[symple_googlemap title=”3000 block of West Beverly Boulevard” location=”3000 block of West Beverly Boulevard” height=”300″ zoom=”15″]
A state appeals court panel Monday upheld a gang member’s conviction for the deadly shooting of a man and wounding another person outside a Westlake District church just over four years ago.
The three-justice panel from California’s 2nd District Court of Appeal rejected the defense’s contention that a Los Angeles Superior Court judge erred in instructing jurors that they could find Pedro Martinez guilty of attempted murder based on a “kill zone” theory.
“The court clearly explained the prosecution’s kill zone theory was centered on (murder victim Andres) Ordonez and the jury could not find the requisite intent unless it found defendant intended to kill Ordonez and everyone in the kill zone around him,” the justices found in a 14-page ruling.
Martinez was convicted in December 2014 of first-degree murder for the Nov. 4, 2012 killing of Ordonez outside Iglesia Principe de Paz in the 3000 block of West Beverly Boulevard.
Jurors also convicted Martinez of one count each of attempted murder and vandalism, along with finding true gang and gun allegations. Jurors deadlocked on a second attempted murder count that was later dismissed by the prosecution.
But the appellate court panel agreed that the case against Martinez should be sent back to court for re-sentencing because the trial court neglected to have Martinez admit a prior conviction on which he had waived his right to a jury trial.
Martinez was sentenced in March 2015 to 100 years to life in state prison.
An appeal is still pending on behalf of two women who were charged along with Martinez — Janeth Lopez and Ivy Navarrete.
The two were convicted last year of one count each of second-degree murder, attempted murder and vandalism. Lopez was ordered to serve 40 years to life in state prison, while Navarrete was ordered to serve 60 years to life behind bars.
Authorities said Lopez was spray-painting red graffiti on a church wall when she was confronted by one of the parishioners, with Ordonez and another person then coming to the parishioner’s aid.
Ordonez, 25, was struck in the chest by a shot fired by Martinez, authorities said. Another person was wounded.
Navarrete, described as a gang associate, drove the two away from the scene.
Ordonez’ widow, the granddaughter of the church’s pastor and three months pregnant at the time of the shooting, was sitting in a car in a nearby parking lot because she wasn’t feeling well. She told reporters at the time that she thought her husband was coming out to check on her when he encountered the tagger.
Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti, who was a city councilman at the time, backed a $50,000 reward in the case and called the crime “perhaps one of the most reprehensible acts I’ve seen here in my entire time as a City Council member.”
–City News Service