Mon. Apr 15th, 2024

Christian Huerta, 24, of Huntington Beach and Andrew Holguin, 26, of Midway City were both convicted on Wednesday, March 27, in the June 20, 2019, killing of Duc Le, 45, a homeless man in Westminster.

O,C. Superior Court Steven Bromberg presided and a jury convicted Holguin of second-degree murder and Huerta of voluntary manslaughter.

Prosecutors will begin a new trial will next Tuesday to determine if the killing was gang-related, which could lengthen the sentences.

Holguin is facing at least 15 years to life in prison, while Huerta is facing at least three years. They have been in custody since 2019.

If they are found guilty of killing Le for to benefit of a gang, then they could be looking at another 10 years in prison.

Le’s body was found on June 20 on Locust Street, just south of Westminster Boulevard.

The assailants “saw an easy target … (a) homeless man sleeping on a couch,” OCDA Deputy District Attorney Lisa Harris told the jury.

She added that “one witness saw them punching and kicking and at first didn’t know a human being” was the target.

The prosecutor credtied a surveillance video from La Aguila Market for “breaking the case open.”

“Never in a million years the kid you heard on the stand formed an intent to kill anybody,” Holguin’s defense attorney, Roger Sheaks argued. “And it’s that intent that is driving this case or not.”

Sheaks argued for involuntary manslaughter, and noted that his client was drinking heavily the night of the attack. He admitted that the killing was due to immaturity and “drunken, stupid, young-adult nonsense.”

Le was killed for no apparent reason, said Harris in her closing arguments. “We’re talking about a 45-year-old man sleeping on a couch, and he was brutally murdered,” she said.

Jeffrey Andrade, another suspect, is sitll at-large and a fourth defendant is being tried as a juvenile.

By Editor

The New Santa Ana blog has been covering news, events and politics in Santa Ana since 2009.

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