SANTA ANA, Calif. – A man was charged today with murder for assaulting and running over the cousin of a shooting victim during a vigil and fleeing the scene with his co-defendant. Sonny Steven Zieres, 26, Orange, is charged with one felony count of murder with sentencing enhancements for the personal use of a deadly weapon and a prior serious and violent felony conviction for assault with a deadly weapon in 2009 in Orange County. If convicted, he faces a maximum sentence of 56 years to life in state prison. Zieres is scheduled to be arraigned today, Feb. 15, 2017, in Department CJ-1, Central Jail, Santa Ana. The time is to be determined.
Co-defendant Claudia Alicia Trejo, 29, Orange, is charged with one felony count of accessory after the fact. If convicted, Trejo faces a maximum sentence of three years in county jail. The defendant is out of custody after posting bond, and her arraignment date is to be determined.
On Thursday, Feb. 9, 2017, at approximately 10:40 p.m., Zieres is accused of driving his Chrysler 300 around the parking lot of a shopping center on Seventeenth Street and Grand Avenue in Santa Ana with passenger Claudia Trejo in the front seat. The day before, a man was shot and murdered in the parking lot, and friends and family of the shooting victim were gathered for a vigil near the scene of that crime.
Zieres is accused of engaging in a verbal altercation with members of the group who were mourning before intentionally driving toward the crowd with his vehicle. Zieres is then accused of running over 27-year-old Trisha Irene Verdugo, the cousin of the shooting victim from the day before, and murdering her. The defendant is accused of driving away from the scene. Santa Ana Police Department (SAPD) investigated this case.
Trejo and Zieres are accused of hiding the vehicle at another location in Santa Ana. The defendants turned themselves in to SAPD on Monday, Feb. 13, 2017.
Senior Deputy District Attorney Keith Burke of the Homicide Unit is prosecuting this case.
*A female co-defendant is charged with being an accessory after the fact
Orange County District Attorney / Case # 17CF0376 / February 15, 2017