Manuel Hernandez Juarez Faces 57 Years in Prison Because Son Admitted to Murder 9 Years Later

HuberJuarez Vasquez's big mouth could put him in a state prison cell for 47 years to life and his 60-year-old dad in another for 57 years to life.

Those are the maximum stretches they face at their Aug. 5 sentencing in Santa Ana for the 2000 murder and attempted murder of coyotes who smuggled junior into this country from Mexico.

Vasquez confessed to Oregon police about the shootings when he was arrested in September 2009 for drunken driving. That same day, his father was located in Kern County–awaiting deportation after being released from federal prison on an unrelated charge.

Vasquez's unnecessary confession put the kibosh on that.

In April 2000, Manuel Hernandez Juarez, a Riverside resident who was living in Santa Ana at the time, agreed to pay $1,500 to human smugglers Victor Manuel Camacho and Jose Luz Garcia, who were to include his son, Vasquez, with others they were bringing across the border illegally.

The drop-off spot was behind a Santa Ana Burger King, where Juarez showed up with two hidden guns he'd purchased by stealing a legal resident's identity, obtaining a California's driving license and waiting out the waiting period.

Juarez secretly slipped one gun to Vasquez, whipped out the other and shot Camacho in the chest. The coyote died right there. Vasquez's shot hit Garcia in the abdomen, but he survived. Pops and junior split before they could find out.

The shootings might have gone unsolved had Vasquez not confessed nine years later to Oregon police, who obviously alerted their counterparts in Santa Ana. That led to the deportation hold, the reopening of a cold-case homicide investigation and the gathering of forensic evidence and phone records that linked Juarez to the shootings.

He was convicted Wednesday of first-degree murder for killing Camacho and attempted murder for wounding Garcia. Vasquez, 38, is guilty of second-degree murder and attempted murder.

After their no-doubt long prison sentences from Judge W. Michael Hayes, at least father and son will  have plenty of time to bond.

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