What to Know
- Reyna Gomez was convicted Sept. 13 of first-degree murder for the slaying of Jose Sahagun in April 2017.
- The woman has been sentenced between 350 years and life in prison.
- She is also found guilty of 14 counts of attempted murder and one count of carjacking
A woman who went on a one-day crime spree in La Mirada, Pico Rivera and Whittier that included the fatal shooting of a motorist who was waiting with his family at a traffic light was sentenced Tuesday to more than 350 years to life in prison.
Citing the "completely senseless nature" of Reyna Gomez's behavior, Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Roger Ito vowed to give her "every day (in prison) I can possibly impose." The 27-year-old woman was convicted Sept. 13 of first-degree murder for the April 29, 2017, slaying of Jose Sahagun, 44, of Norwalk.
She was also found guilty of 14 counts of attempted murder and one count of carjacking, with jurors finding true gang and gun allegations against her. The jury deadlocked the remaining count of torture, which was subsequently dismissed. Co-defendant Alejandro Lazo, 22, is awaiting trial in Norwalk on one count each of murder and carjacking and 14 counts of attempted murder.
In a statement read in court by her parish priest, the victim's widow, Agueda Sahagun, said her husband was "murdered in cold blood" in front of her, her parents and her two young children. She wrote that she never imagined the pain of her husband's loss could be any worse, but that "seeing my children drop to the floor sobbing is worse." She wrote that the children ask, "Why did God allow that bad woman to kill my dad?" and that she hopes and prays that one day she and her sons will feel safe and secure. "Please don't ever let evil out of jail to hurt us or other people," Agueda Sahagun wrote in the letter, adding that Gomez "did not care how many families she destroyed."
A number of other relatives also spoke about the loss of a devoted husband and father who stayed away from the gang lifestyle while growing in Compton, started a career as a teacher and then became a social worker. The victim's older sister, Maria, said she asks herself why her brother was in Gomez's path and why he was "so brutally murdered" in front of his children. "May God forgive you, Reyna ... I cannot," she said. The victim's father, Manuel, said through a Spanish interpreter that his son's death "is not easy to get over" and said he hopes that Gomez "rots in jail."
Sahagun's sister-in-law, Ana, said the sentencing hearing was "about seeking justice for the murder of an innocent man" who tried to drive away and save other family members in his car after he was mortally wounded. "You are a good-for-nothing, deranged individual," she said, speaking directly to Gomez. "You are the devil in human form ... I'm sure you will burn in hell." The judge cited the "callousness" of Gomez's acts of "extreme violence" in sentencing Gomez to 270 years to life plus an additional 83 years.
Prosecutors said the one-day crime spree included a carjacking in Pico Rivera, the shooting and wounding of a man in an alley in Whittier and shots being fired at two vehicles on April 29, 2017, and left three people injured. Los Angeles County sheriff's deputies subsequently learned of the shooting at Santa Gertrudes Avenue and Alicante Road in La Mirada that claimed Sahagun's life. Sahagun was shot multiple times as he sat in his vehicle with his family while waiting at a traffic light, authorities said.
Gomez and Lazo, both reputed gang members, allegedly passed a handgun between them and took turns shooting at "innocent victims" during the crime spree, sheriff's officials said after their arrest. The two -- who themselves had been shot -- were arrested that night by Whittier police after being found wounded outside a Santa Fe Springs motel, sheriff's officials said. It was unclear who shot the couple, officials said then.
The motive for the attacks was unclear. The duo had been released from prison less than six months earlier, authorities said. Lazo, who was on parole, had been convicted of extortion and assault and Gomez for auto theft and receiving stolen property, officials said.