SANTA ANA — In what was one of Orange County's first carjacking cases, jurors on Monday convicted three men for their roles in the murder of an Anaheim college student whose body was found in the trunk of his car.
Jurors convicted Shawn Burney, 20, of Tustin and Allen Dean Burnett, 20, of Anaheim of first-degree murder, kidnaping and robbery and additional allegations in the murder of 23-year-old Joseph Andrew Kondrath.
Burney could face the death penalty. He was the only one of the three defendants that prosecutors were seeking capital punishment against. They have said they believe he was the triggerman.
The Orange County Superior Court jury also convicted Scott Rembert, 22, of Anaheim of kidnaping but failed to reach verdicts on the remaining counts, including robbery, murder and special circumstances that mandate a life sentence without parole.
Kondrath was last seen leaving for work at 4 a.m. on June 10, 1992. He was grabbed from behind the wheel of his car in front of his home, robbed and shot in the head. His body was found in the trunk of his car, abandoned in the 2000 block of West Crescent Avenue, a short distance from his home.
The murder took place shortly before the word carjacking began appearing in headlines and widespread attention was given to such crimes that rattled the nerves of motorists nationwide.
Authorities believe Kondrath was murdered to eliminate him as a witness.
Judge Robert R. Fitzgerald set a June 10 hearing to determine whether Rembert will be retried. Burnett faces life in prison without parole when he is sentenced July 15.
Deputy Dist. Atty. David Brent and defense attorneys declined to discuss the case. Jurors, many of whom appeared distraught while announcing the verdicts, also have been barred from talking about the case until the death-penalty phase is concluded.
Testimony in the death-penalty portion of the case begins Wednesday.