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Death sentence in slaying

Maria Cecilia Rosa, an L.A. County sheriff's deputy, was shot to death by Frank Gonzales in 2006.

May 13, 2008|Andrew Blankstein | Times Staff Writer

A 27-year-old man convicted of fatally shooting an off-duty Los Angeles County sheriff's deputy outside her friend's home was formally sentenced to death Monday for the 2006 slaying.

Judge Joan Comparet-Cassani upheld a jury's order last week to execute Frank Gonzales after he was convicted of killing Deputy Maria Cecilia Rosa.

An accomplice, Justin Ashley Flint, 21, was sentenced to 29 years to life in state prison when a jury found him guilty in January of first-degree murder and attempted robbery.

Rosa, 30, was killed in Long Beach shortly before 6 a.m. on March 28, 2006, as she was preparing to leave for work at the Inmate Reception Center at Men's Central Jail in Los Angeles.

Authorities said the two men approached Rosa in front of her friend's residence and demanded she hand over her purse.

She refused and pulled out her service revolver. But the gun jammed, possibly because of a mechanical problem, or fell to the ground.

Prosecutors said the fatal shot came from a .22-caliber handgun fired by Gonzales. A newspaper deliveryman found her a few minutes later, slumped over the trunk of a car.

Sheriff's spokesman Steve Whitmore called the killing "an atrocious, abhorrently cowardly act."

"No sentence will ever change that fact," Whitmore said, adding that "at least the judge agreed that the maximum penalty [fit] this criminal tragedy."

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andrew.blankstein@ latimes.com

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