LANCASTER – A fourth codefendant has been found guilty of two murders at a plastic surgeon’s ranch in Lancaster, the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office announced.
Arturo Verdín, 47, was found guilty late Thursday (Nov. 6) of two counts of first-degree murder with special circumstances of committing them for financial gain, lying in wait and multiple murders, according to Deputy District Attorney Michael Blake.
Codefendant Antonio Martínez, 51, was found guilty of the same counts and special circumstances on Aug. 28. On that same date, codefendant Nicholas Cordoba, 63, was found guilty of one count of murder with the special circumstances of lying in wait and murder for financial gain.
The convictions stem from the 2006 death of Esfandiar “Steve” Kadivar, a 64-year-old doctor who had medical offices in Palmdale and had a large ranch raising crops such as alfalfa and pistachios. Nicholas Cordoba lived on the property and orchestrated the killing, according to trial testimony.
On July 5, 2006, Arturo Verdín and Antonio Martínez shot the doctor to death as he fed his animals, according to witnesses.
Soon after the murder, Nicholas Cordoba negotiated a lease of the ranch and brought in Efraín Martines to help finance the lease, according to witness testimony.
The following year, Nicholas Cordoba had a falling out with Efraín Martines and then hired 38-year-old Marco García to kill him for $5,000, witnesses added.
On April 28, 2007, Marco García shot Efraín Martines to death while he worked at the ranch. Arturo Verdín and Antonio Martínez helped Marco García carry out the murder and helped orchestrate taking the victim’s remains to a location several miles away, the prosecutor said.
Marco García pleaded guilty on June 4 to first-degree murder with the special circumstances of lying in wait and financial gain. His sentencing is scheduled on Dec. 19.
Arturo Verdín is expected to be sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole, along with codefendants Antonio Martínez and Nicolas Cordoba, at a court hearing scheduled for Jan. 23.
The case was investigated by the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department, Homicide Bureau.
[Information via press release from the Los Angeles District Attorney’s Office.]
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