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32-Year-Old Sentenced To Death For Murdering Ex-Girlfriend, Her Family In 2010

LOS ANGELES ( —   Authorities said a 32-year-old man who murdered his ex-girlfriend and two of her family members in 2010 has been sentenced to death.

A jury found defendant Joseph Mercado guilty of 10 felony counts in November 2015. The counts were as follows: three counts of first-degree murder, three counts of attempted murder, and one count each of first-degree burglary, shooting at an inhabited dwelling, arson of an inhabited structure or property and child abuse.

Jurors also found true special circumstance allegations of multiple murders, lying in wait and engaging in arson. Additionally, jurors found true special allegations that the defendant personally inflicted great bodily injury and personally and intentionally discharged a firearm during the commission of the crime.

Deputy DA's Robert Villa and Franco A. Baratta co-prosecuted the case.

Joseph Mercado Hawaiian Gardens Massacre Rampage copyAccording to prosecutors, on May 6, 2010, Mercado set fire to his ex-girlfriend's home in Hawaiian Gardens. Serena Tarin and her family were inside the residence, prosecutors said.

Mercado then broke into the back of the home and opened fire with an assault rifle, officials added.

Serena Tarin, the mother of Mercado's infant son, and her brother and their father were killed. Two other family members were wounded, one critically.

As Mercado exited the house, he was shot by a sheriff's deputy and arrested.

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