The California Supreme Court refused Wednesday to review the case of an Oklahoma man convicted of gunning down a woman and her 4-year-old daughter in an unprovoked attack in Long Beach.
Jurors found Brandon Ivan Colbert Jr. guilty of first-degree murder for the Aug. 6, 2016, murders of Carina Mancera, 26, and her daughter, Jennabel Anaya.
Colbert was also convicted of trying to kill the girl’s father, Luis Anaya, who was not hit by the gunfire.
Jurors also found true the special circumstance allegations of murder while lying in wait and multiple murders, along with allegations that he personally discharged a firearm.
In a May 6 ruling, a three-justice panel from California’s 2nd District Court of Appeal cited “compelling evidence of guilt” and noted that Colbert “without provocation fired shotgun blasts at Carina and her young daughter” and fired — but missed — after the girl’s father rushed toward him.
“DNA collected from one of the shotgun shells recovered at the scene of the shootings matched defendant’s DNA,” the panel noted.
Colbert — who claimed he was innocent and described the crimes as “Hollywood-type happenings” — was sentenced in February 2018 to life in prison without the possibility of parole.
At his sentencing hearing, Colbert tried to get out of his seat and walk out of the Long Beach courtroom as friends of the victims were about to speak, but sheriff’s deputies pounced on him and forced him to the floor.
“You’re going to sit here and listen to them now. Stop it,” Superior Court Judge Jesse I. Rodriguez told Colbert shortly before he tried to rise from his seat.
“I want to get out of here … I don’t care about this,” Colbert responded.
“You acted, you behaved and you achieved your goal as a real urban terrorist,” the judge told the defendant. “You went hunting in the beautiful city of Long Beach looking for an easy prey and you found them.”
Noting that video evidence showed Colbert passing several adult men as he searched out “the most innocent of victims,” Rodriguez called the shooting a “cowardly act of terror.”
The defendant snapped back, calling the judge a coward.
The Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office decided against seeking the death penalty for Colbert, but Deputy District Attorney Cynthia Barnes described him as “the worst, most vile monster I’ve ever come across” and called him a “pox” on the Earth.
In a sentencing memorandum, the prosecutor wrote that the attack was “without any provocation.”
Mancera and her daughter were gunned down near Ninth Street and Locust Avenue as the family was returning home from grocery shopping. He hid behind a sign and opened fire on the family with a shotgun.
Colbert was arrested about three weeks later by Los Angeles police on suspicion of driving a stolen vehicle and a DNA swab was obtained, ultimately linking him to the killings.
The surviving victim told investigators that a man walked up to his longtime girlfriend and their daughter and suddenly — without provocation — opened fire, then ran off. He said he did not recognize the man, nor did anyone else in the neighborhood.
Colbert spent time in a state mental hospital after being found incompetent to stand trial, but criminal proceedings were reinstated after authorities determined that his mental competency had been restored. He acted as his own attorney during the trial.