A gang member was convicted Thursday of a series of burglaries that primarily targeted Asian victims in the San Gabriel Valley, including one in which a 59-year-old woman was beaten.
The Los Angeles Superior Court jury deliberated nearly a day before finding Ron Simmons, 21, guilty of one count each of torture, mayhem and conspiracy, two counts each of first-degree residential robbery and attempted first-degree residential robbery and five counts each of first-degree burglary with a person present and first-degree residential burglary involving crimes between December 2017 and October 2018.
Jurors also found true gang allegations.
The panel acquitted Simmons of a sixth count of first-degree residential burglary, and deadlocked on an elder abuse charge that was subsequently dismissed.
Simmons, who is due back in a downtown Los Angeles courtroom for sentencing Nov. 26, is facing a potential life prison term, according to Deputy District Attorney Richard Ceballos.
Simmons — who was among 31 people indicted in February in connection with a burglary ring — was the first defendant to go to trial. About a half-dozen of those who were indicted have pleaded guilty or no contest.
Deputy District Attorney Christopher Baker told jurors that there was “compelling evidence” that Simmons was part of a “violent burglary ring” that committed a series of break-ins, in which thousands of dollars in cash, jewelry and purses were taken.
A 59-year-old woman lost consciousness after being awoken by three intruders and punched in the face “over and over again,” kicked in the ribs and stomped on during a Sept. 10, 2018, attack at her Rosemead home, Baker said in his opening statement.
Other burglaries occurred in Temple City, Monterey Park and Walnut, according to the prosecutor.
Defense attorney Vincent James Oliver countered that it was a case of “guilt by association.”
“That’s all the evidence will show,” Simmons’ attorney told jurors during his opening statement adding there was no fingerprint or DNA evidence or eyewitness identification to link the defendant to the crimes.
The District Attorney’s Office still has to decide whether to proceed on nearly 70 other counts against Simmons, including several involving break-ins at the Los Angeles-area homes of several celebrities and athletes, including singer Rihanna, then-Los Angeles Dodgers outfielder Yasiel Puig and Los Angeles Rams wide receiver Robert Woods between August 2018 and September 2018.
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