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    1. #1

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      Oct 2010

      Anthony Navarro - California Death Row

      Summary of Offense:

      Anthony Navarro was convicted of recruiting three Pacoima Flats gang members to abduct and kill David Montemayor on October 2, 2002. Montemayor, 44, was wanted dead by his oldest sister, Deborah Ann Perna, who was upset that he was being given control of the family's trucking business. Perna, also of Buena Park, hired Navarro and the gang members to kill her brother – hoping to take over Interfreight Transport Inc. In February 2006, she was sentenced to life in prison for the murder.

      Navarro was sentenced to death in Orange County on July 11, 2008.

    2. #2

      Join Date
      Oct 2010
      July 11, 2008

      Judge hands down rare death sentence in O.C. murder for hire

      The Orange County Register

      SANTA ANA – An ex-felon and police informant was sentenced to death today for coordinating a murder-for-hire plot of a Buena Park businessman ordered slain by his own sister.

      It is the first time a defendant has been given the death penalty since 2005. Three others are awaiting sentencing.

      Anthony Navarro, 42, was convicted in October of recruiting three Pacoima Flats gang members to abduct and kill David Montemayor on Oct. 2, 2002.

      Today, he sat silently as Orange County Superior Court Judge Francisco P. Briseno handed down the sentence.

      Montemayor, 44, was wanted dead by his oldest sister, Deborah Ann Perna, who was upset that he was being given control of the family's trucking business. Perna, also of Buena Park, hired Navarro and the gang members to kill her brother – hoping to take over Interfreight Transport Inc. In February 2006, she was sentenced to life in prison for the murder.

      Susan Montemayor, the victim's widow, attended the hearing. She lives in the same house where she and David Montemayor raised their three children

      "This is the penalty for what he did," she said. "I'm just glad it's over, that there is some closure."

      That October day, the gunmen abducted Montemayor in Compton. They ordered him to drive to his home – where they thought he kept a large amount of money.

      Montemayor, who knew his wife and children were home, decided to get out of the car and run away. He was shot once in the head.

      Navarro wasn't present for the murder – but jurors determined that he was the mastermind behind it.

      He has a criminal rap sheet, including a 1996 conviction for robbery and a 1984 conviction for manslaughter, according to the judge. He also worked as an informant for the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Los Angeles Police Department and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms, the judge said.

      "At some point, this became a lifestyle for you … gang membership,'' Briseno told Navarro. "I understand fully that you were not there, you say you were not involved."

      Because it is a death penalty case, it will automatically be appealed to the state Supreme Court.

      Two others in the case, Armando Macias and Alberto Martinez, are awaiting trial. They also face the death penalty. Two other co-defendants are serving terms in prison.


    3. #3
      Heidi's Avatar
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      Oct 2010

      Family Members Say Sister Was Set Up in Brother's Murder

      It started eight years ago, when a jealous Deborah Ann Perna became incensed at her father's announcement that he was turning the family trucking business over to her brother, David Montemayor.

      As it turned out, sympathetic secretary Edelmira Corona, 34, had just the right connections -- a friend named Anthony "Droopy" Navarro, a gang member who, according to court records, had done stints behind bars for manslaughter and robbery. The women decided to get rid of Montemayor and believed Navarro to be just the man for the job.

      And, as planned, Montemayor was kidnapped on Oct. 2, 2002, as he arrived for work. Three gang members forced the businessman to drive back to his house, where they thought a cache of loot was waiting. But instead, Montemayor jumped out of the car a short distance from home and was gunned down on a sidewalk as he begged for his life, according to authorities.

      The final participant in this morbid plot -- Armando Macias, 35 -- is now on trial, alleged to have fired the fatal shot. The others, including the two women, have been convicted.

      Despite Perna's murder conviction, both her surviving brother, Darren Montemayor, and father, Pete Montemayor, refuse to believe she orchestrated the killing and continue to stand behind her.

      "Mira killed him, it was a setup," Darren Montemayor, 45, said of the secretary. "She didn't like my brother, they argued."

      Darren Montemayor told AOL News he still questions the events leading up to his brother's death and doesn't buy the prosecution's version of what happened. He claims that because Corona took an extended leave from her job, her benefits were cut. That action created resentment against his brother, who was managing the business.

      Darren Montemayor said he travels to Perna's Central California prison a few times a year for visits, as does his father, who has since moved to Texas.

      "I just wish we had some answers," Darren Montemayor said. "Maybe it wasn't meant to be a murder but just a scare tactic thing. Maybe for money."

      Montemayor said the business, Interfreight Transport Inc., was located in Los Angeles' high crime Compton district and could easily have been targeted by gang members.

      His belief in Perna's innocence has crippled his relationship with Susan Montemayor, the victim's widow, who has been an outspoken critic of Perna during the numerous court proceedings. The pair rarely speak.

