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|David Robles Sentenced to Life Without Parole for Juarez Slayings|
By Lookout Staff
May 5, 2011 -- David Robles, one of two men convicted of the murder of Michael and Anthony Juarez in 1998, was sentenced Tuesday to life in prison without the possibility of parole.
The murder shocked Santa Monica, coming as it did during a rash of slayings that many feared were gang-related.
Although the shooting took place in broad daylight inside Westside Clothing, a Hip-Hop clothing store on Lincoln Boulevard, the masked assailants got away without being identified.
DNA on one of the masks left at the scene led police to Robles and to Jessie Garcia, also convicted of the double murder.
By the time the DNA had been tested, both men were serving time in state prison.
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.
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 San Luis Obispo Tribune after Robles and Garcia were convicted in April.
Robles and Garcia emerged from a stolen car with a third masked gunmen and entered the clothing store. 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.
Police said the Juarez brothers were innocent of any gang affiliation, and were just in the wrong place at the wrong time.
It took two trials to convict Robles and Garcia. Their first trial in 2009 ended in a hung jury; their second trial lasted five weeks.
Garcia is scheduled to be sentenced in Los Angeles Superior Court on May 19.
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