The Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office plans to retry an accused murderer after a jury deadlocked during the first trial.
Prosecutors were attempting to secure the conviction of Meliton Lorenzo Lopez for the gang-related murder of 29-year-old Santa Monica resident Gil Verastegui, who was shot along with another man while standing in an alley near the corner of 16th Street and Michigan Avenue in 2013.
The jury reported its impasse Feb. 1 and the District Attorney’s office said on Feb. 2 they would retry the case with a pre-trial hearing already set for March 8.
Verastegui, who was described at the time of the killing by police as a local gang member, was in the alley to the rear of the building around 8:15 a.m. with another man when Lopez and Christopher Chonan Osumi allegedly pulled up in a car and opened fire. Both victims suffered multiple gunshot wounds and were transported to a local trauma center for treatment, where Verastegui later succumbed to his injuries.
Osumi and Lopez were charged with one count each of murder and attempted murder with gang allegations. The complaint alleged Osumi personally discharged a handgun.
A third suspect, Noah Jason Farris, was also arrested at a nearby apartment and charged with being an accessory.
Ricardo Santiago, Public Information Officer with the District Attorney’s Office, said Osumi pled no contest to one count of murder and is scheduled to be sentenced on Feb. 16. Farris pled guilty in 2014 and is currently serving one year in county jail with three years of formal probation.