NORWALK (CBS) — A 21-year-old man was convicted today of murder for shooting a Pico Rivera woman to death after she interrupted a gang member spraying graffiti near her home, but the jury acquitted his two co-defendants.

Angel Chris Rojas was found guilty of first-degree murder in the death of Maria Hicks, 58, shooting at an occupied vehicle, street terrorism and unlawful firearm activity, along with an allegation that he committed the crimes to benefit a Pico Rivera gang called the Brown Authority. He faces at least 50 years to life in prison at his sentencing March 16.

However, the co-defendants — Jennifer Ann Tafolla, 24, and Richard Daniel Rolon, 25 — were convicted only of street terrorism. They will be sentenced Feb. 24.

The prosecution alleged that on Aug. 10, 2007, Rojas — who was 16 at the time — shot three to five rounds at the Honda Element being driven by Hicks after she flashed her headlights and honked her horn at Cesar Lopez, another Brown Authority member who was spray-painting graffiti on a wall at San Gabriel River Parkway and Woodford Street.

Rojas, who was riding in a Lincoln Continental being driven by Tafolla, was accused of getting out of the car to shoot at Hicks. Rolon was another passenger in the vehicle.

Hicks was hit once in the head and died three days later.

During the trial, a detective who works in the sheriff’s department’s gang unit, said he would expect a confrontation to result if a civilian tried to stop a gang member from spraying on graffiti.

Rojas’ lawyer argued that he thought he was protecting Lopez from rival gang members when he shot at Hicks’ vehicle.

Lopez, who accepted a plea agreement, is awaiting sentencing.

Comments (9)
  1. jc says:

    I volunteer to putt the switch if you put him on a gurney

  2. Mr Bates says:

    This indeed was a total tragedy that that the community will never forget, but the fact remains that it was the victims own actions that got her killed in the first place. Now, I am not justifying this murder, but this is our reality, Agree or Disagree, this is the outcome of that dark august night. I hope the killer rots in hell and I also hope the community learns from this awful tragedy.

    1. David Monk says:

      The only reason that these gangs exist in the first place is because the police, the ACLU, and the liberals protect them. Ordinary citizens would be arrested if they tried to eliminate the gang members. We have empowered the police to maintain order in our society, instead they persecute ordinary citizens who engage in self-defense. Why did we let ourselves be disarmed and controlled to this horrible extent.

  3. NeverSurrender says:

    Wow, I rarely read such shockingly ridiculous posts as the one from Mr. Bates. “the fact remains that it was the victims own actions that got her killed in the first place”. Really?? So if we see a crime occurring we should just all bury our heads in the sand? That may be the reality you live in, but there are many more of us who would rather stand up for something than kneel down at the alter of ambivalence. I also hope the communit learns from this but I suspect you and I hope they learn two very different lessons.

  4. Cody Ryan says:

    jc … you will have to get in line behind me. I want to pull the switch so bad I can taste the electric current. Mr. Bates … if you were joking … not very funny. If you were not joking … people with your attitude is the reason why we have these gang bangers in the first place. If all of the upright citizens did something about crime or didn’t whine when the police do it even if they add a little extra kick to it we would not have near the problem we have. Every time one of these punks gets arrested for gang activity some bleeding heart lawyer gets them off.

  5. David Doe says:

    I don’t see why he is not eligible for the DEATH PENALTY. Why is that such a hard thing to conclude? Murderer=Execution. I see that this person has NO value, in fact his having to be supported in prision makes him a MINUS on society and DRAIN on all of us good people of virtue. Children learn what they live, they live gang life as the way to go, they go that way. All states need to bring BACK the death penalty and to hell with the Supreme Ct decisions, this is OUR country and OUR laws, our LIVES we are talking about – this kind of thing will stop real fast if we implement REAL JUSTICE!

  6. Fed Up says:

    The only way to get gangs under control is to dig a deep pit, have them walk to the edge, push them in and cover with dirt. Until that happens, we’ll never have a safe society thanks to the liberal attorneys that protect them. Little maggots deserve no liberty or freedom when they deny it to others.

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