      But trial testimony showed that Perna, 54, was the driving force behind the murder.

      "This case is about hatred and jealousy," Assistant District Attorney Dan Wagner told AOL News. "The parents were going to turn over the family business to the victim and Perna didn't like that."

      Perna's hatred of her brother began long before she was cut out of the business. A false rumor traveled around the office that he was skimming money and had collected more than $50,000 in cash that was hidden in coffee cans in the garage of his Buena Park home, according to testimony.

      "She believed it and complained to her dad, 'My brother's stealing and you're not doing anything about it,'" Wagner said. David Montemayor "just shrugged off the accusations as if they were a joke."

      So when the time came for her parents to retire, Perna decided to recruit assassins with the promise that they could retrieve the money in David Montemayor's garage and keep it for their payment, according to testimony.

      Corona contacted Navarro, the leader of a San Fernando Valley gang who was also a snitch for the FBI, LAPD, and ATF. Navarro then recruited three colleagues to carry out the killing. Armed with guns, the trio waited for Montemayor in the early morning hours outside his business.

      When Montemayor arrived, one of the gunmen got in Montemayor's car and forced him to drive back home while the other two followed in another car. Suddenly, a short distance from home, Montemayor bolted from his car because he knew his wife and children were at home. The gunmen caught up with him a few blocks away, prosecutors said.

      The public execution may have saved the lives of Montemayor's family. Instead of breaking into his house to rifle through the garage, the gunmen sped off, with police in pursuit. The gunmen drove 30 miles on surface streets and freeways before a police car rammed their vehicle into a utility pole. A suspect who jumped out and started to run was shot in the shoulder by police, according to media reports.

      One of the suspects was carrying a note written by Perna that listed Montemayor's home address and phone number. It wasn't long before detectives traced the crime back to Perna. Corona agreed to cooperate with prosecutors in exchange for a lighter sentence. She has testified in the numerous trials.

      Perna was sentenced to life in prison in 2006; Navarro, 44, received the death penalty in 2008; and the third kidnapper, Gerardo Lopez, 26, received life in prison without parole because he was a juvenile when the killing happened, according to court records.

      The trucking business was not profitable and folded after Montemayor's death.

      "My dad wasn't into it anymore and that was it," Darren Montemayor said. "It was too much money in debt. The warehouse cost $25,000 a month. It was already falling apart and (vendors) stopped paying their bills."

      As for Perna, she's in a prison wing reserved for good-behavior inmates. She works in the kitchen and looks forward to visits from her two adult children, Montemayor said.

      "She's there for a reason. I'm not trying to defend her, I just want to know the truth," Montemayor added. "My father and I don't talk about it much."


    4. #4
      Heidi's Avatar
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      Oct 2010

      Woman gets 14 years in O.C. murder-for-hire case

      A woman was sentenced Tuesday to 14 years in state prison for her role in recruiting a gang member to kill her co-worker's brother in an Orange County murder-for-hire conspiracy, authorities said.

      Edelmira Corona, 34, who lived in Pico Rivera, testified against several co-defendents charged in the 2002 slaying of David Montemayor, the Orange County district attorney's office said. Corona pleaded guilty in March to a manslaughter count.

      Prosecutors alleged that Corona and Montemayor’s sister Deborah Perna, 54, solicited the help of 44-year-old gang member Anthony Navarro of Canyon Country to kill Montemayor.

      Perna was jealous that her father intended to pass control of the family company to her brother, who she believed was stealing from the business, prosecutors said.

      Navarro recruited three other gang members in the scheme, prosecutors said.

      On Oct. 2, 2002, the three gang members kidnapped Montemayor at the family business in Rancho Dominguez and drove to his home in Buena Park, where they were told he kept thousands of dollars in cash, prosecutors said.

      On the way, Montemayor managed to escape from the car. But one of the gang members shot him in the head as he fled, prosecutors said.

      Another gang member fired at Montemayor before they fled in their car, triggering a police chase, authorities said.

      Police eventually stopped the vehicle and arrested the three gang members.

      Perna was convicted of murder and sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole, prosecutors said. Navarro also was convicted of murder and was sentenced to receive the death penalty.

      The other three gang members were all convicted of murder. Two were sentenced to receive the death penalty and the other to life in prison without the possibility of parole.


    5. #5
      Moh's Avatar
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      Oct 2010
      Lawyer: Evidence withheld in O.C. case that sent man to death row

      The Orange County Register

      In 2007, an Orange County jury deliberated 8 1/2 hours before deciding Anthony “Droopy” Navarro deserved to die for orchestrating the murder of a Buena Park businessman gunned down outside his home.

      Navarro, an admitted gang member and longtime FBI informant, landed on San Quentin’s death row, his case closed. No one listened to his pleas of innocence.

      Until now.

