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July 14, 2017: Pair Sentenced to LWOP for West Covina Robbery

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Sarah Ardalani, Public Information Officer
(213) 257-2000

Two men were sentenced today to life in state prison without the possibility of parole for killing a Hong Kong resident during an organized robbery, the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office announced.

On July 10, a jury found Michael Quiroga Castiblanco (dob 5/27/92) and Juan Alejandro Cortez (dob 11/18/88) each guilty of two felony counts in case KA104924: first-degree murder and second-degree robbery.

Jurors also found true a special circumstance allegation that the murder was carried out during the commission of a robbery. Additionally, jurors found true a special allegation that a principal was armed with a firearm during the crime.

Deputy District Attorneys Michael Matoba and Rosalba Gutierrez co-prosecuted the case.

On Feb. 1, 2013, Sheron Khemlani, 29, and his 32-year-old brother, who were residents of Hong Kong, traveled to the Jewelry District in downtown Los Angeles to conduct business, prosecutors said.

After several meetings, the brothers began a trip to Las Vegas but stopped in West Covina to have lunch. When the brothers returned to their vehicle, they were attacked by a group of men, according to prosecutors.

During the assault, Sheron Khemlani was fatally shot in the head before the attackers fled the scene in a vehicle, prosecutors said.

More than a year after the heist, Castiblanco and Cortez were identified as the assailants and charged in connection with the fatal attack on March 5, 2014.

According to evidence presented at trial, the two defendants were part of an organized criminal group that targeted jewelers and individuals who made large cash withdrawals from banks. Moreover,the group followed the Khemlani brothers from downtown Los Angeles to West Covina with the intent to rob them, prosecutors said.

The case was investigated by the West Covina, Anaheim, Torrance, Cypress, Los Angeles and Evanston, Illinois police departments, as well as the Department of Homeland Security.