The California Supreme Court refused Wednesday to review the case of a Burbank man who was convicted of shooting and seriously injuring two Los Angeles County sheriff’s deputies, trying to shoot four other deputies and holding a man hostage during a standoff in Bellflower.
Juan Manuel Martinez shot one sheriff’s deputy who was in the process of pulling him over in the 16600 block of Lisa Avenue, near a DUI checkpoint on Lakewood Boulevard on June 23, 2016, authorities said.
He fled from the scene on foot, shot an undercover sheriff’s deputy and then fired at four other deputies before hiding for more than seven hours in a small structure, in which a man was held hostage for five hours, according to trial testimony.
Martinez was not struck by the deputies’ return gunfire before the barricade and was taken into custody after a SWAT team fired tear gas into the structure behind a house in the 9000 block of Mayne Street in Bellflower.
Martinez — who had prior convictions for grand theft and drug-related offenses — was found guilty in June 2018 of five counts each of attempted murder of a peace officer and assault with a firearm upon a peace officer and one count each of attempted murder involving an undercover deputy, false imprisonment of a hostage, dissuading a witness by force or threat and felon in possession of a firearm.
He was sentenced in October 2018 to 221 years to life in state prison as the two deputies who were wounded by the defendant looked on in a Norwalk courtroom.
In a ruling in March, a three-justice panel from California’s 2nd District Court of Appeal turned down the defense’s contention that substantial evidence did not support Martinez’s conviction on one of the charges — false imprisonment of a hostage — along with his claim that a blood sample should have been collected from him after he was arrested.
The appellate court justices noted in that 32-page ruling that the danger that Martinez would use his gun on the hostage or cause him to be caught in the crossfire during a shootout was “not minimal, as defendant was armed with a loaded firearm and had already shown a willingness to shoot police officers to avoid arrest.”
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