A man convicted by a jury in February of murder and other charges for a 2004 drive-by shooting has been granted permission to represent himself in the next stage of his case.
Jose Laguna, 24, was convicted by a West Valley Superior Court jury Feb. 3 on one count of murder and two counts of attempted murder for the June 19, 2004 Montclair shooting that killed David Velez, 20, and injured two other men.
Laguna appeared in court Friday for a sentencing hearing, but the sentencing was delayed because Laguna was granted a request to act as his own legal counsel.
The Pomona man faces up to 110 years to life in prison when he is sentenced.
He is now set to be sentenced May 1, but the hearing could be delayed further if Laguna seeks a new trial, said Deputy District Attorney Mike Dowd, the prosecutor in Laguna’s case.
Dowd said that Laguna indicated Friday he intends to petition the court for a new trial.
Dowd said he believes Laguna’s decision to represent himself is a stall tactic to delay proceedings in his case.
Dowd noted that Laguna represented himself before his trial, a move that delayed the case for about a year.
Laguna’s trial attorney, James Brown, did not return calls seeking comment.
Witnesses who testified at Laguna’s three-week-long trial said that in the early morning hours of the shooting, the driver of a black Jeep Cherokee opened fire on a group of people who were socializing in the driveway of a home in the 9500 block of Helena Avenue.
Velez was shot in the chest and died from his injuries. One man was shot in the thigh, and another man was hit in the leg by a bullet but largely unharmed because the shot ricocheted off a marijuana pipe in his pocket.
Laguna was arrested following a high-speed chase two days after the shooting.
Police found a handgun in Laguna’s black Jeep Cherokee that was linked by ballistics tests to bullets recovered from the scene of the drive-by shooting.
Police also found gunshot residue inside Laguna’s Jeep, which matched witnesses’ descriptions of the SUV used by the shooter.
Prosecutors did not identify a motive for the shooting during Laguna’s trial.
Laguna did not testify at his trial. Brown, during his closing argument, said Laguna was misidentified by police and prosecutors as the shooter.