A 20-year-old man will be sentenced next month to 21 years in prison for stabbing a rival gang member to death in Gustine two years ago.
Jose Hernandez pleaded no contest earlier this month to a voluntary manslaughter charge for stabbing 25-year-old Pedro Flores to death outside an apartment complex in the 1500 block of South Avenue on June 3, 2008.
Flores was fatally stabbed by Hernandez during a fight between two groups of rival gang members, according to Gustine police. Hernandez is scheduled to be sentenced April 15.
When Hernandez was arrested, he was charged with murder. Deputy District Attorney David Elgin, the prosecutor in the case, said an agreement was reached with Hernandez to plead to a lesser charge, mainly because there were questions about whether the stabbing was second-degree murder or self-defense.
Hernandez also pleaded no contest to an enhancement for committing the crime for the benefit of a criminal street gang.
Tom Pfeiff, Hernandez's attorney, declined to comment about the case.
Three other men involved in the fight were arrested, although Hernandez was the only one charged with the actual stabbing.
Jorge Acosta, 20, pleaded no contest to a charge of assault by force likely to produce great bodily injury for his involvement in the fight. He was sentenced to a year in jail and probation.
Ricardo Valencia Andrade, 20, pleaded no contest to a charge of possession of a deadly weapon (a metal pipe) with a gang enhancement. He's scheduled to be sentenced April 19, and faces one year in jail.
Jorge Valencia, 21, pleaded no contest to a charge of assault by means of force likely to produce great bodily injury with a deadly weapon (also a metal pipe). He's also scheduled to be sentenced April 19 and faces a year in jail.
A validated gang member, Flores was stabbed in the upper left rib cage and stomach area. He died at the scene.
Hernandez was arrested by U.S. Border Patrol officers in October 2008 after he tried re-entering the U.S. from Mexico at the San Ysidro border crossing, according to police.
The Border Patrol officers noticed Hernandez had a warrant for his arrest as he tried to get back into the country.
Reporter Victor A. Patton can be reached at (209) 385-2431 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Archive video: June 5, 2008: Homicide in Gustine