UPDATE: Edgar Calvillo was sentenced today to 40 years to life in state prison for the shooting and murder described below.
Luis 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 Orange County District Attorney.
"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:
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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.
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.