For more than a decade police have been trying to put away the people responsible for the kidnapping, rape and murder of 15 year old Brenda Sierra. She was on her way to school one morning, taking a detour to a friends where she could catch a ride to Schurr High School in Montebello.
Brenda was killed in 2002, all along authorities knew it was somehow gang related. Earlier in the year Brenda's mother and brother had witnessed a gang murder and testified against local gang members in court. Investigators believe the gang wanted to retaliate against the family and send a message to the neighborhood to show them what happens when you cooperate with the authorities.
Brenda was 15 when two male gang members and a female gang member Rosemary Chavira also 15, abducted her from the intersection of Whittier Boulevard and Leonard Avenue, taken to a "gang hangout" and repeatedly sexually assaulted.
When the rape and assault was through, they took her to an abandoned lot and bludgeoned her to death. Her dead body was then driven to the San Bernardino National Forest and dumped in an a area ironically known as the Valley of Enchantment where she was found the next day.
Rosemary Chavira was she was 27 when she was arrested for murder last Friday. Her two male cohorts, Eddie Chavira, 20, Daniel Cervantes, 35, and George Barraza, 35, were added to a felony complaint alleging murder and other charges already filed against Rosemary Chavira, 28, said Jane Robison, District Attorney’s Office spokeswoman.
Rosemary Chavira, Cervantes and Barraza are all charged with murder, conspiracy to dissuade a witness and forcible rape, as well as with the special circumstance of murder during the commission of a kidnapping to benefit a street gang, according to court documents. Eddie Chavira faces charges of murder and conspiracy to intimidate a witness.
Because Rosemary Chavira was herself only 15 at the time of the murder, she faces a maximum penalty of life in prison without the possibility of parole if convicted as charged, not the death penalty, as prosecutors have said. Eddie Chavira faces up to 25 years to life in prison if convicted.
Cervantes and Barraza’s crimes do make them eligible for the death penalty under California law, however authorities have not yet determined whether to seek capital punishment in the case.