Ernesto Hernandez Avalos, Day Laborer Gets 26 Years to Life for Shovel-Pickax Murder

Ernesto Hernandez Avalos and the thing on his face are headed to prison.
Ernesto Hernandez Avalos and the thing on his face are headed to prison.
Courtesy of Orange County District Attorney's Office

A day laborer was sentenced today to 26 years to life in state prison for murdering his boss by repeatedly hitting the landscaper in the back of the head with a shovel and pickax as shocked co-workers and police looked on.

The case was previously blogged about here.

A jury in March found Ernesto Hernandez Avalos, 28, of Santa Ana, guilty of one felony count of murder with a sentencing enhancement for the personal use of a deadly weapon.

He had worked with landscaper Woo Sung Park, 45, a few times before the morning of Jan. 29, 2007, when they were working in the back yard of a residence on Woods Trail in Irvine.

Around 11:30 a.m., Park turned his back after complaining about Avalos' work. The laborer's response to the critique was to hit his boss in the back of the head with a shovel, knocking Park to the ground.

As another worker who saw the attack ran to find someone to call 9-1-1.

Avalos then hit Park six or seven more times with the shovel.

When police arrived, officers ordered Avalos to drop the shovel, which he did.

Then, in front of the officers, Avalos grabbed a pickax and hit Park again with the butt of it.

Cops had to use "non-lethal force" to subdue the laborer, which could explain the disgusting thing on his face in the booking photo.


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