AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREWalnut’s Malik Khouzam voted Southern California Boys Athlete of the Week Two of those offenders are Monica Diaz and her former boyfriend Michael Naranjo, who were accused in 2004 of collaborating to kill Diaz’s family while they slept in their Pico Rivera home on July 21, 2000. Diaz was 16, and Naranjo, 17, when the murders were committed. They are now serving consecutive life sentences without the possibility of parole. Deputy District Attorney Kevin McCormick said the murders were the worst he’d ever seen. “You can’t rehabilitate people who believe taking double-edged knives and slaughtering their entire family is an appropriate way of conducting yourself,” McCormick said. The report, “The Rest of Their Lives: Life Without Parole for Child Offenders in the United States,” found that there are at least 2,225 child offenders serving life without parole sentences in U.S. prisons for crimes committed before they were 18 years old. In a nationwide report released Wednesday, two human rights groups are arguing that life without parole sentences for juveniles should be reversed. “It’s important to note that children who commit serious crimes should be seriously punished,” said David Berger, an attorney and a lead researcher for this report. “We are advocating sensible criminal punishment that deters, rehabilitates and protects society, so that it doesn’t just seek revenge against a child, but gives them a chance to redeem themselves.” In California, 180 child offenders are serving these sentences. Black and Hispanic youths are disproportionately sentenced to life without parole, according to the report. In California, black youth are 22.5 times more likely, and Hispanics are 4.5 times more likely than white youths to get life without parole. The report found that, out of 42 states that impose the sentence, California ranks 22nd in sentencing juveniles to life without parole. Another 26 percent of youths serving life without parole did not directly commit murder but participated in the crime, as is the case with Diaz. Diaz let Naranjo into her house, where he stabbed to death Diaz’s uncle and adoptive father Richard Angel Flores, 42, and his children, Richard Jr., 17, Sylvia, 13, and Matthew, 10. He attempted to kill Diaz’s aunt and adoptive mother, Sylvia Flores. Although Diaz was found guilty of assisting in the murders, she stayed in the bathroom during the killings, giving Naranjo a good-luck kiss beforehand, said McCormick. In Diaz’s case, McCormick found that letters written by her before the murders told an important story about her way of thinking. In one letter, dated Sep. 10, 1999, Diaz wrote about the many people she planned to torture and kill. “Hitler only lived a few years and he killed lots,” she wrote. “Imagine how many victims I’d have if I lived 800 years.” The report, commissioned by Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch, argues that sentences of life without parole for juveniles do not deter youth crime rates. It asks for an end to life without parole sentences, and a reconsideration of those convicted as juveniles and currently serving life sentences. The report found that, though fewer youths committed serious crimes in 2000 than in 1990, life without parole convictions rose by 216 percent. In 1990, 2,234 children were convicted of murder and 2.9 percent sentenced to life without parole. In 2000, 1,006 children were convicted of murder and 9 percent of them were sent to prison for life without parole. “You wouldn’t even recognize many of these child offenders today,” said Berger. “They were completely different people when they committed their crime.” — Sandy Mazza can be reached at (562) 698-0955, Ext. 3026, or by e-mail at [email protected] local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!