Known gang member Jose Zapien, 25, was sentenced Thursday to life in prison without parole plus 95 years to life for the 2006 Santa Monica murders of Eduardo Lopez and Miguel Martin and a dozen attempted murders.
A jury found Zapien guilty on Nov. 12, 2013 of the double murder and 12 attempted murder charges stemming from 2004 and 2006.
The murder of Lopez occurred on Feb. 28, 2006 and the murder of Martin occurred on Dec. 27, 2006.
The attempted murders occurred on those two dates as well as on Sept. 28, 2004, July 9, 2006, and Oct. 21, 2006.
In one shooting Zapien was with other suspects when they approached a group of young teenagers and fired several gunshots, killing 15-year-old Lopez.
Just two days after Christmas in 2006, Martin, another local youth, was shot and killed by Zapien as Martin walked with his friends on the sidewalk in front of a park.
LA County Deputy District Attorney Andrew Cooper who prosecuted the case was pleased with Thursday’s sentencing.
“A dangerous individual who chose to extinguish the lives of two young men, and put an entire community at risk has been removed from the streets forever,” Cooper said.
The Santa Monica Police Department worked in collaboration with patrol officers and detectives from the Los Angeles Police Department’s West LA and Pacific Divisions, as well as with attorneys from the Los Angeles District Attorney’s Specialized Prosecution Unit which encompasses the Hardcore Gang Division.
“Because of great teamwork between and the tireless efforts of the Hardcore Gang Division and our partners, justice has been served,” Cooper said a few minutes after the sentencing.
The Honorable George Lomeli, Judge of Department 107 of the Clara Foltz Criminal Justice Center in downtown Los Angeles, presided over the case.