Guilty verdict for Coachella man in cab driver killing

2nd man convicted in 2003 murder

Indio - A Coachella man was convicted Wednesday in the robbery-motivated shooting death of an Indio cab driver.

Fabian Florence Perez, 30, was found guilty of first-degree murder in the Sept. 7, 2003, death of 30-year-old Carlos Rafael Cuellar Cardona. Jurors also found true a special circumstance allegation of committing a murder during a robbery.

Sentencing is set for May 7, according to court records.

The convicted triggerman, Christopher Guy Jasso, was sentenced to death in January 2010.  Prosecutors later announced that they would not seek the death penalty for Perez for his role in the killing.

The night of the shooting, Jasso said he needed money, and Perez knew he was armed and intended to rob someone, Deputy District Attorney Pete Nolan told jurors.

``The plan was Christopher Jasso would get in a cab and drive to a remote area and Fabian Perez was going to follow him,'' Nolan said, adding that Perez was driving a dark Nissan Maxima that night.

``Christopher Jasso shot and killed Carlos Cardona, took his wallet and went to the waiting car,'' Nolan said.

Police found Cardona lying on the street near Avenue 44 and Aztec Street in Indio, with two gunshot wounds to the head. The cab was at the end of the street with the engine running and blood spattered on the driver's-side window, Nolan said.

``Carlos Cardona jumped out of the cab to save his own life,'' Nolan said, but was shot a second time at close range.

He said Jasso handed Perez $100 and the gun and told him to get rid of the weapon.

When Jasso was arrested a few days later for an unrelated reason, he was ``freaking out'' because he had the cab driver's wallet, the prosecutor said.

Police, not knowing the significance of the item, released it to Perez's sister, Nolan said.

He said Jasso and Perez ``intended to rob somebody, and did rob somebody, and killed as a result.''

comments powered by Disqus

Photo Galleries