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