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|Gang Members Convicted in 1998 Killing of Juarez Brothers|
By Lookout Staff
April 15, 2011-- After more than twelve years and two trials, two men charged in a shooting in a Santa Monica clothing store that left two brothers dead were convicted of murder Tuesday.
David Robles and Jessie Garcia, cousins and known gang members, were found guilty of two counts of murder in Los Angeles Superior Court for killing Michael and Anthony Juarez in 1998.
Last week's verdict wrapped up the second trial of Robles and Garcia. Their first trial in 2009 ended in a hung jury.
“We’re very, very relieved,” Ginger Blackstone, the mother of Anthony Juarez told the San Luis Obispo Tribune last week. “It’s been a long, painful 12 years.”
The Juarez brothers were visiting their cousin's clothing store in Santa Monica and, police said, their shooting appeared to be a case of being in the wrong place at the wrong time.
The shooters were believed to have been carrying out a Mexican Mafia hit, but their intended victim wasn't in the store at the time of the killing, Santa Monica Police Detective Michael Bambrick told the Tribune.
Robles, known by the street name “Puppet,” has a criminal past that includes attempted murder, assault with a deadly weapon and weapons violations, Santa Monica police told the Lookout when the cousins were charged in 2006. Robles had been convicted of voluntary manslaughter in February 2001.
Known by the moniker of “Psycho,” Garcia has a criminal past that includes burglary, auto theft and narcotics violations, police said. Garcia was convicted of carjacking and assault with a deadly weapon with a firearm causing great bodily injury in May 1999.
Both were serving time in state prison when they were charged with the Juarez murders.
In the 1998 slaying, Robles and Garcia emerged from a stolen car with a third masked gunmen and entered Westside Clothing, a Hip-Hop clothing store at 2204 Lincoln Boulevard, shortly after noon.
Armed with an assault rifle and two handguns, the three shooters opened fire in the shop, fatally wounding the two brothers. The gunman also wounded the shop proprietor and a customer.
The Juarez slayings capped a bloody 15 days of gang violence that included the slaying of Omar Sevilla in a drive-by assault on Sixth Street at Pico Boulevard in October, 1998.
The next man to die in what authorities suspected was a retaliation hit, was Juan Campos, who was cornered in the rear of Eddie's Market at Pico Boulevard and 20th Street and shot multiple times five days after the Sevilla killing.
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