18th Street Gangster Who Used SUV As Lethal Weapon Wants Shorter Prison Sentence
Roa, a 28-year-old member of Orange County's notorious 18th Street gang, is in the early stages of prison sentences totaling at least 40 years and he wants to have a chance to return to freedom before he's an elderly man.
But criminal justice system officials haven't shown any sympathy for Roa, who in Nov. 2006 used a Mercury Mountaineer SUV to chase and crush Rito "Boxer" Guajardo, a rival, Big Stanton gangster who was furiously pedaling his bicycle to get away.
(Roa's first attempt to run over Guajardo failed. He backtracked, found the rival hoodlum again, aimed the SUV, accelerated at his target and succeeded in causing a gruesome death.)
Last year, a California Court of Appeal based in Santa Ana refused to overturn Roa's second-degree murder conviction and the California Supreme Court declined to entertain the killer's complaints.
A federal judge in Southern California has now considered Roa's allegation that Orange County Superior Court Judge M. Marc Kelly gave faulty jury instructions that denied him what he considered a more fair verdict of manslaughter and a shorter punishment.
This week, U.S. District Court Judge Christina A. Snyder, a 1997 President Bill Clinton appointee to the federal bench, accepted a magistrate judge's determination that the Orange County Sheriff's Department and local prosecutors adequately proved Roa's guilt and that a manslaughter conviction did not fit the government's overwhelming evidence.
Upshot: Roa will continue to serve his lengthy prison sentence inside Kern Valley State Prison in Delano.