Elena and Jose Najera Sr. withdrew their life savings from a bank in anticipation of a Y2K disaster. Disaster came early, as the couple was stabbed to death in the early morning hours of Dec. 28, 1999. Their 19-year-old son, Jose Alonso
Najera, Jr., called police around 4:30 a.m. to report he had come home to find his parents dead on the floor of their Garden Grove home. Police investigators linked DNA from hair and saliva in a ski mask found at the crime scene to one of Junior's high school chums, who in 2002 was convicted of double-murder and sentenced to life in prison. A review of the case and additional investigation led to Najera also being charged with the murders in a plot to steal his parents' money.
The Orange County District Attorney's Office announcement about Najera's trial beginning Monday follows after the jump . . .
May 14, 2010
SON FACES TRIAL FOR 1999 Y2K PLOT TO HAVE PARENTS MURDERED TO STEAL
THEIR LIFE SAVINGS
SANTA ANA – A son faces trial Monday for plotting the stabbing-murder of
his parents in 1999 in order to steal their savings, which had been
placed in a safety deposit box in anticipation of Y2K. Jose Alonso
Najera Jr., 29, Garden Grove, is charged with two felony counts of
murder with special circumstances for murder for financial gain and
multiple murders. If convicted, Najera faces a sentence of life in
prison without the possibility of parole. Opening statements are
expected to begin Monday, May 17, 2010, at 10:00 a.m. in Department
C-35, Central Justice Center, Santa Ana.
Co-defendant Gerald Thomas Johnson, 29, Villa Park, was
convicted by a jury March 15, 2002, of two felony counts of special
circumstances murder with a sentencing enhancement for multiple murders.
He was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole on
May 22, 2002.
In 1999, Najera's parents, 42-year-old Jose Najera Sr. and 46-year-old
Elena Najera, withdrew their savings from their bank accounts in
anticipation of the Y2K bug and put their money in a safety deposit box.
Najera, then 19 years old, lived with his parents in Garden Grove and
had access to the family's safety deposit box.
Najera is accused of plotting with Johnson, a friend from high school,
to murder Najera's parents. Najera is accused of arranging the murder in
order to steal his parents savings. On Dec. 27, 1999, Najera is accused
of leaving a window open to his home so that Johnson could enter the
house that night. Najera is accused of then going to Johnson's house.
Johnson invited several additional friends to his house that night to
give the two defendants an alibi for the time of the murder.
While his friends were still having a party at his house, Johnson drove
to Najera's house in the early morning of Dec. 28, 1999. Najera is
accused of staying behind in an effort to avoid being suspected of the
murders. Johnson entered the victims' house through the open window
wearing a ski mask to disguise his identity and stabbed Jose Najera Sr.
and Elena Najera more than 20 times each.
As the victims struggled for their lives, Johnson's ski mask was pulled
off and left in the house. The defendant murdered the victims and fled
the scene. At approximately 4:30 a.m., Najera is accused of pretending
to have no knowledge of the murders and calling 911 to report that he
had come home to find his parents dead on the floor.
The Garden Grove Police Department investigated the case and Johnson was
charged in 2000 after being linked to the crime through hair and saliva
DNA found on the ski mask, which was recovered from the crime scene.
Najera was charged in 2008 as a result of additional investigation and a
re-review of the case.
Senior Deputy District Attorney Mike Murray of the Homicide Unit is
prosecuting this case.