LOS ANGELES, Calif.--The California Supreme Court declined today to review the case against one of four men convicted in the murder of a man mistakenly suspected of being an informant in the racially motivated slaying of a 14-year-old Black girl in the Harbor Gateway area.
Daniel Aguilar was convicted of first-degree murder and is serving a life prison term without the possibility of parole for the Dec. 28, 2006, stabbing death of Christopher Ash.
Gang members wrongly suspected the 25-year-old victim of cooperating with police after the Dec. 15, 2006, shooting death of Cheryl Green.
Ash was found dead on a Carson street. He had been stabbed more than 60 times.
In June, a three-justice panel from California's 2nd District Court of Appeal rejected Aguilar's claim that there was insufficient evidence to prove that he aided and abetted Ash's slaying.
"The evidence showed that defendant and the actual perpetrators believed that Ash had snitched to the police about the Green murder and that he kept a book or record of activities (about the gang) ... From this evidence, the jury could reasonably infer that defendant and the others believed that Ash would likely be a witness in a criminal proceeding and that they intentionally killed him, at least in part, to prevent him from testifying about the Green murder," the justices noted in their ruling.
Co-defendant Jonathan Fajardo was convicted of first-degree murder for the slayings of Green and Ash, and was sentenced to death in April 2011.
Two other men, Raul Silva and Robert Gonzales, also were convicted in Ash's killing. Silva was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole, while Gonzales is serving a 15-year-to-life term.
A fifth man, Ernesto Alcarez, was convicted of second-degree murder for being a lookout in Green's slaying, along with seven counts of attempted murder involving others who were near the 14-year-old girl. He was sentenced to 238 years and four months to life in prison.
Green's shooting--which occurred in broad daylight on Harvard Avenue-- prompted community activists and religious leaders to call for peace and unity among Blacks and Latinos in the neighborhood.
During Fajardo's trial, Deputy District Attorney Gretchen Ford told jurors that there was "overwhelming" evidence that the teenage girl's slaying was racially motivated.