A reputed gang member accused of killing a Mongols Motorcycle Club member on the Glendale (2) Freeway in 2008 was sentenced Wednesday to life without the possibility of parole.
Richard Clayborne, 40, was convicted last month of shooting and killing 30-year-old Venice resident Manuel Martin as well as trying to kill another motorcyclist, Ronald Hamburg. He faces additional time for shooting and firearm charges.
As Prosecutor Steven Dickman and court officials were trying to determine his prison term, Clayborne said, “Who cares?” because he was already sentenced to life in prison.
Sentencing was delayed for co-defendant Jose Gonzalez, 36, who was also convicted in March, after Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge George Lomeli allowed him to represent himself in a new trial.
Lomeli, however, warned Gonzalez that he wouldn’t be retrying a new case; rather he must examine and present specific flaws in the law as presented in the case.
Clayborne and Gonzalez, who are alleged members of the Toonerville gang, were also convicted of shooting at Martin and Hamburg from a vehicle and possessing a firearm with priors.
Martin suffered a gunshot wound to his chest on Oct. 8, 2008, as he rode alongside Hamburg, authorities said.
That night, Martin and Hamburg had gone to the now-shuttered Mix bar in the 2600 block of Honolulu Avenue, where Clayborne and Gonzalez also were seen before the shooting, authorities said.
Martin and Hamburg exited the bar about 2 a.m., got on their motorcycles and began riding from the eastbound Foothill (210) Freeway transition to the southbound 2 Freeway, according to Glendale police spokeswoman Tahnee Lightfoot.
Riding in a vehicle, Clayborne and Gonzalez apparently followed the pair from the bar to the freeway, where they reportedly fired shots at them.
The shots caused Martin's motorcycle to land in the center divider, where he was later declared dead. Hamburg wasn’t injured during the shooting, but several bullets struck his motorcycle and one round hit his boot.
Martin’s murder was reportedly a hit ordered by the Mexican Mafia for failing to pay taxes.
Gonzalez argued in a letter — discussed during court proceedings — that his trial attorney had failed to obtain a gang expert to look into the prosecution’s motive.
He also contended that his attorney failed to impeach the lead investigating detective as well as examine whether a photograph of him was digitally altered.
Dickman expressed concerns in court that Gonzalez might be attempting to delay his sentencing because a defendant in a separate gang case had also filed similar motions and it went on for about year. But Lomeli assured Dickman that he would not allow Gonzalez to do that.
He was ordered to return April 28 to court to discuss further proceedings.
Clayborne’s attorney has also filed a notice to appeal his client’s case.