Hitman gets life in prison for killings

LOS ANGELES - The hitman hired in 2009 to kill an alleged rival drug dealer was sentenced Wednesday to life in prison without possibility of parole, the District Attorney's Office announced.Deputy District Attorney Dan Akemon said Richard Luna, 31, received two life terms plus 50 years to life by Superior Court Judge Lance Ito. Luna was convicted July 3 of two counts of first-degree murder with the special circumstances of financial gain and murders found true. Luna was paid $700 to kill Tommie Hayes, 33. But he also fatally shot Kevin Cohen, 49, an innocent bystander. Hayes and Cohen were gunned down in a Skid Row residence hotel on April 12, 2009 - Easter Sunday. The man who hired Luna, 43-year-old Lamont Ward, was convicted July 6 by a separate jury of two counts of first-degree murder. The jury also found true the special circumstance of murder for financial gain for each victim and the special circumstance of multiple murders. He has already been sentenced to life in prison without possibility of parole. A third defendant, Shanana Flores, who was enlisted to be the go-between to hire Luna, pleaded no contest to two counts of voluntary manslaughter and testified against Ward and Luna. She is scheduled to be sentenced on Oct. 17. If it is determined that she testified truthfully, she faces a 12-year state prison term. Akemon and District Attorney Scott Marcus prosecuted the case.

********** Published: October 4, 2012 - Volume 11 - Issue 25