Penmar Park killer faces life without parole

A gang member who gunned down two teenagers at Penmar Park in Venice was convicted of two counts of first-degree murder on Nov. 13.

Michael Anthony Mariscal, now 22, faces up to two sentences of life in prison without the possibility of parole at a Los Angeles Superior Court hearing set for January.

A member of the Culver City Boyz gang according to prosecutors, Mariscal killed Salvador Diaz, 18, and Alan Mateo, 19, on June 22, 2011, in the park and shot a fleeing Venice High School sophomore in the leg. Mariscal was also convicted of three counts of attempted murder, street terrorism and possession of
a firearm by a felon.

Los Angeles County Deputy District Attorney Eugene Hanrahan of the office’s Hardcore Gang Unit said gang notoriety motived the murder case. “That’s what I argued before the jury,” he said.

Although it was a capital murder case with special circumstances, prosecutors chose not to seek the death penalty, Hanrahan said.

Bonin joins Garcetti in Asia

Los Angeles City Councilman Mike Bonin is one of four elected city officials who are accompanying Mayor Eric Garcetti on a trade mission to Asia this week.

Garcetti, council members, various business leaders and officials with Los Angeles World Airports (which oversees LAX), the Port of
Los Angeles and the Los Angeles Tourism and Convention Board are visiting China, Japan and South Korea.

These countries are respectively Los Angeles’ No. 1, No. 2 and No. 3 trading partners, according to the mayor’s office.

“Los Angeles is a global city and is our nation’s gateway to the Pacific Rim through LAX and the nation’s No. 1 port,” reads a statement by Garcetti. “Now, as we emerge from the recession, it’s more important than ever that we aggressively promote international trade and tourism. We must leverage our assets in the global marketplace to create jobs here in Los Angeles.”

According to the mayor’s office, trade last year between Los Angeles and China was valued at $164.38 billion. Japan was next highest with $43.5 billion and South Korea $23.5 billion.

The delegation will return to Los Angeles on Nov. 26.

Students earn ‘Jackets of Excellence’

High-achieving Venice High School students will be honored Friday during the school’s 30th annual “Jackets of Excellence” awards.

This year, 43 students who have achieved a 3.75 or higher grade point average during four consecutive years and high test scores will be presented with a Jacket of Excellence at 12:45 p.m. in the student cafeteria at Venice High School, at 13000 Venice Blvd.

The Venice Chamber of Commerce, the Venice Neighborhood Council and the bilingual preschool and elementary school in Venice are sponsoring the event.

For more information, call the chamber at (310) 822-5425.

‘Holiday Mail for Heroes’
The American Red Cross is sponsoring a holiday greeting card drive to brighten the spirits of patients at the VA West Los Angeles Medical Center and other veterans in need of a boost. The goal of the Holiday Mail for Heroes campaign is to produce 8,000 personalized cards.

Free blank cards and pens as well as arts-and-crafts supplies will be available from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday near Third Street and Santa Monica Boulevard at the Third Street Promenade in Santa Monica.