Juvenal Cardenas Mejia, Calif. gang member, sentenced to life in prison in baby's death


(CBS/AP) LOS ANGELES - A gang member has been sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole Thursday in the shooting death of a 3-week-old baby who was hit by stray bullet near a Los Angeles park.

CBS Los Angeles reports Juvenal Cardenas Mejia was a "collector" for local gang members. The 40-year-old was convicted in August of first-degree murder and other offenses in connection with the 2007 shooting death of Luis Angel Garcia.

Authorities said the baby was in a stroller near MacArthur Park when he was struck by gunfire aimed at a street vendor who had refused to pay "rent" to the gang.

Deputy District Attorney Victor Avila reportedly said another gang member, Giovanni Macedo, fired the gun but it was Mejia who pointed out the vendor to him, and that without the defendant, the murder wouldn't have happened.

Defense lawyer Antonio Bestard reportedly argued that there was no evidence that his client knew about the plan to kill the vendor and asked jurors to acquit him of first-degree murder.

Mejia was also convicted of one count each of attempted murder, attempted extortion, conspiracy to commit extortion and conspiracy to commit murder and also two counts of assault by a semiautomatic firearm, reports the station. 

Mejia, who was extradited to the U.S. from Mexico, was the last of seven men to be sentenced in the case.

  • Crimesider Staff