DOWNTOWN LA — Jurors could not come to an agreement on whether or not to recommend the death penalty or life in prison without the possibility of parole for a hard-core gang member who murdered five people, including two Santa Monica men at the Sunset Park Moose Lodge.

The Los Angeles Superior Court jury deliberated about three days before informing the judge that it was hopelessly deadlocked on what sentence to recommend for William Vasquez, who prosecutors called a “hunter of human beings.”

The jury was split 8-4, with the majority favoring a death sentence, according to reports.

The 30-year-old gang member was convicted Dec. 9 of first-degree murder for the Jan. 27, 2002, killing of Alex Haro; the Dec. 3, 2003, slaying of Kevin Walton; the March 5, 2005, killings of Jonathan Hernandez and Hector Bonilla and the Sept. 24, 2005, shooting death of Jesse Becerra. Hernandez and Bonilla were shot multiple times while attending a birthday party at the Moose Lodge on Ocean Park Boulevard.

Vasquez also was convicted of one count of attempted murder and two counts of assault with a semiautomatic firearm.

Prosecutors said Vasquez left a decade of death and destruction in his wake, executing five unarmed and defenseless people who were shot multiple times — some after they had already fallen to the ground.

Defense attorneys said Vasquez was a product of his environment, saying he grew up in a household of “extreme violence,” and recommended life in prison without parole.

In 2009, two other men, Erick Nunez and Jose Mojarro, were found guilty in the Moose Lodge killings and sentenced to life without parole.

kevinh@www.smdp.com

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