Former jewelry shop proprietor convicted

A former Menlo Park jewelry store owner faces life in prison after a jury convicted him Friday of plotting to have an employee kidnapped, raped and killed because she rejected his advances.

A Jan. 30 sentencing will conclude Ricardo Zambrano’s second trial. On March 15 of last year, a jury convicted him of conspiracy to rape, kidnapping, kidnapping during a carjacking and felony threats, but deadlocked on conspiracy to commit murder.

On Friday, a second jury found Zambrano guilty of conspiracy to commit murder, which carries a sentence of 35 years to life in prison, said Deputy District Attorney Steve Wagstaffe.

Prosecutors said Zambrano hired a Fresno man, Alfonzo Gonzales, to kidnap an employee of Zambrano’s at a small jewelry store inside Mi Rancho Market in Menlo Park.

Gonzales kidnapped the woman at gunpoint and drove her to a home in Fresno where she was to be raped and killed, Wagstaffe said. Once at the home, however, the Fresno home’s residents called police and the woman escaped harm.

Gonzales was later sentenced to 35 years to life for his role in the crime.

Wagstaffe called Zambrano “extremely dangerous” and said prosecutors worriedthat he would have witnesses killed to prevent them from testifying.

“He is willing to do anything to avoid being held accountable, including killing of witnesses,” he said. “He is a dramatic danger to the community.”

During the trial, Zambrano’s attorney Chris Morales argued that the witnesses were unreliable and that Gonzales bore sole responsibility.

Wagstaffe said prosecutors were pleased with the outcome.

“This time, we finally got him,” he said.

tbarak@examiner.com  

Just Posted

Slow to reform, SFPD touts lack of police shootings as sign of progress

Department has completed about 10 percent of federal recommendations for improvement

SFPD issuing fewer life-saving traffic tickets because of ‘additional paperwork’

In August, Mayor London Breed and traffic safety watchers blasted San Francisco… Continue reading

PG&E to use state support, aircraft to minimize impact of power shutoff

PG&E has accepted an offer of technical assistance and aircraft to help… Continue reading

Transbay BART tube reopens after service halted by sparks during rush hour

Sparks near the transbay tube prompted BART to halt some service between… Continue reading

BART: busking ban on trains may be legal despite opposition, free speech concerns

When BART board director Debora Allen first floated her proposal to ban… Continue reading

Most Read