[UPDATED with Conviction:] Luis Rosales Rivera Guilty of Murdering Roommate With Sledgehammer
UPDATED, OCT. 12, 1:21 P.M.: Gardener and potential Machete II stand-in Luis Rosales Rivera was convicted today of murdering his sleeping 63-year-old roommate with a sledgehammer.
A jury in Santa Ana found Rivera, 59, of Stanton, guilty of one felony count of murder with a sentencing enhancement for the use of a deadly weapon. He faces a maximum sentence of 26 years to life in state prison at his Dec. 9 sentencing.
ORIGINAL POST, OCT. 7, 7:18 A.M.: Just to be clear, the sledgehammer at the center of the case against Luis Rosales Rivera was not used to hit our ugliest police mugshot of the week poser in the face.
Actually, the 59-year-old is accused of using the sledgehammer to kill and disfigure his 63-year-old roommate sleeping in a Stanton garage in March 2008.
His defense attorney told the jury this week that Rivera did wield the hammer while still proclaiming his client's innocence.
He's accused of killing Miguel Delacruz and faces 26 years to life in state prison if convicted of murder with a sentencing enhancement for use of a deadly weapon.
Deputy Public Defender Lawrence Volk told jurors this week that Delacruz was Rivera's "personal terrorist," characterizing the small-framed dead man as a tyrant who belittled, peed on and once tried to stab his client.
It's actually part of Senior Deputy District Attorney Steve McGreevy's prosecution that the gardener lashed out because he found Delacruz bossy. But after a night of partying, he returned home to hit the sleeping man in the head three times with a sledgehammer before leaving for a nightclub where he drank and danced until closing.
Luis Rosales Rivera: killer or terror victim?
Courtesy of Orange County District Attorney's Office