David Cruz Ponce and Max Eliseo Rafael
LOS ANGELES – A guilty verdict finally came in on Friday for two gang members involved in the murder of five homeless people on November 1, 2008.
36-year-old David Cruz Ponce and 31-year-old Max Eliseo Rafael were convicted of five counts of murder and one count of kidnapping.
In addition, Ponce was found guilty of a separate count of the murder of Tony Bledsoe on March 23, 2009, as well as kidnapping and two counts of possession of a firearm by a felon.
The scene of the murders was a homeless encampment near an off ramp of the 405 in Long Beach.
The victims were Lorenzo Villicana, Katherine Verdun, Hamid Shraifat, Frederick Nuemeier and Vanessa Malaepule.
Apparently the pair later spoke of the murders in jailhouse conversations that were recorded. Ponce faces the possibility of the death penalty and Rafael faces up to life in prison without the possibility of parole.