Death penalty sought in O.C. murder-for-hire case

Nicole Santa Cruz (Los Angeles Times) | April 21, 2011

The Orange County district attorney’s office is seeking the death penalty for a gang member convicted Thursday of killing a family businessman in a murder-for-hire case.

Armando Macias, 35, of Lancaster, was found guilty of one felony count of special circumstances murder with an allegation of murder for financial gain.

In 2002, Deborah Perna, 54, of Anaheim learned that her father intended to pass control of their family company to her 44-year-old brother, David Montemayor. She became jealous, prosecutors said. She worked as the office manager for the company and suspected that her brother was stealing from the business, according to the district attorney’s office.

Perna asked a co-worker, Edelmira Corona, 34, of Pico Rivera, to help her arrange a killing. Corona then asked her friend Anthony Navarro, 44, of Canyon County to arrange the murder, and he solicited three alleged San Fernando Valley gang members: Macias; Gerardo Lopez, 26, of Pacoima; and Alberto Martinez, 33, of Castaic.

On Oct. 2, 2002, the trio kidnapped Montemayor at the family-run business in Rancho Dominguez and drove the father of three toward his Buena Park home, where he allegedly kept thousands of dollars in cash.

About a mile from the home, Montemayor escaped from the car, driven by Martinez, and ran from his attackers. As he ran down the street, Macias shot Montemayor in the head. Lopez also fired at Montemayor, prosecutors said.

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