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Friday, October 11, 2013

Murder LA 000033

by James Cohen


Joshua Mora Rodriguez
via JMR Community Foundation
Halloween happens to fall on a Saturday in 2009.

18-year-old Joshua Mora Rodriguez is party hopping with friends. Around 11 p.m. they arrive at a residence in La Habra. This shindig, as Joshua soon finds out, is hosted by a street gang.

Joshua is not a gang member. Both of his parents are Los Angeles police detectives and he’s preparing to join the army now that he’s graduated high school.

One of Joshua’s friends gets into a quarrel with a gang member named Jose Francisco Nuno. The group decide to head elsewhere, but are attacked outside. Nuno beats Joshua barehanded and Rene Antonio Lobos hits him with a baseball bat. Finally, Steven Salvador Hernandez stabs him in the neck.

As Joshua lay dying in the street the three assailants went back into the party.

The police arrive and enter the home, where they find all three men still wearing clothes with the blood of their victim. Officers also recover the knife from a neighbor’s house, wrapped in clothing.

Hernandez was the first to be convicted, in May 2012, of second degree murder and “street terrorism.” He faces 15 years to life in state prison. Lobos and Nuno both took plea deals in 2013, accepting lesser charges to avoid being tried for murder. The former was sentenced to 16 years, and the latter 12. All three received “sentencing enhancement for gang activity.”

Joshua’s mother founded the non-profit Joshua Mora Rodriguez Community Foundation, which “exists to support programs that will allow members of the community to participate in educational, artistic and athletic activities, which may otherwise not be available.”

Joshua, right, with mother and brother