Life-Sentence Fugitive Caught After 18 Years

(MENIFEE, Calif.) A man who was convicted on six counts of attempted murder resulting from a gang-related drive-by shooting in Santa Ana but then escaped from juvenile hall in 1990 was arrested in Riverside County on Wednesday.

Johnny Diaz Balderama, 36, who used multiple aliases over the years, was arrested at his home in Menifee and is scheduled to be in court in Santa Ana Thursday, when he will be turned over to the California Department of Corrections to begin serving his life sentence, said Orange County District Attorney's Office spokeswoman Farrah Emami.
A jury convicted Balderama, then a juvenile, on six counts of attempted murder in August 1990, but he escaped from a juvenile lockup while awaiting sentencing, Emami said.
On Nov. 9, 1990, he was sentenced in absentia to life in prison.

Last month, investigators with the district attorney's office reviewed some old cases and started finding crime-record fingerprints that matched Balderama's, but under different names, Emami said.

Diaz used multiple names, birth dates and social security numbers and had been prosecuted for a prostitution charge in San Diego County in 2001 under the name Jaime Gonzalez and for a drunken driving charge in 2006 under the name Edgar Francisco Gonzalez, she said.

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