L.A. Gang Member, 16, Gets Life Without Parole for Kidnapping Orange County Businessman

L.A. Gang Member, 16, Gets Life Without Parole for Kidnapping Orange County Businessman
By Mai Tran
Times Staff Writer

June 14, 2003

A 16-year-old Los Angeles gang member who kidnapped an Orange County businessman and fired at police during a chase was sentenced Friday to life in prison without parole.

Antonio Nuñez was sentenced to four life terms, one life term without parole and 111 years for charges that included kidnapping, attempted murder of a police officer and street terrorism.

Deputy Public Defender Joel Garson, who represented Nuñez, argued that the sentence handed down by Orange County Superior Court Judge William R. Froeberg was too harsh.

He told Froeberg that a teenager should have an opportunity to be paroled.

Nuñez, who was 14 when the crimes occurred, and Juan Diego Perez, 29, abducted Delfino Moreno from his Santa Ana home in April 2001 and fired at Moreno’s siblings with assault rifles, prosecutors say. The men demanded $100,000 and a kilo of cocaine as ransom, Deputy Dist. Atty. Ebrahim Baytieh said.

After an abortive attempt to collect their ransom, Nuñez and Perez were spotted by police. Perez, the driver, led authorities on a chase in heavy traffic at speeds up to 90 mph while Nuñez fired more than 15 rounds through the rear window from an assault rifle, striking patrol cars and other vehicles, Baytieh said.

No one was injured in the shootout.

Perez, of Los Angeles, was sentenced last month to life in prison without parole, plus four life terms and 120 years.

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