Two Los Angeles gang members were sentenced to a total of 150 years in prison for the murder of a 19-year-old Marine, almost three years after he was shot in the head when confronting them for tampering with vehicles.
The Los Angeles Superior Court Judge sentenced Oscar Aguilar, 28, to 100 years to life in state prison and Esau Rios, 31, to 50 years to life in prison, said the district attorney in a statement.
A jury had found them guilty back on May 29 of one count each of first-degree murder and shooting at an occupied motor vehicle.
Aguilar was also convicted for illegal possession of the handgun used to kill Lance Corporal Carlos Segovia Lopez on Sept. 16, 2016, who was on leave from Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton at the time.
The court determined that Aguilar was a convicted felon, and had thus broken the law by being in possession of a firearm.
“Jurors additionally found true allegations that Aguilar personally and intentionally used a handgun in the killing,” said the statement by the district attorney, adding that the shooting was “committed for the benefit of a criminal street gang.”
Lopez had seen Aguilar and Rios “possibly tampering with vehicles and confronted them,” according to the DA. “At Rios’s direction, Aguilar approached Segovia Lopez, who was sitting in his car at 31st Street and St. Andrews Place, and shot him once in the head,” said the DA, citing court testimony.
First responders found Lopez unresponsive in the car. He was rushed to a hospital, where he died three days later.
Aguilar and Rios were known gang members, according to testimony.
A third defendant, Ricky Valente, 21, was placed on three years formal probation in a plea bargain after admitting to one count of accessory after the fact.
Aguilar’s criminal history includes a conviction as a juvenile for assault with a deadly weapon with great bodily injury and felony vandalism in 2008, criminal threats in 2011, and possession for transportation or sale of narcotics in 2015.
Lopez was born in El Salvador and came to the United States with his mother. He had enlisted in the Marines only six months before he was killed.
“He is a good kid, he didn’t have any enemies. He was always out there helping, I just don’t understand how someone can just shoot him in the head like that,” his stepmother, Claudia Perez, told KTLA back in 2016.
Perez is also the founder of LA on Cloud 9, a nonprofit organization where she volunteers helping the homeless.
Writing on Facebook after the sentencing, Perez said that justice had been done and said that she forgave his killers.
“This indeed has been a difficult journey for all of us,” she wrote, “but we are appreciative that this chapter of justice finally has come to an end.”
100 yrs to Life for one and 50 yrs to Life for the other! Carlos Segovia YOU GOT JUSTICE! We all got justice. On…
“May God have mercy on their soul and may He forgive them for the senseless act of violence that they committed towards Carlos,” wrote Perez. “I have peace in my heart and for that–I forgive them both.”
Perez said she felt sorry for the families of his killers.
“I refuse to live a life of hate and will move forward with love and compassion. We are now at peace and we can all smile and be happy that Carlos is now resting.”
SENTENCING IN MARINE'S MURDER: 2 known gang members sentenced to a total of 150 years to life in prison for the 2016…
Violent crime in Los Angeles dropped last year for the first time in five years, according to the Los Angeles Times.
Over the decades, like many other parts of the United States, Los Angeles is a much safer city than in the past, with 30,000 violent crimes reported last year, compared with nearly 90,000 in 1992.
Overall, violent crime in the United States has fallen sharply over the past 25 years, according to both the FBI’s Uniform Crime Reports (UCR) and the Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS) National Crime Victimization Survey (NCVS) (pdf).
The rate of violent crimes fell by 49 percent between 1993 and 2017, according to the FBI’s UCR, which only reflects crimes reported to the police.