A death sentence was handed down last Friday for a gang member who committed four murders over a six-month period in the East Los Angeles area and Boyle Heights.
Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Ronald S. Coen said Angel Mendoza had “brutally murdered four people” in denying a motion to modify the jury’s recommendation to life imprisonment for the 39-year-old defendant.
Saying the “weight of the evidence does support the jury’s verdict,” the judge told Mendoza, “You murdered without remorse. For that, sir, you have earned this penalty.”
Mendoza was convicted Oct. 11, 2013 of the Oct. 27, 2007 murder of Miguel Morales, the March 31, 2008 killings of Arturo Saldana and Francisco Cereceres, and the April 22, 2008 killing of Roberto Rodriguez — the latter on the defendant’s 34th birthday.
Jurors found true the special circumstance allegations of multiple murders, along with a gang special circumstance allegation on Rodriguez’s killing and the special circumstances of murder during the commission of a carjacking, robbery and burglary in the killings of Saldana and Cereceres.
Morales, a taxi driver, was shot after refusing to sell drugs to Mendoza, who went by the moniker, “Evil,” according to prosecution.
Saldana and Cereceres, who worked at Jesse’s Auto Sales in East Los Angeles, were shot in the head by Mendoza during a robbery, in which two vehicles and blank checks were stolen.
Rodriguez — who was not a gang member — was shot in the head while Mendoza and his associates looked for a rival who had robbed a member of their gang, according to prosecutors.