Santa Monica Lookout
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Life Sentence for Gang Member Convicted of Two Santa Monica Murders

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Harding, Larmore Kutcher & Kozal, LLP

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By Lookout Staff

January 10, 2013 -- A known gang member was sentenced to life in prison for the 2006 killings of two Santa Monica youth, including 15-year-old Eddie Lopez.

According to reports, Los Angeles Superior Court Judge George G. Lomeli sentenced 25-year-old Jose Zapien to life without the possibility of parole for two killings that rocked the bayside city nearly a decade ago.

In November, a jury found Zapien guilty of the two murders and 12 attempted murders that occurred from 2004 and 2006 after only five hours of deliberation.

In 2007, Santa Monica Police arrested Zapien, then 17 years old, in connection with the murder of 15-year-old Eddie Lopez and 20-year-old Miguel Martin.

Lopez was the unintended target of a gang shooting in front of a local mini mart in February 2006 that rocked the bayside community.

A student at Santa Monica High School and an athlete, Lopez was mourned by hundreds and remembered as a fun-loving honor student. (“Schoolmates Mourn Eddie Lopez's Death” March 3, 2007)

While Lopez was unaffiliated, Martin, who was gunned down near Pico Neighborhood’s Virginia Avenue Park in December 2006, was trying to get out of the gang life.

Officials told The Lookout that Martin had previously been involved in “low-level” gang activity, but had been actively trying to make a clean start when he was shot shortly before Christmas.

Martin was shot in the back while fleeing his attackers through the parking lot of Virginia Avenue Park. (“Victim of Gang Violence Remembered,” January 4, 2006)


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