Deonte Lee Murray, a resident of Compton, has been found guilty of committing 10 felonies over an 11-day period, culminating in the attempted murders of two Los Angeles County sheriff’s deputies. After a two-month trial, a jury in the Los Angeles County Superior Court convicted Murray of charges including attempted murder, carjacking, robbery, assault with a firearm, and possessing a gun as a felon. The jury also found true allegations that Murray used a gun in each crime and that the attempted murders of deputies Claudia Apolinar and Emmanuel Perez-Perez were willful and premeditated.
Murray was also convicted of attempting to murder a man whom he mistook for a plainclothes detective. He now faces a potential life sentence in prison. However, a second trial must be held to determine Murray’s prior record, which could result in a doubled prison term if he is found to have a prior strike.
During the trial, Deputy Dist. Atty. Stephen Lonseth argued that Murray sought revenge for the killing of his best friend by sheriff’s deputies. Murray first fired bullets from an assault rifle at an SUV parked outside the Compton courthouse, mistakenly believing the driver to be a detective. He then approached two uniformed deputies, Apolinar and Perez-Perez, who were sitting in a patrol car at a Metro station in Compton. Murray shot both deputies at close range before fleeing the scene.
Apolinar sustained gunshot wounds to the jaw and forearm, while Perez-Perez was struck in the forehead, arm, and hand. Murray was also found guilty of robbing a man of his Mercedes-Benz and shooting him in the leg 10 days prior to the attempted murders of the deputies.
Murray admitted to shooting all four victims but claimed he did not intend to kill them. His defense attorney, Kate Hardie, argued that Murray’s actions were fueled by a two-day bender involving cognac and methamphetamine, leading to erratic behavior and impulsive actions.
Murray’s sentencing hearing has not yet been scheduled, pending the outcome of the second trial to determine his prior record.