SANTA ANA (CNS) - A gang member was sentenced today to life in prison without the possibility of parole for gunning down one man and nearly killing another man for confronting him about graffiti vandalism in an unincorporated area near Anaheim.
David Steven Ortega, 36, of Chino, was convicted last month of first- degree murder for the benefit of a gang and attempted murder.
Jurors also found true sentencing enhancements for the personal use of a gun, a gang member's vicarious discharge of a gun causing great bodily injury, attempted premeditated murder and gang activity.
Orange County Superior Court Richard King tacked on an additional 57 years to life in prison for Ortega to run consecutive to the life without parole sentence.
Also on Friday, King denied a motion for a new trial filed on behalf of co-defendant Edgar Ramirez, 24, who is scheduled to return to court Sept. 6 for a retrial hearing. Jurors last month could not reach verdicts in the case against Ramirez.
Ortega killed 51-year-old David Bruce Douglas and wounded John Anderson, then 39, on July 19, 2015, at Poona Drive and Lullaby Lane.
King was moved by a 911 call played in court Friday that was made by Douglas' wife, Stephanie. In the emergency call she pleaded with first responders to save the life of her husband.
``Please, please, he's bleeding to death,'' she cried in the call.
``Breathe, breathe,'' she pleaded with her husband. ``Please don't go. Please don't leave me, sweetheart, I love you.''
Stephanie Douglas tearfully told King how her husband would habitually help others in need. She recounted how he regularly stopped to help disabled motorists and how on the way to his daughter's birthday party he saw a fire, so he called 911 and then stopped the car and tried to put out the flames with a garden hose until firefighters got there.
One Father's Day his children gave him a Superman T-shirt ``because he was always flying off to save someone,'' she said.
Anderson said his friend, who he had just returned from a camping trip with before they were shot, loved that Superman shirt.
``He wore it everywhere and he had no qualms about telling people he was Superman,'' Anderson said. ``I can only hope to be a good man like he was because he was just wonderful.''
Douglas' funeral drew about 1,000 people from all over, his widow said.
Anderson and Stephanie Douglas said they forgave Ortega.
``I can't have hate in my heart. I'm just not that kind of person, never have been,'' Anderson said.
King told Ortega he deserved the maximum sentence because, ``This was nothing more or less than a mob action.''
The judge said he would refrain from commenting on the 911 call because he did not wish to ``minimize it. It speaks for itself.''
Ramirez is accused of running to get help from fellow gang members around the corner before shots rang out, Deputy District Attorney Chris Alex said in his opening statement of the pair's trial.
Douglas and Anderson, who lived nearby, were chatting in Douglas' driveway about 9:45 p.m. after returning from a camping trip when they saw two men spray-painting gang graffiti on property on the block, Alex said.
When the two, along with another neighbor, asked the vandals what they were doing, the two men walked away, Alex said. Douglas and Anderson followed them, with Douglas at some point getting his SUV, Alex said.
One of the vandals ``ducked in a bush'' and emerged with a bandana masking his face, the prosecutor said. Anderson got into a loud argument with the man while the other man quickly left the scene.
The masked suspect told Anderson to mind his own business and said, ``I own this neighborhood,'' Alex said.
Douglas rolled up in his SUV and Anderson jumped in as the masked suspect produced a gun and approached the vehicle, Alex said. Another man blocked the path of the SUV while Ortega opened fire.
Anderson was shot three times, including in the head, Alex said, and Douglas sustained a gunshot wound through the throat.
Investigators linked Ortega and Ramirez to the shooting through the freshly painted graffiti, which Alex said included their gang nicknames: Termite and Bounce, along with surveillance video from residences in the area, a tattoo on Ortega's arm, witness observations of men running to and from the crime scene and phone records.
Investigators suspect Ramirez ran to a gathering around the corner and two other men returned to the conflict, where Ortega opened fire on the victims, Alex said.