Eva Daley. 2007 file photo.
Eva Daley. 2007 file photo. (Press-Telegram file photo)

LONG BEACH — A woman was convicted today of murder for driving her teenage son and a group of his friends to a Long Beach park, where a 13-year- old boy was stabbed to death nearly six years ago.

The Long Beach Superior Court jury — the third to hear the case — deliberated less than a day before returning its verdict in the trial of Eva Daley.

The 36-year-old woman is due back in court for sentencing April 17, when she is facing 15 years to life in state prison.

The mother of three was initially convicted in October 2008 of second- degree murder for the June 25, 2007, slaying of Jose Cano.

But her conviction was reversed in a 2-1 ruling from a three-justice panel of California's 2nd District Court of Appeal, which found that the first jury was given an "impermissibly ambiguous" jury instructions.

"Because we cannot conclude from the record that the jury based its verdict against Daley on a legally valid theory, Daley's conviction for second-degree murder must be reversed," Associate Justice Laurie D. Zelon wrote in the August 2010 ruling, with Associate Justice Frank Y. Jackson concurring.

In a dissenting opinion, Presiding Justice Dennis M. Perluss wrote, "I do not believe a reversal is appropriate."

The second jury to hear the case against Daley deadlocked last December.


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Daley's co-defendant Heriberto Garcia, who was 15 at the time of the crime, was also convicted during the first trial. He has unsuccessfully challenged his second-degree murder conviction and is serving a 15-year-to-life prison sentence.

Six other youths, including Daley's son, admitted a manslaughter charge in juvenile court and were sent to the California Youth Authority, where they can be held until the age of 25.

The appellate court justices noted in their August 2010 ruling reversing Daley's conviction that Cano was among a group of gang members who had congregated at an apartment complex where Daley lived and that the group had yelled at residents and thrown lighted flares in their direction.

The justices also noted that Daley's son had been stabbed about six months earlier and that a witness saw Daley's son with Cano immediately before the stabbing, but did not know if Cano was responsible for the teen's injury.

During her first trial, Daley testified that she was intending to take the children home safe and didn't know what the youths were doing when they jumped out of her sport utility vehicle. She denied knowing that there was going to be a fight or that she had been out to get revenge for her son's stabbing six months earlier.

She told jurors in her first trial that she did not learn about the killing until the next day, when she heard about it while attending a parenting class in which she had voluntarily enrolled.

Daley also testified in both of her retrials and denied that she had seen any of the youths with weapons.

"You know something bad's going to happen when you take gang members with weapons to their rival's territory," Deputy District Attorney Dean Bengston said after the latest verdict.