarro is scheduled to be sentenced on March 21, 2008 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 form 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 recruited lower-level gang members Lopez, Macias, and Martinez to carry out the kidnapping and murder.
Defendant Perna was convicted October 28, 2005 of murder with the special circumstances of committing the murder in the course of attempted robbery and kidnapping. She was sentenced February 16, 2006 to life without the possibility of parole. Defendant Lopez was convicted December 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 without the possibility of parole. Defendant Corona pleaded guilty to manslaughter on March 24, 2004. She faces a maximum of 22 years in prison and is scheduled to be sentenced Nov. 12, 2008, at 8:30 a.m. in Department N-3, North Justice Center, Fullerton.
Defendants Macias and Martinez are charged with one felony count of special circumstances murder with an allegation for murder for financial gain.