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Co-founder of Asian Boyz gang sentenced to life in prison without parole

March 30, 2011 | 12:28 pm

Marvin Mercado is shown in court during sentencing in his murder trial with his attorney, Donald Calabria Wednesday in Los Angeles.

The co-founder of the Asian Boyz gang was sentenced Wednesday to life in prison without parole in connection with a spree of at least eight slayings and 10 shootings a decade ago in the San Fernando and San Gabriel valleys.

Marvin Mercado, 37, was sentenced by Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Robert Perry to eight consecutive terms of life in prison without the possibility of parole in addition to 200 years to life.

Mercado, who eluded authorities for more than a decade by escaping to the Philippines, was convicted on Feb. 16 of eight counts of first-degree murder and 10 counts of attempted murder with additional gun and gang allegations. Jurors also found true a special-circumstance allegation of multiple murders.

His seven co-defendants -- Bunthoeun Roeung, Sothi Menh, David Evangalista, Roatha Buth, Son Thanh Bui, Ky Tony Ngo, Kimorn Nuth -- were convicted in 1999 after a joint six-month trial.

The Asian Boyz gang grew out of a fateful meeting between Mercado and fellow Cleveland High School student Sothi Mehn in the late 1980s, authorities said.

Over the next few years, Sothi Mehn and Mercado informally built the circle of friends and acquaintances who would later evolve into a feared street gang, authorities said. By the mid 1990s, the Asian Boyz were 200-strong, with the bulk of the gang's members in Southern California and affiliates in Northern California and Texas.

The gang initially participated in property crimes that targeted Southeast Asian immigrant business people. But their downfall began when they started targeting rivals, police said.

Mercado was convicted in connection with the April 1995 execution-style slaying of two rival gang members in Van Nuys and a car-to-car triple fatal shooting in August 1995 on the San Bernardino Freeway in El Monte, authorities said.

Prosecutors also presented evidence that Mercado went to a party in March 1996 and pulled the pin on what he believed was a live grenade, throwing it into a crowd while co-conspirators opened fire on party-goers, killing one and injuring two others. He was also linked to at least two other slayings.


Asian Boyz gang shot-caller convicted of eight slayings

Asian Boyz gang shot-caller should get life in prison, jury says

-- Andrew Blankstein

Photo: Marvin Mercado is shown in court with his attorney, Donald Calabria, during sentencing in his murder trial Wednesday in Los Angeles. Credit: Nick Ut / Associated Press