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Orange County jury orders death penalty for gang member in murder-for-hire case

June 1, 2010 |  9:10 pm

An Orange County jury Tuesday ordered the death penalty for a gang member convicted in a murder-for -hire conspiracy, authorities said.

Alberto Martinez, 32, of Castaic was convicted last month of one felony count each of special circumstances murder, conspiracy to commit murder, possession of a firearm by a felon, kidnapping to commit robbery and street terrorism, the Orange County district attorney's office said.

Prosecutors said Martinez and several other members of a San Fernando Valley street gang were hired in 2002 to kill Buena Park business owner David Montemayor, 44.

Martinez and the others were charged with kidnapping Montemayor, who was gunned down after he escaped from a car where he was being held.

Montemayor's sister, Deborah Perna, 53, of Anaheim was later charged with hiring the gang members to murder her brother. Perna believed her brother was stealing from the family business, where she worked as the office manager, and wanted to get rid of him, according to prosecutors.

She was convicted in October 2005 of murder with the special circumstances of committing the murder in the course of attempted robbery and kidnapping and was sentenced to life in state prison without the possibility of parole, prosecutors said. Another defendant in the case has received the death penalty and a third is awaiting a death-penalty trial.

Martinez is scheduled for sentencing Aug. 6 at the Santa Ana courthouse.

-- Robert J. Lopez