Five members of an Azusa street gang were convicted by a jury in
Pomona late today of multiple crimes, including murder and attempted
murder, stemming from a 2002 crime spree in which two people were
killed and two others seriously wounded, the District Attorney’s
District Attorney Michael Camacho of the Hardcore Gang Division said
the jury in Pomona Superior Court Judge Philip Gutierrez’s court
deliberated five days before returning the verdicts. The trial
began on Sept. 10.
convicted of murder face sentences of life in prison without the
possibility of parole, Camacho said. The other three could be
sentenced to life with the possibility of parole. The defendants,
all of whom will remain in custody, face individual sentencing dates
starting on Nov. 2.
the defendants were with an Azusa gang and their crimes occurred in
the east San Gabriel Valley city and surrounding unincorporated
areas. The crimes occurred from June to October 2002. Besides the
murder charges, defendants were variously charged with conspiracy to
commit murder, attempted murder, assault with a firearm, assault
with a deadly weapon, robbery and attempted robbery.
said the jury convicted all defendants as charged and found true
allegations of firearm use and street gang crime. In the case of
two defendants charged with murder, the jury also found true the
special circumstance of multiple murder.
Marco Antonio Salazar, 21, whose gang moniker is “Stutters;” and
Robert Frank Ramirez, 28, whose moniker is “Thumper,” were convicted
of both murders and will be sentenced to life in prison without the
possibility of parole. Although filed as a capital case, the
District Attorney’s office decided prior to trial not to seek the
death penalty against either defendant.
scheduled to be sentenced by Judge Gutierrez on Dec. 1, while
Ramirez’s sentencing is scheduled for Nov. 2.
defendants are Donald George Sanchez, 22, whose street moniker is
“Goofy,” Gabriel Rene-Diaz Aguilar, 28, known as “Downer,” and
Miguel Sanchez, whose 21st birthday was today and is
known on the street as “Minor.” The Sanchezes are not related.
Donald Sanchez and Miguel Sanchez are scheduled to be sentenced on
Nov. 10 and Aguilar on Nov. 2.
one of the victims, Daniel Zamorano, 22, was killed in Azusa on
Sept. 19, 2002. He was stabbed to death. On Oct. 22, 2002, the
second murder victim, Marcus Gradillas, 36, was shot to death at his
home in Azusa.
incidents included the shooting and wounding of Nadine Nowlin, who
was shot in the back in Azusa in September 2002. Camacho said the
victim was shot because she is African American. Another attempted
murder victim was David Venegas, 32, the landlord of murder victim
Gradillas. He was shot a week after Gradillas was killed.
arguments, Camacho told jurors that gangs like the one to which the
defendants belonged can take over a community.
“It’s like a
cancer that can’t be stopped unless we can do it in the courtroom”