David Martinez, a member of the Mongolian motorcycle gang, was sentenced to 10 years in prison on Tuesday after pleading no contest to voluntary manslaughter charges for killing a Pomona police officer during a raid in November 2014.
Martinez has already been tried twice for the murder and his lawyers hoped he would be released immediately, as he has spent more than eight years behind bars. Deputy Dist. Attention. Jack Garden, meanwhile, has sought 33 years to life in prison, Det said. Ray Lugo of the LA County Sheriff’s Department.
The judge handed down a 10-year term, meaning Martinez — who shot SWAT officer Shaun Diamond with a 24-gauge shotgun, slitting his spine and shattering his jaw — could be out of jail as early as March.
A day after the shooting on October 28, 2014, Diamond was taken from life and died at Huntington Hospital in Pasadena.
After the shooting, Martinez, 44, was tried for first-degree murder and found not guilty, but the jury deadlocked on a count of first-degree murder and the judge declared a mistrial. In a second trial, jurors found him not guilty of manslaughter, but deadlocked on two lesser charges of voluntary manslaughter and assault with a firearm on a police officer.
Although Martinez pleaded not to contest the lower charges in November, he claimed he was unaware that police entered his family home in San Gabriel when he fired his shotgun.
Diamond was one of several agents serving a search warrant. After knocking, they used a tool to force the door open. Martinez claimed to have shot the officer believing he was a fellow Mongol breaking in.
A lawyer for Martinez said at his most recent trial that his client had wanted to leave the gang and therefore feared members of the Mongols had come the night of the raid. Prosecutors countered that Martinez kept his tattoos and continued to interact with the gang.
“Part of his defense was that he feared for his life – he thought the Mongols were coming – but he gets a lot of calls from Mongols,” Det. Lugo told The Times, expressing his dismay at the length of Martinez’s jail term.
The 10-year sentence means Martinez could be released in the coming weeks. By March, he will have served 85% of his sentence, the legal minimum for violent crimes in California.
In Tuesday’s sentencing, Lugo also questioned the impartiality of jury foremen for Martinez’s murder trials. The first jury foreman went with a fellow juror to Martinez’s family’s house to have coffee with his mother “a few days after the trial,” he said.
The Times viewed a taped phone conversation, made after the conclusion of the first trial, in which the woman advises Martinez on his legal situation, and the two sign off by saying they love each other.
The jury foreman of the second trial had “planned to write a script for a movie” about the trial, Lugo added.
The Mongols, a notorious biker gang founded in Montebello in the 1970s, reportedly started with a group of Latino men who had been denied membership in the Hells Angels.
In 2018, a federal jury convicted the group of racketeering. In October 2022, a judge denied a motion for a new trial amid allegations that the club’s president had acted as a confidential informant to law enforcement.