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El Monte

Street racers get prison in 3 deaths

August 13, 2009|Ruben Vives

Two men who took part in a street race that killed a mother and her two children nearly two years ago in El Monte were sentenced to prison Wednesday.

Robert Canizalez, 20, was given 48 years to life and Martin Ariel Morones, 23, was sentenced to 45 years to life by Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge Robert M. Martinez. The two will be eligible for parole after serving more than 20 years, the district attorney's office said.

A jury in Pomona convicted the men June 29 of gross vehicular manslaughter and the second-degree murders of Dora Groce, 41; her son Robert, 8; and her daughter Catherine, 4. Canizalez was also convicted of misdemeanor witness intimidation with the special allegation that he used force or violence, according to the district attorney's office.

Prosecutors said that on Oct. 8, 2007, Canizalez, the driver of a red Ford Mustang, and Morones, the driver of a Honda Accord, were racing on Parkway Drive. About the same time, Groce pulled her Nissan Altima out of the Brookside Mobile Country Club onto Elliott Avenue and was broadsided by Canizalez. Authorities said the victim's car was pushed about 50 feet before it burst into flames.

-- Ruben Vives

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