A street gang member has been convicted of the brutal slaying of an 18-year-old alleged rival gang member who was shot nine times following a bike chase in rush-hour traffic in San Jose in 2011, prosecutors said today.
A Santa Clara County Superior Court jury on Wednesday found Jonathan Guzman, 18, guilty of first-degree murder in the execution-style killing of Hugo Gutierrez.
Guzman now faces a sentence of 50 years to life in prison, Deputy District Attorney James Cahan said. Gutierrez was riding his bicycle on Story Road near Capital Expressway in eastern San Jose at about 5 p.m. on Jan. 11, 2011, when Guzman, also riding a bike, noticed the victim wore his hair with a pony tail toward the top of his head, a style associated with the Norteno street gang, Cahan said.
Guzman, a member of the rival Sureno gang, then allegedly targeted Gutierrez because the victim rode through Sureno gang territory, Cahan said.
Guzman pursued Gutierrez on his bike alongside heavy commute traffic and fired at him with a semiautomatic pistol, striking the victim.
As Gutierrez lay on the ground, Guzman stood over him and repeatedly shot him execution-style before peddling away on his bike, Cahan said. Gutierrez died from nine gunshot wounds in a crime viewed by more than a half-dozen witnesses, including one who drove his car after Guzman to keep up with him, Cahan said.
San Jose police officers Nicholas Bronte and Frank Hagg arrived at the scene of the shooting and witnesses directed them to an elementary school known as a refuge for Sureno gang members. Within about 15 minutes of the shooting, the officers found Guzman hiding in the school's field and arrested him.
The witness who tailed Guzman aided police by telling them that a suspect officers had first picked up on the street was not the shooter, Cahan said.
That witness and about a half-dozen others identified Guzman as the killer both after he was arrested and in court during Guzman's month-long trial, Cahan said. In the midst of the trial, Guzman used the shackles on his wrists to carve his gang name on the wall of his jail cell, Cahan said.
The jury deliberated for only two hours before finding Guzman guilty of first-degree murder, he said. A sentencing hearing has been set in the case for Jan. 21, he said.