|For Immediate Release
Case # 12ZF0131
August 23, 2013
|Susan Kang Schroeder
Chief of Staff
MAN SENTENCED TO LIFE IN STATE PRISON WITHOUT POSSIBILITY OF PAROLE FOR STABBING-MURDER OF NEIGHBOR AND ASSAULTING SECOND VICTIM WITH METAL OBJECT
SANTA ANA – A man was sentenced today to life in state prison without the possibility of parole plus an additional eight years in state prison for murdering his mobile home park neighbor by stabbing him to death and assaulting a second victim two days later. Robert Eugene Vasquez, 36, San Juan Capistrano, was found guilty by a jury of one felony count of special circumstances murder by lying in wait, one felony count of aggravated assault, and sentencing enhancements for the personal use of a deadly weapon and causing great bodily injury.
On the morning of Dec. 1, 2011, Vasquez waited outside of the home of his neighbor, Bobby Ray Rainwater, Jr., with the intention of murdering him because the victim was a registered sex offender. When the victim left his home, Vasquez attacked Rainwater by punching him in the back of the head. The defendant then stabbed Rainwater multiple times, nearly decapitating him. After murdering the victim, Vasquez fled the scene. The Orange County Sheriff’s Department (OCSD) began investigating this case.
On Dec. 3, 2011, Vasquez was at a friend’s residence in San Juan Capistrano. He used a metal object to hit victim Lance Lyons in the face as the victim was lying down. The defendant attempted to hit the victim a second time, but was stopped by Lyons’ brother. The victim survived but suffered major injuries to his nose and mouth.
Occupants in the home called 911 and OCSD arrested Vasquez that day. In the course of their investigation, OCSD determined that Vasquez was also responsible for the murder of Rainwater.
During the sentencing today, an impact statement written by Rainwater’s family members was read to the Court, which said in part, “The Rainwater family and our neighbors are hurting because of the action you chose that morning. We are getting better as time goes by, but we will not forget Bob. We will always have loving thoughts of Bob and the fun time we shared with him. I will never understand how so much evil can cause the loss of two men. One murdered, and one person in prison for the rest of his life.”
Senior Deputy District Attorney Ebrahim Baytieh of the Homicide Unit prosecuted this case.