Jose Alonso Najera Jr. Convicted of Murdering His Parents to Get Their Life Savings

Jose Alonso Najera, Jr., the Garden Grove man we told you last month was on trial for allegedly murdering his parents in a plot to steal money they pulled out of the bank before Y2K, was convicted today.

The Orange County Register has the scoop from inside the courtroom today.

The stocky 29-year-old reportedly sat silently with tears welling in his eyes as the six-man, siz-woman jury announced Najera was guilty of first-degree murder in the death of his father, second-degree murder in the slaying of his mother and special circumstances for multiple murders and murder for financial gain.

He could get life in prison without the possibility of parole at his June 28 sentencing.

Then 19-year-old Najera called police around 4:30 a.m. on Dec. 28, 1999, to report he had come home to find his parents, Elena and Jose Najera Sr., dead on the floor of their Garden Grove home.

Police determined the couple was stabbed to death, and investigators linked DNA from hair and saliva in a ski mask found at the crime scene to one of Junior's high school chums, Gerald Thomas Johnson, now 29, who in 2002 was convicted of double-murder and sentenced to life in prison. [Correction: Johnson died in prison in 2008; authorities said he committed suicide.]

A review of the case and additional investigation led to Najera also being charged with the murders in a plot to steal his parents' life savings, which they had withdrawn from the bank in anticipation of a Y2K disaster and placed in a safe deposit box, which their son could access.

The jury agreed that Najera plotted with Johnson to have his parents snuffed out. He left a window of his home open so Johnson could enter the night of the killings.

Najera then went to Johnson's house to wait out the dirty deed. Several friends of both killers were invited over to give them an alibi. But as the party raged on, Johnson slipped out, drove over to the Najera home and stabbed the mother and father more than 20 times each.

During the couple's struggle to survive, Johnson's ski mask was pulled off. He left it behind. It would be his--and his conniving friend's--undoing.


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