Eight-time Los Angeles gang killer sentenced to life

Reuters News
Posted: Mar 30, 2011 7:21 PM
Eight-time Los Angeles gang killer sentenced to life

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - A former street gang leader convicted of murdering eight people in the mid-1990s was sentenced on Wednesday to consecutive life prison terms for each of his victims.

Marvin Mercado, 37, ran a Los Angeles branch of the Asian Boyz gang and fled to the Philippines in the 1990s as police began closing in on him for the killings.

By the time of his arrest there in 2007, he was living under an assumed name and married into a wealthy family.

A jury in February convicted him on eight counts of murder, which occurred in 1995 and 1996, and 10 counts of attempted murder.

Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Robert Perry sentenced him to eight consecutive life prison terms without the possibility of parole for the murders, plus 10 terms of 15 years to life for the attempted murders.

With sentencing enhancements for his gang ties, Mercado received a total of at least 200 years in prison on top of the consecutive life terms.

The judge said Mercado had caused "senseless hurt" and he was "deserving of the greatest sentence."

A jury had recommended prison rather than the death penalty.

Prosecutors said two of the murder victims were rival gang members, but the remaining six were simply in the wrong place at the wrong time.

Mercado played either a direct role or assisted fellow gang members in all of the murders, they said. In one instance, he was the driver in a car-to-car shooting that killed three victims mistaken for members of a Taiwanese gang.

He also took part in a suburban home invasion robbery that resulted in the slaying of a man who was married with children.

The Asian Boyz gang is mainly composed of men of Vietnamese and Cambodian descent and has members in 14 states, according to the U.S. Justice Department. Mercado is of Filipino descent.

(Reporting by Alex Dobuzinskis: Editing by Steve Gorman and Ellen Wulfhorst)