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Gang murder instigator imprisoned 12 years
February 11, 2014, 05:00 AM Daily Journal Staff Report

Mario Cazarez Jr.

The alleged Norteño gangmember accused of starting a shoving match that ended with the fatal shooting of a man mistaken for a rival because of his blue jacket was sentenced to 12 years in prison.

Mario Cazarez Jr., 21, pleaded no contest to mayhem in December to avoid a murder trial in the death of Julio Pantoja Cuevas and prosecutors indicated then they would seek a 14-year term although the plea deal came with no actual promises. On Friday, Cazarez received 12 years prison with credit of 1,342 days.

Cazarez’ codefendants, including the actual shooter, are serving life prison sentences — one with a chance of parole and one without — for the death more than three years ago.

On Nov. 28, 2010, Cuevas was allegedly visiting three female friends at a Madison Avenue apartment complex in Redwood City wearing a navy blue jacket. Cazarez along with Michael Elijah Rodriguez and Jaime Treto Rodriguez, no relation, approached Cuevas and challenged him about what gang he claimed. After a shoving match led by Cazarez, Michael Rodriguez allegedly pulled a gun and shot him several times. Cuevas ran down an alley where he fell and died and the suspects fled in the opposite direction.

Cazarez and Michael Rodriguez were arrested the day after the shooting. Jaime Rodriguez remained at large until June 2011 when he was arrested in Santa Fe, N.M., for a domestic dispute in a casino.

In November, a jury convicted Michael Rodriguez of first-degree murder and he received life prison without the possibility of parole plus another consecutive 25 years to life for the use of a firearm. Jaime Treto Rodriguez, 22, pleaded no contest in October to first-degree murder and the special gang enhancement in return for a flat 26-years-to-life term.

Another defendant, Gerardo Aboytes, 22, also accepted a plea deal and received 17 years in prison for mayhem, perjury and assault with a deadly weapon. Aboytes was not physically at the scene when Cuevas was shot but called his alleged accomplices to alert them to the presence of possible gang rivals, according to prosecutors. He was tied to the case after testifying before the grand jury and later indicted.

 

 

Tags: rodriguez, years, prison, cuevas, cazarez, michael,


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