A Montebello man is in custody for the 2008 shooting deaths of a father and son at a graduation party.
Montebello police said Joe John Dorantes, 27, was arrested Dec. 6 for two counts of murder stemming from a June 21, 2008 homicide in the 100 block of East Madison Avenue. Police didn’t release any further details about the case or the arrest.
The Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office charged Dorantes with the murders of Juan Garcia, 44, of Perris and his 12-year-old son, Albert Garcia of Hemet. Dorantes is also accused of the attempted murders of Emmanuelle Soltero and Ernesto Cortez.
The criminal complaint alleged that the crimes were committed for the benefit of a gang, that Dorantes used a handgun and intentionally fired the weapon which caused great bodily injury and death to the victims.
He was arraigned Dec. 10 and pleaded not guilty to the charges, according to Sandi Gibbons, spokeswoman for the DA’s Office.
Dorantes will return Jan. 11 to Los Angeles Superior Court to set a date for his preliminary hearing.
The DA’s Office hasn’t decided whether it will seek the death penalty against him.
Dorantes is being held without bail at Men’s Central Jail in Los Angeles.
He’s not the first person accused of the fatal shootings.
On August 2008, police arrested then 15-year-old Angel Sosa on suspicion of killing the Garcias and assaulting with a firearm Emmanuelle Soltero.
The Montebello teen was tried as an adult. A Los Angeles Superior Court jury acquitted Sosa of all the charges on June 11, 2010.
Juan and Albert Garcia were guests at a high school graduation party for a blind girl which was held in a Montebello backyard.
Authorities said the father and son weren’t involved in the dispute that led to the shooting. The earlier confrontation involved members of a tagging crew and a Montebello gang.
The prosecution at Sosa’s trial said members of the gang were friends with a teenage girl who lived at the house where the party was held.
The gang members came uninvited and were on the porch when someone from the tagging crew walked by, stared hard at them and yelled out the name of the crew.
The gangsters beat him and he left. The teenaged girl told the gang members to leave.
Several young men later showed up and asked for one of the gang members. An argument occurred when people at the party told the young men to leave.
Then the shooting broke out.
– Ruby Gonzales