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Kidnapper Sentenced to 5 Life Terms Plus 120 Years

The Los Angeles gang member abducted a Santa Ana businessman, traded shots with police.

May 03, 2003|Christine Hanley | Times Staff Writer

A Los Angeles gang member was sentenced Friday to life in prison without parole plus four additional life terms and 120 years for kidnapping an Orange County businessman then getting into a shootout with police.

Juan Diego Perez, 29, and co-defendant Antonio Nunez, 16, were convicted last month of abducting Delfino Moreno from his Santa Ana home two years ago, then firing at the police officers who chased them down two days later.

"These defendants' conduct exhibited complete and utter disregard for the value of human life," deputy district attorney Ebrahim Baytieh said. "Mr. Perez is a documented gang member, and he deserves every single day of the sentence he received."

Baytieh said he will seek the same punishment for Nunez, who is to be sentenced June 13.

Perez's attorney, Michael Camber, did not return a phone call seeking comment.

Moreno was kidnapped April 23, 2001. Family members called police after his abductors demanded money from them.

By coincidence, officers pulled up in an unmarked car next to the vehicle carrying Moreno and his captors. The two sides stared each other down, and as police pulled behind the other car, Nunez opened fire. A chase ensued, the getaway car crashed and the suspects were arrested after more gunfire.

Moreno was freed unharmed.

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