Trial for man who shot wife’s love-interest seven times

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A Spring Valley man was ordered Aug. 24 to stand trial for murder in the death of a man who was shot seven times in public.

Osvaldo Apolo Lopez, 36, will get a trial date set on Sept. 10 in the death of Ricardo Sales, 30, of National City, who was killed Nov. 14, 2017 in Imperial Beach.

Chula Vista Superior Court Judge Stephanie Sontag heard almost one and a half days of testimony in the preliminary hearing that included several sheriff’s detectives and others.

A Spring Valley man was ordered Aug. 24 to stand trial for murder in the death of a man who was shot seven times in public.

Osvaldo Apolo Lopez, 36, will get a trial date set on Sept. 10 in the death of Ricardo Sales, 30, of National City, who was killed Nov. 14, 2017 in Imperial Beach.

Chula Vista Superior Court Judge Stephanie Sontag heard almost one and a half days of testimony in the preliminary hearing that included several sheriff’s detectives and others.

According to testimony, Lopez was very upset with Sales because he was romantically involved with Lopez’s wife of 17 years.

Detective Troy DuGal told Sontag he attended the autopsy and said Sales was shot four times in the head and three times in the torso. The shooting occurred around 6 p.m. in the intersection of Donax Avenue and Florence Street.

DuGal testified he participated in the search warrant served on Lopez’s home in Spring Valley and some of his clothing was seized for evidence. DuGal said Lopez’s wife cried when she said her children would miss their father if he is given a long prison term if convicted.

Detective Christi Ramirez testified Lopez’s wife said she met Sales on Facebook and that led to an intimate relationship. “She tried to break it off several times,” said Ramirez.

Lopez’s attorney, Peter Blair, said his client is an IT specialist near La Jolla without any criminal record. He said he had volunteered to work with troubled youth in the past.

Lopez fled the scene and was arrested at his workplace several days later. He has pleaded not guilty and remains in jail on $1 million bail.

Man pleads guilty to murder, faces 40 years

Richard James Gunner, 25, of Santee, faces a 40 years to life sentence after he pleaded guilty to murdering a man near his El Cajon home in 2016.

Gunner pleaded guilty to first-degree murder in the shooting death of Brandon DeGuzman, 21, who was shot in the face and whose body was found lying in the 500 block of Danny Street in El Cajon on Sept. 25, 2016.

Deputy District Attorney Jihan Maloney said Gunner is likely to receive 10 years consecutively for his prior convictions plus another five years for personally using an assault weapon in the crime.

Maloney said Gunner is expected to receive 25 years to life for murder plus 15 years for the prior convictions and using an assault weapon. Gunner was previously convicted of carjacking and battery in 2012.

Sentencing was set for Sept. 20 by El Cajon Superior Court Judge Lantz Lewis. Gunner remains in jail without bail.

Gunner has also pleaded guilty to assaulting another inmate in jail in 2017 and may face another 12 years in prison, according to court records.

A co-defendant, Tristan Eric Klingensmith, 22, of Lakeside, pleaded guilty to voluntary manslaughter, being a felon in possession of a firearm and possession of methamphetamine for sale.

Klingensmith was sentenced in 2017 to 15 years in prison. He was ordered to pay approximately $5,000 to the victim’s compensation board for funeral expenses.

Klingensmith allegedly asked Gunner to collect a drug debt the victim owed to Klingensmith. The charges say Klingensmith told Gunner to threaten to beat up DeGuzman.        

Hearing for man charged with carjacking and robbery

Damon Van Thomas, 37, of Lemon Grove, faces an Oct. 15 preliminary hearing on charges of carjacking and robbery at knifepoint of a rideshare driver in El Cajon.

Thomas is also charged with auto theft in the July 10 incident that took place around 6:30 p.m. on East Madison Street.

He has pleaded not guilty in El Cajon Superior Court. His bail was increased to $200,000 at his arraignment.