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Capital murder charges in South LA shootings

OW Staff Writer | 12/6/2018, midnight

The Los Angeles County District Attorney’s office has filed capital murder charges against three people in a shooting that killed two 15-year-old boys and injured two others in May in South Los Angeles.

Cristian Ivan Macias, 19; Nancy Joanna De La Rocha, 27, and Edwin Federico Loza, 19, all residents of South Los Angeles, each face two counts of murder and two counts of premeditated attempted murder.

The charges include special circumstance allegations of multiple murders and that the defendants were active members of a street gang who carried out the crime to further the gang’s activities, making them eligible for the death penalty. It is also alleged that Loza personally and intentionally discharged a firearm, a handgun, in the attack.

De La Rocha and Loza were scheduled to be arraigned this week in Department 30 of the Foltz Criminal Justice Center. Macias pleaded not guilty to the charges in July and had a preliminary hearing setting scheduled this week in the same courtroom.

Charges were filed against De La Rocha on June 18, against Macias on Sept. 20, and against Loza on Nov. 16. The court denied bail for all three defendants.

On May 13, Macias allegedly had a confrontation with a group of teenage boys on a public street, according to Deputy District Attorney Michael Michelena of the Hardcore Gang Division. After leaving the area, Macias allegedly returned with his co-defendants in a vehicle a short time later and found the teens walking in the 300 block of West Manchester Avenue near the 110 Freeway.

Loza is accused of then opening fire on the victims with a handgun, the prosecutor said.

Lamarrion Upchurch and Monyae Jackson were killed, and the other two boys, who were also 15 years old, were hit and injured by the gunfire. All four victims lived in the South Los Angeles area.

The defendants were individually arrested over the following months.

They each face a possible maximum sentence of life in prison without the possibility of parole or death if convicted as charged. A decision will be made at a later date on whether to seek the death penalty.

The case remains under investigation by the Los Angeles Police Department, South Bureau Homicide