Man Gets Life Sentence for Fatal Shooting : Courts: Defendant maintains innocence in final statement. He was convicted of killing Rancho Santa Margarita man in 1990.


Telling authorities that they would be haunted by their actions, a 28-year-old Encino man was sentenced Friday to life in prison without parole for the 1990 murder of the man he considered his father.

Sean Hirsch, in a lengthy and emotional statement before Orange County Superior Court Judge Jean Rheinheimer, proclaimed his innocence and contended he was a victim of mistakes by authorities bent on “taking away my life.”

“You prosecuted the wrong person,” the former bank employee said. “You’re always going to have to wonder about that. . . . You’ll have to live with it for the rest of your lives because this case is closed.”


Prosecutor Bryan F. Brown responded by saying evidence proved to everyone beyond a doubt that Hirsch shot his father to death, and reacted strongly to Hirsch’s attempts to blame others for his predicament.

“What we’ve seen here is a classic 28-year-old sociopath,” Brown said.

Authorities charged Hirsch with fatally shooting John Francis McNamara, 46, in 1990 after disputes over money. McNamara, a divorced medical supplies salesman, was shot in the abdomen at point-blank range as he slept in his Rancho Santa Margarita condominium.

At the time of the killing, Hirsch thought McNamara was his biological father, although DNA testing done during the course of the investigation showed he was not.

Investigators arrested Hirsch about two years after the murder in 1992, saying DNA evidence from a cigarette butt at the condominium helped link the young man to the crime scene.

During the monthlong trial this spring, Brown argued that a rifle Hirsch allegedly stole from a friend’s home a few days before the murder was the one used in the killing.

After hearing his sentence, Hirsch turned with a smile and a wink to his mother, grandmother and stepfather seated behind him, mouthing, “It’s OK” and “Be strong.”


During his statement to the judge, Hirsch took particular aim at the DNA evidence against him, accusing investigators of tampering with the cigarette butt. Brown had called the charge “nonsense” during the trial.

Hirsch’s attorney, Jack M. Earley, said questions about the DNA could never be answered because the defense was never able to test the cigarette butt in its whole and original condition.

Earley said his client’s ability to defend himself was also hurt by the years that passed before his arrest and trial.