SAN DIEGO, Calif. (CNS) - A young man who was 17 when he shot and killed a 25-year-old man following an argument outside a Morena area bar pleaded guilty today to voluntary manslaughter.
Alexander Garcia Perez, now 18, will be sentenced to 31 years in state prison at a hearing Feb. 9 before Judge David Danielsen.
The defendant also admitted allegations that he personally used a firearm to kill Christopher Hawthorne and committed the crime for the benefit of a street gang.
A murder charge was dismissed by prosecutor Clay Biddle.
Douglas Cash testified during a preliminary hearing in April that he was working as a security guard at O'Connell's bar on Morena Boulevard in the early morning hours of Jan. 10 when he went outside to break up a fight.
Cash said he tried to pull one man away from a fight, then noticed two people yelling at each other nearby.
A man standing in the street had his fist outstretched and was yelling "white power!" and the other man -- identified as Perez -- was facing the street, wearing a grey sweatshirt with the hood pulled over his head and was yelling, "(expletive) white power!" Cash testified.
After the verbal sparring, the man in the street took off running and the defendant ran after him, Cash testified.
The witness said he heard gunshots, then saw the defendant fire a shot at the victim and saw the man stumble.
When Hawthorne got up, the defendant shot him from a foot away, causing the victim to fall face-first into the street, Cash testified.
Another witness, Cpl. Christopher Brickel, testified that he saw Perez and the victim running toward him, and saw the defendant pull out a gun and shoot Hawthorne in the shoulder, causing him to fall to the ground.
Brickel said the assailant stepped over the victim and shot him in the side of the head.
A detective testified that Perez was arrested in Los Angeles after the shooting and admitted his involvement in the crime.
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