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December 3, 2014: Pair Convicted of 1995 Murder in Long Beach

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Sarah Ardalani, Public Information Officer
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Two men were found guilty today of fatally shooting a pizza deliveryman in Long Beach nearly two decades ago, the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office announced.

A jury deliberated for a little more than a day before finding James Lemon (dob 9/27/78) and Venda Johnson (dob 5/1/78) guilty of first-degree murder in case NA096742.

Jurors also found true a special circumstance allegation of murder in the commission of an attempted robbery, as well as a special allegation that a principal in the crime was armed with a handgun during the killing.

Lemon and Johnson are scheduled to be sentenced Jan. 20 at the Los Angeles County Superior Court in Long Beach in Department 19. They face a possible maximum sentence of life in state prison without the possibility of parole.

Deputy District Attorney Patrick Frey, who prosecuted the case, said the fatal shooting occurred near an apartment building in Long Beach on Nov. 22, 1995.

The victim, Renato Teniente, was a pizza deliveryman who had just made a delivery at the apartment and was seated in his car when attacked by the defendants.

The prosecutor said Lemon and Johnson, who were both 17 years old at the time, ran towards Teniente’s car, and one of the defendants shot him during an attempted robbery.

The 60-year-old victim died in his car and the two defendants fled the scene, the prosecutor added.

The incident remained a cold case for 17 years before Long Beach police reopened the investigation. The next year, the defendants were charged in connection with the killing.

Authorities found Lemon living in Las Vegas and he was extradited to California. Meanwhile, Johnson was located in a Colorado prison, where he was serving a life sentence for a triple murder, and also brought to California for the new murder case.

The case was investigated by the Long Beach Police Department.