FORMER FUGITIVE SENTENCED TO 35 YEARS TO LIFE IN STATE PRISON FOR 1992 COLD CASE MURDER OF 19-YEAR-OLD WOMAN
*Defendant fled to Mexico and was extradited 10 years later
SANTA ANA, Calif. – A man who was extradited to Orange County from Mexico was sentenced today to 35 years to life in state prison for murdering a 19-year-old woman in 1992.
Leonardo Pimentel Sanchez, 59, Mexico City, Mexico
Found guilty by a jury on May 22, 2017, of one felony count of:
First Degree Murder
Two prior felony convictions for a 1978 robbery and a 1984 rape and digital penetration in Orange County
35 years to life in state prison
Circumstances of the Case
Between March 16, 1992, and March 19, 1992, Sanchez murdered 19-year-old Cari Ann Parnes in an orange grove orchard in Irvine. Days later, field workers found her decomposing body.
The victim had skull and jaw fractures due to blunt force trauma, and major hemorrhaging in her brain, neck, spine, and chest.
The field workers called 911 and the Orange County Sheriff’s Department (OCSD) responded to the scene.
During the investigation in 1992, DNA collected from the victim’s body was tested, but no match was made and the case went cold.
The case remained unsolved for eight years until 2000, when the OCSDlinked Sanchez to the murder through DNA from the 1992 rape kit.
At the time of the DNA hit, the defendant had 27 aliases, 12 different dates of birth and five driver’s licenses. An arrest warrant was subsequently issued for Sanchez.
In November 2012, Sanchez was taken into custody in Tijuana for causing a disturbance in a business. The Mexican authorities notified OCSD investigators that they had Sanchez in custody and the extradition proceedings began.
At his sentencing today, the victim’s mother, Rosemary Hudson, delivered an emotional impact statement to the court. Hudson stated in part, “I know she would have been a great mother and I would have loved to be a grandmother to her future children, but that is an experience I will never know.” She continued to state, “she was well on the way to doing something great with her life, until she crossed paths with the defendant.”
Prosecutor: Senior Deputy District Attorney Steve McGreevy, Homicide Unit.