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5th Arrest Is Made in Orange Slaying

A Santa Ana man, 20, is being held in the shooting death of a high school wrestler. More arrests may follow, authorities say.

November 18, 2003|H.G. Reza | Times Staff Writer

A fifth suspect has been arrested by Orange County sheriff's homicide detectives in the shooting death of an El Modena High School athlete who apparently was killed in a dispute over a young woman.

Albert Thomas Medina, 20, was arrested Friday evening on suspicion of being an accessory to the murder of Diego Armando Gonzalez-Sanchez. Medina, of Santa Ana, is being held on $1-million bail and will be arraigned today in Orange County Superior Court, sheriff's spokesman Jim Amormino said.

Amormino said the investigation is continuing and there may be more arrests. Amormino described the latest suspect as a friend of Brandan Dante Perry, who prosecutors said shot Gonzalez-Sanchez twice in the head with the help of Veronica Paz. Perry, 20, and Paz, 21, were charged with murder and ordered held without bail. Authorities said the two partially burned the body in an attempt to destroy evidence.

Friends of Gonzalez-Sanchez, 17, and sources close to the investigation said Paz was dating both the victim and Perry. Paz and Gonzalez-Sanchez worked at a Stater Bros. market in Orange.

Prosecutors said Paz and Perry waited for Gonzalez-Sanchez at the scene, which would qualify them for the death penalty or life in prison if convicted of murder.

Sheriff's officials described the killing as grisly. Gonzalez-Sanchez, who was co-captain of the school's wrestling team, had failed to return home Nov. 9 and was reported missing Nov. 11.

Medina was first interviewed by investigators during the middle of last week. He was interviewed again Friday evening and then arrested on suspicion of helping Perry after the slaying, Amormino said.

Perry was arrested last Wednesday. Paz, Kimberly Rita Gomez, 20, and an unidentified 16-year-old boy related to Gomez were arrested Thursday.

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