Julian Sermano Gets 16 Years in Prison for Stabbing Murder of Critic of His Singing

Julian Sermano, the 58-year-old San Juan Capistrano man convicted in June of stabbing another man to death in a park after arguing over who was a better singer, was sentenced today to 16 years to life in state prison.

If only Sing Sing was in California.

A jury in Santa Ana on June 23 found Sermano guilty of one felony count of second degree murder, one felony count of aggravated assault, and a sentencing enhancement for the personal use of a deadly weapon.

Co-defendant Maurico Molina, 34, of San Juan Capistrano, pleaded guilty on Sept. 4, 2009, to one felony count of voluntary manslaughter with a sentencing enhancement for the personal use of a deadly weapon.

Molina, who "sang-sang" in Sermano's jury trial, was sentenced May 21 to 11 years in the state pen.

Sermano and Molina were in San Juan Capistrano Park off Ortega Highway drinking and singing with 39-year-old Blas Gutierrez around 9:30 p.m. on June 6, 2007.

Sermano became angry and got into an argument with Gutierrez, who complained about Sermano's singing and boasted that he was a better crooner. The impromptu American Idol tryout devolved into a physical fight between the pair.

Molina tried to break up the fight between his friends--but then he started fighting with Gutierrez, pulled out a pocket knife, and stabbed the self-acclaimed singer twice.

Sermano whipped out his own knife and tried to stab Gutierrez, missed and drove the blade into Molina by accident.

"When Molina fell to the ground, Sermano again turned on Gutierrez and repeatedly stabbed him after chasing him through the park," according to prosecutors.

Molina called 911 to receive help for his stab wound, but responding paramedics wound up taking him and Gutierrez to Mission Hospital. Gutierrez was pronounced dead minutes after arriving at the hospital.

He sustained multiple stab wounds to his chest and stomach.

Molina was hospitalized for several days for a lacerated liver.


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