Monterey County Man Convicted of First Degree Murder of His Father

Monterey, CA…Monterey County District Attorney Jeannine M. Pacioni announced today that a jury convicted Joseph Sampognaro, Jr., age 32, of the first-degree murder of his father, Joseph Sampognaro, Sr. The jury also found true that Sampognaro, Jr. personally used a firearm in the killing and also convicted him of evading police officers with willful or wanton disregard for the safety of the public, evading police officers against traffic, and of being a felon in possession of a firearm.

On September 12, 2020, at around 10:30 a.m., Sampognaro, Jr. arrived at a converted barn on a ranch near the summit of Laureles Grade in Monterey County. Sampognaro, Jr. asked to borrow a vehicle from his father and when his father refused an argument ensued. During the argument Sampognaro, Jr. produced a handgun and shot his father multiple times in the hand, arm, and head. After the shooting Sampognaro, Jr. fled the scene in his father’s Corvette and led Sheriff’s deputies on a high-speed chase from the intersection of Laureles Grade and Carmel Valley Road to a stretch of Highway 1 south of Carmel. Deputies ultimately forced Sampognaro, Jr.’s car off the road and took him into custody. During the pursuit Sampognaro, Jr. weaved in and out of traffic, often entering opposing lanes, at speeds exceeding 100 mph.

Based on the conviction, Sampognaro, Jr. faces up to 53 years and 8 months to life in prison. Sentencing is set for May 25, 2021.

The case was primarily investigated by Detective Mike Smith of the Monterey County Sheriff’s Office.