Liquor Store Operators Receive Lifetime Ban For Selling to Minor Who Killed Family on Halloween Night.

Amor Potestades Amacio, 60, and her daughter, Syntyche Amacio, 28, both of Norwalk, CA, pleaded guilty today for their role in the death of a family of three on Halloween night 2019 in Long Beach. 

Amor Amacio was convicted today of furnishing alcohol to a minor, Carlo Navarro (age 20) on October 31, 2019. Hours later, Navarro killed Joseph Awaida, 30; his wife, Raihan Awaida, 32; and their 3-year-old son, Omar, while they were walking on the sidewalk near Los Cerritos Park in Long Beach. 

As a condition of her plea, Amor Amacio was banned from ever holding a liquor license or participating in any “business, or other commercial activity involving the sales or distribution of alcoholic beverages” in California. Amacio was also sentenced to 364 days in custody, serve five years on probation, perform 720 hours of community service, and submit proof of a least $1,000,000 in civil liability insurance that may be used for the payment of restitution to the victims.  Additionally, Amacio is required to donate $1,000 to a local charity selected by the family of the victims.  The sentence was given by Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Lori R. Behar.

“This is one of the most tragic events to ever happen in Long Beach, and it was entirely preventable,” said Long Beach City Prosecutor Doug Haubert. “There is nothing a misdemeanor case can do to bring justice to the Awaida family, but we hope this will help prevent a similar tragedy in the future.”

The primary charge to which Amor Amacio pleaded guilty is California Penal Code section 25658(c), which provides a person who violates the law, “by purchasing any alcoholic beverage for, or furnishing, giving, or giving away any alcoholic beverage to, a person under 21 years of age, and the person under 21 years of age thereafter consumes the alcohol and thereby proximately causes great bodily injury or death to themselves or any other person, is guilty of a misdemeanor.”

A video obtained by prosecutors show Amor Amacio handing a bottle of whisky to Carlo Navarro without asking for identification or paying for the bottle.  According to a statement provided by Navarro, Amor Amacio knew he was under 21 years of age and had sold him alcohol multiple times in the past.  According to Navarro, he was told to bring $25 to the store the following day to pay for the $16 bottle of whiskey.

Amor Amacio was also convicted of conspiracy to obstruct licensing provisions of the Alcohol Beverage Control Act because she was operating a liquor store, Green Diamond Liquor, without approval from ABC.

This is not the first time Amor Amacio has been convicted of a crime related to operation of a liquor store.  She was previously charged by the Los Angeles District Attorney’s Office for welfare fraud in a case that alleged she stole more than $1 million in food stamps assistance. She was convicted in that case and ordered to pay $100,000 in restitution and serve five years of probation.

Shortly after pleading guilty to welfare fraud, Amacio’s daughter, Syntyche P. Amacio, applied for and was issued a license to operate a liquor store in North Long Beach, Green Diamond Liquor. Prosecutors allege the new store was operated by Amor Potestades Amacio, not by Syntyche, and that the license was sought in Syntyche Amacio’s name because ABC officials would not have issued a new liquor license to Amor.

Today, Syntyche P. Amacio also pleaded guilty to conspiracy to obstruct licensing provisions of the Alcohol Beverage Control Act for being the “paper owner” of Green Diamond Liquor while allowing her mother to operate the store.  Syntyche Amacio was not present when alcohol was provided to Navarro and there was no evidence she had provided alcohol to minors on previous occasions.  Like her mother, Synthyche Amacio also was banned from ever holding a liquor license or participating in any business involving the sales or distribution of alcoholic beverages in California.  Syntyche was also ordered to serve one year of probation, complete 40 hours of community service, and donate $1,000 to a local charity selected by the Awaida family. 

Long Beach Supervising Deputy City Prosecutor James Young handled the sentencing hearing for the prosecution.