News Releases

January 9, 2014: Life Sentence for Gang Member who Killed Two, Attempted to Kill 12 More

Shiara Davila-Morales, Media Chief
(213) 257-2000

A gang member convicted of the first-degree murders of two young men and the attempted murders of 12 others was sentenced today to spend the remainder of his life in state prison, the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office announced.

Deputy District Attorney Andrew Cooper said Jose Zapien, 25, a member of the criminal street gang Sotel 13, was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole plus 95 years to life.

“An individual who completely lacks any reverence for human life was removed from the streets forever today,” said Cooper, who co-prosecuted the case with Deputy District Attorney Angie Christides.

Zapien was involved in five separate incidents in the City of Santa Monica between Sept. 28, 2004, and Dec. 27, 2006, including the murders of Eddie Lopez, 15, and Miguel Martin, 20.

Over the course of more than two years, Zapien targeted victims in the territory of his rival gang, Santa Monica 13, who were in the company of at least one rival gang associate, the prosecutor said.

Deputy District Attorney Cooper said Zapien stole the lives of two young men and placed the entire public at risk when he opened fire and attempted to kill twelve others.

He added, “Because of the great teamwork and tireless efforts of the District Attorney’s Office and the Santa Monica Police Department justice has been served.”