Orange County District Attorney
Tony Rackauckas, District Attorney
401 Civic Center Drive West
Santa Ana, CA 92701
For Immediate Release
Susan Kang Schroeder
MAN SENTENCED TO 15 YEARS TO LIFE IN PRISON FOR MURDERING VICTIM OUTSIDE OF LAKE FOREST HOME AFTER DISPUTE OVER HIS GIRLFRIEND
*Two co-defendants have been convicted and sentenced in this case
SANTA ANA – A 23-year-old man was sentenced today to 15 years to life in state prison for the murder of a Lake Forest man outside the victim’s home after a dispute over the defendant’s girlfriend and a vandalized car. Two co-defendants have been convicted and sentenced in this case. Alfredo Cruz, Aliso Viejo, was found guilty by a jury Dec. 16, 2010, of one felony count of second degree murder.
Co-defendant Edgar Calvillo, 22, Santa Ana, was found guilty by a jury Nov. 25, 2009, of one felony count of special circumstances murder with sentencing enhancements for murder by drive-by shooting and the personal discharge of a firearm causing death. He was sentenced to 40 years to life in state prison Feb. 26, 2010. Co-defendant Santos Escamilla, 21, Santa Ana, pleaded guilty Aug. 27, 2010, to one felony count each of voluntary manslaughter and aggravated assault and was sentenced to 15 years in state prison.
On the evening of March 20, 2008, Cruz drove Calvillo and Escamilla to the Lake Forest home of 22-year-old Luis Rivera and parked outside of the house to wait for the victim. Calvillo brought a semi-automatic rifle with him in the car. The defendants waited to confront Rivera because the victim had told people in the neighborhood that Calvillo, Escamilla, and Cruz had vandalized his car a week earlier over a dispute about Cruz’s girlfriend.
When Rivera arrived at his house, the three defendants got out of their car and approached the victim. Calvillo pointed the firearm at Rivera as Escamilla punched him. A neighbor came out of his home and tried to diffuse the attack, and the three defendants got back in their car to leave.
Cruz was the driver. As the defendants began to drive away, Calvillo pointed the firearm out of the car window and shot several times at Rivera, hitting him once. The victim’s mother heard the shot from inside the house and ran out to find Rivera lying outside. The victim, who was father to a then-17-month-old boy, died at the scene in his mother’s arms.
At the sentencing today, Rivera’s mother Yolanda gave a victim impact statement to the court and said, “I have been scarred with a wound that is impossible to heal in a mother’s heart. Every day is a struggle and a constant reminder of his absence…”
A friend and neighbor of Rivera spoke on behalf of her family telling the court that the defendants robbed Rivera’s son of the most important thing in life, having a father. She explained, “Time doesn’t heal. We just move on with a hole in our hearts which never seems to get filled.”
Senior Deputy District Attorney Ebrahim Baytieh of the Homicide Unit prosecuted this case.