Skip Ribbon Commands
Skip to main content

Adam Miranda

Other California Guilty Plea Cases
On September 12, 1980, 20-year-old Robert Hosey, a drug dealer, was chased down and stabbed to death on the street in Los Angeles, California.

On September 27, 1980, shortly after 2:00 a.m., 21-year-old Adam Miranda and Arnold Gonzales entered an ampm convenience store at 4830 Eagle Rock Boulevard in Los Angeles. At that time, store clerks Kelly Chandler and 33-year-old Gary Black were on duty. Gonzales and Miranda asked to buy beer. When Chandler said it was too late, Gonzales handed Chandler a dollar and asked for a pack of cigarettes. Miranda pointed a gun at Chandler and demanded the money from the cash register.

Gonzales then noticed that the store had a video surveillance system and that they were being recorded. Immediately thereafter, a gunshot was fired. Both clerks were shot. After Miranda and Gonzalez fled, Chandler crawled to the telephone and called 911. Black died. Chandler survived.

On October 3, 1980, police officers went to a bowling alley located on Eagle Rock Boulevard with an arrest warrant for Miranda for the murders of Black and Hosey.

When the police officers approached Miranda, he first claimed he was Jose Diaz, then took a swing at one of the officers and attempted to flee. He was caught and handcuffed. During a search, a handgun, ammunition, and a knife were found in Miranda’s pockets. At the police station, officers found an unsealed letter in his pants pocket. The letter, signed by Miranda, was addressed to his mother and admitted he shot Black. Miranda was charged with the murders of Gary Black and Robert Hosey.

In August 1981, Los Angeles County Deputy District Attorney Lance Ito interviewed Joe Saucedo under oath. Saucedo had been charged with Hosey’s murder. In his statement, he implicated Miranda in Hosey’s murder. Deputy District Attorney Curt Hazell offered Saucedo a reduced charge of assault with a deadly weapon in the Hosey case in exchange for testimony against Miranda.

In November 1981, Miranda went on trial in Los Angeles County Superior Court for the murder of Black. The prosecution sought the death penalty. The prosecution’s evidence was largely based on a video recording which showed Miranda shooting Black and Kelly. On September 17, 1982, jury convicted Miranda of first-degree murder in the death of Black. Miranda was also convicted of burglary and assault with the intent to commit murder for the shooting of Chandler.

During the penalty phase of the trial, Saucedo testified for the prosecution about the murder of Hosey. He said that on the day of the murder, he and Tomas Martinez bought two PCP-laced cigarettes from Hosey. After the purchase, Saucedo and Martinez discovered that the cigarettes did not contain PCP. Saucedo said he, Martinez, and Hosey drove around looking for the person who had sold the cigarettes to Hosey. When they could not find him, they drove to Saucedo’s residence. There, a number of people, including Miranda, began to argue with Hosey about the cigarettes.

Saucedo testified that he removed a knife from Hosey’s back pocket and handed it to Miranda. During the argument, someone pushed Hosey to the ground. Hosey stood up and ran away. Saucedo testified Miranda ran after him, while Martinez and Saucedo came after him in Martinez’s car. Saucedo said he and Martinez caught up to Hosey first. He said he and Martinez tripped Hosey. At that point, Miranda arrived and began stabbing Hosey, Saucedo said.

Saucedo said that as Hosey begged for his life, Miranda grabbed him by the hair and continued to stab him. Saucedo stated that he tried to separate Miranda and Hosey, and in the process he got stabbed in the hand. Hosey later died as a result of multiple stab wounds to the face and neck.

Miranda did not testify during the penalty phase, nor did he present any mitigating evidence. At the time, he was still awaiting trial for Hosey’s murder.

The jury sentenced Miranda to death.

On February 1, 1983, Miranda pled guilty to second-degree murder for the killing of Hosey. He was sentenced to life in prison. During the appeal of his conviction for Black’s murder, his appellate lawyers learned that at the time of Miranda’s trial, the prosecution had failed to disclose a letter written by Larry Montez, who was then an inmate in the Los Angeles County jail. Montez wrote that Saucedo had admitted that he—not Miranda—had killed Hosey. Miranda’s appellate lawyers also discovered that three other inmates—Jimmie Barnes, Marvin Sanchez, and Steve McDonald—had told the prosecution that Saucedo killed Hosey. Barnes, Sanchez, and McDonald had been offered leniency in their own cases in return for their willingness to testify against Saucedo. The prosecution had used their cooperation to persuade Saucedo to testify against Miranda.

Based on this evidence, Miranda’s appellate lawyers filed state law petitions for writs of habeas corpus for both murder convictions.

On May 5, 2008, Miranda’s writ was granted in the Hosey case. His conviction was vacated. In addition, his death sentence in the Black murder was vacated because the prosecution had concealed evidence that Saucedo—the only prosecution witness at the penalty phase—had lied under oath and was himself the killer in the murder he attributed to Miranda.

Miranda was resentenced to life in prison without parole for the murder of Black.

On March 16, 2009, the prosecution dismissed the charges for Hosey’s murder.

– Maurice Possley and Karla Sifuentes

Report an error or add more information about this case.

Posting Date:  Before June 2012
Last Updated: 8/1/2023
County:Los Angeles
Most Serious Crime:Murder
Additional Convictions:
Reported Crime Date:1980
Age at the date of reported crime:21
Contributing Factors:Perjury or False Accusation, Official Misconduct
Did DNA evidence contribute to the exoneration?:No