LOS ANGELES — Four men convicted of first-degree murder with special circumstance allegations were sentenced Friday in connection with killings at a doctor’s ranch in Lancaster, the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office announced.
Nicolas Olvera Cordoba, 63, Antonio Martínez, 51, and Arturo Rosales Verdín, 47, were sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole, according to Deputy District Attorney Michael Blake. Marco Antonio García, 38, was sentenced to 28 years to life in state prison.
Last year, Martínez and Verdín were found guilty of two counts of first-degree murder with special circumstances of committing the murders for financial gain, lying in wait and multiple murders in the killings of Dr. Esfandiar “Steve” Kadivar and Efraín Soto.
Cordoba and García were each convicted of one count of murder with the special circumstances of lying in wait and murder for financial gain for Soto’s killing.
García pleaded guilty to the charge and agreed to testify for the prosecution.
Dr. Kadivar was a plastic surgeon in Palmdale who owned a large ranch in Lancaster where he worked the land and raised crops such as alfalfa and pistachios. Cordoba lived and worked on the property and orchestrated the killings, according to trial testimony.
Witnesses testified that on July 5, 2006, Verdín and Martínez shot the doctor to death as he fed his animals.
After the doctor’s death, Cordoba negotiated a lease of the ranch and brought in Soto to help finance the lease, according to witness testimony.
The following year, Cordoba had a falling out with Soto and then hired García to kill him for $5,000, witnesses added.
On April 28, 2007, García shot Soto to death while he worked at the ranch. Verdín and Martínez helped García carry out the murder and transport the victim’s remains to a location several miles away, the prosecutor said.
At Friday’s sentencing hearing, members of the Kadivar and Soto families gave victim impact statements before Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge Larry P. Fidler of the Foltz Criminal Justice Center.
The case was investigated by the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department, Homicide Bureau.
[Information via news release from the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s office.]
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