Sidonio Cruz-Santos and Agustin Zepeda-Onofre shot 46-year-old Healdsburg resident Gabino Lopez-Santiago at the pot farm near Dry Creek Valley, a jury found in May.
Cruz-Santos was sentenced to 15 years to life plus an additional 26 years for extra felonies connected to the grow and the crime, according to a Sonoma County District Attorney's Office press release.
Zepeda-Onofre was more of a "follower" in the killing, the press release states. He was sentenced to 25 years to life.
The full press release follows:
Two Men Sentenced to Life in Prison for 2011 Pot Farm Murder in Healdsburg
Santa Rosa, CA – September 10, 2013 - District Attorney Jill Ravitch announced today that 2 men convicted of the 2011 murder of Gabino Lopez-Santiago, over an illicit pot farm in rural Healdsburg, have been sentenced to life in prison. On May 7 of this year, a Sonoma County jury found Sidonio Cruz-Santos and Agustin Zepeda-Onofre guilty of Second Degree Murder in the shooting death of 46-year old Lopez-Santiago of Healdsburg.
District Attorney Ravitch stated, “This murder case demonstrates why it is imperative to prosecute violations of the law involving for-profit marijuana grows and firearms. Unfortunately, there are those who abuse the Compassionate Use Act for financial gain as well as those, such as these two defendants, who are willing to kill to protect their illicit marijuana operation. We will continue to work closely with law enforcement agencies to achieve justice, recognizing legitimate patients, yet prosecuting to the fullest extent of the law those whose greed claims innocent lives or otherwise endangers public safety.”
At today’s sentencing hearing, the Honorable Gary Medvigy noted that defendant Sidonio Cruz-Santos was in charge of the entire illicit operation and was calling the shots; he had obtained the medical marijuana recommendation to lend the appearance of legitimacy to the marijuana grow, and had set up the hierarchy of command over the grow. He armed the codefendants with the intention of protecting it with deadly force, and was the one giving the orders. He also ordered warning shots to be fired when other passersby came close to the garden. The judge also took note of the callousness of the defendant in referring to the victim as a “dog” and his body as garbage to be disposed of. He sentenced Cruz-Santos to 15 years to life for the murder, plus an additional 26 years for the other felonies of which he was convicted.
Finding that co-defendant Zepeda-Onofre was more of a follower, but nonetheless participated in the armed marijuana operation as well as the murder, the judge sentenced him to 25 years to life, concurrent with several other felonies of which he was also convicted.