LA marijuana dispensary owner, manager guilty of murder in student’s slaying – OCRegister

The owner of a South Los Angeles marijuana dispensary and the shop’s manager were convicted of first-degree murder  Monday, Feb. 26, for killing an employee before burying his body in the Mojave Desert, where it went undiscovered for nearly two months in 2020.

The Los Angeles Superior Court jury needed less than three hours to convict Ethan Kedar Astaphan, 30, of San Gabriel and Weijia “James” Peng, 34, of Alhambra in the slaying of 21-year-old Juan Carlos Hernandez of Los Angeles on Sept. 22, 2020.

Jurors also found true an allegation that Peng used a deadly weapon, a syringe containing ketamine while committing the crime.

Hernandez was an El Camino College student with plans to follow in his brother’s footsteps and transfer to USC, his mother, Yajaira Hernandez has said.

“I’m sad my son is not coming back,” Hernandez said outside the courtroom following the reading of the verdicts. “I’m glad they got caught and they’ll be paying for what they did. Now we’re just figuring out what’s next and how to heal.”

Yajaira Hernandez filed a missing person’s report with Los Angeles police after noticing her son never came home from work following that Sept. 22 shift. She and other

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