Man sentenced to 27 years in stabbing of 19-year-old

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A La Mesa man was sentenced Nov. 19 to 22 years in prison for stabbing a 19-year-old man to death in 2005 in a gang related incident.

Anthony Raymond Rivers, now 31, was ordered to pay $5,000 in funeral costs for Luis Vasquez who was killed Oct. 10, 2005 outside a liquor store in National City.

Family members of Vasquez were present at the sentencing but they did not speak. Deputy District Attorney Robert Eacret said in court that Vasquez’s mother wanted Rivers to know that she had forgiven him despite the huge loss to her family.

A La Mesa man was sentenced Nov. 19 to 22 years in prison for stabbing a 19-year-old man to death in 2005 in a gang related incident.

Anthony Raymond Rivers, now 31, was ordered to pay $5,000 in funeral costs for Luis Vasquez who was killed Oct. 10, 2005 outside a liquor store in National City.

Family members of Vasquez were present at the sentencing but they did not speak. Deputy District Attorney Robert Eacret said in court that Vasquez’s mother wanted Rivers to know that she had forgiven him despite the huge loss to her family.

Rivers pleaded guilty Oct. 9 to voluntary manslaughter along with enhancements that said he committed the crime to benefit a criminal street gang and that he personally used the knife.

Chula Vista Superior Court Judge Francis Devaney imposed 11 years for manslaughter, 10 years for the gang enhancement and one year for using the knife to equal 22 years.

A murder charge was dismissed. Rivers was given credit of previously serving a year and three months since his arrest at his La Mesa home on Aug. 30, 2017.

Rivers was initially arrested in 2017 on suspicion of possession of methamphetamine. After National City Police detectives reviewed his photos, they began looking at him as a suspect in the 2005 slaying because the actual stabber had never been caught.

On Nov. 9, co-defendant Jorge Ibarra, now 32, was sentenced to five years in prison. Ibarra pleaded guilty to aiding and abetting voluntary manslaughter and two assault charges following his 2017 arrest.

In 2005, police arrested David Hurtado, who is also known as Jose Hernandez, and he pleaded guilty to voluntary manslaughter while committing the crime to benefit a street gang. He was sentenced to 13 years in prison and has since been paroled.

The incident occurred when Vasquez and his brother, Marvin Castrellon, then 25, went to a store in the 200 block of Highland Avenue to buy items for a barbecue.

Rivers yelled a gang challenge when the victim walked outside around 11:30 p.m. and Vasquez was stabbed in the chest. Castrellon walked outside and saw his brother lying on the ground before he was also stabbed.

Murder suspect to be tested for mental competency

Criminal proceedings have been suspended for a man accused of killing an El Cajon woman who was working at an adult book store.

A mental competency hearing was set for Jan. 23, 2019 for Shaun Douglas Ward, 39, who is accused of killing Diane Spagnuolo, 65, on Oct. 29 inside the X-Spot in the Midway District.

Ward remained silent at all court hearings and his attorney wanted a psychologist to evaluate him in jail to determine if he was mentally competent to stand trial. The judge was required to suspend proceedings, and if Ward is found to be competent, a preliminary hearing will be set in San Diego Superior Court.

A not guilty plea was entered on his behalf at his arraignment because Ward would not speak.

Young driver pleads guilty in trial over passenger’s death

A young driver pleaded guilty Nov. 14 to gross vehicular manslaughter in the death of his passenger, Isaac Garcia, 18, after he crashed his car while speeding at 100 mph.

Garcia, of El Cajon, died in the car driven by Sajjad Hameed Ismael, 20, who also pleaded guilty to hit and run. Ismael got out of his crashed vehicle and fled the scene on Interstate 8 on May 17.

Ismael clipped another car and it caused his vehicle to go up a hillside and collide with two trees before rolling back onto the freeway. Everyone was wearing seat belts.

Deputy District Attorney Daniel Shim said Ismael faces a maximum sentence of seven years in prison. San Diego Superior Court Judge Timothy Walsh set sentencing for Dec. 14.

The cause of the crash was excessive speed, according to testimony in the Oct. 19 preliminary hearing. Ismael was also driving on a suspended license due to a previous DUI.

Ismael remains in jail on $500,000 bail.