Crime - Sacto 911

Two convicted in 2017 murder at the Surf Motel in Arden Arcade face life in prison

A man and woman face a maximum of life in prison after they were convicted by jury last Friday for a March 2017 murder and robberies at the Surf Motel in Arden Arcade.

James Martin Baca and Rebecca Irene Temme were found guilty of two counts of robbery and first-degree murder in the death of Leonora Montoya on March 19, 2017, the Sacramento County District Attorney’s Office said Tuesday in a news release.

Baca and Temme were located in Menlo Park and arrested following a pursuit the following day, after Montoya, 53, was found dead of a gunshot wound to her head at the Auburn Boulevard motel. Sacramento County Sheriff’s deputies found the victim after dispatch received a call about 11:45 p.m. saying a gunshot had been heard.

Baca, 37 years old at the time of the murder, and Temme, then 35, encountered Montoya at the Surf Motel in an arranged meeting for one of the parties to get a tattoo, the DA’s news release said.

Baca then pointed a gun at Montoya and one other victim, demanding their cellphones. Baca fatally shot Montoya when she refused to give up her car keys, according to the news release.

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Baca and Temme then fled in Montoya’s vehicle to the Bay Area, where they were located with assistance from local law enforcement agencies and California Highway Patrol officers. They were apprehended following a vehicle and foot pursuit, the news release said.

The DA’s news release determined Baca had a prior strike conviction for burglary, as well as a long criminal history including gang-related crimes, assault with a deadly weapon and battery against a peace officer. Temme’s prior convictions include battery upon a peace officer while in custody and felony vehicle theft.

Each faces a maximum of life in prison without possibility of parole. They are scheduled to be sentenced June 28.

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Michael McGough anchors The Sacramento Bee’s breaking news reporting team, covering public safety and other local stories. A Sacramento native and lifelong capital resident, he interned at The Bee while attending Sacramento State, where he earned a degree in journalism.