On Wednesday March 5, 29-year-old Jose Angel Perez Jr. was sentenced to life in prison for his role in the death of 20-year-old Nath Ouch, who was eight months pregnant at the time she was gunned down in southeast Fresno in February of 2006. According to the Los Angeles Times, Ouch’s husband was so despondent over his wife’s death he took his own life a short time later.
Ouch was struck by a bullet in the early morning hours as Perez and another gang member opened fire at an apartment complex where rival gang members lived. Perez fled to Mexico after the shooting, and was not tracked down for some five years before being located and arrested by the FBI. Sokmorn Chea is the other gang member who was allegedly involved in the fatal shooting; he is serving life without parole following his 2007 conviction.
Prior to sentencing, Perez spoke to Ouch’s family, apologizing for his actions and saying “I’m here as a man today to accept responsibility for my actions.”
Perez was convicted in February on two counts of first-degree murder in the death of Ouch and her unborn child. Perez will not be eligible for parole, as jurors determined that the murder was committed for the benefit of the street gang Perez was a member of, the Asian Boyz.
Perez’s defense attorney, Peter Jones, alleged that his client was high on Ecstasy and intoxicated at the time of the incident. He maintained that Perez did not know what he was doing, and that the intention was not to kill anyone, but to spray the Tiny Rascal Gang who lived in the apartment complex with bullets.
Judge Wayne Ellison, who sentenced Perez, said that the defendant’s bullets did not kill Ouch according to the evidence, but that “justice demands that these lives be respected.” He also said in announcing the life sentence that Perez had shown remorse for his actions, and that it was “unfortunate” that the defendant was recruited into the gang by his uncle.
Murder is the most serious crime a person can be accused of, not only in California but across the nation. While it is a tragedy that an innocent young woman lost her life and the life of her unborn child, it is also a tragedy that at young man who is not yet 30 years old will now spend the remainder of his life behind bars even though he is not the individual who pulled the trigger on the gun that killed the victim, but was a member of a violent gang.
Anyone who is accused of taking someone else’s life must consult with an experienced and aggressive Los Angeles murder defense attorney immediately, regardless of your innocence or guilt. The stakes are too high to attempt to handle it without a capable defense lawyer; your freedom is in jeopardy. Even with crimes as heinous as murder, there are options which may help you avoid a life behind bars and other harsh consequences. Until proven guilty, you are innocent. Protect your innocence by taking action at once and contacting a qualified defense lawyer.