Crime & Justice

Life without parole for ex-Asian Boyz member convicted in killing spree

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Jurors in Los Angeles have recommended life without parole for a former gang member. He was convicted for his part in eight murders during a gang war more than 15 years ago.

Marvin Mercado used to run with the infamous Asian Boyz in Van Nuys. In 1995 that gang killed eight people – including three teenage boys they’d mistaken for gang rivals.

Mercado fled to the Philippines; investigators found him there soon after TV’s “America’s Most Wanted” ran a story about him. Last month, jurors convicted the 37-year-old Mercado of murder – and made special circumstance findings that put the death penalty on the table.

Now the same jury has decided that Mercado’s sentence shouldn’t be death, but life without parole. His lawyer had argued for that last week.

He said the evidence didn’t show that his client had carried out a killing. He also said Mercado had made a “clean break” from the Asian Boyz after he fled to the Philippines.

But a bigger factor might have been what happened 12 years ago. That’s when Mercado’s former gang pals were convicted in the killings; they got life without parole.