Gang Member Convicted in Santa Monica Murders to Spend Life in Prison

Ivette Lopez (The Lookout) | July 25, 2014

Moose Lodge Santa MonicaConvicted killer William Vasquez will have to spend the rest of his life in prison after the California Supreme Court on Wednesday denied to review the case against him for the murder of five victims, including two in Santa Monica.

The gruesome shootings that took place in Santa Monica and Los Angeles between 2002 and 2005 included the gunning down of two Santa Monica residents at a party at the local Moose Lodge in the upscale beachside city.

The court’s ruling means that Vasquez, an 18th Street gang member known on the streets as “Crook”, will not be eligible for parole, and his lifelong sentence will be upheld.

In April 2004, Vasquez and his lawyers filed an appeal and argued that the murder counts should be dropped because the photographs identifying the suspect excessively incriminated him to witnesses.

The defense also argued that the convictions were not supported by evidence and that Vasquez’s right to due process was violated, according to court documents.
The California 2nd District Court of Appeals rejected these claims that same month.

“Simply put, the Santa Monica murders were no more violent and senseless (than) some of the other charged murders and did not unduly inflame the jury,” wrote Presiding Justice Norman L. Epstein.

Vasquez was apprehended on Oct. 13, 2008 after an 18-month hunt by police. He was found on the 500 block of Westlake Street, according to members of a Los Angeles Police Department-FBI task force.

Vasquez’s string of murders began in January 2002, when he fatally shot 22-year-old Alex Haro and Kevin Walton three times each.

Read more at: http://www.surfsantamonica.com/ssm_site/the_lookout/news/News-2014/July-2014/07_25_Gang_Member_Convicted_in_Santa_Monica_Murders_to%20Spend%20Life_in_Prison..html

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