Gang associate sentenced to life for attempted Mexican Mafia ‘hit' on fellow prison inmate

DA: Mr. Polina has dedicated his life to violence

SAN DIEGO - A Mexican Mafia prison gang associate who was convicted in connection with an attempted "hit" on a fellow prison inmate was sentenced Wednesday to 75 years to life, plus 16 years.
   
Geronimo Polina, 38, was convicted in December, along with 33-year-old Eduardo Macias, of conspiracy to commit murder, attempted murder and assault.  Jurors also found that the July 5, 2010, attack on Victor Ortiz was carried out for the benefit of a street gang.
   
Polina had prior felony convictions for making criminal threats in 1996 and assault with a deadly weapon from 1999.
   
Two days before his trial for attacking Ortiz at Donovan State Prison, Polina beat up an accused child molester in jail.
   
"Mr. Polina has dedicated his life to violence," Deputy District Attorney Hector Jimenez said. "The `three strikes' law is made for people like Mr. Polina."
   
Superior Court Judge Peter Deddeh refused Polina's request to discount the older strikes, saying that from 1996 to 2006, the defendant was engaged in "uninterrupted behavior in the criminal lifestyle."
   
Jimenez told the judge that Polina was "unwilling to change" and that the safest place for the defendant was state prison.
   
Polina's trial attorney, Frank Puglia, argued in vain to the jury that Ortiz lied about the attack because he had been pushed out of the Mexican Mafia and felt betrayed by the prison gang. But the prosecution argued successfully that the defendants worked together to lure Ortiz to a prison yard area, where he could be attacked.
   
According to the prosecution, Macias was "lying in wait" with a razor while Polina brought the victim to him in a prison yard. A prison guard fired numerous rounds to stop the attack.
   
Macias is scheduled to be sentenced next month.

During his trial, Macias slashed attorney William Burgener on the cheek with a razor the defendant apparently smuggled into the courtroom in his mouth. The slashing took place in front of jurors and a group of about 20 high school students on a field trip.

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