It was a busy day in Orange County courtrooms today as two murderers were convicted, one of whom may get the death penalty, and a cop who sexually assaulted three women and a young man who raped three prostitutes (savagely beating two) received long prison sentences. Over the border in Long Beach, a gang member may never get out of prison for murdering a 16-year-old honor student after opening fire on a crowd of people at a high school homecoming football game.
1.) IFTEKHAR MURTAZA
The Bobby-Brown's-son-did-it defense did not work out for the Van Nuys 29-year-old, who is now facing the death penalty after a jury convicted him of murdering his ex-girlfriend's father and sister and attempting to kill her mother (who was left in a coma after suffering life-threatening injuries) in 2007. Murtaza was found guilty of two felony counts of murder, one felony count of attempted murder, one felony count of conspiracy to commit murder, the special circumstance sentencing enhancements for multiple murders and murder during the commission of kidnapping. The same jury will now hear the death penalty phase of the trial Dec. 2. Convicted co-conspirator Charles Anthony Murphy, Jr. faces life without parole at his Dec. 20 sentencing, the same sentence Vitaliy Krasnoperov received. (Iftekhar Murtaza, on Trial for Brutal Family Murders, Implicates Singer Bobby Brown's Son)
2.) RAYMUNDO GUTIERREZ PEREDA
The 72-year-old who spent 16 years on the lam following the beating death of his former lover was convicted today of first-degree murder and could get 25 years at his Jan. 31 sentencing. Pereda killed 53-year-old Mary Ann O'Neill in her Placentia home in 1995, stuffed her body in the truck of her car and abandoned it at a nearby strip mall before fleeing to Las Vegas. The case is a lesson against drunken driving: Pereda's fingerprints, which were taken after being pulled over for DUI in Vegas, got a hit in the national database for murder investigators.
3.) JOSE RICARDO MEJIA
The 24-year-old, who raped three prostitutes in Santa Ana during a nine-month span of 2009-10, savagely beating two of them, was sentenced today to 75 years to life in prison. Deputy District Attorney Keith Burke had asked Orange County Superior Court Judge Francisco Briseno to sentence Mejia to the maximum term of 129 years to life. He used a metal rod to beat the stuffing out of the first prostitute he picked up on Harbor Boulevard with his mother's car, telling her, "I'm going to kill you, you're going to die tonight." But a passerby interrupted Mejia, who ran off leaving the car and the girl behind for cops. He returned as the car was being impounded, was questioned by police and--get this--released that night. His second of three attacks came three months later.
4.) JESSE ANDREW GREEN
The Garden Grove police officer who forcibly sodomized three women he was dating was sentenced today to 12 years in state prison and ordered to register as a sex offender for life. That was actually a break for the 36-year-old Huntington Beach resident because jurors could not reach a verdict on a fourth alleged rape. Among the moves of this Romeo, who had also worked for the Calexico Police Department, was acting all lovey-dovey to woo the women and then after forcing himself inside them calling them sluts and whores and telling them he had herpes or AIDS that he had just given them. (Jesse Andrew Green, Former Garden Grove Cop, Guilty of Date Raping Three Women)
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5.) TOM LOVE VINSON
In light of recent case law, a state appellate court ordered Long Beach Superior Court Judge Mark Kim to reconsider the 155 1/2 years to life in prison sentence he gave Tom Love Vinson, who was a 16-year-old gang member tried as an adult for murdering a 16-year-old female honor student outside Wilson High School's 2009 homecoming football game. Vinson received the same sentence today he got from Kim in 2011 but, under a new state law dealing with juvenile offenders, the judge allowed the now-20-year-old to apply for parole if he's eligible in November 2034. Vinson's co-defendant Daivion Davis, who turned 16 a day after Melody Ross was killed, was previously sentenced to eight years and four months in a juvenile facility after pleading no contest to manslaughter and attempted murder.