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LOS ANGELES – A former Los Angeles police officer and a suspended officer were convicted by a Los Angeles Superior Court jury today of conspiracy to obstruct justice and perjury in connection with a 2008 drug possession case.
The jury failed to reach unanimous verdicts on a third suspended officer and a mistrial was declared.
The jury convicted Evan Samuel, the 40-year-old former officer, and 33-year-old Richard Amio after three days of deliberation. The jury deadlocked 11-1 for guilty on the two counts against 39-year-old Manuel Ortiz, who faces possible retrial. All three will remain free on their own recognizance pending their next court appearances.
Samuel was convicted of the conspiracy count, one count of perjury by declaration and three counts of perjury under oath. Amio was convicted of the conspiracy county and two counts of perjury under oath. Ortiz was charged with one count of conspiracy and one count of perjury under oath. He is due back in court on Dec. 6 for a pretrial hearing.
Samuel and Amio are scheduled to appear for sentencing by trial Judge Michael Pastor on Dec. 12. Samuel faces possible maximum prison term of five years and eight months. Amio’s maximum term would be four years and four months. Because of the state’s realignment law, any prison sentences would be served in county jail.
During a preliminary hearing and later during the June 2008 trial for Gillermo Alarcon, the three defendants allegedly falsely testified about seeing Alarcon throw away a black object that turned out to be cocaine base near a trash bin. Ortiz allegedly denied under oath that he was in fact the officer who found a package containing cocaine powder near a dumpster while the others were searching a laundry room for drugs.
Samuel also signed under penalty of perjury a police report.
Alarcon’s drug possession case was dismissed in June 2008 at the request of prosecutors after footage from the apartment building’s security camera contradicted the sworn testimony of the officers.
The case was prosecuted by Deputy District Attorney Geoffrey Rendon of the Justice System Integrity Division.
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