Gang Member Sentenced for Killing 5 Homeless Encampment Residents

Gang Member Sentenced for Killing 5 Homeless Encampment Residents
Photo: David Cruz Ponce and Max Eliseo Rafael

The Los Angeles District Attorney’s Office announced yesterday’s life prison sentence (with no possibility of parole) of Max Eliseo Rafael (31) handed down by LA County Superior Court Judge Charlaine Olmedo.

Deputy District Attorney Cynthia Barnes of the Major Crimes Division prosecuted the case, as it was reported that “Rafael and 37-year-old David Cruz Ponce were found guilty in September 2017 of five counts of murder and one count of kidnapping. The jury also found true the special circumstance allegations of multiple murders, murder during a kidnapping and murder while the defendants were active participants in a criminal street gang. Ponce also was found guilty of an additional count of murder and kidnapping and two counts of possession of a firearm by a felon. ”

The five victims, Lorenzo Villicana, Katherine Verdun, Hamid Shraifat, Frederick Neumeier and Vanessa Malaepule were fatally shot on Nov. 1, 2008 while living in a homeless encampment near an off ramp of the 405 Freeway in Long Beach.

The Long Beach Police Department and the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department investigated the case.

Prosecutors added, “The two defendants talked about the murders in jailhouse conversations that were recorded. Ponce also was convicted of the kidnapping and murder of Tony Bledsoe on March 23, 2009. Jurors recommended the death penalty for Ponce in October. He is scheduled to be sentenced on Feb. 15th.”

Gang Member Sentenced for Killing 5 Homeless Encampment Residents was last modified: January 19th, 2018 by admin
Categories: Los Angeles

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