|For Immediate Release
August 23, 2011
|Susan Kang Schroeder
Chief of Staff
OCDA TO OPPOSE PAROLE OF FEMALE INMATE CONVICTED OF MURDER IN VIOLENT, GANG-MOTIVATED CRIME SPREE
SANTA ANA – Orange County District Attorney (OCDA) Tony Rackauckas is opposing the parole of a female inmate who was convicted of murdering a 16-year-old gang rival in a dangerous and violent crime spree. Gabriella Maldonado, 37, is currently being held at Valley State Prison for Women in Chowchilla, CA. Maldonado was sentenced Jan. 31, 1992, to 25 years and four months to life in state prison after being found guilty in a court trial of one felony count each of second degree murder, second degree robbery, assault with a firearm, shooting at an inhabited dwelling, and shooting at an unoccupied vehicle. The inmate was 16 years old at the time of the crime and was prosecuted as an adult. Maldonado is scheduled for a parole hearing tomorrow, Wednesday, Aug. 24, 2011, at 1:30 p.m. at the prison before the Board of Parole Hearings, California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitations.
Senior Deputy District Attorney Mike Murray will attend the hearing via video conference to oppose Maldonado’s parole.
Crime Spree and Murder of Leo Huichocez
On Feb. 12, 1991, then-16-year-old gang member Maldonado set out on a crime spree with her boyfriend, brother, and two friends. With the intention of stealing a car, the inmate approached a teenage couple in a parked Volkswagen pretending to be a passerby and asked for the time. While the couple was responding, the inmate’s boyfriend appeared and ordered the victims out of the car at gunpoint. Maldonado and her crime partners stole the vehicle and drove into rival gang territory in search of any rival with the intention of retaliating for the vandalism of her family’s car several days earlier.
The inmate and her crime partners drove past two female pedestrians, whom one of the defendants recognized and disliked due to a previous conflict. Maldonado and her co-defendants demanded to know the gang affiliation of the two female victims before Maldonado’s boyfriend pointed a firearm at them. The two girls fled. Maldonado and her co-defendant then continued on in the stolen vehicle and shot out the windshield of an unoccupied rival gang member’s car. The bullet went through the window and a garage before lodging into the wall of a house. The five then fired another shot into a residence with nine people inside where they believed rivals lived.
Minutes later, Maldonado and her crime partners drove past two male teenagers, including 16-year-old Leo Huichocez, who were walking down the street. Maldonado’s boyfriend shot Huichocez in the face, murdering him. Maldonado was arrested three days later.