Antonio Potenciano Gana
Antonio Potenciano Gana
CHICAGO – Believing that members of her family would not survive if she were to die of cancer, Filipino-American Annamaria Magno Gana, then 41 years old, decided to shoot and kill her husband and two of their children so they would all “go together” to another world.

On May 8, 2011, Mrs. Gana succeeded in killing her husband, Antonio Potenciano Gana, 72, retired general manager of the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA). She shot next her 16-year-old son, who suffered injuries but survived.[box type=”default” size=”large”] Accused is cancer patient; victim is ex-NAIA chief [/box]Her nine-year-old son managed to wrestle the gun from her and escaped injury.

Mrs. Gana was said to have undergone double mastectomy, chemotherapy and radiation after she was diagnosed with breast cancer.

Now 43 years old, Mrs. Gana was sentenced last June 20 by Judge Francisco P. Briseno of the Orange County Superior Court in Sta. Ana, California to a prison of term of from 40 years to life in state prison for the murder of her husband and for the attempted murder of her two children in their family home in Tustin, California.

A statement issued by Farrah Emami, spokesperson of the Orange County District Attorney’s Office, said that before the sentencing, several family members presented impact statements to the court.

The victim’s son, identified only as “John Doe #1,” told his mother that he loves her and misses his father and wishes that his mother could be there to see his younger brother grow up.

“Losing a father is inevitable, but losing him in this manner is unbearable,” said Carmelia Gana, daughter of the victim.

“My brothers not only lost their father, they lost everything they had. A home, a family, and the life they once had. From here we can all try to start to move on with hope for forgiveness, peace, and love in our hearts,” said Jose Gana, another son of the victim.

“I asked (Antonio, the dead victim) to plan a trip back to Manila in December for hunting season. I never realized that we would never be going hunting together again,” said Jose Benedicto, son-in-law of the victim.

Last April 3, 2013, Mrs. Gana was found guilty by a jury of one felony count of special circumstances murder by lying in wait, two felony counts of attempted murder, and sentencing enhancements for the personal discharge of a firearm causing death and the personal discharge of a firearm causing great bodily injury.

Last June 20, she was sentenced for count one of second-degree murder to a prison term of from 15 years to life with parole; count one for use of firearm, from 25 years to life without parole to be served consecutively; count two for attempted murder, life jail term without parole to be served concurrently; count two for use of firearm, 25 years to life without parole to be served consecutively; and count three for attempted murder, life without parole to be served concurrently.

Ms. Emami, spokesperson of the Orange County’s Attorney District Office, said the Court also ordered Mrs. Gana to pay $5,000 for the funeral expenses and may later address restitution for the expenses of the family members.

Court records show that at about 4:30 p.m. on May 8, 2011, Mrs. Gana armed with a firearm fired a shot into the ceiling of a bedroom in their home. When her husband, Antonio Potenciano Gana, and their 16-year-old son “John Doe #1” ran into the bedroom to find out about the gunshot, she pointed the firearm at her husband, said, “Now,” and shot him pointblank in the chest.

Mrs. Gana later went after her two sons. She shot John Doe #1 as he turned and attempted to escape from the bedroom, hitting him in the arm. He managed to rush out of the house and called 911 on his cell phone. Her nine-year-old son “John Doe #2,” who witnessed the shooting, was able to wrestle the gun from her.

Members of the Orange County Sheriff’s Department arrived at the scene and arrested Mrs. Gana. She was brought to a hospital for treatment of minor injuries she sustained while shooting the firearm.

The defendant’s sons were placed in the care of a family member.

During the jury trial, Mrs. Gana admitted having pulled the trigger. Her lawyer argued that she should not be found guilty because of her mental state or illness as she did not have the capacity to plan this type of murder. The claim was not given credit by the court.

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Joseph is a former reporter of the Manila Bulletin, former president of the Rizal-Metro Manila Reporters Association and former president of the Chicago chapter of the National Press Club of the Philippines. A native of Sorsogon, Philippines, he and his family now live in Chicago. A prolific reporter, Lariosa writes a column and news stories for the Filipino Star News and other Filipino community newspapers in the US as well as for GMA News and the Manila Bulletin.

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