Orange County District Attorney
Tony Rackauckas, District Attorney
401 Civic Center Drive West
Santa Ana, CA 92701
For Immediate Release
April 16, 2010
Susan Kang Schroeder
OPENING STATEMENTS TO BEGIN FOR GANG MEMBER INVOLVED IN MURDER-FOR-HIRE CONSPIRACY OF FAMILY BUSINESSMAN
*Orange County District Attorney is seeking the death penalty in this case
SANTA ANA – A gang member faces trial Monday for the special circumstances murder of a family businessman after being recruited in a murder-for-hire conspiracy. Alberto Martinez, 32, Castaic, is charged with one felony count each of special circumstances murder, conspiracy to commit the crime of murder, possession of a firearm by a felon, kidnapping to commit robbery, and street terrorism. The special circumstances sentencing enhancements include murder for financial gain, murder during the commission of robbery, murder during the commission of kidnapping, and murder committed for the benefit of a criminal street gang. Martinez also faces sentencing enhancements for the vicarious discharge of a firearm causing death as a gang member and criminal street gang activity. The District Attorney is seeking the death penalty against Martinez. Opening statements are expected to begin Monday, April 19, 2010, at 9:30 a.m. in Department C-45, Central Justice Center, Santa Ana.
On Oct. 2, 2002, Martinez is accused of kidnapping 44-year-old David Montemayor at his family-run business in Rancho Dominguez with two other co-defendants. The three accused kidnappers, Gerardo Lopez, 25, Pacoima, Armando Macias, 34, Lancaster, and Martinez, were members of a San Fernando Valley gang and had been recruited by gang member Anthony Navarro, 43, Canyon County, to kidnap and murder the victim in a murder-for-hire plot.
Martinez is accused of driving Montemayor, a married father of three, with Macias and Lopez toward the victim’s 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 is accused of firing his weapon at the fleeing victim, executing him by shooting him in the head. Lopez also fired at the victim.
Martinez is accused of driving as the three defendants fled the scene and became 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, 53, 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, 33, Pico Rivera, to help her arrange the murder by asking Corona’s friend Navarro to kill Montemayor. Navarro recruited gang members Lopez, Macias, and Martinez to carry out the kidnapping and murder.
Defendant Perna was convicted Oct. 28, 2005, of murder with the special circumstances of committing the murder in the course of attempted robbery and kidnapping and was sentenced Feb. 16, 2006, to life in state prison without the possibility of parole. Defendant Lopez was convicted D