Man Sentenced in Botched Contract Killing
A 34-year-old businessman convicted of shooting a San Clemente resident in the face in a botched contract killing was sentenced Friday to 29 years to life in prison.
Paul Gordon Alleyne had agreed to kill James Wengert to pay off a debt to Premium Commercial Corp., a Huntington Beach loan company, the prosecution contended.
Wengert, 51, survived and identified Alleyne of Los Angeles as the man who shot him in a San Clemente parking garage April 10, 1996. There was, prosecutor Tom Glazier said, “overwhelming evidence” that Alleyne pulled the trigger.
But Alleyne’s mother, a physician with Los Angeles County Health Services, told supporters outside the courtroom, “It’s not over until it’s over. We’re still fighting. We’re not going to give up.”
Delores Alleyne, 63, of Los Angeles said her son did not get a fair trial because he is African American and the jury was largely Caucasian.
Alleyne’s attorney, Edi Faal, said his client plans to appeal. Faal had argued that his client could not have conspired to kill Wengert, because Coleman Allen, the co-founder of Premium Commercial who is alleged to have ordered the hit, died of natural causes four days before the shooting.
“There is no evidence of a criminal conspiracy,” Faal said. “You cannot conspire with a dead man.”
Superior Court Judge Eileen C. Moore denied his motion for a new trial and sentenced Alleyne on a series of charges including conspiracy to commit murder, which carries a minimum sentence of 25 years to life.
According to a pre-sentencing report, Alleyne’s father is a law professor in Boston, an older brother is a correctional officer, one sister is a doctor and another is a medical student. Alleyne “was not academically inspired,” his father said in the report, and chose the field of mechanics. Alleyne owned a Los Angeles auto parts business.
Deputy Probation Officer Bonnie S. Katz noted in the report that Alleyne’s “circumstances are unfortunate because it appears that he is a personable and intelligent individual who used his talents to involve himself in what he probably saw [as] a glamorous, outlaw lifestyle.”
But she urged a lengthy sentence, concluding that he “is without conscience and has no personal insight into his own reprehensible and heinous conduct. He committed this crime in cold blood and his only motivation was money.”
Alleyne denied shooting Wengert, whom he referred to in the report as a “liar” and a “cheat.” He admitted that he had asked Allen’s widow, Barbara, for a $45,000 payment after the shooting. But he said he had only acted as a middleman.
The case against Alleyne was intertwined with that of Leonard Owen Mundy, who was convicted last month of murdering Jane Carver, a Fountain Valley woman who he mistakenly thought was Wengert’s wife, Margaret “Peggy” Wengert. She had filed a lawsuit against Premium. Mundy was also in debt to Premium and agreed to carry out the shooting to satisfy the debt.
Prosecutors said both shootings were orchestrated by Allen.
Wengert, who attended Friday’s sentencing, said he had been waiting for that day so he can move on with his life.
“I’m glad it’s done, over and finished,” Wengert said. “As a man who believes in God, I’ve forgiven Mr. Alleyne for his actions. But when you do something that serious, you have to pay the price.”