A 55-year-old man has been sentenced to two consecutive life sentences, without the possibility of parole, after being convicted of shooting two people dead at a mobile home park in Chino last year, the San Bernardino County District Attorney’s Office said Friday.
A jury found Joe Montgomery guilty of committing the first-degree murders of Philip Connors, 69, and David Morales, 54, on Thursday. Connors was a resident of Newport Beach while Morales lived in Chino.
Connors’ wife, Patricia, described Montgomery as a “cold-hearted and calculating murderer” in a victim impact statement quoted by a DA’s office news release. She said hearing details about their killings during the trial made her and her family “physically and emotionally sick.”
“Who could imagine the horror Dave and Phil felt when they realized that under no circumstances was the defendant going to let them live?” she said before the court.
According to prosecutors, Montgomery lived at the Four Seasons Mobile Home Park and had gotten into several confrontations with the Morales, who was the park’s manager, about violations of the community’s rules.
Morales and Connors, who was the owner of the property, were planning to serve Montgomery with an “Eight Day Demand for Compliance,” prosecutors said in a news release.
But on the morning of Jan. 28, 2017, Montgomery decided to confront the men.
He drove his truck past the two of them that day, as they were standing in the back of the mobile home park’s property, and then went back to his trailer to get a handgun, according to prosecutors. He had seen the men standing in the area, and according to prosecutors, the situation was captured on a number of surveillance cameras at the park.
Montgomery later approached the victims by parking his vehicle in a way that blocked them, Deputy District Attorney Angela Gerovac, who prosecuted the case, said in a news release. Then, he got out to speak with them.
That’s when Morales tried serving Montgomery with the eight-day notice from the park, prosecutors said, but the pair then got into a verbal argument. At that point, Montgomery stepped away.
He then “calmly walked back to his truck and retrieved a handgun from the front seat,” the DA’s office said in a news release. Then he shot and killed both men, prosecutors said.
Just before Montgomery’s sentencing, Morales’ daughter read a statement saying her heart was left “shattered” and “has been in pieces” since her father’s sudden death.
“My father, David Morales, took his last breath as he was gripping with pain from the first shot to his abdomen, and the last thing he saw was his killer running toward him and aiming to his head,” his daughter, Anita, said in a statement quoted by the DA’s office.
Meanwhile, Connors’ son, Ryan, spoke of his father missing holidays, weddings, birthdays and other special occasions within their family — all “while the person who did this will continue to live,” he said.
“The sleepless nights, horrible images and wondering what the next 20-30 years could have been will continue to haunt me and my family,” Ryan said. “I hope that the defendant experiences the same level of discomfort, anxiety and stress that we will continue to endure.”