Man Convicted of Killing 5 at Long Beach Homeless Encampment Should Face Death Penalty, Jury Says

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Police Chief Jim McDonnell speaks to the media about the 2012 arrests of David Ponce and Max Rafael, in the murders of five people at a homeless encampment in 2008. (Gina Ferazzi / Los Angeles Times)

Police Chief Jim McDonnell speaks to the media about the 2012 arrests of David Ponce and Max Rafael, in the murders of five people at a homeless encampment in 2008. (Gina Ferazzi / Los Angeles Times)

A Los Angeles County jury has called for the death penalty for a gang member who was convicted last month of the 2008 murder of five people at a Long Beach homeless encampment.

The jury deliberated for about two hours before deciding late Monday that David Cruz Ponce, 37, should be sentenced to death, Deputy Dist. Atty. Cynthia Barnes said.

Ponce was scheduled to return to court on Nov. 27 for sentencing.

Ponce and co-defendant Max Eliseo Rafael, 31, were found guilty in September of five counts of murder and one count of kidnapping. The jury also found true special circumstance allegations of multiple murders, murder during a kidnapping and murder by an active member of a criminal street gang.

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