Gang member gets 22 years in prison for stabbing Anaheim man, leaving him paralyzed – Orange County Register

NEWPORT BEACH — A 32-year-old gang member was sentenced Tuesday to 22 years in prison for stabbing a man who was left paralyzed after confronting a group of graffiti vandals in Anaheim.

Alfredo Gabriel Villegas pleaded guilty on June 11 to attempted murder and other charges stemming from the July 26, 2015 attack.

Orange County Superior Court Judge Gregg Prickett set a 23-year limit on a sentence when he accepted the plea bargain.

“He accepted responsibility,” Villegas attorney Ed Welbourn said. “He feels a lot of remorse for his actions. He said this to the victims in court. …He feels he’s done a lot of damage.

The victim, then 51, was stabbed in the 100 block of South Stinson Street near Lincoln Avenue and suffered a “life-altering injury”, police said in 2015.

Several people were “marking a condemned building” when the victim pulled over and told them to stop, Welbourn said. A fight broke out, with the defendants punching and kicking the victim when Villegas stabbed the man, Welbourn said.

Villegas pleaded guilty to attempted murder, maiming, assault with force likely to produce grievous bodily harm, and involvement in a street gang, all felonies. He also admitted to handing down sentence enhancements for gang activity and causing serious bodily harm resulting in paralysis.

An enhanced sentence for attempted premeditated murder and one count of aggravated dismemberment were rejected as part of Villegas’ plea bargain. He would have faced a life sentence with those charges and the enhanced sentence.

Two other men involved in the attack had previously pleaded guilty.

Andrew Steven Morales, 30, pleaded guilty on February 22 last year to single counts of assault with force likely to cause grievous bodily harm, assault with a deadly weapon, participating in gang activity and vandalism. He was sentenced to a sentence already served in prison and was released.

Co-defendant Jacob Antonio Weis, 28, who was arrested on June 2, 2016, was sentenced last year to 13 years in prison, court records show. He pleaded guilty to participating in gang activity and assault with a deadly weapon.

In both plea agreements, the attempted murder charges with an enhanced sentence for attempted premeditated murder, which carries a life sentence, were dismissed along with the aggravated mayhem charges.

Co-defendant Fernando Zaraterojo, 31, is awaiting trial for attempted murder, aggravated mayhem, assault with force likely to produce grievous bodily harm and participation in gang activity, all felonies, and faces sentencing enhancements for attempted premeditated murder and gang activity.

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