A 37-year-old Fountain Valley man was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole in connection with the killing of a fellow gang member in Costa Mesa. According to a news report in The Daily Pilot, the man was convicted in April 2012 of murder and conspiracy to commit murder. The incident occurred back in February 1995. Three other men were also convicted of murder and sentenced to life in prison in connection with the same incident.
Officials say five men were robbing a home in Huntington Beach when one of them fled the scene fearing that the robbery victim recognized him. The four gang members then allegedly conspired to kill the fifth member fearing that he would pin the robbery on them, prosecutors said. The case went cold for about 11 years before the Costa Mesa police decided to investigate it again with the help of the district attorney’s office.
It is common for prosecutors to pursue the most severe punishments in murder cases, particularly when the case involves gang activity. A gang is defined under California law as an association of three or more persons who have a continuity of purpose, who seek a group identity, and have members involved in criminal activity.
Individuals who are charged with a serious crime such as robbery or murder will face enhanced punishments if it is proven that the crime was gang-related. And, prosecutors will likely use reported actions of the gang to sway the jury against the defendant whether or not those crimes are related to the case. Showing that someone is involved in a gang is a powerful tool used to show the defendant as a dangerous criminal deserving of punishment.
Anyone facing murder charges needs representation from a skilled criminal defense attorney. If you or a loved one is facing any kind of serious charges, please contact us at the Law Offices of David A. Stein at 949-445-0040 for a no-cost confidential consultation.