Brandon Pacheco was described in court as a gentle man who gave the best hugs and would never intentionally harm anyone. His family and friends said Wednesday that the 25-year-old man knew how to build pools and fix cars; he always was willing to help those in need.
They said Pacheco was likely struggling with personal issues toward the end of his life, certainly having financial problems. But they also said he never carried a weapon and was not the drug-crazed person he was portrayed as by the man who shot him in the back.
On July 23, 2013, Robin Duane Boyer caught Pacheco stealing several old car batteries from Boyer’s rural Turlock home. The prosecution said Boyer fired a shotgun at Pacheco from 20 yards away as Pacheco was trying to leave. The defense said Boyer feared for his life after repeated brazen burglaries at the home and fired the gun to protect himself.
I call you a thief and a murderer.
Jolee Henley, to the defendant
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Jolee Henley, Pacheco’s sister, said Boyer called her brother a thief but that it was the defendant who took her brother’s life and his future “over some old junk in your field.”
“I call you a thief and a murderer,” Henley told Boyer as he sat next to his attorney a few feet away.
Chris Boyer, the defendant’s son, spoke in court on behalf of his father. He said his father is hardworking man.
“He’s not this violent mercenary that everyone is portraying him to be,” he told the judge.
Boyer said it isn’t right for his father to be taken away from his nine grandchildren for something that wouldn’t have happened had Pacheco not trespassed on his father’s property. The defense asked the judge for probation for Robin Boyer instead of prison after serving two years in the Stanislaus County jail.
He’s not this violent mercenary that everyone is portraying him to be.
Chris Boyer, defendant’s son
Stanislaus Superior Court Judge Ricardo Córdova on Wednesday sentenced Boyer, 62, to seven years in prison for shooting Pacheco. The defendant faced a maximum of 14 years in prison. The judge said he chose a reduced sentence because Boyer had no previous criminal convictions.
A jury on Feb. 3 found Boyer guilty of involuntary manslaughter for the fatal shooting. The jurors acquitted the defendant of second-degree murder.
Boyer also was sentenced to seven years for assault with a firearm on a person for the first shotgun blast that failed to hit Pacheco but struck the rear tire of Pacheco’s motorcycle. That additional sentence will be served concurrently.
The defendant has served 734 days in jail while awaiting trial. He will be credited with an additional 110 days of time already served for good behavior while in custody.
Boyer also got up and spoke in the courtroom. He apologized to the Pacheco family, telling them it was a situation that rapidly escalated and there was nothing he could do other than protect himself.
“A young man lost his life needlessly,” the defendant said. “It was a horrible, horrible thing, and I will live with that for the rest of my life … and I hope you can forgive me.”
It was a horrible, horrible thing, and I will live with that for the rest of my life … and I hope you can forgive me.
Robin Duane Boyer, defendant
Deputy District Attorney John R. Mayne told the judge that Boyer refuses to accept responsibility, even in his courtroom apology. The prosecutor said Boyer lied about how the shooting occurred, claiming he accidentally fired at Pacheco. He said Boyer was an experienced gun owner who pulled a shotgun trigger twice, and that it was no accident.
“ ‘There was nothing I could do,’ ” Mayne said, referring to Boyer’s courtroom apology. “What utter nonsense.”
Kirk McAllister, Boyer’s attorney, told the judge this case was not murder but was involuntary manslaughter. He said his client intended to make a citizen’s arrest after the brazen burglaries he feared would escalate when his elderly mother was home alone.
The defense attorney argued that the shooting did not rise out of anger, and that his client was heartbroken immediately after the shooting. He said Boyer cooperated with the investigation.
“Never has there been anyone more cooperative with law enforcement than Mr. Boyer,” McAllister said. “Mr. Boyer was an open-faced sandwich.”
After the sentencing, McAllister said this case has touched the nerves of many in Stanislaus County victimized by methamphetamine-fueled thefts in the rural areas. He said there were 1,000 signatures among letters submitted to the court requesting leniency for Boyer.
“Mr. Boyer’s actions were were taken to protect his family,” McAllister said. “Unfortunately, it ended in the tragic death of this young man.”
The deadly shooting occurred shortly before 8 a.m. in the 1100 block of Dianne Drive in Turlock. There were two homes on the Boyer property, which is near a sweet potato field. Boyer and his wife lived in one home; his mother, Hazel Boyer, lived in the other.
I had my son and named him after Brandon in memory of my brother. He was so much more than people made him out to be.
Linzey Pacheco, victim’s sister
The court allowed Pacheco’s family and friends to speak in court Wednesday morning about the impact of his death before Boyer was sentenced. Boyer had a few dozen relatives and friends in the court audience to support him.
Linzey Pacheco, the victim’s younger sister, wrote in a letter to the court that Boyer ripped out a piece of her family when he killed her brother. She said they shared a special bond toward the last few years of his life.
“I had my son and named him after Brandon in memory of my brother,” she wrote in the letter read in court by the prosecutor. “He was so much more than people made him out to be.”
Shannon Pacheco, the victim’s older sister, said her brother should have been given the chance to face a judge and try to redeem himself through the court system. Instead, “an angry person decided to take the law into his own hands.”