A 41-year-old man was sentenced today to 50 years to life in state prison for fatally shooting his friend in the head before eluding police for months, the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office announced.
On July 14, a jury found Juan Carlos Perez of Los Angeles guilty of first-degree murder in case GA078620. Jurors also found true a special allegation that the defendant personally and intentionally discharged a firearm, which caused great bodily injury and death.
Deputy District Attorney Kevin Keeland, who prosecuted the case, said Perez and victim Noe Martinez, 35, were at a bar with each other before the fatal shooting.
In the early morning of Nov. 21, 2009, a South Pasadena police officer was patrolling the 1000 block of Arroyo Drive, when he saw a white Toyota Corolla with fogged up windows parked on the side of the road, the prosecutor said.
The officer parked his car behind the Corolla and approached the white vehicle. Suddenly, Perez exited the driver’s side door and fled on foot, the prosecutor added. When the officer looked inside the car, he discovered Martinez slumped over with two gunshot wounds to the head. The victim was pronounced dead at the scene, according to the prosecutor.
According to evidence presented at trial, authorities also located a firearm holster under the driver’s seat and two expended 9mm casings in the backseat of the car. Furthermore, the vehicle was registered to the defendant.
Following the homicide investigation, prosecutors filed a case for arrest warrant on Dec. 10, 2009, however, the defendant remained a fugitive.
In late 2010, law enforcement in Illinois arrested Perez. When authorities ran the defendant’s fingerprints in their database, they discovered he was wanted for murder in California.
The defendant was subsequently extradited to Los Angeles County to face criminal prosecution for Martinez’s killing.
The case was investigated by the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department.