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Jury Recommends Death Sentence for Man Convicted of of 2 Killings in San Gabriel Valley

Jury Recommends Death Sentence for Man Convicted of of 2 Killings in San Gabriel Valley

A jury recommended today that a man be sentenced to death for murdering a worker at a Subway sandwich shop in Whittier and a man in a San Gabriel parking lot during robberies nearly a decade ago.

The Los Angeles Superior Court jury deliberated less than 1 1/2 days before recommending that Leonardo Alberto Cisneros, 30, be put to death for his crimes.

Judge Ronald S. Coen ordered Cisneros to return to court June 18, when a sentencing date is scheduled to be set.

Cisneros was convicted May 7 of first-degree murder for the Dec. 10, 2004, killing of 22-year-old Pasadena City College student Joseph Molina during a heist at the Subway store in the 5400 block of Norwalk Boulevard, along with the Aug. 4, 2004, shooting death of Dianqui Wu, 50, of Rowland Heights.

Jurors also found true the special circumstance allegations of murder during the course of a robbery and multiple murders, along with finding Cisneros guilty of 16 counts of robbery and one count of attempted robbery -- some involving armed robberies at other businesses in the San Gabriel Valley area.

In his closing argument, Deputy District Attorney Frank Santoro told the eight-man, four-woman panel that Cisneros "does not deserve to walk around a prison or be in prison."

"He turned into a monster, a ruthless, brutal killer," the prosecutor said, telling them that a verdict of death is the "justified and appropriate verdict for this man who ruined so many lives."

One of Cisneros' attorneys, Nancy Sperber, implored jurors to spare her client a death sentence.

She told jurors that life without the possibility of parole -- the other sentence jurors could have recommended -- was "not something to treat lightly."

"It is serious," she said. "It's not a sentence to a country club."

—City News Service

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