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March 13, 2012

Gang Member Convicted of Multiple Murders Sentenced to More than Five Life Terms

Filed under: Los Angeles Criminal attorney — Tags: , , — fayarfa @ 10:04 pm

LOS ANGELES – An 18th Street gang member convicted in 2010 of five murders and other counts was sentenced today to five consecutive life terms, the District Attorney’s Office announced.

Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Larry Paul Fidler, who presided over the trial, sentenced William Vasquez, 31, to life without the possibility of parole plus 156 years to life in prison.

The case was prosecuted by Deputy District Attorneys Sarika Kim and David Barkhurst of the Hardcore Gang Division.

Vasquez was convicted on Dec. 9, 2010, of five counts of first-degree murder. Jurors found true special circumstance allegations of
multiple murders and that the defendant was an active participant in a criminal street gang.

Vasquez was additionally convicted of one count of attempted murder and two counts of assault with a semiautomatic firearm. Gang and gun allegations were found true.

The charges stem from five murders and other crimes between 2002 and 2005. Evidence presented at trial revealed that the killings began on Jan. 27, 2002, when Vasquez fatally shot Alex Haro, 22, a Culver City gang member, at a birthday party in Los Angeles. Haro was shot in the chest and in the back of the head.

On Jan. 26, 2003, Vasquez armed himself with two semi-automatic firearms while at a party at the west Los Angeles apartment of a fellow 18th Street gang member. On this occasion, the defendant shot a man, striking him once in the upper arm.

Prosecutors said Vasquez shot a rival gang member on Dec. 3, 2003. The defendant entered rival gang territory, walked up to the man and shot at him numerous times with a 9mm semi-automatic handgun. The man, hit once in the arm, survived the attack.

Evidence also showed that within minutes of the attempted murder on Dec. 3, Vasquez went on to kill victim Kevin Walton, 33, another rival gang member. Ballistic tests showed that Walton was shot in the neck twice with the same firearm used in the earlier attack and the shooting in January 2003.

On March 5, 2005, during a party at the Santa Monica Moose Lodge, Vasquez and another man drew handguns and fired 26 rounds at Jonathan Hernandez, 19, and Hector Bonilla, 25. Both victims were unarmed. Two others also were convicted in connection with the murders of Hernandez and Bonilla.

The last of the murders took place on Sept. 24, 2005. Vasquez and a group of associates drove by a house party with several people gathered outside. One of the vehicle’s occupants yelled, “Where are you from?” Victim Jesse Becerra, 24, replied, “Santa Monica.”

A short time later, Vasquez ran towards the victim firing a gun in his direction. Fatally wounded, Becerra fell to the ground. Vasquez then stood over him and fired numerous shots from a second firearm into his head and body. One other person, an innocent bystander, also was shot and seriously injured, but survived the attack.

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