An Orange County woman has been sentenced to more than two decades in prison for a man’s shooting on her boat and her attempts to mislead investigators.
San Juan Capistrano resident Sheila Marie Ritze, 42, was sentenced to 21 years and 10 months in federal prison on Monday in connection with the death of a victim identified only as Dao, according to the United States Department of Justice.
She faced a maximum charge of life in prison after being convicted of second-degree murder in the special maritime and territorial jurisdiction of the U.S. and making false statements to investigators.
In October 2019, Ritze and Fountain Valley resident Hoang Xuan Le, 41, aka “Wayne” or “Wangsta,” got Dao out onto the open ocean under the ruse of a lobster-fishing trip, prosecutors said.
Le, who was owed money by Dao, shot the victim, who went overboard. Ritze and Le then returned to Dana Point Harbor, leaving Dao to drown. His body was found northwest of Oceanside.
About two months after the killing, Ritze told federal investigators “a series of lies,” including that she’d never met Dao before the boat trip.
“Ritze and the victim had been in Las Vegas together 11 days prior to the murder,” the release said.
Ritze also connected with Le after the killing, partying with him and helping him track Dao’s widow using GPS trackers.
Ritze was convicted after a 12-day trial in April 2022, and she was sentenced on Monday by U.S. District Judge David O. Carter, who said Ritze’s conduct was “horrific and horrendous” and noted the “callousness” of the crime.
Le was convicted of first-degree murder within the special maritime and territorial jurisdiction of the U.S., conspiracy to commit murder and using a firearm in furtherance of a crime of violence in December 2021, and in February 2022, he pleaded guilty to eight drug-related felonies, including distribution of cocaine and methamphetamine.
Le faces a mandatory life sentence when he’s sentenced in July.