24-year-oldAlfredo "Freddy" Cruz
was convicted today of murderingLuis Rivera
outside the young father's Lake Forest home. Cruz could get up to 15 years to life in state prison at the Lake Forest resident's sentencing scheduled for Feb. 18 in Santa Ana.
Cruz is the third and final defendant convicted in the shooting over a dispute about his girlfriend and the vandalizing of 22-year-old Rivera's car.
The father of a 17-month-old boy died in his mother's arms.
Original Post, December 13, 8:43 a.m.: A jury found Edgar Calvillo guilty of murdering Lake Forest father Luis Alejandro Rivera in November 2009, and the now 22-year-old Santa Ana resident was later sentenced to 40 years to life in state prison. Calvillo's partner, Santos Escamilla, pleaded guilty to voluntary manslaughter and aggravated assault in the same case, and that now 22-year-old Santa Ana resident got 15 years in the can.
This morning, the murder trial begins for a third man in the Rivera slaying: Alfredo "Freddy" Cruz, now 24, of Aliso Viejo.
Cruz pleaded not guilty at his arraignment.
In the spring of 2008, after telling his neighbors that Calvillo, Escamilla and Cruz had vandalized his car in a dispute involving Cruz's girlfriend, Rivera was shot outside his apartment, where he died in his mother's arms. He was 22.
The Orange County District Attorney's (OCDA) Office statement on today's trial opening ends this post.
Original Updated Post, February 26, 12:30 p.m.: Edgar Calvillo, 21, of Santa Ana, was sentenced today to 40 years to life in state prison for the shooting and murder of Luis Rivera.
Rivera had told people in his Lake Forest neighborhood in spring 2008 that Edgar Calvillo, Santos Escamilla, also 21 and of Santa Ana, and Alfredo Cruz, 23, of Aliso Viejo, had vandalized his car over a dispute involving Cruz's girlfriend.
A short time later, 22-year-old Rivera died in his mother's arms, the victim of a shooting outside his apartment.
Yolanda Rivera told the court at today's sentencing that it was a total tragedy to lose her son and watch him die in her arms, according to a statement released by the OCDA.
"My son is not dead. He's with us," she reportedly stated.
She left the court to tend to the 3-year-old boy her son left behind, the boy she is now raising.
Before today's sentencing, Calvillo had been found guilty by a jury in November 2009 of one felony count of special circumstances murder with sentencing enhancements for murder by drive-by shooting and the personal discharge of a firearm causing death.
Deputy District Attorney Ebrahim Baytieh asked the judge to reduce the charge to second-degree murder and erase the enhancements because Calvillo had no previous record and immediately confessed to the shooting after his arrest, the Orange County Register reports.
Orange County Superior Court Judge Richard F. Toohey granted the request, which allowed for the 40-years-to-life term rather than life without the possibility of parole.
Escamilla and Cruz, who are each charged with one felony count of murder, face maximum sentences of 25 years to life in prison if convicted at their jury trial scheduled to begin April 12 in Santa Ana. Both are being held on $1 million bail.
The OCDA case laid out like this:
On the evening of March 20, 2008, a week after Rivera had made the claim to neighbors about Calvillo, Escamilla and Cruz, the trio waited in a parked car outside Rivera's home, got out when Rivera arrived and confronted him.
As Calvillo pointed a semiautomatic rifle at Rivera, Escamilia punched Rivera. A neighbor broke up the attack, and the three men got back in their car.
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Calvillo allegedly fired several shots at Rivera as the car was driving off. One bullet struck Rivera and, after hearing the commotion and running outside, Yolanda Rivera arrived in time to cradle her son as he died in her arms.
Rivera's boy was 17 months old at the time.
The OCDA statement on the opening of the Cruz trial follows on the next page . . .
December 10, 2010
MAN FACES TRIAL FOR MURDERING VICTIM OUTSIDE OF LAKE FOREST HOME AFTER DISPUTE OVER HIS GIRLFRIEND
*Two co-defendants have been convicted in this case
SANTA ANA - A 24-year-old man faces trial Monday for the murder of a Lake Forest man outside of the victim's home after a dispute over the defendant's girlfriend and a vandalized car. Two co-defendants have been convicted and sentenced in this case. Alfredo Cruz, Aliso Viejo, is charged with one felony count of murder and faces a maximum sentence of 25 years to life in state prison if convicted. Opening statements are expected to begin Monday, Dec. 13, 2010, at 9:00 a.m. in Department C-44, Central Justice Center, Santa Ana.
Co-defendant Edgar Calvillo, 22, Santa Ana, was found guilty by a jury Nov. 25, 2009, of one felony count of special circumstances murder with sentencing enhancements for murder by drive-by shooting and the personal discharge of a firearm causing death. He was sentenced to 40 years to life in state prison Feb. 26, 2010. Co-defendant Santos Escamilla, 22, Santa Ana, pleaded guilty Aug. 27, 2010, to one felony count each of voluntary manslaughter and aggravated assault and was sentenced to 15 years in state prison.
On the evening of March 20, 2008, Cruz is accused of driving Calvillo and Escamilla to the Lake Forest home of 22-year-old Luis Rivera and parking outside of the house to wait for the victim. Calvillo brought a semi-automatic rifle with him in the car. The defendants are accused of waiting to confront Rivera because the victim had told people in the neighborhood that Calvillo, Escamilla, and Cruz had vandalized his car a week earlier over a dispute about Cruz's girlfriend.
When Rivera arrived at his house, the three defendants are accused of getting out of their car and approaching the victim. Calvillo pointed the firearm at Rivera as Escamilla punched him. A neighbor came out of his home and tried to diffuse the attack, and the three defendants got back in their car to leave.
Cruz is accused of being the driver. As the defendants began to drive away, Calvillo pointed the firearm out of the car window and shot several times at Rivera, hitting him once. The victim's mother heard the shot from inside the house and ran out to find Rivera lying outside. The victim, who was father to a 17-month-old boy, died at the scene in his mother's arms.
Senior Deputy District Attorney Ebrahim Baytieh of the Homicide Unit is prosecuting this case.