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California Briefing / SAN BERNARDINO COUNTY

2 killers get death penalty

August 14, 2008|Sam Quinones

A jury Wednesday ordered the death penalty for two gang members guilty of one of the largest gang killings in San Bernardino County's history.

In July, the jury had found Luis "Maldito" Mendoza and Lorenzo Arias guilty in what has become known as the Dead Presidents case. They are set to be sentenced Sept. 10.

The case involved a July 9, 2000, shooting at a West Side duplex in which four gang members died. Among them were Johnny and Gilbert Agudo, brothers and presidents of different West Side street gangs. Also killed were half brothers Marselino and Anthony Luna.

Prosecutors alleged that Mendoza and Arias, both members of the 7th Street Locos who had grown up with the Agudos, were carrying out an order by members of the Mexican Mafia prison gang.

The case was widely seen as an example of how Mexican Mafia influence has forced some Latino street gangs to turn on their own members.

-- Sam Quinones

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