A 27-year-old man who beat the head of a drinking buddy with an ax handle 15 times, killing him, and then stealing the Santa Anan's Jeep, was sentenced today to 15 years to life in state prison.
The judge a mistrial the first time Jorge Santiago Avalos faced a jury but a second convicted him in October of second-degree murder.
Avalos went to get his drink on at the Santa Ana home of 50-year-old Hilario Urquiza on the afternoon of Sept. 12, 2008, but after the older man put on some music the younger man did not like, Avalos attacked him with the ax handle.
As Urquiza was dying, Avalos drove off in the man's Jeep but it ran out of gas. A Santa Ana cop saw Avalos near the Jeep and while arresting him for drunken driving found paperwork showing the vehicle belonged to Urquiza.
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Around that time Urquiza's son found his father's body--and it did not take a Columbo to link Avalos to the bloodshed.
Avalos' DNA on the ax handle certainly did not help his defense, which claimed the younger man was protecting himself because Urquiza wore on knife in a belt holster.
"At the sentencing today," states the Orange County District Attorney's office, "the victim's son gave an impact statement and told the court that he thinks about his father every day, and sees his dad every time he looks at his daughter."