A state appeals court panel on Tuesday upheld the convictions of two former Whittier residents for the January 2009 murder of a San Pedro woman who was found shot to death in her car.
The three-justice panel from California’s 2nd District Court of Appeal rejected the defense’s contention that there was insufficient evidence to support Raul Tiscareno’s conviction for the Jan. 30, 2009, killing of Ginie Samayoa.
The justices also rejected the defense’s claim that there was not substantial evidence to support the special circumstance allegation of murder during the commission of a robbery against co-defendant Daniel Keith Martinez.
The two were charged along with another former Whittier resident, Michael Bonfiglio, but tried separately from him.
In a ruling last October, a state appellate court panel upheld Bonfiglio’s first-degree murder conviction for the 27-year-old woman’s killing. The California Supreme Court refused Jan. 14 to review the case against Bonfiglio.
Samayoa’s body was found Jan. 30, 2009, in the driver’s seat of her red Toyota Tercel, in an alley behind a San Pedro diner.
Authorities said the woman had been engaged in identity theft and that her laptop computer was stolen from her during the attack, in which the three men were riding in her car after leaving with her from her apartment about two blocks away.
In a 14-page ruling in the case involving Tiscareno and Martinez, the appellate court justices noted that there was “substantial evidence that the three men planned to rob Samayoa of her laptop computer and to kill her, eliminating the only witness to their robbery.”
The three were arrested within less than two weeks.
The victim’s laptop computer was found on a bed in Tiscareno’s apartment, the appellate court justices noted.
Tiscareno, Martinez and Bonfiglio were each sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole.
— City News Service
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