Crime and Courts

California Supreme Court Won't Hear Case of Man Convicted of Market Owner's Murder

Acting as his own attorney, a man convicted of first-degree murder for a 1990 killing failed to convince the California Supreme Court to review his case.

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The California Supreme Court refused Wednesday to review the case of a man convicted of gunning down a South Los Angeles market owner in front of the merchant's 9-year-old daughter during a robbery about three decades ago.

A Los Angeles Superior Court jury found Marcus Lynn Perkins guilty in July 2017 of first-degree murder for the July 24, 1990, shooting death of Timoteo Pena, the owner of Sinaloa Meat and Grocery Market in the 5600 block of San Pedro Street.

Jurors also found true the special circumstance allegation of murder during the commission of a robbery or attempted robbery.

The 42-year-old victim was working in the market with his daughter when he was shot and killed.

"I am the little girl he left in that store with her dad," an emotional Esmeralda Pena told Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Curtis B. Rappe just before Perkins was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole in March 2018.

In May, a three-justice panel from California's 2nd District Court of Appeal rejected the defense's contention that there were numerous errors in Perkins' trial.

The appellate court panel noted in its 25-page ruling that the victim's daughter saw Perkins "shoot Pena near the front counter area, and after he left, Pena's gun and wallet containing $600 were missing, and the cash register had been disturbed."

"A juror could reasonably infer from the facts that Perkins took the wallet and gun, and killed Pena to get them," the justices wrote.

The victim -- who fired at his assailant twice -- was shot five times, according to Deputy District Attorney Marna Miller.

His daughter had gone to the back of the store to close the door, heard a gunshot, saw Perkins with a gun pointed at her father and heard more gunshots, the prosecutor said.

Perkins went to an Inglewood hospital a few hours later for treatment of a gunshot wound to his abdomen area, and DNA testing done years later determined that blood found on the defendant's shoes was linked to the victim, according to Miller, who told jurors that the evidence pointed to Perkins "time and time again."

Acting as his own attorney, Perkins told jurors that he was the "only person law enforcement has pursued" and that there was "reasonable doubt in this case to establish my innocence."

"It is my position that it doesn't add up," Perkins said of the prosecution's case.

Perkins was initially questioned after being admitted to Daniel Freeman Hospital with a gunshot wound later that night, but he denied being responsible for the crime.

Perkins, who was subsequently convicted of two other robberies, went to the same hospital after being shot by the owner of a mini-mart during one of the robberies.

Shortly after being released from prison on one of the robbery cases, he was arrested in August 2013 in connection with the killing and has remained behind bars ever since.

Police said then that physical evidence examined for the presence of DNA forensically linked him to the crime scene.

Copyright CNS - City News Service
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