SAN DIEGO (CNS) - A 22-year-old gang member who gunned down two high school students leaving a party in Valencia Park pleaded guilty Thursday to first-degree murder charges.
Frederick Garcia Cruz, who killed Monique Palmer, 17, and Michael Taylor, 15, on Dec. 6, 2008, is expected to be sentenced to 50 years to life in prison on March 11.
In addition to the pair of murder counts, the defendant admitted allegations that he intentionally and personally discharged a firearm. A special circumstance allegation of multiple murders, along with gang allegations, were dismissed in light of the plea, said Deputy District Attorney Mike Still.
Cruz was serving time in prison for an unrelated robbery when he was arrested last fall for the teens' murders.
They were at a party in the 5500 block of Churchward Street when three carloads of gang members arrived and shouted threats. Two pointed handguns at the partygoers, prompting the victims and other partygoers to leave.
They were walking on San Jacinto Drive when two people approached and struck up a conversation before one of them pulled a gun and fired. A second gunman is still being sought, Still said.
Palmer, a Cal State Los Angeles-bound senior who was president of the Lincoln High School campus chapter of Students Against Violence Everywhere, died at the scene.
Taylor, a freshman football player at Point Loma High School, died about 45 minutes later at a hospital.
Derrelle Oliver and James Tyler were previously arrested in the case.
Tyler pleaded guilty to assault with a deadly weapon for pointing a BB gun at the crowd leaving the party and was sentenced to nine years in prison.
Tyler was arrested on similar charges and is awaiting trial March 1.
Hundreds of statewide faith leaders will march Saturday afternoon to the Otay Mesa Detention Center, where they will protest immigration policies that separated more than 2,300 children from their parents.
A 325-acre blaze burning at Camp Pendleton Saturday was described as a ``training fire'' by a base official.
The average price of a gallon of self-serve regular gasoline in San Diego County dropped today for the 16th consecutive day, decreasing nine-tenths of a cent to $3.697.
A crash on an Oceanside freeway Saturday morning left two cars on their roofs and sent one person to a hospital, a fire official
Cooler weekend for the County due to a low pressure trough moving through the Great Basin. Weak and shallow marine layer may still be slow to clear.
A stretch of road in National City was shut down briefly after a large crowd took to the streets to celebrate the Mexico national soccer team's 2-1 victory over South Korea today in the 2018 FIFA World Cup.
The San Diego Humane Society today urged residents to volunteer their homes as foster spaces for the influx of animals typically lost after Fourth of July.
A man was critically injured Friday night when he chased a ball into the street and was hit by a car.
Clayton Richard pitched three-hit ball over six innings for his fourth consecutive win and the San Diego Padres beat the San Francisco Giants 6-2 on Friday night.
A powerful show of support for migrants being held in detention facilities has hundreds of interfaith leaders gathered Friday night for a vigil and demonstration at the border.