[UPDATED with Conviction:] Armando Macias Faces Death Penalty for Bizarre Family Murder Plot
UPDATE, APRIL 21, 5:56 P.M.: A jury in Santa Ana today found Armando Macias guilty of murder--a conviction that could bring the 35-year-old Lancaster gang banger the death penalty.
Macias was part of the family murder plot of businessman David Montemayor, 44, of Buena Park, in 2002.
Macias was found guilty of: special circumstances murder with an allegation for murder for financial gain; possession of a firearm by a felon; being a gang member carrying a loaded firearm in public; kidnapping to commit robbery; attempted murder; two counts of conspiracy to commit a crime; street terrorism with allegations for murder during the commission of another felony; and murder committed for a criminal street gang purpose.
Sentencing enhancement allegations for the personal discharge of a firearm causing death and the personal use of a deadly weapon were also found true.
Opening statements in the death penalty phase of Macias' trial are expected to begin Wednesday in Santa Ana.
UPDATE, MARCH 28, 9:34 A.M.: The Orange County district attorney's office (OCDA) today goes for a third death-penalty conviction and sixth and final conviction overall in the 2002 murder of a Buena Park man that was set in motion by his sister, who was jealous he was being handed the reins to the family trucking business.
Armando Macias, 35, of Lancaster, allegedly "executed" 44-year-old David Montemayor, who was fleeing after briefly breaking free from captors in the bizarre family-murder plot that unraveled after his killers were captured following a televised police chase.
Deborah Ann Perna, 54, of Anaheim, was not only jealous her father was handing control of the company over to Montemayor, but she also believed her brother was stealing from the business. She asked a co-worker, Edelmira Corona, 34, of Pico Rivera, to help her arrange Montemayor's slaying.
Corona solicited the help of gang member Anthony Navarro, 44, of Canyon County, who recruited three members of a San Fernando Valley gang to kidnap and murder Montemayor: Gerardo Lopez, 26, of Pacoima; Alberto Martinez, 33, of Castaic; and, it is alleged, Macias.
The three kidnappers snatched Montemayor at the family's Rancho Dominguez business on Oct. 2, 2002, and drove him toward the married father of three's Buena Park home, where they had been told Montemayor kept thousands of dollars in cash.
But, with Martinez behind the wheel, Montemayor managed to break out of the car about a mile from his home. That's when Lopez and, it is alleged, Macias fired rounds at the kidnapping victim. According to prosecutors, Macias "executed" Montemayor "by shooting him in the head" as he "fled for his life."
The three baddies drove off and were pursued by law enforcement in what became a televised police chase during rush hour. Police eventually stopped the vehicle and arrested Macias, Lopez and Martinez.
Navarro was convicted on Oct. 18, 2007, and sentenced to receive the death penalty on July 11, 2008. Martinez was convicted on May 6, 2010, and sentenced to receive the death penalty Aug. 6, 2010.
Lopez was convicted on Dec. 14, 2005, and sentenced on June 2, 2006, to life in state prison without the possibility of parole. Perna was convicted of the same on Oct. 28, 2005, and sentenced to the same on Feb. 16, 2006.
Corona pleaded guilty to manslaughter on March 24, 2004. She faces a maximum of 22 years in prison at her April 28 sentencing in Fullerton.
Opening statements are starting about now in Macias' trial in Santa Ana. The OCDA statement that includes the laundry list of charges against him follows on the next page . . .
March 28, 2011