A man convicted of first degree murder for setting his mother on fire in Indio, Israel Ramirez Guardado, has been sentenced to death.
The jury recommended the death penalty after deliberating for less than an hour. Guardado was convicted of first degree murder for killing his 61-year-old mother, Francisca Ramirez, by dousing her with gasoline then setting her on fire in the loading dock area of the Mathis Brothers in Indio.
Ramirez suffered second and third degree burns over almost half of her body. She died almost a month later. Prosecutors framed the murder as a disagreement over the custody of Guardado’s oldest daughter.
In addition to convicting Guardado of murder, jurors found true two special circumstance allegations: lying in wait and inflicting torture during the commission of a murder which made him eligible for the death penalty.
Guardado acted as his own attorney during this trial, telling jurors repeatedly that he would accept whatever decision they made regarding his guilt and punishment.
After their recommendation, Guardado told the judge quote “I don’t intend to file a motion for retrial -- I’m comfortable with what the jury has selected.”