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MISSION VIEJO : 2 Sentenced in 1991 Ambush Murder

April 20, 1993|LILY DIZON

Saying he was "not thrilled" with his decision, a Superior Court judge on Monday sentenced a woman and the man who shot to death the father of her child to 25 years to life.

Because Destinni Mardesich and Ryan Lo, both 18 and Mission Viejo residents, planned and executed the Sept. 3, 1991, killing of Damian McKenna, 19, when they were juveniles, both can only be held in a California Youth Authority facility until their 25th birthdays. They were convicted of first-degree murder in December.

Judge Donald A. McCartin also sentenced a third defendant, Jonathan Freshour, 20, to 15 years in state prison for his role in the murder. He was convicted of second-degree murder in a separate trial in March. The three defendants lured McKenna to an isolated area in the Holy Jim Canyon to settle a child custody fight between him and Mardesich. There, Lo shot McKenna in the head. The three then fled the canyon and left McKenna to die.

Deputy Dist. Atty. Ron Cafferty asked McCartin to also sentence the pair to state prison once they are released from CYA in about seven years.

To do so, McCartin said, he would have to find that the defendants would not be "amenable" to rehabilitation. If he did that, the judge added, appeals court justices would think "I'd lost my mind" if the case were ever appealed.

"I'm not thrilled with it, I'd be honest with you," McCartin told lawyers as he handed down his sentence.

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