Orange County District Attorney
Press Release

Tony Rackauckas, District Attorney
401 Civic Center Drive West
Santa Ana, CA 92701

For Immediate Release
October 11, 2005
Contact:Mark Macaulay
Media Relations Spokesperson
(714) 347-8405

Santa Ana – Opening statements will begin on the trial of Deborah Perna, 48, of Buena Park, who faces charges of hiring a group of San Fernando Valley gang members to kill her brother. Perna is charged with murder with the special circumstance of murder for financial gain, in the course of robbery and kidnapping, and in furtherance of gang activities.  If convicted Perna could face life in prison without the possibility of parole.  She is accused of using her secretary, Edelmira Corona, as the go-between. Corona pled guilty to manslaughter in March of 2004, and faces a maximum sentence of 22 years in state prison.  Anthony Navarro, Gerardo Lopez, Armando Macias, and Alberto Martinez have also been charged with murder.

On October 2, 2002, 44-year old David Montemayor, a married father of three, was kidnapped by three men at his Rancho Dominguez business.  The prosecution will prove that the three men are gang members who had been hired by the victim’s sister to kill Montemayor.  Perna, the office manager of the company, believed that her brother was stealing from their family business and wanted him out of the way.  She is accused of asking Corona, to ask her friend Navarro to kill the victim in exchange for several thousand dollars in cash that the victim was storing at his home.  Navarro is accused of recruiting Lopez, Macias, and Martinez, three lower level members of his gang to kidnap and kill Montemayor.

The prosecution will prove that after kidnapping Montemayor, the accused hired killers drove the victim towards his home in Buena Park to get the money.  About a mile from the residence, Montemayor was able to get out of the car and run away from the vehicle.  Macias and Lopez are accused of firing their weapons.  Montemayor was hit in the head and killed.  The defendants fled the scene and were involved in a televised police chase during rush hour.  Police eventually stopped the vehicle and all three defendants were taken into custody.

Perna will be in Orange County Superior Court, on October 11, 2005, at 9:30 a.m., in Department C45, Central Justice Center, 700 Civic Center Drive W., Santa Ana, CA 92701.  Following the trial of Perna, Lopez will be tried separately.  Macias, Martinez, and Navarro have been charged separately for the murder of David Montemayor and the Orange County District Attorney will be seeking the death penalty for the three.  The trial date for the death penalty case is October 31, 2005, in Department C45.  Senior Deputy District Attorney Dan Wagner in the Gang Unit is prosecuting the cases.