Man convicted of murdering Santa Ana woman who witnessed gang shooting

A Garden Grove man was found guilty this week of murdering a woman whose body was dumped near the Newport Bay Bridge off Pacific Coast Highway in Newport Beach.

An Orange County Superior Court jury also convicted Irvin Tellez, 27, of the attempted murder of another woman on the same night two years ago.

Nancy Hammour, 28, was killed on Labor Day 2013 to keep her from talking after she witnessed the unprovoked gang-related shooting of the other woman, according to prosecutors.

In opening statements, Senior Deputy Dist. Atty. Jim Mendelson told jurors that Tellez and another gang member, Jaime Rocha, 42, had been smoking methamphetamine shortly before the shootings.

After driving through Hammour’s Santa Ana neighborhood, Tellez, Rocha and Hammour stopped to talk to a 31-year-old woman none of them knew.


Mendelson said the woman mentioned a gang — the Alley Boys — that claimed territory abutting turf claimed by the gang to which Rocha and Tellez were loyal.

“The mere hearing of the Alley Boys caused defendant Tellez to pull out a pistol and shoot her in the face,” Mendelson said in court. The woman survived.

Mendelson said that as Rocha sped from the scene, Hammour became hysterical and Tellez shot her in the face. Prosecutors contended that Hammour survived the first shot, but as Rocha drove south on the 55 Freeway toward Newport Beach, Tellez fired again, killing her.

The two men then tossed Hammour’s body over the railing of a bridge that spans Newport Bay, prosecutors said, but her body missed the water and was found later that morning in a patch of ice plant 20 feet below the road.

Tellez faces a maximum sentence of 112 years in state prison at his sentencing, set for 9 a.m. Nov. 20 at the Central Justice Center in Santa Ana.

Rocha, a Santa Ana resident, pleaded guilty Sept. 4 to one felony count of voluntary manslaughter with a sentencing enhancement for criminal street gang activity. He is scheduled to be sentenced Oct. 30.

Dobruck and Lopez write for Times Community News.