Compton man sentenced to 166 years to life in prison for ambush-style shooting of 2 LASD deputies

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Wednesday, November 1, 2023
Compton man gets 166 years to life in prison for shooting deputies
A Compton man has been sentenced to 166 years and 8 months to life in prison for shooting and wounding two Los Angeles County sheriff's deputies in September 2020.

COMPTON, Calif. (KABC) -- A Compton man was sentenced Wednesday to 166 years and 8 months to life in prison for shooting and wounding two Los Angeles County sheriff's deputies who were sitting in a patrol vehicle at a Metro station more than three years ago.

A jury found Deonte Lee Murray guilty of 10 counts five weeks ago, including two counts of attempted murder of a peace officer for the Sept. 12, 2020, attack on Deputies Claudia Apolinar and Emmanuel Perez-Perez, which was caught on surveillance video outside a Compton transit center.

The jury also convicted Murray of one count each of attempted murder, assault with a semiautomatic firearm, carjacking and robbery, along with four counts of possession of a firearm by a felon.

Deputy District Attorney Stephen Lonseth told the jury that Murray shot four people and tried to kill three of them, including the two sheriff's deputies whom he allegedly tried to ambush in what the prosecutor said was "no impulse."

Lonseth noted that Murray allegedly said afterward that he couldn't believe that the deputies hadn't died.

The prosecutor told the panel that Murray "did everything he could to end the lives of Claudia Apolinar and Emmanuel Perez-Perez," saying that "this wasn't some impulsive thing."

The second of two Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department deputies who were ambushed in Compton has been released from the hospital, the department said Monday.

"They're alive because of frankly a miracle," Lonseth said, citing the "heroic actions" of Apolinar in trying to aid her partner despite being wounded herself in the jaw and arms.

Apolinar and Perez-Perez issued emotional victim impact statements, detailing the struggles of their recovery.

"So many things I could say ... I've been angry for a very long time," said Perez-Perez.

At that moment, Murray laughed and shook his head as Perez-Perez spoke.

Perez-Perez talked about his recovery journey, saying he has "mental injuries" that will "last forever."

"Lots of pain, hurt, sleepless nights," he said.

Apolinar also issued a victim impact statement, recalling the day of the shooting.

"A coward woke up that day with the intention to murder deputies," she said. "Evil found us that day."

She continued on to say Murray's actions "warrant the maximum sentence."

The prosecutor had told jurors during his opening statement in August that Murray "lost it" and "sought to take out revenge" after sheriff's deputies shot and killed his best friend, Sam Herrera, while serving a search warrant in Compton on Sept. 10, 2020, two days before Apolinar and Perez-Perez were ambushed.

Murray allegedly "unloaded over and over again" by firing upon a man he mistakenly believed was a detective in an unmarked car near the Compton courthouse on Sept. 10, 2020, then fled in a black Mercedes-Benz that had been carjacked nine days earlier from a man who was shot in the leg with a rifle, Lonseth told the panel.

The defendant -- who allegedly abandoned the Mercedes-Benz near an elementary school -- was arrested Sept. 15, 2020, after leading police on a chase in which he tossed a "ghost gun" from the Toyota Solara he was driving and then fleeing into a neighborhood, where he was subsequently found hiding under a chicken coop in a resident's back yard, the prosecutor said.

Ballistics testing subsequently determined that the .40-caliber weapon had been used to shoot the sheriff's deputies, authorities said.

Murray's attorney, Kate Hardie, told jurors that her client was under the influence of drugs and alcohol and grief-stricken over his best friend's shooting death by other sheriff's deputies two days earlier.

The defense lawyer told jurors that the "closest person" to Murray had been killed, calling the days between Sept. 10 and Sept. 12 of that year "the worst time in Mr. Murray's life."

Hardie told jurors that her client's actions were "impulsive" and fueled by alcohol, methamphetamine and grief over his best friend's death.

City News Service contributed to this report.