Do you know what’s disconcerting? Sitting in your office, getting a call from a neighbor and having him inform you that you are on television right now.
Is a camera hidden in my office bookshelf? Am I being set up for a sting? Did the home audience catch me picking my nose?
Actually, informed the neighbor, he was watching me on the Oxygen Network’s show Snapped. That’s when I remembered sitting in a hotel conference room not far from Knott’s Berry Farm and talking with an off-camera producer about Deborah Perna.
The aptly named “Deborah Perna” episode follows the twists and turns that surrounded the murder of her brother, David Montemayor. Click here to read my stories about the case over the years–the slaying happened way back in 2002–and then treat yourself to R. Scott Moxley’s coverage of the trial of one of the many defendants the killing produced.
Here is the case in a nutshell: Perna was peeved that, after her father retired from his trucking company, he handed the reins over to his son, Montemayor. She was convinced he was skimming money from the business and let her co-worker Eldemira Corona know that Montemayor kept the looted cash stashed in the garage of his Buena Park home.
Eldemira, who had ties to the Mexican Mafia, worked with Perna to get a crew of thugs to either scare or kill Montemayor, with the hidden money paying for services rendered.
But once abducted and being driven back to his home, Montemayor made a break from the vehicle because he feared that the three Pacoima Flats gang members holding him might harm his family. He was killed in broad daylight while making his getaway on foot, not far from where I was interviewed for Snapped. A high-speed chase ended with the murderers getting captured, jailed and convicted.
Anthony Navarro, the Mexican Mafia member who recruited the kidnappers/killers, and gang members Armando Macias and Alberto Martinez received death penalties. The third gang member and Perna were sentenced to life in state prison without the possibility of parole. Corona copped to manslaughter and got a 14-year sentence.
The Snapped “Deborah Perna” episode premiered on Sunday but plays again tonight at 9 and Thursday at 7 p.m. Go to the official Snapped website for the schedule of future airings or to watch it online.
OC Weekly Editor-in-Chief Matt Coker has been engaging, enraging and entertaining readers of newspapers, magazines and websites for decades. He spent the first 13 years of his career in journalism at daily newspapers before “graduating” to OC Weekly in 1995 as the alternative newsweekly’s first calendar editor.