Jury deadlocks on death penalty for Azusa gang members in witness’ murder

A Los Angeles jury was unable to reach a death penalty verdict for two gang members convicted of executing an Azusa woman nearly three years ago in retaliation for her testimony in a fellow gang member’s trial for murder, officials said Thursday.

Azusa 13 gang members Rodney Coronel Perez, 31, of Covina and Ramiro Juan Alvarez, 27, of Azusa were convicted April 17 of the May 11, 2009 shooting death of 24-year-old Roberta Marie Romero in Pomona, Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office spokeswoman Jane Robison said. The jury also found true special allegations of murdering a witness and killing for the benefit of a street gang.

After two weeks of deliberation on whether the killers should be sentenced to death or life imprisonment, the jury came back Wednesday afternoon and said they were deadlocked, Robison said.

The jurors voted 8-4 in favor of life in prison without the possibility of parole for Ramiro, and 8-4 in favor of death penalty for Perez, officials said.

The District Attorney’s office is going to retry the penalty phase, Robison said.

Alvarez and Perez were ordered back to Los Angeles Superior Court June 15 for a pre-trial hearing in the second penalty phase trial, officials said.

The jury deliberated for 20 days before convicting the men of murder on April 17, Robison said…


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