Written by AARON CASTREJON
LOS ANGELES - The man who orchestrated a series of attacks six years ago that left two dead and four wounded was sentenced recently.
Ulises Jose Gutierrez, 26, was sentenced to life without parole. Gutierrez was convicted in September on two counts of first-degree murder and three counts of attempted murder, according to Paul Eakins, public information officer for the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office.
Jurors found true special circumstance allegations of multiple murders and that he was an active participant in a criminal street gang as well as allegations that he used a firearm and a knife, caused great bodily injury and committed the crimes for the benefit of a gang, Eakins said.
Three other men have already been sentenced and two others are awaiting sentencing in a series of attacks that terrorized Baldwin Park from May until October 2013.
Under Gutierrez’s direction, Francisco Moran, Gustavo Cruz, Arturo Mendoza, Johnny Balbuena and Elton Bennett targeted people they believed to be associated with a rival gang or otherwise opposed to them, according to court testimony.
According to court testimony, on May 24, Cruz and Mendoza drove to a house on Maine Avenue and confronted Raymond Vasquez, 22, who was outside. A second vehicle driven by Balbuena arrived moments later and Gutierrez got out and fatally shot Vasquez with an AK-47 rifle, Eakins said.
On July 19, Gutierrez and Moran drove to a bus stop at Los Angeles Street and Merced Avenue and confronted Maurio Sotelo, 20. Moran fatally shot the victim with a handgun. Earlier that night, Gutierrez and Moran approached a man walking on a sidewalk in a residential area and Gutierrez shot and wounded him, Eakins said.
Gutierrez shot and wounded a teenage boy on June 21. The next night, Bennett shot and wounded a man who was an innocent bystander in front of his home.
On Oct. 2, Gutierrez stabbed a woman with a knife, Eakins said.
On July 19, 2018, 31-year-old Moran of Baldwin Park was sentenced to 82 years to life in prison after a jury found him guilty of one count each of first-degree murder and attempted murder with gun and gang allegations.
On Oct. 10, 2019, 29-year-old Gustavo Cruz of El Monte was sentenced to 15 years to life in prison and waived six years of credit for time already served in jail after pleading no contest to one count of second-degree murder.
On Oct. 16, 2019, 29-year-old Arturo Mendoza of Baldwin Park was sentenced to 21 years in prison and waived six years of credit for time served after pleading guilty to voluntary manslaughter.
24-year-old Johnny Balbuena of Baldwin Park was sentenced to 50 years to life in state prison November 5 after being convicted of one count of first-degree murder and found true gun and gang allegations.
26-year-old Elton Bennett of Baldwin Park faces up to 80 years to life in prison after a jury convicted him in April of two counts of attempted murder and found true gang and gun allegations. His sentencing is scheduled for December 12.