An Oklahoma man was convicted today of murdering a woman and her 4-year-old daughter in Long Beach and trying to kill the child’s father, who escaped injury in the unprovoked attack.
A Long Beach jury deliberated just over an hour before finding Brandon Ivan Colbert Jr., 23, guilty of first-degree murder for the killings of Carina Mancera, 26, and her daughter, Jennabel Anaya, and the attempted murder of Luis Anaya.
Jurors also found true the special circumstance allegations of murder while lying in wait and multiple murders. Prosecutors opted not to seek the death penalty against Colbert, who is facing life in prison without the possibility of parole. Sentencing is set for next Friday.
The victims were gunned down near Ninth Street and Locust Avenue about 10:20PM on August 6, 2016, as the family was returning home from grocery shopping. Authorities said Colbert hid behind a sign and opened fire on them with a shotgun. The motive remains unknown.
Colbert was arrested in November 2016, after DNA evidence linked him to the crime.
Long Beach police Chief Robert Luna said Colbert had been in custody since about three weeks after the killings, when he was arrested by Los Angeles police on suspicion of driving a stolen vehicle and a DNA swab was obtained from him.
While searching for the killer, police had released two pieces of surveillance footage of the suspect, who was seen at a convenience store near the shooting scene. The other footage was taken on a Metro Blue Line train which goes between downtown Los Angeles and downtown Long Beach.
The surviving victim told investigators that a man walked up to his longtime girlfriend and their daughter and suddenly—without provocation—opened fire, then ran off. He said he did not recognize the man, nor did anyone else in the neighborhood.
The gunman also fired at Anaya, but missed, according to police.