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Gang member sentenced to death in murder-for-hire scheme

September 1, 2011 |  2:17 pm

Photo: Armando Macias. Courtesy of: Orange County District Attorney's office A gang member recruited in a murder-for-hire conspiracy was sentenced to death Thursday for killing a man who was set to inherit a family-run business in Rancho Dominguez, according to the Orange County district attorney’s office.

Armando Macias, 35, of Lancaster was found guilty by a jury in April of one felony count of special circumstances murder with an allegation of murder for financial gain in the slaying of 44-year-old David Montemayor, the prosecutor's office said.

Macias, who is the fifth defendant to be sentenced in connection with Montemayor’s murder since 2006, was also found guilty of kidnapping to commit robbery, possession of a firearm by a felon, street terrorism, attempted murder and two counts of conspiracy to commit murder, officials said.

Macias, who has a prior strike conviction for voluntary manslaughter in 1993, also was slapped with several sentencing enhancements in connection with Montemayor’s murder.

Prosecutors allege that in 2002, Montemayor’s sister Deborah Perna, 54, of Anaheim and her co-worker Edelmira Corona, 34, of Pico Rivera solicited the help of 44-year-old gang member Anthony Navarro of Canyon Country to kill Montemayor.

Perna was jealous that her father intended to pass control of the family company to her brother, who she believed was stealing from the business, prosecutors said.

Navarro recruited gang members Gerardo Lopez, 26, of Pacoima, Alberto Martinez, 33, of Castaic, and Macias in a kidnap-and-murder-for-hire scheme, prosecutors said.

On Oct. 2, 2002, the men kidnapped Montemayor, a father of three, at the family business in Rancho Dominguez and headed to the victim’s home in Buena Park, where they were told he kept thousands of dollars in cash, prosecutors said.

On the way, Montemayor, who only had one arm, managed to escape the car. But Macias shot him in the head as he fled, prosecutors said.

Lopez also fired at Montemayor before the gang members raced off in their car, triggering a police car chase, authorities said.

Police eventually stopped the vehicle and arrested Macias, Lopez and Martinez. Both Navarro and Martinez have been earlier sentenced to death for their role in Montemayor’s murder.

Lopez, the other gang member, and Perna, the victim’s sister, were sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole, according to information from the district attorney's office.

Corona, the co-worker, has pleaded guilty to manslaughter and is scheduled to be sentenced Oct. 18. She faces a maximum of 22 years in prison, officials said.


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Photo: Armando Macias. Credit: Orange County district attorney's office