      The defense attorney who exposed Orange County’s secret network of jailhouse informants said he has uncovered key evidence that Navarro’s jury never saw and that his defense team never knew existed. He insisted Navarro deserves a new trial.

      “A jury voted to convict a man and execute him without considering critical evidence that was withheld,” Assistant Public Defender Scott Sanders said. “The district attorney now has an extraordinary opportunity to correct this injustice simply by agreeing to vacate the verdict.”

      Assistant District Attorney Dan Wagner, however, said Sanders’ claims are absurd. He said the missing piece of evidence – a “kill list” found on a Navarro co-defendant – would not have made a difference in what was a strong case.

      “We don’t think we did anything wrong,” Wagner said. “Would it have changed the trial? I don’t think it even comes close.”

      Navarro’s conviction is the first capital conviction to be challenged in the wake of findings that local prosecutors and police repeatedly misused jailhouse snitches and hid evidence from the defense.

      Sanders represents Scott Dekraai, who confessed to gunning down his ex-wife and seven others in October 2011 at a Seal Beach salon. After the tugboat operator’s arrest, authorities placed a longtime snitch in the cell next door, bugged Dekraai’s cell and withheld information from his defense. A Superior Court judge removed the District Attorney’s Office from the penalty phase trial for Dekraai, the deadliest mass murderer in Orange County history, after ruling that prosecutors violated his rights.

      In addition, at least four other criminal cases have fallen apart following Sanders’ complaints about prosecutorial and police misconduct.


      Droopy Navarro testified he was more than 200 miles away in Las Vegas when three assailants shot down business owner David Montemayor in the early morning of Oct.2, 2002.

      But investigators alleged Navarro pulled the strings.

      Buena Park police detectives traced the plot to Montemayor’s older sister, who feared he would inherit the family trucking business. Authorities said the sister, who also was convicted, hired Navarro to arrange the hit. He, in turn, recruited three gang members to do the job.

      That’s the story prosecutor Wagner presented to the jury.

      Navarro’s defense offered a different tale: The trio of gunmen all hated Navarro because he was a snitch and, because of that, they wouldn’t have taken orders from him.

      One of his co-defendants stabbed Navarro 10 times in a court holding cell.

      During the 2007 trial, deputies found a piece of evidence that supported Navarro’s statements about the rancor among the men. Navarro’s name appeared on a handwritten list of people greenlighted for death by the Mexican Mafia, according to sheriff’s report. The list – written on yellow legal paper and wrapped around a makeshift knife – was found on one of Navarro’s co-defendants in the jail, the report says.

      But the list was never disclosed to the defense, according to Sanders and Navarro’s trial attorney, and Navarro was convicted without getting to use it as evidence to support his story. Defense attorneys describe the list as “critical.”


      Rather than wait for a long, arduous appeal, Sanders wants District Attorney Tony Rackauckas to dismiss Navarro’s conviction.

      Wagner’s response to Sander’s challenge was quick and emphatic: “Hell no!”

      Wagner disagreed with Sanders’ contention that the death list would have been critical for Navarro’s defense, and the prosecutor says he didn’t know about it during the 2007 trial.

      He said the District Attorney’s Office learned about the list a few weeks after Navarro’s sentencing. But Wagner said he personally didn’t learn of it until 2014 when Sanders brought up the list during an unrelated hearing in the Dekraai case.

      According to documents obtained by the Register, sheriff’s deputies wrote a crime report after the list was discovered during a jail search in September 2007. The report indicates that a copy was to be be shared with the District Attorney’s Office, but the information didn’t reach the office until November 2007 – after Navarro was sent to death row.

      Navarro’s defense attorney during the trial, H. Russell Halpern, said he believes the death list would have bolstered Navarro’s argument that he didn’t orchestrate the killing.

      Richard Targow, Navarro’s appellate attorney, said he isn’t sure how he will use the death list in preparing an appeal before the state Supreme Court. “It tells me what to ask for in seeking discovery,” Targow said.

      Death penalty convictions are automatically appealed to the state Supreme Court, but it’s a lengthy process. Targow said Navarro’s case could take years.

      Wagner said the disputed list doesn’t prove that Navarro wasn’t the boss.

      He pointed to other evidence that Navarro was the leader. The prosecutor cited a piece of paper with the victim’s name and address found in Navarro’s Lexus; calls made at the time of the killing from one shooter’s cellphone to Navarro’s number; and the gang names of the gunmen written in Navarro’s garage.

      Sanders insists Navarro never got a fair shake in court and is providing information to assist the inmate’s appeal.

      Federal appellate court Judge Alex Kozinski in a recent paper for the Georgetown Law Journal stressed the importance of prosecutors playing by the rules, specifically pointing to Orange County’s snitch controversy.

      “Pulling an elephant’s teeth,” Kozinski wrote, “is surely easier than extracting exculpatory evidence from an unwilling prosecution team.”


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