Orange County District Attorney
Tony Rackauckas, District Attorney
401 Civic Center Drive West
Santa Ana, CA 92701
For Immediate Release
Susan Kang Schroeder
PAROLE DENIED FOR FEMALE INMATE CONVICTED
OF MURDER IN VIOLENT, GANG-MOTIVATED
SANTA ANA – The Board of Parole Hearings, California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitations, denied the parole today for a woman 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 will be eligible for her next parole hearing in 2014.
Senior Deputy District Attorney Mike Murray attended 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.
Lack of Remorse and Rehabilitation and Threat to Public Safety
In 2010, almost 20 years after her violent, murderous crime spree, Maldonado has