The final defendant charged in the January 2013 shooting death of a 21-year-old man in Pasadena during a drug deal that went bad pleaded guilty Monday to second-degree murder.
Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Ronald S. Coen immediately sentenced 20- year-old Ward Lacey IV — who pleaded guilty as his trial was set to begin — to 15 years to life in state prison.
Deputy District Attorney Stefan Mrakich said Lacey agreed to waive credit for time he had already spent behind bars in connection with the Jan. 15, 2013, shooting of Zane Goldstein, who died two days later.
Four other defendants — Peter Parra, Kevin Jessie Cabrera, Raymond Frank Conchas and John Michael Piepoli Jr. — previously were tried and sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole.
Deputy District Attorney Stefan Mrakich said Piepoli and Lacey set up a plan for the robbery and decided to use Conchas as the “muscle” for the hold- up, which was to occur during a drug transaction. Parra and Cabrera were also involved in the attempted robbery, according to authorities.
“He (Lacey) was not present during the crime itself,” the prosecutor said after Monday’s plea.
Lacey is due back in court Thursday, when the judge is expected to hear victim impact statements from Goldstein’s family.
At an April 22 sentencing hearing for Parra, Cabrera and Conchas, the victim’s mother said, “Losing Zane to such senseless violence literally destroyed me … I have moved past the despair, but not the crippling sense of loss.”
Deborah Gaisford noted that her son’s only tattoo was that of the name of his sister he never met, who died after being born with a heart defect and failing to get a transplant in time. She said his organs and tissue were donated to help others to continue to live.
Zachary Goldstein called his brother’s killing “pointless and senseless,” and noted that almost 1,000 people turned up for his funeral.
“He spread love and peace in the world and people loved him for it,” he said.
The victim had agreed to meet the three in an alley for a drug deal and was the target of an attempted robbery, according to evidence presented during the trial of Parra, Cabrera and Conchas.
He was shot in the head as he tried to escape near Maple Street and Chester Avenue.
—City News Service