Two males who ordered a university scholar into the trunk of his personal automotive, shot him lifeless apparently for hanging out with individuals the killers didn’t like after which dumped his physique within the San Gabriel River close to Lengthy Seashore’s El Dorado Park have been sentenced to 25 years to life every after pleading responsible to first-degree homicide, authorities mentioned.
Rueben Alexander Ortega, 26, of Lakewood and Edgar Miguel Espinoza, 25, of Downey entered their pleas in Lengthy Seashore Superior Court docket on Thursday, Aug. 3 — seven years to the day after the crimes came about. They have been instantly sentenced, prosecutor John Chang mentioned.
Ortega and Espinoza ordered the sufferer, 19-year-old Nick Cubas of Downey, into the trunk, tied him up, drove him to an alley and Espinoza shot him a number of occasions with a shotgun at shut vary, in line with testimony on the 2017 preliminary listening to.
Ortega and Espinoza then drove Cubas’ physique south to Lengthy Seashore and dumped it on the San Gabriel River close to Willow Road, authorities mentioned. The physique was found the next morning, and the 2 males have been arrested lower than a month later.
Lengthy Seashore police Detective Oscar Valenzuela testified on the preliminary listening to that one of many two males was heard in a recorded jailhouse dialog admitting to an informant that he advised the opposite to shoot the sufferer.
“Pull the set off,” the person on the recording was heard saying, Valenzuela testified. “Pull the set off. Dome him.”
Each males incriminated themselves throughout recorded jailhouse conversations, Valenzuela testified, including that Ortega appeared to brag, chuckle and joke in regards to the killing.
Ortega advised an informant he was a part of a small group that acted like a gang and fought with different crews from native excessive colleges, prosecutors mentioned. He advised the informant Cubas consorted with “the enemy” and was “responsible by affiliation,” Valenzuela testified.
Cubas’ mom, Patricia Sarmiento, has mentioned that her son was attending enterprise courses at Cerritos Faculty and dwelling at residence in Downey. He was engaged on making a clothes model.
Two others who helped Ortega and Espinoza cowl up the killing have been sentenced to 3 years of probation in 2017 after pleading no contest to being an adjunct after the very fact, court docket data present.
Different prices towards the 2 males, together with kidnapping for carjacking and second-degree theft, have been dismissed because of their pleas.