Two Sets of Santa Ana Teens Staring One Another Down, Two Murders

Dead: Rodrigo Valle, 13
Killer: Ramon Diaz, then just shy of 17.

Dead: Manuel Raul Orozco, 17.
Killer: Andrew Cervantes, then 14.

What do the two murders have in common other than they happened two years apart in Santa Ana and the teen killers were tried as adults?

Stare downs.

After Diaz stared down eighth grader Valle in September 2008 near Santa Ana High School, the older teen pulled out a gun. Valle, who police believe was a member of a rival gang to Diaz's, ran away. Diaz shot Valle in the back, killing him.

It took a jury less than an hour last week to convict Diaz, now 19, of murder and street terrorism. He faces a maximum sentence of life in state prison without the possibility of parole at his sentencing scheduled for December in Santa Ana.

We gave details last week on the conviction in the Orozco case, where Cervantes, who is now 15, at 14 was the youngest age allowed under state law to be prosecuted as an adult.

As in the Valle case, Orozco was stared down by gang member Cervantes on June 22, 2010, before Cervantes pulled out a gun and fatally shot Orozco. Cervantes is looking at the possibility of 40 years to life in state prison at his Oct. 6 sentencing hearing in Santa Ana.

Tip to teens in Santa Ana: look away.


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