Life sentence handed down in gang murder

Life sentence handed down in gang murder

By Marjorie Hernandez,
May 12, 2005

An Oxnard man convicted of the shooting death of a rival gang member in 2003 was sentenced Wednesday to life in prison without the possibility of parole.

Jose Luis Navarro Garcia, 22, was found guilty in March of first-degree murder in the death of 23-year-old David Marceleno, also of Oxnard. Jurors also convicted Garcia of two special circumstances, lying in wait and committing a crime for the benefit of a gang.

Garcia was stoic as Ventura County Superior Court Judge Rebecca Riley read her decision but flashed a quick smile at family members and friends who sat behind him as sheriff’s deputies escorted him back to the court holding area.

“This was an incredibly vicious crime,” Senior Deputy District Attorney Maeve Fox said. “The victim did not know him … and the fact that he could commit this was truly shocking.”

Riley gave Garcia an additional 55 years for committing a crime for the benefit of a gang, for the use of a shotgun and discharging that firearm to cause death. Garcia will serve those 55 years before his life sentence, Fox said.

Garcia has 60 days to file an appeal.

Fox said the passage of Proposition 21 in 2000 helped attach additional years to Garcia’s life sentence. The proposition increased punishment for gang-related felonies and designates additional crimes as violent and serious felonies, making offenders subject to longer sentences.

According to prosecutors, Garcia and other gang members went to Marceleno’s apartment complex in the 500 block of West Hill Street in Oxnard on Feb. 7, 2003, to settle a score over a previous argument.

Garcia initially solicited a minor to shoot Marceleno, but when the minor backed out of the plan, Garcia carried out the murder, Fox said.

According to court reports, Garcia knocked on the victim’s door and started shooting as Marceleno turned the door knob. Marceleno was struck in the abdomen and died three hours later at a local hospital.

In a statement filed with the District Attorney’s office, Marceleno’s father, Abelino, said his youngest son’s death has destroyed his life. Marceleno’s girlfriend, Mireya Macias, gave birth to a baby girl just weeks after his death.

“Life without my son is not the same for me,” Abelino said in the statement. “It is a different life full with grief, bitterness, suffering … but I feel worst when I think of my granddaughter. How are we going to tell this little girl what happened to her father when she begins to ask for him?”

Garcia was ordered to pay more than $8,000 to Abelino and an undetermined amount to Macias in restitution. Garcia also must pay $10,000 to the State Restitution Fund and $10,000 to the Victims of Crime Compensation Board.

Fox said this is the second tragedy to hit the Marceleno family.

Marceleno’s older brother, Erik, is serving 15 years to life in state prison for beating a rival gang member to death in September 1996. Erik was convicted in April 1999 of second-degree murder and using a “car club” as a deadly weapon to kill 17-year-old Gerardo Rodriguez.

David Marceleno, however, was trying to move away from the gang life and was ready to start a family with his girlfriend, Fox said.

“It’s an unending cycle,” she said.

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