LOS ANGELES (CNS) – A 30-year-old man was convicted today of first- degree murder for the shooting death of a Subway sandwich shop employee in Whittier and another killing in San Gabriel, which both occurred during armed robberies nearly a decade ago.
The Los Angeles Superior Court jury deliberated less than a day before finding Leonardo Alberto Cisneros guilty of the Dec. 10, 2004, killing of 22- year-old Pasadena City College student Joseph Molina during a heist at the Subway in the 5400 block of Norwalk Boulevard, along with the Aug. 4, 2004, shooting death of Dianqiu 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.
Judge Ronald S. Coen ordered jurors to return to court Monday for the start of the trial’s penalty phase, in which they will be asked to recommend whether Cisneros should be sentenced to death or life in prison without the possibility of parole.
In his closing argument Tuesday, Deputy District Attorney Frank Santoro called the evidence against Cisneros “overwhelming,” saying that the defendant went on seven crime “missions.”
“There is no reasonable doubt. There isn’t even any doubt,” the prosecutor told jurors.
Defense attorney Leo B. Newton questioned the credibility of three other people who had been charged along with Cisneros in some of the crimes before reaching a plea deal with the prosecution. He also urged jurors to see if they could determine whether his client could be identified from surveillance videotape of the two killings.
“I think you cannot come to those conclusions,” he said.
Cisneros was arrested in February 2005 and has remained jailed without bail since then.
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