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Killers of father and daughter in Koreatown robbery are spared the death penalty

March 1, 2010 |  4:40 pm

A Los Angeles jury Monday spared two men the death penalty for killing a man and his teenage daughter during a robbery in Koreatown on New Year’s Eve 2006, according to the Los Angeles County district attorney’s office.

Matthew Ian Koontz, 36, and Jonathan Blackwell, 29, were convicted in early January on two counts each of first-degree murder in the pre-dawn shooting deaths of Raul Cruz, 31, and Jessica Cipriano, 17.

Jurors voted for life sentences without the possibility of parole for Cruz’s death, but deadlocked on what sentence the men should receive for Cipriano's death, according to the district attorney’s office.

Koontz and Blackwell were also convicted of attempted murder for shooting Cruz’s wife, who was wounded in the stomach but survived, as well as three counts each of residential robbery.

Prosecutors alleged at trial that Koontz knew there would be cash at the family’s Koreatown apartment because he had purchased drugs from Cruz. Cruz’s son Henry, then age 9, was in the bedroom at the time of the shooting and testified in the trial.

The two men will be sentenced April 8.

-- Victoria Kim