Orange County prosecutors this week won convictions in two jail-beating cases, which were part of federal and state crackdowns on the Mexican Mafia’s influence on Santa Ana gangs in and out of area jails.
Marcus Allen Jeffries, who is part of another pending jail-beating case that has ended with two mistrials due to deadlocked juries, and co-defendant Jose Antonio Peralta, were convicted Wednesday in a Nov. 4, 2011, jail assault. The two were convicted of aggravated assault with a sentencing enhancement for committing the crime for the benefit of the Mexican Mafia.
Jeffries faces up to 12 years in prison and Peralta up to 23 years, according to Deputy District Attorney Dave Porter.
The victim in the beating “was worked. he had well over 40 bruises, cuts and scrapes on his face, upper body and two black eyes. His nose looked broken, but it wasn’t, it was swollen,” Porter said.
Porter had gone before two other juries to win a conviction against Jeffries in an unrelated jail beating on Feb. 1, 2012. In June, a jury deadlocked 10-2 in favor of guilt for Jeffries and co-defendants David Angel Navarro, and Julian Joe Riel. On Aug. 29, another jury in a second trial deadlocked 11-1 for guilt.
Orange County Superior Court Judge David Hoffer rejected a motion to dump the case and ordered a third trial for the defendants.
On Monday, Andrew Herminio Gomez, was convicted of aggravated assault with a sentencing enhancement for carrying out the beating for the benefit of the Mexican Mafia, according to Deputy District Attorney Erik Petersen. Jurors took about 90 minutes before reaching a verdict, Petersen added.
The beating was caught on video, Petersen said. Gomez’s gang was targeted for attacks, but investigators do not know why, Petersen said.
Gomez was swept up in the Operation Smokin’ Aces crackdown on the Mexican Mafia, Petersen said. He faces up to eight years in prison when he scheduled to be sentenced Oct. 24, Petersen said.
Three other co-defendants pleaded guilty prior to trial.
— City News Service