Two Los Angeles gang members have been found guilty in the murders of two men at the Moose Lodge in Santa Monica in 2005.
Jose Mojarro and Erick Nunez, both 24 and members of the 18th Street gang, were convicted in Los Angeles County Superior Court March 4th of two counts each of first-degree murder in the deaths of Hector Bonilla and Jonathan Hernandez, said deputy district attorney Alan Schneider of the Hardcore Gang Division. Bonilla and Hernandez were shot to death while attending a private party at the Moose Lodge in the 1600 block of Ocean Park Boulevard in Santa Monica on March 5th, 2005.
Jurors also found true the special circumstance that Mojarro killed the victims while he was an active participant in a criminal street gang, Schneider said. The jurors found both defendants guilty of a multiple murder special circumstance and gang and gun use allegations, Schneider said.
Superior Court Judge George G. Lomeli ordered the defendants to return for sentencing Friday, March 20th at the Foltz Criminal Justice Center. Each defendant faces life in prison without the possibility of parole.
Prosecutors said that Hernandez was attacked by Mojarro, Nunez and a third suspect, William Vasquez, at the private party. Mojarro then drew a firearm when Bonilla attempted to assist Hernandez by throwing a chair at the three suspects, prosecutors said.
At that point, it is alleged that Vasquez also drew a handgun, and he and Mojarro were accused of firing 26 rounds at the unarmed victims, prosecutors said. Vasquez has yet to stand trial on the murders of Hernandez and Bonilla, but is charged with three other gang-related murders, according to the district attorney’s office.
Nunez was previously convicted for taking a family hostage and shooting at Sheriff’s deputies during a pursuit three years ago, and he was sentenced to 194 years in state prison in that case, a district attorney spokeswoman said.